Congratulations to Lake Mills High School on being presented with the Boys Basketball Sportsmanship Award!

We believe there’s something more important than just winning or losing a tournament. We believe that the team, school, and fans who support their athletes with dignity and class are the true champions. That’s why we’ve proudly sponsored the WIAA/Rural Mutual Insurance Sportsmanship Award for 56 years. 

We would like to congratulate Lake Mills on being this year’s recipient of the Boys Basketball Sportsmanship award. 

When talking with Head Coach, Steve Hicklin, we asked him what this award meant to him as a coach, the team and community along with how they teach their athletes about sportsmanship. 

Being recognized for this award is special because it’s an acknowledgement of the type of people we have in Lake Mills.  Athletic success is rewarding, but often fleeting.  Who you are as a person, and the way you treat those around you however, will ultimately be your legacy in life.  This basketball season challenged everyone in our community in ways that were not unique to us.  The response of our players, administration and community was what was special and allowed us to create some very special memories in the midst of one of the most challenging years many of us have faced in quite some time.  If it is true that adversity reveals character, then I could not be prouder of the character that was revealed in Lake Mills this basketball season and it certainly feels good that others noticed.  Falling short of the ultimate goal of a state championship was difficult in the moment, but in the midst of that disappointment, our players and community were able to show the state a small glimpse of what makes Lake Mills a special place.

We don’t often speak of sportsmanship specifically, but instead focus on the way we respond to moments of adversity as well as moments of success.  And when you think about it, that’s what sportsmanship is about anyway.  We aren’t always able to control what happens to us, but we always control the way we respond.  Sports are a way to prepare you for what life will throw at you, good and bad.  Looking an opponent in the eye, and shaking their hand, after being defeated is sportsmanship, but more than that it’s a chance for a young person to display the emotional intelligence to not allow a negative event to force them out of their character.  As coaches, we were very proud of the way our athletes and fans responded to all of the ups and downs we encountered during this past season.  Winning this award doesn’t mean we are perfect, but it does mean we are on the right track.

Coach Hicklin, has been a high school basketball coach for just over a decade, and his favorite part is seeing the success of his players as they go on to become adults and start to understand the role sports played in their character development.  This award is important because it acknowledges places in which that process is occurring right before our eyes and it means a lot to be included. 

Coach Hicklin went on to comment that the talent of our players allowed us the stage to display the character of our community to the statewide audience, but all over Wisconsin I see so many examples of high school programs who are making young people into high character adults.  Sports play a vital role in that process, and that’s what we should all be concerned with at the end of the day.

Congratulation again on a great season and winning the WIAA/Rural Mutual Sportsmanship award. This is a great achievement for the Lake Mills community.