Sports are, perhaps, one of the few things in life to which most can relate. Whether it’s a famous football movie like The Blind Side, a breathtaking play by a renowned athlete like Kobe Bryant or a self-made tennis legend like Serena Williams, sports bring people together in community.
Organizations like the Peninsula Sports Club (PSC), located in Newport News, recognize the compelling nature of sports, especially as it relates to young people. Coming up on its 75th anniversary, the club has been representing student athletes on the Virginia Peninsula since 1949 and has awarded more than $260,000 in scholarship funds. It currently represents 27 Peninsula public and independent schools and colleges and in the bay district, with recent additions of New Kent and Smithfield high schools.
PSC’s mission is to recognize, award and reward student athletes who excel in their sports and accomplishments, says Sonny Seay, director. Recognition is given through awards programs, including its headliner’s event for current and past student athletes, its milestone award given to those who have been active in service as athletic directors, volunteers and coaches in excess of 20-25 years and through its most outstanding player event where it “selects a boy and girl in each high school sport we deem to be most outstanding,” says Seay. Although it can be difficult to pick the best athletes, the committee “leans heavily on past experience in athletics, the coaches and the directors to lead in the best direction.”
To raise funds for the student athletic scholarship program, PSC began hosting golf tournaments, inviting people to be contributing sponsors. This, and its annual car party fundraiser, provide community members the opportunity to get involved with the organization and contribute to funding future success of selected award and scholarship student athlete recipients.
While there are too many to name, a few successes that have come through the PSC program are Chris Slade and his cousin, Terry Kirby, both of whom went from local football at Tabb High to play in national football leagues. Francena McCorory, who ran track at Bethel High and Hampton University, and who PSC also recognized, became a two-time Olympic gold medalist for her performance in the 400-meter dash. And, as previously noted, PSC recognizes outstanding individuals within the community, two of whom were Paul Trible, former president of Christopher Newport University, and Ann Kilgore, former mayor of Hampton.
Without question, Peninsula Sports Club serves as a successful part of the community, recognizing outstanding individuals who have, or currently are, demonstrating excellence in their lives. Seay is hopeful that PSC will continue making an indelible mark within the sporting community and beyond. As a part of that community, Seay enjoys a little sports play himself, spending time with friends on the golf course as time allows. “I’m not a great golfer,” says Seay, “but I don’t mind practicing. Even if I’m by myself, there’s a serenity about it. I don’t necessarily like a lot of attention on myself. Like the club, I enjoy giving more than receiving.”
Both Seay and PSC demonstrate well the words of journalist, George F. Will: “Sports serve society by providing vivid examples of excellence.”
TO THE POINT:
Peninsula Sports Club (PSC)
Contact: Sonny Seay, director