BOSTON, Jan. 14, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Liberty Mutual Insurance Responsible Sports™, in partnership with Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA), today named the "Top 10 Responsible Sports Moments" of 2013, celebrating acts of sportsmanship, selflessness, fairness and honesty from youth sports fields, rinks, courts, mats and pools around the country. Each of the 10 award winners selected by a panel of judges representing PCA and Responsible Sports partners illustrate the positive impact that sports can have on children's lives, and each will receive a $1,000 charitable donation for their organizations from Liberty Mutual Insurance. Additionally, the judges selected one of the 10 moments as the "Most Responsible Sports Moment of the Year," earning that group an additional $1,000 honorarium.
The "Most Responsible Sports Moment of the Year" occurred in the fall of 2013 in Bridgewater, Mass., by the Badgers Division 5 Peewees football team. The Badgers' water coach, Danny Keefe, had suffered a brain hemorrhage when he was born, causing childhood apraxia of speech. Each day, the 6-year-old Danny would dress up in a suit and tie and stand on the sidelines as the Badgers played football. Upon hearing that Danny was getting picked on because of the way he speaks and dresses, the Badgers team quarterback decided that he wanted to wear a suit to school to show support, rallied teammates about his plan, and they all agreed to join in. The fifth-graders showed up to school on "Danny Appreciation Day," all wearing suits and ties, and gathered around Danny in the library, cheering his name.
"Liberty Mutual Insurance is a company that prides itself on responsibility in action, and these 'Top 10 Moments' remind us that youth sports is where many children learn positive life lessons," said Anthony Storm, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Liberty Mutual Personal Insurance. "We applaud these youth athletes and organizations for their demonstrations of sportsmanship and integrity, and are proud to honor their responsible acts."
Throughout the year, Liberty Mutual Insurance and PCA identified moments across the country that exemplified sportsmanship within local communities, highlighting each moment on ResponsibleSports.com. The winning moments were selected by a panel of judges including PCA Founder Jim Thompson, U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist Picabo Street, and executives from Responsible Sports partner organizations. Each of the 10 winning moments exemplifies the positive impact sports can have on children's lives and demonstrates sportsmanship and responsibility.
In addition to the "Most Responsible Sports Moment of the Year," Liberty Mutual and PCA also are honoring these nine nominees among the "Top 10 Responsible Sports Moments" of 2013:
- Teen Launches Basketball Non-Profit – Kaetlyn Hernandez, a 16-year-old guard on the Lockport (Ill.) basketball team, realized that some students wouldn't have the same opportunities she has had to play the sport she loves. She took matters into her own hands and combined her two passions, athletics and academics, to form ScholarHoops, a nonprofit organization set out to provide college scholarships to local basketball players. Hernandez raises money through fundraisers, sponsorships and donations, along with small fees for various basketball camps and tournaments. Scholarship winners will be chosen from among those who attend the camps and will be based on a submitted essay discussing the importance of education and youth sports and how to best balance both, as well as current report card grades.
- Wyoming Teen Shows Sportsmanship On The Mat – Camel Kids wrestler Deric Johnson, a seventh-grader from Gillette, Wyo., was in need of a win on the mats. While at a USA Wrestling tournament in March, Johnson was up against a young athlete with Down syndrome in the third-place match. Johnson's opponent had never known the thrill of a victorious match, so Johnson decided a victory for his opponent would be more important than one for himself. He gave his opponent a solid match, but ultimately, it was his opponent who tasted his first career victory with a 7-0 decision to the cheers of wrestlers from both teams. Everyone learned an important lesson that day – one about treating others with respect.
- Teen Takes Teammate Under His Wing – At the beginning of the Swope Middle School (Reno, Nev.) track season, 14-year-old Drew Rippingham decided to take his teammate Jack Rovetti, an eighth-grader with Down syndrome, under his wing. Drew ran beside Jack during every meet of the season to provide encouragement and support, rather than speeding ahead to win. Drew wanted Jack to experience the feeling of winning a race, so before the final track meet of the year, he approached the other runners in the race and they all selflessly agreed to allow Jack to win. When the 100-meter dash began, Jack raced ahead of the five other runners and crossed the finish line in first place. In a show of sportsmanship and friendship, the other runners congratulated Jack on his win and slapped him high-five.
- Football Team Learns Sign Language To Communicate With Teammate – The Brooke High School (Wellsburg, W.Va.) football team's manager, Matteo, was born with a rare chromosome disorder that makes it difficult for him to communicate with his teammates. He primarily uses sign language as his means of communication. Matteo's teammates wanted to be able to communicate with their teammate and friend, so they selflessly approached a speech teacher at the school and asked if they could dedicate their own time once a week to learn and practice sign language. The sessions do not impact the students' grades and do not allow them special treatment; they simply wanted to find a way to better interact with Matteo, both on and off the football field. The group coined themselves "The Sign Crew," and says that Matteo has been an inspiration to the team, always lifting their spirit and supporting his teammates.
- Cross Country Runner Helps Injured Opponent Cross Finish Line – Amistad High School (New Haven, Conn.) junior Kayla Samuel was running in the 2013 State Class S Girl's Cross Country Championship meet. Near the end of the race, Kayla noticed an opponent from another school who was struggling to walk after tripping and twisting her ankle. While other competitors jogged by, Kayla selflessly decided to stop and help. She linked arms with her injured opponent and helped her to the finish line. Along the way, Kayla encouraged her opponent by telling her that she was doing a good job and that they were almost near the finish line. Upon approaching the finish line, Kayla let go of her opponents' arm and allowed her to finish one place ahead. The girls reunited the following week, where Kayla's opponent brought her flowers and a framed picture of them running together.
- Rinkside Sign Promotes Responsibility On The Ice – What circulated the internet as a viral photo is more than just a joke to Jeff Doschadis at Hoffman Estates Park District's ice rink in Hoffman Estates, Ill. Doschadis, the general manager of the rink, posted a simple sign to remind parents and players of the good in youth sports:1. These are kids.2. This is a game.3. Parents should cheer for everyone.4. The referees are human.5. You and your child do not play for the Blackhawks.The sign was met with great reviews from parents, with emails coming in from all over the world asking about the sign.
- Teen Displays Integrity And Honesty During Golf Championship - During the final round of the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship, 16-year-old golfer Davis Riley (Hattiesburg, Miss.) was competing for the title. Upon approaching the 16th hole, Davis needed to sink the ball in less than two strokes in order to capture the win against his opponent. Davis addressed the ball and checked his line, but then noticed that the ball had moved slightly. Nobody seemed to notice this error, but in an act of integrity and honesty, Davis approached the rules officials and pointed out his mistake, calling a one-point penalty on himself and eliminating his chance to win the prestigious title. His opponent ultimately won the championship, noting Davis' act of honesty. Even after his defeat, Davis remained positive and praised his opponent's achievements.
- Wrestling Creates Bond Between Opponents – Halifax (Pa.) High School wrestler Joey Kaufman always had respect for his weight class opponent from a nearby high school. The respect grew into friendship and kindness when Joey found out that his rival had been diagnosed with germ cell cancer and was no longer able to compete for the season. During the District 3-AA Championships, Joey noticed his sidelined opponent, who had been ranked No. 1 in the district before his diagnosis, sitting in the stands cheering him on. When Joey ended up winning the gold medal, he knew what he wanted to do. He texted his opponent and asked him to wait once the competition was over. In an act of sportsmanship and selflessness, Joey approached his rival and gave him the gold medal he had won.
- Teen Runner Stops To Help Fallen Opponent – Wilber-Clatonia High School (Wilber, Neb.) sophomore Matt Petracek was less than 800 meters away from finishing the Beatrice cross country invitational when he saw a competitor from an opposing team collapse. While other competitors raced ahead to cross the finish line, Matt stopped to help the fallen runner. Several trees in the area prevented the spectators from witnessing the incident, so Matt stayed until his opponent's trainer and parents got there, at which point all of the other runners had finished the race. This is the first race that Matt didn't finish, but his act of sportsmanship makes him a true winner.
"As an athlete and mother of four sons who participate in youth sports, I know personally how important it is for kids to experience the best that sports have to offer in environments that encourage sportsmanship and responsibility," said Picabo Street, a two-time U.S. Olympic medalist in alpine skiing, youth sports parent, and Liberty Mutual Insurance Responsible Sports ambassador. "The 'Top 10 Responsible Sports Moments' are a fantastic illustration of the positive life lessons that can be learned on the field of play. I am proud to celebrate these moments of winning both on and off the field, and commend these extraordinary organizations and athletes."
The "Top 10 Responsible Sports Moments" is part of the larger Liberty Mutual Insurance Responsible Sports program, powered by Positive Coaching Alliance. Liberty Mutual Insurance Responsible Sports is a community-based program that provides resources, tools, tips and advice for volunteer youth sports coaches and parents. For more information on the "Top 10 Responsible Sports Moments" of 2013 and Liberty Mutual Insurance Responsible Sports, visit ResponsibleSports.com or Facebook.com/ResponsibleSports.
About Liberty Mutual Insurance Responsible Sports
At Liberty Mutual Insurance, we constantly look for ways to celebrate the countless acts of responsibility shown by people every day who take personal ownership in ensuring positive outcomes in life. In 2007, we created Responsible Sports as a part of this belief, to help ensure that our kids experience the best that sports have to offer in environments that promote and display responsibility. We believe kids can learn valuable life lessons when Responsible Coaches and Responsible Sports Parents come together to support winning both on and off the field.
Liberty Mutual Responsible Sports is a community-based program providing resources, tools, tips and advice for volunteer youth sport coaches and sport parents. Powered by Positive Coaching Alliance, the Responsible Sports program offers parents and coaches constructive tips, expert advice and practical examples to help create a positive sports environment for children. Liberty Mutual also has provided more than $500,000 in grants to youth sports teams, organizations and schools for community participation in the online Responsible Sports curriculum. Liberty Mutual is proud to support youth sports organizations, including ASA Softball, US Youth Soccer, USA Hockey, USA Softball, USA Volleyball, USA Water Polo, and USA Wrestling. To access the Responsible Sports resources, see previous Responsible Sports grant winners, and register your league or school for the Responsible Sports grant program, visit www.ResponsibleSports.com.
About Liberty Mutual Insurance
"Helping people live safer, more secure lives" since 1912, Boston-based Liberty Mutual Insurance is a diversified global insurer and the third largest property and casualty insurer in the U.S. based on 2012 direct premiums written as reported by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Liberty Mutual Insurance also ranks 81st on the Fortune 100 list of largest U.S. corporations, based on 2012 revenue. The company employs over 50,000 people in approximately 900 offices throughout the world.
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