ST. LOUIS — From Arnold Palmer to 10-year-old Keaton Hamin, it will be a show for the ages at this year’s Musial Awards.
The golf legend and youth hockey player are among those coming from all levels of sport — and all walks of life — to be honored in St. Louis for extraordinary sportsmanship. They will join a lineup of award recipients that includes Turner sportscaster Ernie Johnson, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny and other individuals who have displayed character, kindness, selflessness and integrity in sports.
The Musial Awards, presented by Maryville University, honor Stan the Man’s legacy by celebrating iconic “good sports” and the year’s greatest moments of sportsmanship. The event is produced annually by the St. Louis Sports Commission and the National Sportsmanship Foundation. This year’s show takes place at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5, at the Peabody Opera House in downtown St. Louis.
Here are the recipients of the 2015 Musial Awards:
Arnold Palmer: “The King” is receiving the Stan Musial Lifetime Achievement Award — the pinnacle honor for sportsmanship and one of two special awards presented at the Musial Awards. One of the most popular and accessible sports figures, Palmer built an army of admirers through his down-to-earth, personable approach on and off the golf course. His success in the sport — seven major championships, including four Masters titles — is matched by his kindness and philanthropic commitment.
Lauren Hill: The event’s other special award, the Musial Award for Extraordinary Character, will posthumously honor Lauren Hill, the college basketball player whose grace, courage and generous spirit inspired people around the world. Diagnosed with terminal brain cancer at age 18, Hill made headlines last November when she fulfilled her goal to play in a college basketball game for Mount Saint Joseph University and score a basket. She went on to fight a courageous battle against her disease and launched a tireless effort to generate awareness and funds for cancer research. She died in April.
Ernie Johnson: In May, Johnson won the Sports Emmy Award for best studio host. In the audience at the ceremony that night were Taelor and Sydni Scott, daughters of the late ESPN anchor Stuart Scott, who passed away earlier this year from cancer. Upon accepting the Emmy, Johnson asked Taelor and Sydni to come on stage and gave the award to them in honor of their father. That act in itself is deserving of Musial Award recognition. But add to that Johnson’s courage and perseverance as a cancer survivor, his selflessness as the dad to six children, four of whom are adopted, and the care and compassion he provides his son Michael, who was born with a progressive form of muscular dystrophy and lives on a ventilator in his parents’ home.
Mike Matheny: The St. Louis Cardinals manager is being recognized for the class and dignity he exemplifies in the dugout, and the commitment he has made to change the culture of youth sports. Following his retirement from the game as a player, Matheny was asked to coach a youth baseball team and wrote a series of conditions he demanded before accepting the job. The document, which became known as the “Matheny Manifesto,” states his philosophy on what a parent’s role should be in youth sports: a silent source of encouragement.
Keaton Hamin: Attending a Winnipeg Jets game in March, Keaton, then age 9, received a hockey stick from the game’s No. 2 star. Keaton proceeded to walk up several rows in his section and handed the stick to 7-year-old Alyx Delaloye, who is battling leukemia. Keaton had seen Alyx appear on the arena videoboard holding a sign that said, “Chemo by day, Jets by night.”
Tim Smyczek: At the Australian Open in January, American Tim Smyczek, ranked No. 112 at the time, pushed 14-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal to a fifth set in the tournament’s second round. Up 6-5 and 30-love in that final set, Nadal was in the midst of his serve when a shout from a fan startled the Spaniard and led to his serve going long. Smyczek immediately told the chair umpire that because of the fan disruption, he was giving Nadal another first serve. The replayed first serve went in, and Nadal went on to win the match.
Miles Rodriguez, Scooter Terrien and Chase Vazquez: During a middle school basketball game in March, the three students from Lincoln Middle School in Kenosha, Wis., noticed kids in the stands making fun of Desiree Andrews, a cheerleader who has Down syndrome. Bothered by what was unfolding, Miles, Scooter and Chase walked off the court to tell the offenders what they were doing wasn’t right and they should stop bullying Desiree.
University of Virginia and Loyola Marymount University Rowing Programs: In May, the Bates College rowing teams made a cross country journey from Lewiston, Maine, to Sacramento, Calif., for the NCAA Women’s Rowing Championships. Unfortunately, their boats didn’t make it. They were damaged when the truck transporting them hit a light pole. The team’s misfortune was akin to a baseball team showing up with no bats or gloves — and no ability to go out and buy replacements at a store. So the Virginia and Loyola Marymount programs came to the rescue. Each team provided Bates a boat for the competition.
Jason Boulais: Boulais is the 2015 recipient of the NAIA’s “All That’s Right in Sport” Award presented annually at the Musial Awards. A year ago, the senior pitcher at the University of South Carolina Beaufort volunteered to enter the donor pool for the Be The Match bone marrow registry. In February, he got a call saying he was not only a match for a young boy in France, but he was the boy’s best hope to live. So 10 games into his senior season, Boulais sacrificed the remainder of his college baseball career to undergo the bone marrow transplant.
Wichita State Cheerleading: As Wichita State faced Loyola in the Missouri Valley Conference Women’s Basketball Tournament in St. Charles, Mo., the Shockers’ cheer squad discovered something unusual at the other end of the court. Only one cheerleader, Maddie Kenney, was representing the Ramblers. The rest of the Loyola cheer team remained in Chicago for midterm exams. Rather than watch her cheer solo, the Wichita State cheerleaders approached Kenney and invited her to join them, even including her in their stunts during timeouts.
John Blaine and Matt Woodrum: In celebrating the Musial Awards’ 10th year in St. Louis, the event is honoring John Blaine and Matt Woodrum for a heartwarming display of determination, caring and compassion that occurred in 2012. The Musial Awards did not have the chance to recognize them that year, so the event’s 10th anniversary represents a special chance to go back and celebrate their remarkable sportsmanship — albeit a few years overdue. Diagnosed as an infant with spastic cerebral palsy, Matt is challenged by walking, let alone running. But Matt insisted on joining his classmates in running the 400-meters at his grade school outside Columbus, Ohio.
Tickets can be purchased at www.ticketmaster.com, the Scottrade Center box office, Ticketmaster ticket centers, or by phone at (800) 745-3000. Tickets are $50 (orchestra level seating) and $30 (mezzanine level seating). Additional service fees may apply.
The Musial Awards also offers all-inclusive tickets and packages that provide prime seating for the awards show plus access to a pre-show dinner, reserved parking and more. Information can be obtained at www.MusialAwards.com or by contacting Emily Thompson at (314) 345-5111 and firstname.lastname@example.org.