Natchez 10s show us how to act

Published 12:16 am Sunday, August 2, 2009

Take a look around the sports world nowadays.

You don’t have to look far, just the past couple of weeks.

A report by The New York Times claims Major League Baseball superstars Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz were one of 104 players who tested positive for performance enhancing drugs in 2003.

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Michael Phelps loses a race at the swimming world championships to a German swimmer wearing a new top-of-the-line swimsuit, and immediately starts whining. His coach goes so far as to say Phelps might not participate in any more meaningful swim meets until next year, when the new suit will be banned from major competitions.

LeBron James was dunked on by a college player at one of his summer camps, and instead of congratulating the young man, Nike officials and James confiscated every tape of the event and tried to sweep it under the rug.

That was piled on top of James refusing to shake hands with Orlando Magic players after the Magic defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA playoffs last season.

And if you kept looking, there’s plenty of more stories you could find about pro athletes behaving in a less than savory manner.

It seems the adults need a little help with their behavior. So just leave it to a group of 10-year-olds to show us all how to act.

The Natchez Dixie Youth 10-year-old All-Star team was awarded with the Houston Stuckey Sportsmanship Award at the Dixie Youth State Tournament last week.

The award went to the team whose players, coaches and fans best showed integrity, character, discipline and good sportsmanship.

The award wasn’t just for the 10-year-old age group. It for every team that competed in the state tournament in Hattiesburg, regardless of age group.

Natchez coaches and officials weren’t surprised by the team receiving the prestigious award, and neither was I.

Having had the pleasure of covering the team throughout much of its tournament run this summer, I found the players to be very courteous, polite and rather thoughtful with their comments either before or after a game.

They always showed great class and sportsmanship whether they won or lost, a trait that was not lost on the people who voted on the sportsmanship award.

“The kids acted like young men when they got to the park, when they were on the playing field and when the game was over, win or lose,” Natchez Dixie Youth Commissioner Porky Smith said. “They showed that they are young men, but they’re just 10-year-old kids.”

Many times children are a reflection of their parents, and if that is true, the parents of the 10-year-old All-Stars are doing a great job.

Smith said as much when talking about the team.

“It all starts at home, and I give much of the credit to the parents,” he said. “It’s a super group of kids and a super group of parents.”

So if you ever get discouraged by the actions of major sports stars like Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz, Michael Phelps or LeBron James, just look instead to this list of lesser known names: Craig Bradley, Jace Calcote, Christian Day, Gage Dossett, Brock Farmer, Zac Flattman, Daniel Garrity, Dalvion Jackson, Jacob Jenkins, Sam Parker, Gabe Smith and Reed White.

Those guys that comprise the 10-year-old All-Star team are proof that sometimes kids can not only say, but teach us the darndest things.

Jeff Edwards is the sports editor for The Democrat. He can be reached at