The third leg in the BPA Triple Crown is its Sportsmanship Award. Coupled with the Caesar Award for prowess on the gameboard and our GM of the Year Award which honors those who sacrifice their time to make WBC the memorable event that it is, the Sportsmanship winner completes our virtual Hall of Fame by reminding us that there is no fun to be had with these games without an affable and enjoyable opponent with which to cross vicarious swords.
Doubtless there are many more good sports at WBC than those we can acknowledge here. But since we do not want to duplicate the cavalry charge of a California Gubernatorial recall election with a thousand candidates, we limit the nominees to those endorsed by WBC GMs for outstanding sportsmanship and further reduce their number by selecting only the most fervent endorsements. These are supplemented occasionally by the Board of Directors and/or Convention Director for meritorious service.
Note: In the past, nominations have been accepted for individuals who conceded a victory to allow a beaten opponent to continue in an event in their place. This practice will no longer be accepted for a sportsmanship nomination. Furthermore, BPA highly discourages such sacrifices as being counter to the spirit of the competitions. While a player who allows another to play on in "his" place may well have good intentions, doing so is counter to the purpose of a tournament. A player who concedes a won game is circumventing the rules of the event by dispensing byes in a non-random, unearned manner and is actually committing an unsportsmanlike act in the eyes of many. Such a kindness bestowed upon one player is actually grossly unfair to all the other participants of the event who had to win their right to advance and tarnishes the event as a true test of skill.
While lots of people get caught up in the quest for "wood," the folks listed below subscribe to a higher standard. These are the sportsmen and women of the WBC ... the shining example of sportsmanship that we should all aspire to. These folks are the ones that make it all bearable for our GMs and contribute most to the "club" atmosphere of the convention. Their shining example contributes to the remarkable esprit de corps and camaraderie for which the WBC has always been noted.
So without any further ado, let's present the class of 2003 - and a classy group it is too. The following individuals were just some of the many nominated for the reasons indicated below and owe their appearance here to both their own demeanor and the fervancy of their sponsors in relating it to BPA. As is our practice, all 2004 BPA members are urged to vote for one of the following when submitting their 2004 membership form and voting for new Century games before January 1, 2004.
Afrika Korps: Bruno Sinigaglio has consistently displayed the highest degree of sportsmanship year after year while also serving double duty as a GM in numerous classic wargame events.
Amun-Re: Rich Meyer, in a tense and testy final, Rich was a rock of calm in a sea of controversy. Pleasant in both defeat and victory.
Anzio: Carl Walling III is always in good humor in good times or bad and quick to make a tangible gesture of sportsmanship. He consistently allowed opponents to rebuild units or bring on forgotten reinforcements past the point in the SOP where those functions should be done.
Barbarrossa to Berlin: Nick Anner allowed his opponent in the semi-final to restart a game when it was clear that he has misunderstood an imporrtant optional rule.
Battle Cry: Ben Knight's consideration for others and pleasant demeanor always guarantees an enjoyable game, win or lose.
Breakout Normandy: Jim Doughan for sacrificing his evening to host an excellent teaching demo that attracted several new players to the event and being rewardedfor it with the toughest draw in the tournament.
Circus Maximus: Steve Shambeda served as Ass't GM and helped new players with the rules to his own detriment.
Clash of Giants: Vincent Alonso raised no objections when his opponent belatedly pointed out several rules errors that had occurred in their match.
Dune: Bill Dyer could have forced an adjudication to win a key preliminary game, but chose to play it out instead, and lost.
Euphrat & Tigris: Stuart Hendrickson served as an Ass't GM and played two games as an "eliminator" despite being unable to attend the Finals on Sunday. His performance would have qualified him for a seat in the title game.
Formula De: Steve May qualified for choice of position in the finals but declined the advantage to ensure good "karma". he was also helpful to less experienced players through out the event.
For the People: Mark Giddings maintained a good sense of humor throughout and would consistently point out weaknesses in opposing positions to ensure a well played game; even to his own considerable disadvantage.
Gangsters: Chaka Benson had qualified to advance and was present for the semi-final, but due to a clerical error of not turning in a registration card, he wasn't paired in the semis - while two alternates were called. When the error was discovered, he took his fate calmly without getting upset.
London's Burning: Mike Lam for providing air medals to participants in a variety of tournaments.
Paths of Glory: Bryan Thompson offered a concession after inadvertantly drawing cards too early despite a strong board position and an understanding opponent.
Puerto Rico: Bill Beckman, in the mass chaos of a 217-player event, volunteered to help the GM organizing players.
Queen's Gambit: Craig Moffitt lost a difficult adjudication, disagreed with the outcome, but accepted it with good grace.
Republic of Rome: Rich O'Brien voluntarily broke a fourth place tie to his detriment, giving the wood to another who he claimed played a better game.
Settlers of Catan: Su Hung lost all three games last year but took two 1sts and a 2nd this year to claim "Most Improved" honors. She missed the semi-finals only because she pointed out a scoring error.
TV Wars: Charlie Hickok graciously accepted the outcome that eliminated him from advancing when he mistakenly quit playing prematurely, thinking he had already qualified. However, the GM had changed the qualifications for advancing without Charlie's group getting the word.
Vanished Planet: Angela Collinson selflessly sacrificed her planaet to allow her team to defeat the creature.
Victory in the Pacific: Barry Shutt is so enthusiastic he even cheers for your die rolls.
Vinci: Jason Robar, the leader in the final with a score in the mid-90s, saw his entire empire eradicated, leaving him no chance to score in the final round.He fell from 1st to last in the final two turns with nary a whine.
We The People: Paul Gaberson, runner-up in 2002, lost in the first round but continued to play and with the swiss format was still in contention. He accepted a second round match with former champ James Pei, playing only one round as an eliminator, although his 0-1 record entitled him to a match with a novice and a likely win. James ended Paul's title aspirations in that game, but Paul continued to play to fill out brackets for the rest of the event and help out as an Ass't GM.
Win, Place & Show: Stuart Tucker - the happy handicapper himself and defending champion, failing to qualify in his favorite event, nonetheless blew off a chance to play in another event to act as steward so the GM and the other Ass't who were in the final could play uninhibited by those duties.
This year's winner didn't even get nominated by his GM ... because he was the GM. Jim Jordan is the GM of Britannia - and no - he didn't nominate himself. However, so many of his players have commented on his actions and nominated him in their own events in which he did not play - that the Convention Director took it upon himself to do the nominating here. As so often happens in multi-player events, the number of semi-finalists appearing was insufficient for four optimal four-player games. Rather than resort to some three-player games - putting some players at a comparative disadvantage, Jim dropped out to make an even number. I've lost count of the number of people who have told me that his behavior epitomizes what a good GM should be. I agree - and apparently - so do many of our members as they voted him Sportsman of the Year by a wide margin ... thereby setting the bar oh-so-much higher for the rest of us playing GMs. Finishing a distant second were perpetual WBC good citizens Stuart Tucker and Ben Knight.