Last year, I was inspired by a very special group of people in Louisiana. Maybe you recall the story of Ross Barron and the Mighty Lions? If you are unfamiliar with this story, you can read about it on our website in the March archived Director's Column section.
This story resonated deeply with the LHSAA, so we decided that it is time to recognize individuals who go beyond the game promoting sportsmanship and positively impacting the life of another. To do this, the LHSAA is introducing the Beyond the Game Sportsmanship (BTGS) program.
The BTGS Program is comprised of four different components, a Public Service Announcement Contest, Essay Contest, the Sportsmanship Spotlight of the Month, and the Spirit of Sportsmanship Award.
The BTGS program involves everyone from the student-athletes, coaches, fans, and boosters, to the faculty members, parents, and officials. By including everyone in this movement, the LHSAA believes that together, we will make a difference in the lives of others, and positively impact high schools and communities around the state.
The BTGS Public Service Announcement Contest is open to high school students aged 14 – 18 attending school in Louisiana. Let your imagination run wild when creating the script, setting, and message about sportsmanship, because the winning PSA will be seen by thousands around the state.
The BTGS Essay Contest is open to high school students aged 14 – 18 attending school in Louisiana. In 500 words or less, tell us what it means to go beyond the game. Remember to get creative because the winner will receive a $500 cash prize and recognition at the Annual LHSCA Coaches Clinic banquet in June.
The Sportsmanship Spotlight of the Month is a fun way to recognize anyone you feel supports and promotes sportsmanship! Everyone is eligible for this award, so nominate someone that you think deserves to be recognized and they could be showcased on the LHSAA website, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and our blog. Also, every sportsman of the month is automatically eligible to win the end of the year Grand Prize! Nominations must be received by the 15th of each month.
Lastly, the Spirit of Sportsmanship Award is given to one school in each of the following sports: football, volleyball, girls' and boys' basketball, girls' and boys' soccer, softball, and baseball.
The LHSAA wants to recognize teams and individuals who embody good sportsmanship throughout their entire season. Nominations for this award will be submitted by the officials, so let your sportsmanship spirit shine this year. All winners will automatically be eligible for the Sportsmanship Award of Excellence, which will be handed out at the 2012 LHSCA Coaches Clinic in July.
As you can tell, at the LHSAA, we take sportsmanship very seriously. Character is far more important than the number of points that are put on a scoreboard or how many medals and ribbons are won. Often times we just get a pat on the back for good sportsmanship, but now the LHSAA is recognizing it on a much larger scale. So, I invite you to join us and submit your applications to the Sportsmanship Program! It's time we recognize those that go beyond the game! For more details on the BTGS program visit the "Sportsmanship" section of the LHSAA website.
Kenny Henderson is the Executive Director of the LHSAA.