Thursday, March 31, 2016

Award Sends Message to this Hockey Mom

 Just when I was beginning to feel bitter and angry about the freak injury that sidelined my hockey girl for six months, along comes a notification from our coaches they would like Sophia to attend the annual hockey board meeting and be part of a special night. We had never been and I wasn't quite sure what it was all about, but it was there, those angry, bitter feelings, got sidelined.

     Sophia's coaches had chosen her to receive The Ryan Schoonmaker award for sportsmanship. I found out that night Ryan Schoonmaker was an amazing and spirited hockey player who tragically died in an auto accident, at the age of 16. To honor is memory and all that he stood for, Ryan's parents created the award to be given to one player on each team.

Mr. and Mrs. Tim Schoonmaker who created the Ryan Schoonmaker award in memory of their young hockey player who died in an auto accident.

The Schoonmakers shared details on the qualifications for the award;  

" Despite being a true competitor, this person is willing to openly congratulate opponents and accept even the most bitter of outcomes, because he or she knows there was nothing more they could have done within the rules of the game to change the end result.

Just because the root sports actually is part of the word sportsmanship, it doesn't mean that good sportsmanship behavior is required on on the athletic fields. People who are honest, consistently  give their best effort, who don't make excuses, respect others, are able to accept every day outcomes, without complaint or holding grudges are generally the ones who succeed.  Every day presents many ups and downs. There are many more small defeats than major successes. Good sports don't get bogged down in the smallest of setbacks."

      "This described my son Ryan. Ryan played with this organization until Bantam. He was on good teams. And also, some not so good teams. He played travel. And also on House teams. Was he the top scorer? Maybe. Was he the assist leader? Could have been. He was an individual who demonstrated the characteristics of a truly good sportsman. He put his love of the game and being a member of the team first. In his last year, when he was playing forward on a Bantam travel team, his coach asked him to play defense. Had he ever played defense before? No. Was he one of the better forwards on the team? Maybe. Did he complain about this change? No. Did the move to defense and how he handled it make his parents proud?  Yes. As a side note, Ryan was all of 5'5 in his skates and all of 125 pounds with all of his gear on. For him to play defense at Bantam travel level showed his teammates the size of his heart and how much he loved the sport of hockey. To Ryan, the team was the most important thing.  Not where and how much you played. For the past 15 years, Camillus youth hockey has selected children from all levels that the coaches believe demonstrate the characteristics that Ryan exemplified and stood for. "

 " To the recipients tonight, picture this in your mind. you are standing at Shove Park by the door, waiting for the zamboni to finish the ice. You look out,  and see that clean sheet of ice. No skate marks. No imperfections. It is another practice, it's a big game. Whatever it is, it's another opportunity to display good sportsmanship. To the parents, you should be proud of how you are raising your child. Your son or your daughter. They are a reflection of you. Tonight take photos."
"Congratulate your children on receiving this honor. Each of these awards continues to pass on Ryan's name and what he stood for as an individual. This award is similar to passing an Olympic torch that passes the Olympic spirit of one Olympics to the next.  While we continue to suffer from our tragic loss,even today,  a piece of Ryan remains and his spirit continues in each of tonight's winners. These winners serve as remembrances of Ryan and how he lived his life. "

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