My choice for Ky. Sportsman of the Year

By: Steve Moss
By: Steve Moss

Soon, the Lexington Herald-Leader will publish the results of its annual Kentucky Sportsman of the Year poll, as voted upon by media members from across Kentucky.

Soon, the Lexington Herald-Leader will publish the results of its annual Kentucky Sportsman of the Year poll, as voted upon by media members from across state .


Any athlete, coach or sports administrator from Kentucky is eligible, or if he/she played for a college in the state.  Heck, now, even horses which are born, bred or trained in the state are eligible, as are jockeys and trainers who regularly compete at Kentucky tracks.


For me personally, this year’s selection was difficult.  There were so many big moments involving Kentucky athletes that I had a terrible time deciding who would be worthy of Kentucky ’s Sportsman of the Year.


I also had to take into consideration the definition of sportsman, when making my decision.


Among the obvious choices, where:


Patrick Patterson.  He had a sensational freshman season for the Wildcats, averaging over 17 points his first year.  For his efforts, Patterson was named co-Freshman of the Year in the conference and was second-team All-SEC.


Rich Brooks.  Brooks became only the second coach ever to lead the football Wildcats to three-straight bowl appearances. 


Dean Hood.  The rookie head coach saw his EKU Colonels get out of the gate slowly, losing three of their first four games.  But then his team reeled off seven straight and won their second OVC title in as many years. 


Joe Blanton.  The former Wildcat pitcher was traded from Oakland to Philadelphia and didn’t disappoint, helping lead the Phillies to the World Series.  There, Blanton became the first pitcher to to homer in a World Series game since 1974.  Blanton didn’t lose a game after being traded.


J.B. Holmes and Kenny Perry.  The Bluegrass Boys led the American charge at the Ryder Cup, played for the first time at Valhalla in Louisville .  Holmes won again on tour, at the FBR Open, defeating Phil Mickelson in a playoff.  Perry enjoyed his best season on the Tour, winning three tournaments and finishing 5th on the PGA's money list this year.  But it was their play at the Ryder Cup that will leave a lasting impression on golf fans. 


In the end, I cast my vote for Lexington 8-year old Adam Bender.  The kid made national headlines and became an inspiration for athletes and non-athletes, young and old, for his persistence and determination to overcome a disability.


Adam lost a leg shortly after his first birthday, but still manages to play sports – he’s a catcher in baseball and competes in football, soccer and wrestling. 


During the summer, images of Adam playing baseball began making the rounds and suddenly he was one of the most sought-after kids in the country.  The Houston Astros, Chicago White Sox and Cincinnati Reds asked Adam to throw out the first pitch at selected games.  He also attended a Las Vegas gala, held by Garth Brooks.


There are several athletes deserving of the title, but Adam Bender is my choice for Kentucky Sportsman of the Year.  We’ll know in a week or two what the other voters had to say. 


Those are the highlights… Stay tune.

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