Monday, August 26, 2013

Hats off to Sports Commission Associates' scholarship recipients

The event I shall miss most covering: the Musial Awards. You might know them better as the National Sportsmanship Awards, hosted annually by the St. Louis Sports Commission. I could have written page after page about each of the dozen or so annual recipients, who were as big as 6-6 Pirates pitcher A.J. Burnette, playing catch in the dark with children who have extreme light sensitivity, or 12-year-old Nick Kirkpatrick, who loaned his wheelchair to a fellow competitor. Each selflessly gives of himself or herself to help someone else achieve his or her athletic goals. The commission announced the name change at last year's ceremony.

Part of the group's overarcing initiative includes awarding scholarships to local high school athletes through funding from the Sports Commission's Associates, the organization's young professionals group. This year, four athletes won $8,000. Each has a story that is priceless.

I'm thrilled to share them, if only in brief form.

Brianne Ebenroth, a 2013 graduate of St. Dominic, will receive $5,000.  A three-sport standout, Ebenroth earned a full athletic and academic scholarship to Drury University. Just before her senior year, though, she was diagnosed with postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, which causes chronic fatigue. No longer able to play at the level she expected, Ebenroth chose to return the scholarship to Drury so they could award it to another athletes. Ebenroth will use the $5,000 while attending the University of Missouri.

Sherman Calhoun, who graduated from DeSmet in May, put on a display of class at what probably was the moment of his biggest disappointment. DeSmet was eliminated from the Missouri Class6 football playoffs, effectively ending Calhoun's football career. Instead of sulking, Calhoun walked over to the CBC sideline by himself and congratulated each player and coach, wishing them good luck in the next round. The Associates awarded Calhoun $1,000, which he'll use in his career at Lincoln University.

Blake Dyer, a three-sport athlete at Rockwood Summit, found himself on the basketball floor after an opponent's elbow hit him below the eye. The injury required stitches, but Dyer returned to the game. Later, the player who elbowed Dyer found himself on the floor. Dyer helped him to his feet. The show of sportsmanship earned Dyer $1,000, which he will use at Rockhurst University.

Katie Ringhausen was a two-time state qualifier in golf at Francis Howell but enjoyed her brightest moment in a match when her opponent ran out of golf balls. Rather than win by disqualification, Ringhausen gave her opponent a sleeve of balls so she could finish the match. She will use her $1,000 scholarship to continue her education at Central Missouri.

Warms my heart to get the chance to write about good sports again and to salute the winners as well as the Sports Commission Associates. In five years, the associates have awarded $28,000 in scholarships.

Chapeau, one and all.