Goss: Lyndsay Kooi exemplifies what is good in sports
July 4, 2012 10:52PM
Lyndsay Kooi | Supplied photo
Updated: August 6, 2012 6:21AM
In a world that treasures winning, Lyndsay Kooi offers a refreshing thought.
“Sportsmanship is what sports are all about,” the 2009 Minooka graduate said. “You’re not going to be remembered for your wins, but for the person you are off the court.”
Kooi, who will enter her senior season in the fall as the setter on the women’s volleyball team at Quincy University, has put the words into practice all her life. The Great Lakes Valley Conference, of which Lewis is the local member, noticed, recently awarding her the 2012 GLVC Female Sportsmanship Award. She also is the GLVC nominee for the annual NCAA Student-Athlete Sportsmanship Award.
The GLVC award is presented to one male and one female student-athlete who have distinguished themselves through demonstrated acts of sportsmanship and ethical behavior. Nominees for the award are presented to the conference office by each institution’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.
“I am very humbled to receive this award,” Kooi said, thanking her parents, Kaye and Bert, the latter the former Minooka football coach. “This is a huge reflection of my parents. It is a true reflection of them, how they raised me and taught me and how participating in sports taught me to learn their values. So, a big shout-out to them.
“I also want to give special thanks to my coach at Quincy (Jennifer Constantino). She emphasizes sportsmanship, to have respect for the team and the player. It’s the same with the GLVC. They stress the importance of sportsmanship.”
The news release from Quincy announcing Kooi’s award said this:
“Kooi has long demonstrated the meaning of good sportsmanship, but one example this past fall was highlighted following a loss at the annual GLVC-GLIAC Crossover event.
“At Kooi’s urging, Quincy remained behind to cheer on fellow conference member Missouri S&T. After the Lady Miners’ thrilling win, Kooi led her teammates to the court to congratulate S&T. It didn’t matter to Kooi that just a few weeks earlier Quincy lost a heartbreaking match to the Lady Miners.”
Kooi said although the award is for an individual, “any of the girls on our team could have deserved it. I learn something from all of team every day. It’s easy being around those kinds of kids.
“The award is a victory for me in a sense, but I have to share it with a lot of other people. Any victory is always a team victory.”
Kooi participated in basketball and track at Minooka, “but volleyball always has been my love,” she said. She played three seasons on the Minooka varsity and was an All-Southwest Prairie Conference selection her last two years.
The regular setter since she arrived at Quincy and a co-captain for the first time last season, Kooi helped the Hawks to a 15-14 record as she totaled a career-high 1,030 assists, 9.81 per game. She has accumulated nearly 2,600 assists and 551 digs in her career and twice has been a GLVC Academic All-Conference choice.
“We made the conference tournament last year for the first times since 2003,” Kooi said. “That was big for us. Quincy has really been good for me from a volleyball standpoint. I’m looking forward to getting back there in the fall.
“I visited a few places here and there coming out of high school, but Quincy really stuck out. I liked the feeling that when I stepped on campus, that was it.”
As you might expect, Kooi takes her role as captain seriously, but does not flaunt it.
“Whether I have the title or not, I will always be the person I am, being there for my teammates and showing them good example,” she said. “I think I do a good job talking to kids who need it even before the coach gets to it. I just have to make sure we are communicating the same thing.”
Again, quoting from the announcement of the award:
“The NCAA Student-Athlete Sportsmanship Award honors student-athletes who, through their actions in the competitive arena of intercollegiate athletics, have demonstrated one or more of the ideals of sportsmanship, including fairness, civility, honesty, unselfishness, respect and responsibility. Selections will be made this August by the NCAA Committee on Sportsmanship and Ethical Conduct.”
Without a doubt, Kooi is a worthy candidate. If she wins, you can bet she will accept the award in a humble manner. If she doesn’t, that will not change her a bit. She will remain the ideal teammate.
Meanwhile, Kooi is working toward a degree in physical education, “like my dad. Then I hope to be a graduate assistant somewhere in volleyball and get my master’s in health.”