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Previous YAIAA SPORTSMANSHIP WINNERS
Sportsmanship by Year
Sportsmanship by Sport
Sportsmanship by School
Rewarding Sportsmanship…Big Time By Allan Pettit
People talk about sportsmanship all the time. In York, PA, they’re doing something about it. And the endeavor keeps getting bigger and better.
The Gretchen Wolf Swartz Sportsmanship Award has been presented to selected YAIAA basketball teams each year since 2001. And in addition to team trophy winners, individuals earn scholarship awards. In 2001, a high school senior boy and girl basketball player each received a $1,000 scholarship. In May of 2017, members of the Gretchen Wolf Swartz Scholarship Fund Board presented twelve scholarships totaling $104,000.
Gretchen Wolf Swartz was a high school basketball official who was dedicated to her craft. A former player, she believed in hard work and fair play. She modeled honesty, integrity, cooperation, respect, courage, discipline and teamwork – basic values that often get lost in this era of chest-thumping, look-at-me show-boating.
Following her untimely death to leukemia in 1997, her colleagues in the York County Chapter of PIAA Basketball Officials discussed a memorial fund to promote sportsmanship. They engaged Gretchen’s friends and family, and, in 2000, the Gretchen Wolf Swartz Scholarship Fund, Inc. gained 501(c)(3) recognition. The first fund-raising campaign followed.
Here’s how it works: Each year, the officials vote to determine the York Adams Interscholastic Athletic Association (YAIAA) boys’ and girls’ programs that best display the pillars of sportsmanship. They’re the programs whose players play hard and fair regardless of how the game is proceeding. But it goes beyond the players: Officials also consider the behavior of coaches and fans from middle school through varsity.
The winning teams each receive the Gretchen Wolf Swartz Sportsmanship Award.
Senior members of the honored teams may then apply to receive a Gretchen Wolf Swartz Scholarship Award. Candidates include cheerleaders, managers and players. They are then assessed by the members of the board based on candidate applications, high school transcripts, answers to essay questions, lives on and off the court, and an in-person interview with the 11 members of the scholarship board.
This past year, scholarships in the amount of $20,000, $15,000, $10,000 and $5,000 were given to seniors from each of the winning programs. Four $1,000 scholarships were awarded as well.
Members of the board believe that a person's ability to get along with others, on the street or on the basketball court, is one of the greatest skills one can master. Good sportsmanship in varying conditions exemplifies that skill. And the Gretchen Wolf Swartz Sportsmanship Award encourages the embrace of good sportsmanship not only by individuals, but by entire school cultures.
The model is established. Consider applying it to your sport in your community. For more information, visit http://www.gwsfund.org/.