Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Something Really Refreshing

At the end of the NBA divisional championship series between Cleveland and Orlando, the 'super star" Lebron James walked off the court sulking in defeat without having the class to congratulate the team that had beaten his own. These are the kinds of acts which young kids see and mimic as they look up to these megastars while they are developing into young adults and entering the real world. Recently, one of the top MBA schools in the country attained some publicity by announcing that it was going to add an ethics class to its required courses. Oh really? The people we have been trusting with our business and financial decisions all these years are finding out for the first time that there may be some ethical considerations involved? My own profession, law, has gone way overboard in the course of the thirty five years that I practiced with the trend being to do whatever was necessary to win at all costs. In light of these prefatory remarks, I want to pass on some information that brings tears to eyes and swells my chest with pride. What follows are two recent communiques, unedited, from the tennis coach of Hope College to his team and a press release from the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA). I should mention that the Jeff referred to is my grandson.


Wow! It's not often you get to see Hope College next to UCLA in a sports release but here it is in black and white. And if you go to the website at www.itatennis.com you can see our team picture come up in full color (albeit very PINK). :) This is really cool! Congratulations to all of you for this award! We could have been nominated a hundred times over the course of this season for things we did on the court that exemplified great sportsmanship and character but someone selected this moment during our match with Luther as worthy of national recognition. Jeff and Alex were in a tight match at #3 doubles when they hit a cross-court volley that Luther returned into the net. I could tell that Jeff and Alex both saw the ball out so I asked them whether their shot was in. Jeff immediately replied, "No, it was out. Your point," and he and Alex walked back and got ready for the next point. That moment and that decision is exactly what separates Hope College from everyone else - we have the courage to make fair line calls, including against ourselves, and we have faith that it will all work out in the end. That is the strength of character that is at the heart of our team and our program.

I am so proud to be the coach of Hope College Men's Tennis and so blessed to have you all on our team. Thank you for who you are and for who you choose to be day in and day out. It is making a difference and providing a shining and inspirational example for others to follow. You guys are AWESOME!

Go Hope!


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Jason Berney
Date: Mon, May 4, 2009 at 11:59 AM
Subject: Hope College, UCLA receive ITA National Team Sportsmanship Awards
To: jberney@itatennis.com

For Immediate Release
Contact: Jason Berney, ITA (609-497-6921)
May 4, 2009

Hope College, UCLA receive ITA National Team Sportsmanship Awards

SKILLMAN, N.J. - The Hope College men's and UCLA women's tennis teams have been honored as April’s recipients of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) National Team Sportsmanship Award, the ITA announced today.

The ITA National Team Sportsmanship Award is a monthly award that goes to one men's and one women's team that has exemplified outstanding sportsmanship, character and ethical conduct in the true spirit of competition and collegiate tennis. The winners are selected by the ITA Ethics and Infractions Committee from nominations received from all ITA member institutions (NCAA Divisions I, II and III, NAIA and Junior/Community Colleges). This monthly award began in 2003. In addition to the obvious reasons, sportsmanship and fair play are considered important in college tennis due to the fact that players make their own line calls during a match.

Hope College is a NCAA Division III school, coached by Steve Gorno and located in Holland, MI. In a critical juncture of a doubles match versus Luther College, a Luther player pursued an out ball and hit it into the net. Coach Gorno saw from a distance that the ball was out. He asked his players if their shot was in, they replied “no”, and gave Luther the point. Even though Luther ended up winning the match 5-4, the move displayed by the Hope College squad was definitive of a first class program.

UCLA is a NCAA Division I school, coached by Stella Sampras-Webster and located in Los Angeles, CA. The UCLA women’s squad travelled to Waco, Texas to take on Baylor. Upon arrival to the match, the courts had gotten wet due to an overnight shower. Stella and her squad helped dry the courts in the morning and were willing to help in anyway possible. The match was very intense but their players were fair and represented their university in a first class manner.

As the governing body of collegiate tennis the ITA promotes both the athletic and academic achievements of the collegiate tennis community. The ITA, which was founded in 1956 and is based in Skillman, N.J., administers numerous regional and national championships, the ITA Collegiate Summer Circuit presented by the USTA, and the Campbell/ITA College Tennis Rankings for men's and women's tennis at the NCAA Divisions I, II and III, NAIA and Junior College levels. The ITA also has a comprehensive awards program for players and coaches to honor excellence in academics, leadership and sportsmanship. The official ITA website is www.itatennis.com.


No comments: