Liberty Mutual Insurance Responsible Sports™, a partnership between Liberty Mutual Insurance and Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) that celebrates the positive impact that every day, responsible actions can have on youth, has announced the "Top 10 Responsible Sports Moments" of 2012. From a track star who abandoned near certain victory to help an opponent in distress, to a high school football team that rallied a community devastated by Sandy, each of the ten honorees serve as reminders of the valuable lessons that can be learned by participating in sports, while demonstrating qualities such as sportsmanship, leadership, selflessness and responsibility.
"In a time when positive actions and deeds are often overshadowed by demonstrations of poor sportsmanship and personal conduct, it is critical that those who do things the right way be celebrated," said PCA's Jim Thompson, author of eight books on youth sports, including Elevating Your Game: Becoming a Triple-Impact Competitor® written for student-athletes. "I applaud each of our honorees and hope their behavior sets an example to parents, coaches and young athletes of the positive benefits and character-building benefits of being involved in sports."
A $1,000 grant will be given by Liberty Mutual Insurance to the organizations that initiated or represent each of the "Top 10 Responsible Sports Moments" listed below. The winners were selected from among public nominations at Facebook.com/ResponsibleSports by a committee comprised of PCA leaders and representatives from Responsible Sports partner organizations. To learn about the winners in more detail, as well as view information about the Responsible Sports program, visit ResponsibleSports.com, or join the community at Facebook.com/ResponsibleSports.
2012 Top 10 Responsible Sports Moments
- Michigan HS Track Star Helps Opponent Break 10 Minute Mark and Win Race – Devin Kimberlin, a promising sophomore runner at Walled Lake Northern High School, had set a personal goal to break the 10 minute mark in the 3200 meter race. However, a top high school distance runner at a rival high school, Garret Zuk, was on pace to win the final race of the season by a wide margin. Halfway through the race Zuk noticed Kimberlin struggling, but instead of continuing to lead the field, Zuk paced Kimberlin for the remaining six laps. As the two runners sprinted the final 100 meters, Zuk intentionally pulled up, allowing Kimberlin to win the race and finish at 9:58 – accomplishing his season-long goal.
- Arizona HS Football Players Stop the Bullying of Special Needs Girls – After seeing a special needs classmate being bullied, the Queen Creek (Ariz.) High School football team decided to take her under their wing. The players would walk her to class, let her wear their numbers during game, and ultimately showed the rest of the school that everyone deserves to be treated equally.
- Ohio HS Track Runner Helps Opponent Finish a Race After Collapsing – During the 2012 Ohio state track meet, Arden McMath from Arlington High School collapsed shortly from the finish line in the 3200 meter final. West Liberty-Salem's star runner Meghan Vogel stopped, picked her up and helped McMath cross the finish line ahead of her so she would not finish in last place.
- New Castle LLWS Team Helps Ugandan Team with Equipment Donation – When the team from Uganda arrived in Williamsport for the Little League World Series they were instantly befriended by their Midwestern peers from New Castle, Ind. When New Castle noticed the Uganda team was at a significant competitive disadvantage due to inferior equipment, mismatched uniforms and no baseball cleats, they spread the word back home, resulting in an outpouring of support and fund-raising for clothing and proper equipment that was shipped to Williamsport for the Ugandan team.
- Arizona Soccer Team Refuses Forfeit at Regional Tourney – The CDO 97G Gold soccer team was scheduled to play a team from Alaska, that was stuck in traffic and facing a required forfeit for being late to the game. The CDO team asked the tournament committee to waive the rule, so the game could be played once the Alaska team arrived at the field. The committee agreed and the game eventually ended in a tie. The following day the CDO team was eliminated from the tournament by Alaska on goal differential. Had CDO taken the forfeit the day before, they would have advanced to the knockout round of the competition.
- Tennessee HS Teen Gives up Chance to Win Cross Country Race to Help Opponent – During a cross country race Seth Goldstein, a senior at Cooper Yeshiva High in Memphis, Tenn., had been right on the heels of the lead pack, however he aborted his chance at a late push to win in favor of helping an opponent who had fallen and was in visible distress.
- Wrestling Coach Shows Sportsmanship By Righting Match Time Error – During a wrestling match at the Westmoreland County (Penn.) Championships, the timekeeper incorrectly ended the match too soon. When both wrestlers left the mat, the losing coach was especially upset because he knew of the error. The winning coach displayed standup character when he sent his competitor back to the mat to wrestle the last several seconds. In the end, the original decision stood, but a demonstration of sportsmanship made it more meaningful.
- Nine-Year-Old Triathlete Helps Brother with Cerebral Palsy Compete – Nine-year-old Connor Green, an ambitious elementary school athlete, wanted to complete a triathlon but was determined to bring his younger brother, Cayden, who has cerebral palsy, along with him. This goal inspired creativity and commitment on Connor's part to find a way to involve his brother. In the end, Connor developed a unique system that allowed Cayden to accompany him every step of the way, from his first stroke in the water to the final few feet of his run.
- Ohio HS Football Players Help Teammate Remember Late Father with First Career Touchdown – With the help of his teammates, Logan Thompson, a freshman varsity football player at St. Clairsville High School, was able to honor his late father by scoring his first touchdown of the year two days after his father died unexpectedly. His teammates created a play that allowed Thompson to score a touchdown as a small way to celebrate his father's memory.
- Point Pleasant Beach Football Players Pitch in to Help Community Post-Hurricane – The undefeated Point Pleasant Beach (N.J.) High School football team was well on their way to the best season in school history, but Hurricane Sandy put their dreams on hold. Instead of dwelling on what they couldn't change, the team used their downtime for good, knocking door to door seeing if community members needed any assistance and helping out in numerous ways.
"At Liberty Mutual Insurance, we recognize that doing the right thing – the responsible thing – isn't always the easiest decision, which is why we are celebrating these ten moments," added Jim MacPhee, senior vice president and Chief Marketing Officer, Liberty Mutual Personal Insurance. "We believe they not only embody the ideals of the Responsible Sports program but also serve as an inspiration to all involved in youth sports."
The "Top 10 Responsible Sports Moments" is part of the larger Liberty Mutual Insurance Responsible Sports program, which supports volunteer youth sports coaches and parents who help children succeed both on and off the field. By visiting ResponsibleSports.com, adults and youth coaches can arm themselves with the tools, resources, tips and advice they need to help kids experience the best that youth sports have to offer.
(Source: Glenn Greenberg, Liberty Mutual Insurance)