Sportsmanship Ceremony for participants of winter season at Northside Park
(March 8, 2019) The Ocean City Recreation & Parks Department last Thursday held its eighth annual Sportsmanship Ceremony, which recognizes youth athletes who exemplified good sportsmanship throughout the winter season at Northside Park.
“Sportsmanship is on the forefront of everything we do here,” Recreation Manager Kim Kinsey said. “Kids, this is a great award. This is one of the most important awards you’ll get. Be proud and stand tall, keep your heads up and your parents should be very proud of you as well.”
At the end of the winter season, the coaches for girls’ basketball, boys’ basketball, indoor soccer and futsol are asked to nominate one athlete per team who demonstrates the qualities of good sportsmanship. The athletes chosen received an award for demonstrating respect, fairness, integrity, responsibility and perseverance throughout the season.
“I’d like to thank all of you for coming tonight to help celebrate these young student athletes ... to represent their team,” Recreation Manager Al “Hondo” Handy said.
Boys and girls from first grade to senior year in high school were recognized .
Honors were also extended to Al “Hondo” Handy, who is retiring after more than 30 years in the department. In honor of Handy, the OCRPD renamed the Sportsmanship Award in his honor.
“He has spearheaded the sportsmanship campaign here in town from day one,” Recreation Superintendent Kate Gaddis said. “He’s been the one trying to come up with different, creative ideas to make sure that sportsmanship was on the forefront of all of our programs.”
The 2018 Mid-Atlantic Recreation and Sports Alliance (MARPSA) Good Sports Player of the Year was special this year, as the winners were a mother and son, a first for the recreations department. Sanji Mandarin and her son, Finn, won the Sports Coach of the Year and Player of the Year, respectively.
“Finn is a special person and a pleasure to work with and be around,” Handy said. “It is an honor for Finn to represent Ocean City Recreations and Parks. He’s always very positive with his teammates, respectful to his coaches and officials. He loves the sport of soccer and does his best to promote soccer.”
The pair will receive their award in Annapolis on Thursday, March 13.
Finishing off the ceremony, the OC Recreation Boosters announced the Volunteer of the Year. This year OC Recreation Boosters member Norma Jean Simmons received the award. Out of town when nominated, her award was accepted on her behalf by booster member Phil Reid.
“You may know Norma … she is our treasurer and she keeps us balanced,” Boosters President Donna Reid said. “She’s got probably the hardest job of any of us and we just appreciate her for always thinking about how to make things better.”
Recreations Director Susan Petito ended the night by thanking the young athletes for their exemplary attitude.
“This is one of my favorite days of the year because it really is an opportunity to recognize the excellence that the youth of this community exhibits,” Petito said. “We think that all the characteristics of sportsmanship go into creating really fantastic young adults and adults. Thank you all for the excellence that you portray out on the sports fields, it helps make our staff’s jobs a little bit easier.”