I'm all for sports-manship. We see it everywhere. After a long, hard-fought baseball game between two rivals, both teams traditionally line up for the post-game hand shake.
In basketball, a defender may find himself sent to the floor on a hard foul. Often, a good sport from an opposing team will extend a hand to help him to his feet.
A talented defensive lineman may sack a quarterback, but also impressive is when the big man picks the opposing signal-caller off the ground when the play is over.
Forget the sinister, bad-boy reputations of Terrell Owens, Ron Artest and Bode Miller. Sure, they're talented, but all three of those athletes, to some extent, thrive on their meanness. Miller, the American "star" in this year's Winter Olympic games, is the most recent culprit. He took plenty of heat after admitting he's hit the slopes while "wasted." His training hasn't been much help in Torino.
Bottom line: You don't have to be mean to be good.
Last week I praised the actions of the Evans and Greenbrier basketball teams after joining together to form a spirit line at the region tournament.
This week, Augusta Prep got into the act.
Head soccer coach Forrest Wimberly has not actually served as a head coach in a Cavalier game yet. He took over the program after Doug Williamson left in January. The season starts next weekend, and Wimberly has wasted no time in emphasizing sportsmanship.
Wimberly, with approval from the Georgia Independent Schools Association, created and introduced the GISA Fair Play Award for the first time this season.
The award includes Gold, Silver and Bronze levels determined by a team's red-card and yellow-card count. To reach the Gold level, a team must complete the season without a single red card or yellow card.
Wimberly said his goal is to see every GISA school qualify for at least the Bronze level of the Fair Play Award.
That standard demands an attitude check beyond what most professional athletes can imagine.
Still, if the Augusta Prep girls soccer team keep their composure this season, they can bring home the gold.
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