Ithaca Baseball Coach shares what the Sportsmanship Awards means to the team!

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 more than 50 years.

We would like to congratulate the Ithaca Baseball team on being this year’s recipient of the Spring Baseball Sportsmanship award. This is the first time Ithaca is the recipient of the WIAA/Rural Mutual Insurance Sportsmanship Award in any sport

When talking with Head Coach, Danny Clary 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.

I was very excited to hear that our team and community had received this amazing award.  As a coach, I believe that it means that my message to the players, as far as what kind of competitors I would like them to be, is getting through.  I want them to be ferocious competitors with a huge heart.  There is more to life than just baseball.  But, when we play this amazing game we can express such things as gratitude, humility, and in this year’s case compassion for another community for what they were experiencing during the week leading up to the state tournament.

As a team I thought our athletes showed a lot of character when they agreed to meet with our competitors prior to the state semi-final game to express their sympathy for the loss of one of their teammates.  That was an amazing moment!  To watch the two teams be human beings first and competitors second will be a memory that both teams will never forget.   That attitude carried all the way through the game as both teams showed great sportsmanship through a very tightly contested semi-final match-up.

The support our community gives our baseball team is tremendous.  No matter how far we have to travel when we play, our team knows that our fans are going to pack the stands and bring our team a lot of energy.  I thought it was a fantastic gesture by our community to raise some money in show of support for the family from Athens that just lost their son.  This spring our team started completing various community service projects, so that we could express our gratitude for their support all season long.  Receiving this award just galvanizes our “Ithaca Pride” motto that is very strong in our small community.

Sportsmanship of course teaches many values that my baseball players will carry on the rest of their lives.  I stress things like always keep our communication positive in practice and in games.  Always be quick to pick a player up if they make a mistake.  And, don’t be afraid to give a competitor a complement if they make a good play.  Hopefully values that go along with sportsmanship will be instilled in these athletes where ever life may take them.

This is Coach Clary 3 season as the High School varsity coach. However, Coach Clary has been coaching youth baseball and basketball for the past 15 years. His favorite part of coaching is instilling in the kids the belief that anything is possible.

Congratulations on a great season and a great achievement for the Ithaca community.

Rural Mutual Insurance has been a sponsor of the WIAA Sportsmanship Award since it was started in 1965. The Sportsmanship Award recognizes the entire community for their conduct and appreciation for good sportsmanship – not just the athletes and coaches – but their fans and community and how they present themselves at state tournament events.

Click here to learn how to win the WIAA/Rural Mutual Sportsmanship Award.