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Rickel Sportsmanship Print

Jeff Rickel Memorial Scholarship                                        

First of all, my thanks to Debby Stegura and the AYSO Region 10 board for establishing and supporting the Jeff Rickel Memorial Scholarship in 2008. It is a wonderful tribute to honor a wonderful man.

This scholarship recognizes individuals who exhibit good sportsmanship on and off the soccer field. Sportsmanship is about respecting your opponent, your coach, your officials, your teammates, and yourself. Sportsmanship is about respecting the rules by playing within those guidelines for a fair game. Sportsmanship is about honesty and fairness. Sportsmanship is about encouraging your teammates when they try and fail just as you would recognize them for their success. A good sport exhibits gracious behavior before, during, and after a game. Players, coaches, and spectators all contribute to the attitude of the game. As a coach, referee, parent, and player, I can say that being part of a team that tries their best and keeps a positive attitude makes the entire game experience enjoyable. Sportsmanship is an attitude to embrace on and off the field; it is a reflection of the way you behave in life.

Every year I am so impressed by the accomplishments of these young adults who apply for the Jeff Rickel Memorial Scholarship. The selection of winners is never easy, and this year’s candidates proved to be very challenging. As you know, it’s a blind draft (this is AYSO!). So armed with only essays and referral letters, I read, re-read, and review all over again to assess and rank these candidates for the scholarship. All of these candidates have volunteered at registration, opening day, to coach, and to referee. They have coached teams that won the sportsmanship award, they embrace sportsmanship in their own behavior, and they show respect for others on and off the field. And the referral letters for these candidates, many of which were prepared by those of you here tonight, were so sincere and let me know that each candidate truly exhibited sportsmanship qualities. I am very proud of all of the young people who applied for this scholarship, and I know that they are good in their hearts because they have had the right influences from their parents and friends. And I also believe that after many hours of scrutiny and deliberation, that our top two candidates are being recognized here tonight. My congratulations to you both!

Lynn Rickel

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