13-year-old who keeps trying reaps reward for NFL essay Winner among 1,300 joins 29 others in contest finals

November 15, 1997|By Mark Hoeflich | Mark Hoeflich,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Sarah Zisow of Lansdowne Middle School admits she is not very good at any particular sport. She has played a little soccer and racquetball and her father recently has tried to teach her how to play softball and basketball, although Zisow says the process has been hard.

Still, she keeps trying.

And trying is the message she presented in winning the "Good Sports Essay Contest" sponsored by Sprint, the long-distance phone service, as part of the National Football League's Youth Education Program.

Zisow, 13, was chosen for the award from among 1,300 eighth-grade students who participated in the Baltimore area, and last week she presented the "Ravens' Good Sport of the Year Award" to wide receiver Michael Jackson, the overwhelming favorite of many of the entries.

"I can't play football, and people make fun of me, but I have fun just trying to catch the ball," said Zisow, who in addition to the award received six tickets to a future Ravens home game, as well as a T-shirt and a cap.

"But I look at it as a positive thing and my dad just tells me to have a good time and that's exactly what sportsmanship is.

Said Jackson: "This award gives me a little more inspiration to keep striving and things will get better. Sarah, and the kids in her classes before her and after her, that is our future. And for someone of my age and class to be recognized as a good sport, that's a great accomplishment."

Zisow's essay will now be judged against the winners in the other 29 NFL markets for a chance at a trip to Super Bowl XXXII in San Diego, and will be a part of the first Sportsmanship Summit, which will focus on NFL players and the media.

Pub Date: 11/15/97

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