The St. Louis Sports Commission’s Associates – a group of area young professionals who volunteer to assist the organization’s efforts – annually present the Good Sport Award at the AT&T National Sportsmanship Awards. The Good Sport Award recognizes a St. Louis area youth or high school athlete who demonstrates the ideals and very meaning of sportsmanship through a specific act or overall approach. Nominations were accepted leading up to the event. The Associates are pleased to present the 2008 Good Sport Award to Nicholas Kirkpatrick.
Last summer, Nick competed in the Endeavor Games, a regional track and field and swim meet for people with physical or visual disabilities. At the starting line of the 100-meter race, he noticed a sad face on the sidelines. An athlete from an opposing team was having problems with her racing chair. Without the $1,500 equipment, she would not be able to compete with her peers – an opportunity that children with disabilities do not get as often as able-bodied individuals. Nick wanted to help. The 12-year-old orchestrated a plan in which he would race to the finish line. His dad would then quickly transfer him from his equipment, and run Nick’s chair to the starting line for the little girl to use. Nick’s coach, Kelly Behlmann explained, “For people not in chairs, consider after each of your track events you immediately take off your track shoes and let someone else run in them. Then you have to adjust your footwear each time you begin your next race because the person who borrowed your shoes strings up your laces differently. Nick showed great compassion for this little girl, who like him, just wanted to race and be competitive with everyone else.” According to Behlmann, who is the founder and executive director of the Disabled Athlete Sports Association, Nick always carries himself in an exemplary manner. He keeps the rest of his team laughing, shows a great work ethic, and is willing to help anyone. And in this particular instance, at such a young age, he was willing to engage in a selfless act during one of his few opportunities to compete.