US sportsmanship

Nominations open for US Sailings annual National Sportmanship Award

Thursday December 19th 2002, Author: US Sailing, Location: United States
US Sailing is asking sailors across the nation to be their eyes and ears, to keep watch for the individuals in the sport who best exemplify the virtues of sportsmanship.

Sailors are invited to nominate their peers for sportsmanship honors, as nominees for the W. Van Alan Clark, Jr. National Sportsmanship Award. The deadline for nominations is January 14, 2003. The winner of this national accolade will be honored at the US SAILING Spring Meetings, to be held this March in Cincinnati, Ohio.

"Sportsmanship is a quality that is not easy to define, but easy to recognize when you see it," said Dean Cady, chairman of the US SAILING Sportsmanship Committee. "In the most basic sense, sailors who try to win at any cost--though they might technically be adhering to the Racing Rules of Sailing--do not qualify under most sailors' definition of sportsmanship. But beyond that basic premise, many people have different ideas as to what makes a sportsman or a sportswoman."

According to Cady, past winners of this national award have been recognized both for exemplary acts on the water, and for exhibiting a steady and consistent attitude off the water in teaching and encouraging others in the sport.

"There is no one-size-fits-all definition for how sportsmanship has been defined in the history of this award," said Cady. "I encourage those making nominations to exercise creative thinking, to explain the reasons why the person they are nominating embodies the spirit of sportsmanship . . . This award gives every sailor a chance to honor one of their best."

To nominate an individual for the National Sportsmanship Award, visit the sportsmanship section of the US SAILING Web site at for a nomination form, award guidelines, and a list of past winners. Nominations can also be sent by mail or fax to US SAILING (PO Box 1260, Portsmouth, RI 02871-6015, fax 401-683-0840). Applicants should headline their submissions "Nomination for National Sportsmanship Award," name the individual they are nominating, and include a detailed explanation as to why that person illustrates the virtues of sportsmanship.

The US SAILING Sportsmanship Committee will make their decisions based on the information presented in each application.

The first W. Van Alan Clark, Jr. National Sportsmanship Award was awarded for the 1986/87 season to Buddy Melges (Zenda, WI). Past recipients have included internationally known sailors such as Melges and Dave Perry (Southport, CT), as well as sailors who are outstanding in their local sailing community. The high standards exemplified by the true sportsperson are vital to the health of sailing, which is why US SAILING honors nominees each year with the prestigious W. Van Alan Clark, Jr. Trophy.

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