(Feb. 28, 2020) The Ocean City Recreation & Parks Department recognized young athletes who exemplified good sportsmanship during their participation in sports programs this winter at Northside Park, on Monday.
“It’s our opportunity to really recognize the youth here who just know and understand and promote the idea that everyone wins regardless of the score of the game,” said Susan Petito, director of the Ocean City Recreation & Parks Department. “They practice fairness, respect, integrity, responsibility and perseverance and they know that these are all important aspects of all of life’s journeys.”
At the end of the winter sports season, the coaches for girls’ and boys’ basketball, indoor soccer and futsal (small-sided soccer) are asked to nominate athletes who demonstrates the qualities of good sportsmanship.
The athletes chosen received their awards on Monday at the recreation complex on 125th Street.
The recognition was renamed the Al “Hondo” Handy Sportsmanship Award last year in honor of Handy, who retired from the department after 39 years of service, in March.
Petito also read a proclamation from Gov. Larry Hogan announcing March 2020 as Good Sportsmanship Month in Maryland.
In addition, Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan read a proclamation declaring March to be Good Sportsmanship Month in Ocean City.
The 2019 Mid-Atlantic Recreation and Parks Sports Alliance Good Sports Awards were also presented.
“Every year we get to recognize one coach and one athlete as the Good Sports of the Year,” said Recreation Manager Travis Davey.
Brett Conaway was named the MARPSA Coach of the Year for Ocean City Recreation & Parks.
“He played sports here as a child, he was coached by his father and now he’s continuing that family tradition coaching his children here,” Davey said. “He’s a great coach, he has a positive attitude all the time, and he makes sure everybody is included as part of the team, even the less skilled players.”
Conaway coaches flag football and indoor soccer for the department and is a substitute coach for boys’ basketball.
“He really builds a team and that camaraderie that we all look for,” Davey said. “He’s giving back to the community, but he’s also molding the next generation of youth coaches.”
Jacob Hicks received the MARPSA Player of the Year award.
“He’s a perfect example of what a team player really is,” Davey said. “His coaches rave about his teamwork and his dedication, his effort on the court, and he always has a positive attitude.”
Davey said Hicks is also a valued volunteer at Northside Park as well.
“Whenever we need extra hands we always call on the Hicks family,” he said.
In addition to participating in the department’s basketball and indoor soccer programs, Davey said Hicks enjoys playing the guitar and competing on his travel soccer team.
“With all of this he still finds a way to excel academically [and is an] A student,” Davey said.
Conaway and Hicks will be recognized during a ceremony at the end of March in Annapolis.
The Ocean City Recreation Boosters also announced its Volunteer of the Year. The award was presented to Harry How.
“[The award] goes to a gentleman who’s been in the club for, he says, ‘a lot of years,’ so I’m going to leave it at that,” Boosters President Dan Wormann joked.
How runs the wine booths during Ocean City’s Springfest and Sunfest festival in the inlet parking lot.
“I watch Harry, he’s out there every minute of the day during Springfest and Sunfest and he contributes so much to our community and he’s such a great, inspiring leader. He does get everybody else to pitch in and help with it,” said Mayor Meehan, who presented How with a key to the city.
The Ocean City Recreation Boosters is a nonprofit, independent community organization made up of area residents and representatives from various local community organizations, who pool their talents and resources to support the Ocean City Recreation & Parks Department’s youth programs.
“Ocean City Recreation Boosters, they do all sorts of fundraising so we can keep costs low for all these recreation programs,” Recreation Superintendent Kate Gaddis said. “All money raised goes back to Ocean City Recreation & Parks. I can’t explain enough how valuable they are to our department [and they’re] always looking for volunteers.”
For more information about recreation programs or the boosters, call the department at 410-250-0125.