Saturday, May 5, 2012

A first time for everything

The Sportsmanship Brigade has officially been to every part of the St. Louis metropolitan area. Friday night marked its first time visiting beautiful South St. Louis County. St. Dominic Savio and St. Francis of Assisi went head-to head in a 5th grade baseball matchup. Kids on both squads are fundamentally sound. Fielding, hitting and base running were very good. Head coaches Chris Merris (St. Dominic) and Alex Hollemeyer (St. Francis) encouraged the kids consistently. They corrected mistakes without demeaning the kids and used nearly every play as an opportunity to teach just a little more about the game. The kids' attitudes were great as well. Their behavior showed that you can play against the other team without being against the other team. This was an easy selection for the Brigade as both coaches were recognized.
From L-R: Chris Merris, Big Sol, and Alex Hollemyer
Saturday presented a different kind of first. The Brigade visited a 3rd grade baseball game between St.Sabina and St. Ferdinand. Both teams played good games, but the young umpires caught the Brigade's attention. Antjuan Potts served as the home plate umpire and William Bagan patrolled the infield. Through seven innings of youth baseball in sweltering St. Louis heat, no one argued a call. No one had a terse word about balls and strikes - nothing. The game ran like a well-oiled machine and Potts and Bagan had a firm handle on the controls. These Hazelwood West freshmen showed tremendous competence and confidence. This caused the Brigade to ratify an instant policy change. Usually, only players, coaches and fans are recognized. This was done so it doesn't appear the group is trying to sway the officials. However, these young men put on an umpiring clinic and the Brigade had no choice but to recognize them.

From L-R: Antjuan Potts, Big Sol and William Bagan
The Sportsmanship Brigade is a group of Sports Commission volunteers who attend youth sporting events looking for acts of good sportsmanship. Athletes, coaches, parents, fans and officials who exhibit good sportsmanship are rewarded with a certificate of recognition and a gift card to a local business. For more on the Brigade, including scheduling and volunteering information, please visit sportsmanship.org or call 314-345-5130. Until next time...


Be a Good Sport!

-Sol