Senior named McCormick Unsung Hero
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Whether it was his determination and uncompromising efforts in overtime against Cardinal Gibbons or his selfless attitude towards his teammates at the football summer program at Camp Tall Timbers in West Virginia, senior Sam Chell’s hard work and well-rounded personality have been largely recognized.
This year, Chell was the winner of the McCormick Unsung Hero award. According to a letter sent by McCormick & Company to Athletic Director Larry Dukes, this award is presented to “male football players and deserving female basketball players in Baltimore County and Baltimore City public, private, parochial, and independent schools.” The student must also be a senior.
The award was nicknamed “The Guard and Tackle Award,” according to Coach Tim Perry. It was created to honor those players who worked exceptionally hard and contributed to their teams. In a letter titled, “How McCormick Defines an Unsung Hero,” McCormick states that an unsung hero “is not an all-star except in special circumstances, an unsung hero is rarely elected captain.”
“It’s for the lineman who never made it to the headlines,” Perry said.
McCormick states that the driving forces of an unsung hero were character traits include “dedication, kindness, commitment, reliability, enthusiasm, positive attitude, respect, and unselfish behavior.”
The award consists of a $36,000 college scholarship, valued at $9,000 per year for each of the winner’s four academic years. Additionally, each winner receives a trophy and a watch.
However, McCormick & Company stresses to the coaches that they award the players because of their “unsung performance on the team, and not for personal hardships.” The letter states that the hardships that impact an unsung hero should be “limited to physical issues that must be overcome or dealt with to be a member of the team.”
In order to apply for this award, the coach of the student must fill out a detailed application, along with a head shot of the nominee. “It’s a very comprehensive process,” Perry said.
“I found out at the end of football season that I had won this award and was very excited because all of my hard work that I put into sports had finally paid off,” said Chell. “At first I wondered why I won the award because playing hard is something that comes naturally to me.”
But, even after winning the exceptional award, he accepted it both graciously and humbly. “I didn’t really tell any of my friends about it because I didn’t want them making a big deal out of it,” Chell said. “I just like to play sports, to have fun, meet friends, and have camaraderie amongst the team.”
According to McCormick, an unsung hero makes “substantial contributions” to their teams that are not related to statistics and are based on recognition. “Everyone has a role on a team, and I just try to do mine the best I can. I leave everything out on the field every game,” Chell said. “I’m not the guy that is on all the newspaper headlines, but I’m content knowing I played to help my team win. I put the team first, and if we win, I’m happy.”
Coach Perry also felt that Chell was an outstanding player and an excellent candidate for this award. “He is very well-deserving,” Perry said. “He never worried about personal statistics, and although he may not be the kind of guy that attracts attention to himself in the school setting, he is the kind of young man that has his leadership and physical skills noticed on the field by coaches and his teammates.”
“I don’t think I did anything spectacular, but I was just being myself,” Chell said. “And looking back, it is an honor that will always be a highlight of my high school years.”
Kirby Browning can be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org.