Spring is the time when a young athlete’s heart turns to … awards.
The end of the school year usually stirs reflection as well as decorations, and no town does it better than ours. The Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table began honoring local athletes and coaches of the year with the first of its annual Hall of Fame banquets in 1968.
Trophy time became a weekly occurrence nearly 50 years ago when the Round Table held its first press luncheon on Sept. 14, 1970.
The coronavirus has cancelled all such gatherings for the time being, including the annual “Evening with the Athletes” that was scheduled for May 20. But the show will go on — virally, that is — thanks to the internet.
“Our plan is to unveil one athlete a day on our social media platforms: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook,” Round Table president Ken Newendorp said. “We will have a couple of pictures and text for each athlete and what earned them the honor.
“We are shooting to start the unveiling May 1 unless we can build this out quicker and start in the middle of April.”
A montage of all the honored athletes from the fall and winter seasons will then be posted, as well. No spring athletes of the year will be selected since their seasons were not complete.
“By doing one athlete per day, we’re able to give them more attention and stretch out the positive news over a longer period of time, which should be nice given the shortage of positive sports news currently,” Mr. Newendorp said. “For the coaches of the year (college and high school), we’ll ask them to do a video acceptance speech.”
A total of 38 awards — and possibly more, considering co-winners — will be presented. They include several Round Table scholarships, the Russ Hargreaves Award for recreational leadership, and the R.F. MacFarland Trophy for community leadership.
The annual Hall of Fame induction banquet was split off from the athlete awards several years ago and became an autumn event in 2018. The next banquet is scheduled for October.
The Round Table also has a few more weekly awards to present since it cancelled its press luncheons with seven still left on the calendar. They include the Scholar-Athlete of the Year Awards for Santa Barbara High, SBCC, Westmont College and UCSB, as well as the Womble Ethics in Sports Awards for Bishop Diego High and Laguna Blanca School.
Mr. Newendorp said he plans to work out those details with the awards two sponsors, Marc Gamberdella (Scholar-Athlete) and Dave Pintard (Womble Award).
The crush of cancellations also included the Round Table’s March Madness event which was set for March 16 with Basketball Hall of Famer Ann Meyers Drysdale as speaker.
“This event is our biggest source of new and renewal memberships,” said Mr. Newendorp, who asked that supporters now renew or start their memberships by going online at sbart.org. “Help is needed now more than ever and support is much appreciated.”