Derek Andrews, the 8-year old boy from Clarence, New York, is the winner of the 2008 Sports Illustrated Kids Sports Kid of the Year. He was awarded with the honor this morning on CBS’s Early Show.
This is not just one of your ordinary sports star stories either. Derek is not only a great athlete but is also a great person.
Derek currently plays baseball, soccer, hockey, basketball and also does gymnastics and even swimming on the side. He is on a select hockey team and also was selected for an all-star baseball team. He works hard at all of his sports, but Derek said his best sport was “like baseball”, where he is a strong armed 3rd basemen.
Like I said though, Derek is also a great person. He is a “really good [student] in school” according to his dad, Jonathan Andrews. Not only does Derek get good grades but he also enjoys reading a good book. He won a reading contest last year that had him finishing 305 books!
Let me ask you this question. If you were 8-years-old and just won an essay contest that gave you around $64 (like Derek did in a contest with a local bank), what would you spend it on? Well Derek is a kid mature beyond his years. Instead of blowing it all on candy and video games, he put on a magic show for younger children at Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo. He didn’t stop there though. He also helped organize a book drive for a local school and bought food as a welcome home gift for the elephants of the Buffalo Zoo that were returning from a zoo in Ohio.
Now what makes this story a little bit different than most of your ordinary sports stars, is the fact that this kid doesn’t quit even though it takes hard work for him to keep playing all of these sports. Derek has a rare muscle disorder that he must go to therapy 4 days a week to help combat the ailment. Derek and his parents have spent the past year and a half trying to find out the problem but to no avail.
It is not like the Andrews family was looking to get their son this spot either. Derek was being helped by his Dad play fantasy baseball on the SI Kids website when he saw the ad. Jonathan thought why not and entered his son into the contest.
Now after beating out over 5,500 initial applicants including the winner of the Women’s Junior National Ski Jumping Championship, the Junior Olympics boys championship in track and field and a 15-year-old female fencer who finished, at a not too shabby third place in the Olympic trials.
Derek really does deserve this award, and that is an understatement. What other 3rd grader is like him? He is putting his time into sports and also takes the time to give back to the community and apply himself in school also. This is a class act boy at such a young age. He didn’t do these good deeds to win an award; he did them to do the right thing. If we just had a few more people like Derek in the world, it would be a much better place to live. Maybe a few pro sports stars could learn a few lesson from the youngster.
Derek will be on the cover of the December issue of Sports Illustrated Kids that will be available in mid-November. He will also get the honor to attend the SI Sportsman of the Yea dinner later in the year His parents Jonathan and Tricia, and his younger brother were all on hand for the announcement this morning..