This fall, the Mount Desert Island High School football team made it all the way to the state championship game. Its winning record is a testament to the hard work and dedication of every member of the team, all the coaches and trainers, high school staff and the parents.
While the Trojans did not prevail in the final, they came away from that game with something even more valuable — a trophy that is much harder to win.
MDI was given the Sportsmanship Award by the Maine Principals Association for “conduct which imposes a type of self-control involving honest rivalry, courteous relations among the players, coaches and officials, and graceful acceptance of results.”
Among the criteria are “neat attire by players, coaches and managers; players supporting one another on the field and from the bench; no acts of unnecessary roughness/taunting; no inappropriate gestures, language or expressions; players using appropriate and positive communication to their coach; players and coaches treating officials with respect — no inappropriate gestures, language or expressions; and positive community involvement.”
In an era when seemingly everyone gloats and does a “touchdown dance” for every minor stumble by an opponent, knowing our local team keeps the tenets of sportsmanship front and center makes us all proud.
While winning championships may be the ultimate test of athletic ability, winning the Sportsmanship Award says a lot about how our local students comport themselves as citizens. Unlike the former, where success can be predicated as much on the whims of weather, injury and luck, winning the Sportsmanship Award is an honest test of character and speaks volumes as to the standards set by the coaches, parents, administrators and the students themselves.
Winning a statewide championship is nice. But being selected the top sportsmen by other players, officials and coaches from across Maine is the biggest honor of all.