As visual evidence of yet another domestic abuse surfaced and another NFL owner seemed to dismiss it, sports fans either groaned or exploded. One Arizona non-profit remains committed to promoting and rewarding good deeds that so many athletes are doing, but for which they get little recognition. On Nov. 4, 2015, Linking Sports & Communities (LSC) held its 12th Community Leadership Awards in downtown Phoenix, Arizona.
Annually, LSC solicits statewide nominations of professionals, sports organizations and students, who are making major contributions to their communities. A committee of community leaders then selects winners to be recognized at the awards ceremony. This year, due to new partnerships, boasted the largest award group.
Mike Stone, a defenseman with the Arizona Coyotes, shared his honor with his wife, Michelle. They have been active mentoring students and volunteering with Future for Kids, a previous LSC-award-winning youth organization. For the first time, the Pro Athlete & Business Network (PACC) and LSC made a joint award to Darryl Clack, a famous ASU alum and former NFL player, who runs SportsMetric, which helps student athletes with academics and community involvement. Cameron Colvin, former SF 49’er and subject of a 2014 movie (When the Game Stands Tall), was recognized for his current success as a business leader.
All winners are not well-known, or professional athletes. The lifetime achievement award was presented to Robert Smith, who has been a successful school coach for 43 years. NBA’s Channing Frye was one of his students.
Student winners Elijah Crockett and Isaiah Ford had outstanding performances on and off the field. Tom Frye (Channing’s father) helped present Emmanuel Butler’s mother, Helen, with a joint award from his organization—iAthlete—and LSC. Butler, who is already an NAU sophomore and one of the top football players in Arizona, was away at a game.
Kim Covington, former NBC broadcaster and current CEO of The Covington Companies, was the emcee. Corina, a well-known Arizona radio personality, entertained the crowd with stories about her career, parenting and the importance of community service.
The event, at the Scheduling Institute on Jackson Street, was a joyous affair with community leaders, sports staff and friends joining families for the celebration. It would be great if media, teams, and the public gave more time and visibility to the benefits of sports, and those in sports of whom we can all be proud.