June 28, 2022

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Sports Really Satisfies

BenFred: How about a good-news sports headline for a change? | Ben Frederickson

Gus Tettamble responded to a question about winning first place in a competition for a sportsmanship scholarship the way one would expect a sportsmanship scholarship winner to reply.

“There are a lot of good sports out there,” the recent St. Louis University High School graduate said by phone Thursday.

That’s encouraging to hear, because it can be easy to forget these days. Good sports, and good in sports, can feel hard to find.

Some of the world’s most famous golfers are padding their bank accounts with LIV Golf blood money. A Cleveland quarterback’s massage misconduct has become the latest negative story tarnishing The Shield. Give it a day or two, and there will be another scandal that grabs headlines.

All the more reason to make sure Tettamble gets his headline.

And don’t forget Taylor Brown, Matthew Clark, Chloe Rhine, Ryan Ulm and Tyron Woodley Jr.

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As the wide world of sports often seems so determined to alternate between the low road and the ditch that runs beneath even that, the latest group of recent high school graduates selected as recipients of the 2022 Carl Fricks Sportsmanship Scholarships can and should inspire. The athletes selected and supported by the St. Louis Sports Commission’s young professionals group, the Sports Commission Associates, are deserving of our recognition and praise. And, as always, they can teach us a thing, or two.

Tettamble says his mom, Ann, taught him about right and wrong, usually while he sat at the family’s dinner table. It carried over to the tennis court, where the incoming University of Tulsa freshman tennis player turned into proof great sportsmanship and winning can be partners.

Tettamble last month finished a perfect season with a Class 3 singles championship, avenging a runner-up finish the season before. He went 27-0 during his senior year, and lost only 10 games in his four state tournament matches. The four-year varsity SLUH captain twice won the St. Louis Sportsmanship Award for the Missouri Valley chapter of the United States Tennis Association. Adding a first-place Carl Fricks Sportsmanship Scholarship finish secured Tettamble $15,000 to use toward his college education.

Tettamble during his high school career became known as a player who would call his own ball out if it was halfway in, and play an opponent’s ball as in if it was anywhere close. He helped an injured teammate off the court during a match. While he was on his way toward winning his state championship, a line judge told SLUH tennis coach Gerry Schneller that Tettamble was the most honest player the judge had encountered. Schneller wrote in his letter of recommendation to the St. Louis Sports Commission that Tettamble made coaching worthwhile. And how about this one? At a tournament in Orlando where a paperwork snafu left Tettamble and a doubles partner mistakenly eliminated from contention due to a mistake by tournament officials, Tettamble passed on an invitation to peel off and join another potential teammate he would have been cleared to join. He didn’t want to leave his initial partner in the dust as the situation got sorted out.

“In a sport dominated by individuality, Gus chose to be a team player,” reads another letter of recommendation. “It’s not often that someone looks up to their younger brother, but I proudly do. Gus is a young man that is wise beyond his years. I admire him for his honesty, integrity and civility.”

That one was written by Ollie Tettamble, big brother of Gus.

Big congrats to Gus, and his 2022 Carl Fricks Sportsmanship Scholarship classmates.

John Burroughs ice hockey captain Anyi Sun (who also plays lacrosse) received a $5,000 scholarship for sportsmanship displayed toward teammates and officials during her high school career.

The following scholarship recipients were awarded $1,000 each.

Lift For Life Academy basketball co-captain Taylor Brown went from being shoved by an opponent during a heated moment in a game, to starting a postgame conversation with that player that ended in a hug.

Collinsville basketball co-captain Matthew Clark mentored a fellow teammate who needed some help controlling his emotions on his court.

Rockwood Summit softball’s Chloe Rhine and Fort Zumwalt West’s Ryan Ulm made sure often overlooked umpires were appreciated and thanked for making their teams’ games possible.

De Smet football captain Tyron Woodley Jr., after a heartbreaking loss, rallied his teammates to congratulate the winning team.

So, even when the sports headlines can seem hard to read, good sports — and good in sports — can be found playing out on the courts and fields near you. That’s worth celebrating.