The second leg of the BPA Triple Crown of Annual End of Year Honors is the Sportsmanship Award. Paired with last month's GM of the Year, Jim Jordan, and next month's yet-to-be announced Caesar award for gameboard prowess, the winners will complete our trio of virtual Hall of Fame entries for 2009. The Sportsmanship Award is especially feted since it is something we should all aspire to and is within our reach regardless of how many hours we spend honing our boardgame skills. It reminds us that there is no fun to be had with these games without an affable opponent with which to cross vicarious swords. Who among us has not had a moment when we were too caught up in the quest for "wood"? Our Sportsman of the Year subscribes to a higher standard and offers a shining example of sportsmanship that we should all do our best to emulate.
Our winner was selected from among many nominees put forth by our GMs and other interested commentators whose recommendations were considered and reduced to a field of 25 worthies added to our annual Membership Drive ballot for selection by the membership at large. You don't have to be a GM or Board member to nominate someone. Anyone who takes the time to email the Convention Director in the weeks following WBC can make a "citizen's arrest" and report an act of sportsmanship with their critique of the convention; good and bad.
All 25 nominees received votes but winning handily with 17% of the record 323 votes caste was Mark Yoshikawa. The California native and everyone's favorite Slapshot referee was nominated in both Slapshot and B-17 - events in which he has a long record of service. A B17 assistant GM, he created a database of his own design to provide results and statistics of the B17 missions as play progresses which adds much color to the competition and the After Action meeting of this unique event. And who hasn't laughed at his uniformed enforcement of the "No Whining" rule as he escorts offenders to the penalty box in the annual Saturday night craziness? As if that wasn't enough, Mark is always among the volunteers in the Junior room. For being such a good sport, Mark will be our guest with a free room at WBC 2010. Finishing second with a respectable 12% of the vote was Ben Knight. He was followed by Jason Levine 11%, Bryan Collars 10%, John Ohlin 9% and Mark Gutfreund at 8%.