The Importance of Sportsmanship in Educational Athletics

The Michigan High School Athletic Association partnered with Farm Bureau Insurance for the 25th year to host the MHSAA Scholar-Athlete Award program. Placing emphasis on well roundedness and academic excellence, the MHSAA awarded 32 student-athletes out of over 1,700 applicants in the state of Michigan with a $1000 scholarship. I am fortunate to become the third student-athlete in FHS history to be chosen for this award.

I am beyond humbled and honored to have been considered and ultimately chosen to be awarded at the Breslin Center on March 22 at the boys Class C state championship basketball game. I am proud to represent my school and community with this opportunity.

With this honor, I join great company. Previously chosen for this award from FHS was Miranda Olds in 2004 and Alex Ralston in 2007. This year, Ryan Fischer, a Grandville hockey player, 4.0 student and future U.S. Military Academy attendee, was also selected to receive this honor. However, he passed away from a heart condition only two weeks before we were to be recognized.

While I am honored to be a part of such a prestigious and well deserving group, there is no way I would have had this opportunity without the support of my family, my coaches and my teammates. They are the ones who shaped me into the student athlete I have become and I am not only lucky, but grateful to have been influenced and taught great sportsmanship by them, especially by my cross country team, who was the focus of my essay.


Below is an excerpt from my work that is property of the MHSAA as a part of the MHSAA Scholar Athlete Award program.


“We encountered the same problem against the Holly High School cross country team the last three seasons. They had talent, they worked at it, and they were good. We never once overcame that.

It was the second of our three league cross country meets. Going into the race, I was our seventh runner. I wouldn’t call myself a runner, but I am an athlete. I can hang with the pack but never make a major difference in our team’s standings.

One of my fellow senior teammates had been out with an injury all season. When at full strength, she was fast. It killed me to see her stand on the edge of the course every meet because running was her life. She ran in the rain and the snow, and she would probably even run in a tornado if our coach would have let her.

That Wednesday afternoon, our coach was going to have me continue to run in the varsity race. Emily, my fellow senior, was about to run in the JV meet for her first race back after being injured. Knowing that Emily’s worst race would surmount my best race, I took my coach aside and asked to be pulled from the race so she could run in my spot. I knew that was the only chance we had to defeat Holly.

We had nothing to lose, and in the end, we didn’t. Emily placed 15th overall, 4th for our team, and we passed Holly in the league for the first time since we had been in high school…
…The importance of sportsmanship in educational athletics is insurmountable. The value of sportsmanship encompasses much more than just a handshake at the end of a contest. It includes the sacrifices you make for your teammates and the examples you serve to those who look up to you.”