Rooting for athletes and sports teams provides a sense of belonging for fans, while simultaneously acting as a glue to hold the teams together.
Athletes are grateful to witness the passion consistently displayed by fans. It’s also a way for athletes to realize that people actually appreciate their hard work, dedication and, in most cases, superb athleticism.
Athletes and sports teams also don’t quickly forget how important those fans are, since fans are their biggest supporters and occasionally their jury.
The second annual TD Ameritrade Fans Choice Award is the perfect example of just that:
It’s the fans who ultimately hold the loudest voice in the decision-making process.
This recognition, as it turns out, is the only college baseball award determined solely by fans. It recognizes exceptional college baseball players who display teamwork, leadership and integrity, both on and off the field.
In order to be eligible, the player must be active within the community, present a positive image as role model to youth and teammates, and display a level of success inside the walls of the classroom.
Tempe-native Michael Felton, now a senior at Campbell University and the team’s second baseman, was nominated by Associate Director for Athletic Media Services Jason Williams, who concluded that Felton was the ideal candidate for the award.
Felton was humbled.
“I was extremely honored and excited when I found out I was nominated, especially because it’s the only award that is fan based,” Felton said.
Felton was a two-time All-Big South First Team member at second base and a 2012 Second Team All-American (NCBWA, ABCA). He’s also second in Campbell’s history in career batting, with a .398 average, and holder of the school and Big South hits record with 103 as a junior last year.
Not only has Felton dedicated his time and energy toward becoming a better athlete and collaborating closely with his teammates, but also he and the rest of the CU baseball team have volunteered their time working with various youth camps.
The Camels recently spent an evening working with the Miracle League of Johnston County in Smithfield, N.C. The event consisted of each Camel player pairing up with a “buddy” and coaching that player in front of a supportive and energetic crowd.
“It was an eye opening experience—one of the best things I’ve ever done,” Felton said.
Felton is one of 15 finalists for the Fan’s Choice Award because his community and biggest fans identify him for his outstanding skills on and off the field, and his positive role model behavior.
But, he emphasized, he could not have done it without the help of his family and friends. “My mom and dad have always been my biggest supporters, hands down,” Felton said.
Fans can view the profiles of the finalists and vote daily by visiting Facebook.com/CollegeHomeRunDerby. The voting will continue until Friday, June 21.
The winner will be honored at the 2013 TD Ameritrade College Home Run Derby July 4 on ESPN.