Junction’s Weinberg wins award for sportsmanship
You won’t find damaged rackets or disappointed referees when it comes to Spencer Weinberg.
The Grand Junction High School junior tennis player doesn’t lay into opponents, spike equipment or pull a John McEnroe when he disagrees with a call.
It’s a match he wants to win, but Spencer Weinberg figures it’s just a game.
With a tennis singles state championship his sophomore season and a No. 2 finish at No. 1 singles this past fall, Weinberg has proven himself as an athlete. And he’s showed the state he can combine winning with exceptional sportsmanship.
The Colorado Tennis Association has given Weinberg its 2011 High School Boys Sportsmanship Award. He will receive the award during the CTA’s annual awards banquet Jan. 27 in Denver.
“Ever since I was a little kid I didn’t like to be treated badly,” Weinberg said Monday. “So I didn’t want to treat my opponents bad.”
Even in defeat, such as his 6-1, 6-1 loss to Hayden Sabatka of Highlands Ranch in this season’s state final, Weinberg finds a way to bury the disappointment and unearth respect.
“I congratulated (Sabatka) and wished him the best in the year to come,” Weinberg said. “I was definitely sad. I’d been working all year to come back and try to win it again, but the result wasn’t the same.
“It’s hard having early success and maintaining that success what with all the pressure and everything that comes with it.”
Weinberg also credits his coach, Carol Elliott, for coming to each match and supporting the leader of the Tigers’ team.
“He’s not John McEnroe, you won’t see him tossing a racket or cussing up a storm,” Elliott said. “He doesn’t show his cards; he stays very calm.”
It’s all about how Weinberg acts on the court, Elliott said.
“His spirit doesn’t get broken,” Elliott said. “And he’s very respectful if he’s losing. If he’s down points, he doesn’t say, ‘It’s because I’m not playing well.’ He gives credit to his opponent.”
Indeed, Weinberg said he gave Sabatka praise even in the most disappointing loss he’s had.
“He was working hard, too,” Weinberg. “And he got the better of me that day.”