Mother, Son Recognized With Sportsmanship Awards

Mother, Son Recognized With Sportsmanship Awards
Pictured, from left, are Al Handy, Eddie Pinto, Sanji and Finn Ramnarian, Susan Petitio, Kate Gaddis and Senator Mary Beth Carozza. Submitted Photo

OCEAN CITY — Resort officials this week recognized a local mother and son for earning Good Sports Coach of the Year and Good Sports Players of the Year honors, along with another feather in the cap of a recently retired, beloved coach and mentor.

During Monday’s meeting, the Mayor and Council welcomed Senator Mary Beth Carozza, who was on hand to recognized the Ocean City Recreation and Parks Department’s Mid-Atlantic Recreation and Parks Sports Alliance (MARPSA) Good Sports Coach of the Year and Good Sports Player of the Year. This year, the prestigious regional awards went to a local mother and son, Sanji and Finn Ramnarian, respectively, and Carozza on Monday presented governor’s proclamations to both.

Sanji Ramnarian was recognized for her efforts in coaching youth soccer for the recreation and parks department at Northside Park. Finn was recognized for his sportsmanship, teamwork and dedication as both a young athlete and student with the MARPSA Good Sports Player of the Year award.

“We’re proud to be part of MARPSA and this is an opportunity to recognize our volunteers,” said Recreation and Parks Director Susan Petito. “This year, we had a mother and son earning both awards, which is rather unique.”

For her part, Carozza said Sanji and Finn Ramnarian were recognized at a sportsmanship banquet in Annapolis during the General Assembly session, but her other obligations caused her to miss the ceremony. Instead, she invited the Ramnarians and other recreation and parks staffers to City Hall on Monday to present them with special commendations.

“I appreciate the opportunity to recognize this unique mother and son team,” she said. “This is a big deal. When we talk about MARPSA, we’re talking about the entire mid-Atlantic. You have to earn this award.”

As for Finn Ramnarian, Carozza said the Stephen Decatur Middle School seventh-grader exemplified the spirit of the award.

“Finn always shows a great attitude, he is always very positive with his teammates and is very respectful to the coaches and officials,” she said.

As for Sanji Ramnarian, Carozza said it was apparent where Finn learned his attributes.

“You see the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” she said. “She is a great coach who makes it fun, but makes it all about teamwork and respect. This is a very unique opportunity.”

Carozza drew from her own experiences playing youth sports in City Hall before it was the seat of the municipal government as she presented the citations.

“My father was a coach in this very building and I played Ocean City rec basketball here,” she said. “All of those memories of youth sports are right here for me in this building.”

After the citations were presented, Carozza asked the elected officials to indulge her a little longer.

“If I can have just another minute or two, I have one more little surprise,” she said. “As you know, Al ‘Hondo’ Handy recently retired and I have a Senate Citation and a citation from the governor to present to him.”

Handy retired last month after 39 years with the Ocean City Recreation and Parks Department and was a coach, program supervisor, mentor and inspirational leader for generations.

“He was such an inspiration to so many families,” Carozza said. “He inspired families and young student athletes here and beyond for 39 years.”

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.