GCJFL hands out sportsmanship awards


Courtesy photos/Teresa Milner – Dirt Road Wife Photography

Goshen County Junior Football League hopes to promote good sportsmanship with new award

TORRINGTON – In an effort to promote good sportsmanship, at the conclusion of the youth football season, the Goshen County Junior Football League announced six recipients of the first ever GCJFL Sportsmanship Award.

“Sometimes in the world of sports, people try to focus on winning as the most important thing, but to us, the Goshen County Junior Football, we want to stress the importance of sportsmanship, not just in football but life in general,” GCJFL board member Kendra Stienmetz said. “We thought it would be a good idea to showcase some of those kids who gave it their all, always a good sport, had a good attitude, were willing to go hard and just never gave up despite what the final score might have represented.”

Alarik Leo, Jax Hatley, Axton Hascall, Colby Groene, Blake Rodewald and Tatum Weidman were the six winners of the inaugural sportsmanship awards announced on Super Bowl Saturday on Oct. 15 at Wiseman Field.

“We had a lot of really good kids, and the kids who were selected, it was a no-brainer for the coaches,” Stienmetz said. “It makes me proud to see that these kids aren’t just good sometimes, they are good all the time no matter what the situation is.”

When the winners were announced one player was moved to tears, according to Stienmetz.

“He was moved that he got the award. That made me choke up,” Stienmetz said. “It was very sincere, and it’s those things, not matter what else, the work, the feedback – positive or negative – you get throughout a season, when you give a kid like that an award and it moves him to tears, it makes the entire day worthwhile.”

Coaches from each of the teams each nominated a player from each team for the award, and each coach gave a couple reasons why the individual deserved the award:

Alarik Leo

“Great listener. Never complained once. Awesome attitude,” Knights coach Al Meloni said.

Jax Hatley

“Several times through the season, Jax would help the other team up and was told by the refs he has great sportsmanship. He was a leader on the team and gave his all every play,” Eagles coach Scott Leever said.

Axton Hascall

“He has stepped up on the offensive and defensive line, always stays positive and encourages his teammates,” Cowboys coach Thomas Hoffman said.

Colby Groene

“Very knowledgeable and adaptable, true leader on and off the field, and incredibly resilient through though situations,” Panthers coach Bronc Barnum said.

Blake Rodewald

“This kid always has a positive attitude with his teammates and coaches and always gives it his all,” Tribe coach Wade Bruch said.

Tatum Weidman

“Great listener, pays attention, encourages his teammates,” Mud Dogs coach Bob Elsen said.

This fall was Stienmetz’s final year with the GCJFL, but she hopes they will carry the award over into future seasons.

“I will be a very big proponent of that,” Stienmetz said.