Ursuline Athletic Team Inspired to Create the S.A.M. Award, Recognizing Athletic Leaders

This story comes from the May 2 Varsity Lacrosse game between Ursuline Academy and Whitfield School, submitted by Athletic Director Jen Brooks and Lacrosse Coach Mike Hannegan.

I wanted to share with you a special moment that happened after the lacrosse game last night with Whitfield.  As I think you know, our team has been using our post game huddle to decide who on the opposing team we felt exhibited sportsmanship, athleticism, and maturity.  We usually have multiple nominations so it typically comes down to a vote.  It has been awesome to see the genuine excitement from our players as they discuss why they feel a certain player should be recognized.  And I guess that is the point of all this – that when you play, you compete hard and give it your all, but after the game you respect your opponent and recognize those that play with sportsmanship. 

The inspiration for this came after our game against Whitfield last year.  At the next practice our players were talking about how good one of Whitfield’s players was, but how her outstanding sportsmanship was even more impressive.  I wrote to Whitfield’s coach, Maggie Young, to share what our players had said.  Maggie was appreciative and passed this along to her player, Samantha, who she knew would be grateful for the compliments.  Based on that experience, our team decided this year to recognize the ‘Samantha’ on each of the teams we play, and thus the SAM Award was born.  SAM not only recognizes Samantha’s inspiration but also stands for sportsmanship, athleticism, and maturity.

The first time our team presented this award was at the Whitfield Jamboree against who else but Whitfield.  We had not named it the ‘SAM Award’ yet.  Our girls loved doing it and the Whitfield girls loved the idea as well.  Maggie and the Whitfield team is doing the same recognition for their opponents. Maggie is a great coach and an even better person, so having her and her team doing this lets me know we are doing the right thing.

So last night after an extremely close, hard-fought game, the two teams came together to recognize players from each team.  It is amazing how a few words of kindness can mean so much for someone, and we saw that last night in the smiles on the faces of the girls that were recognized.  We also had the chance to let Samantha Bolourtchi know how she inspired this.  THIS IS GOOD!

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