On May 11, Austin Founder Lions Club presented Sportsmanship Award trophies to the Akins High School boys’ Baseball Team which is coached by Gene Salazar and to the Anderson High School girls’ basketball team coached by Katrina Hall. Greg Harkrider, chairman of the club’s Sportsmanship Awards Committee presented the trophies and checks to the coaches and team representatives. Gaylord Armstrong, a club member and former national champion baseball player, was the keynote speaker, and he shared his insights about the importance of good sportsmanship.
"For more than 70 years, the Austin Founders Lions Club annually has recognized local high school boys’ and girls’ athletic teams for their good sportsmanship," said Jim Overton, club president. “Club members believe teaching good sportsmanship is an important component of team sports. Our awards are intended to encourage good sportsmanship and recognize those teams and their fans who demonstrate it consistently throughout the year,” he added.
Only team sports are considered for the awards. For boys, the sports considered are football, basketball, baseball and soccer. For girls, volleyball, basketball, softball and soccer are considered. One boys and one girls team from among the four sports is honored, and recipients are selected only from Austin Independent School District schools.
“The club asks various officials (referees, umpires, etc.) to vote on which teams demonstrate the best sportsmanship based on the behavior of players, coaches and fans,” Harkrider explained. “Each official picks the top three teams in the sport that he/she officiates during the year. A point/percentage system is used to compare the teams fairly,” he added.
“The Akins baseball team was on every single ballot cast by the baseball umpires,” Harkrider said. He added that “this marks the fourth year that Coach Hall’s basketball teams have been recognized with the club’s sportsmanship award.
“These school teams have coaches who teach good sportsmanship and hold players and fans accountable to maintain these standards,” Overton said. “We are pleased to recognize the coaches, players and fans of these teams, and appreciate the model they set for others.”