The North Branch Vikings 13UA youth baseball team has been selected for a Youth 1st Team award for their outstanding sportsmanship during the 2019 MYAS Gopher State Tournament of Champions baseball tournaments. The Vikings are District 2 champions.
The team will be on the field and recognized for the award during the St. Paul Saints game on Sunday, Aug. 25.
The award was offered by Minnesota Youth Athletic Services (MYAS) in partnership with Youth 1st, Federated Insurance, Jostens, Pearson, Cashwise, Bennerotte & Associates, Jaguar Communications, The Retrofit Companies, U.S. Bank, Owatonna Motor Company, Profinium and the St. Paul Saints.
As the premier MYAS baseball event in Minnesota, the GSTC tournament is about showcasing the kids and competition, not the negativity of unsportsmanlike behavior of players, coaches and spectators. MYAS and Youth 1st recognizes the teams and associations that received exemplary scores from the officials for their sportsmanship and positive conduct during the tournament.
The Youth 1st Team Award recognizes positive behavior from players, coaches and everyone associated with the team (parents, fans and spectators).
“We are placing the emphasis on how you play the game, which is ultimately more important than if you win or lose,” said Mark Arjes, Founder/Director of Youth 1st. “It has become increasingly difficult to find and retain coaches and officials for youth sports because of the abuse that they take during games. We believe it is time to model and encourage values-based actions, creating what we call a Conduct 1st environment where the focus is on the kids; competitive energies are kept in check and officials and opponents are respected.”
MYAS executive director Dawson Blanck added, “One of the goals within the MYAS mission is to promote sportsmanship, teamwork and cultural interaction through sporting competition. The entire MYAS team is thrilled to be able to partner with Youth 1st to help us meet those goals within our programs. As a leader in youth sports throughout the great state of Minnesota, we want to be proactive and impact participants (youth athletes, coaches, parents, and officials) in a positive way through a Conduct 1st environment at all our tournaments and events. Implementing this initiative with Youth 1st during the 2019 Gopher State Tournament of Champions significantly decreased the number of unsportsmanlike events that took place compared to previous years.”
According to Derek Sharrer, executive vice president and general manager of the St. Paul Saints, “Recognizing young baseball and softball players for their character is an initiative that’s easy to get behind. We’re incredibly excited to be partnering with Youth 1st on the Team Awards program for youth sports teams, coaches, and parents who exemplify good sportsmanship and positive behavior.”