Sportsmanship is defined as fair play, respect for opponents and polite behavior by someone who is competing in a sport or other competition.  Most of us don’t need a dictionary to define the word although clearly it seems like sportsmanship is often lost in the “win at all costs” world we live in today.

The Shore Conference of High Schools believes that good sportsmanship should be very much part of the game and annually identifies senior student-athletes who best combine the qualities of a true sportsman: hard work, exemplary leadership skills, respect for others and putting the needs of their teammates ahead of their own personal glory.

On Sunday at the Pine Belt Arena in Toms River our Shore Sports Network in partnership with the 47 schools that make up the Shore Conference honored a male and female from each school who were chosen for what’s become a distinguished honor and I once again had the honor to serve as Master of Ceremonies.

The 93 soon-to-be high school graduates make up an impressive group as well as a diverse one. There are those who are well known for their athletic prowess in marquee sports while others competed in relative obscurity outside their own school and community. Many will be competing in athletics on the college level but for a large portion their playing days have or soon will come to an end.  What they all have in common is that they’ve set a high standard for the way the game should be played.

Yesterday’s event drew over 300 people include family members and coaches and special thanks to the Toms River Regional Schools for hosting the event and for the efforts of Café 1144 in providing breakfast to everyone.  Four very lucky honorees collected $1000 college scholarships from the Pine Belt Auto Group in a random drawing conducted by Executive Manager Rob Sickel and spokesperson Alana Hackshaw.  Ciara Sullivan of Middletown North, Shana Rayside of Lakewood, Anthony Bassani of Manalapan and Luke Butera of Toms River North all came away with some unexpected help as they head to college.

Also honored Sunday as Athletic Directors of the Year by their peers were Rusty Todd of Ocean Township High School and Joe Arminio of the Toms River Regional School District.