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Sims receives ‘Spirit of Sport’ award

Sims receives ‘Spirit of Sport’ award
Sims receives ‘Spirit of Sport’ award
South Central sophomore infielder Landis Sims poses with his mother, Amanda Wolfe, Indiana High School Athletic Association assistant commissioner Kerrie Rosati, left, and IHSAA commissioner Paul Neidig after being awarded the NFHS Section 4 Spirit of Sport award prior to the Rebels’ matchup with county-rival North Harrison last Wednesday. Photo by Brandon Miniard
By Brandon Miniard, Sports Writer, [email protected]

While fans were filing in to Donald L. Dones Field in Elizabeth to see South Central take on county-rival North Harrison last Wednesday, the pre-game festivities will be one to remember.

Prior to the Rebels’ contest, members of the Indiana High School Athletic Association, including commissioner Paul Neidig, assistant commissioner Kerrie Rosati and sports information director Jason Wille, were on hand to present the Rebels’ Landis Sims with the National Federation of High Schools Section 4 Spirit of Sport award.

The award can be given to an individual for a number of reasons: the person exemplifies a positive spirit of sports, in recognition for a specific act or a continuing activity, for going beyond everyday expectations of aiding others within the person’s school or community or for overcoming an adversity or challenge.

The NFHS’s Section 4 encompasses Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan and Wisconsin.

Sims, a 6-foot-2 sophomore, was born with congenital limb deficiency, causing him to be born without hands and the lower parts of both legs. His love of sports, particularly baseball, has filled him with the drive to compete despite the physical limitations he’s faced throughout his life. Courtesy of specially-made prosthetic limbs and attachments for his bat and glove, Sims is able to hit, field and run the bases alongside his teammates.

“Growing up, not only through sports but in everyday life, I’ve got to overcome challenges with everything,” Sims said in an interview with WDRB’s Tom Lane. “So, that just kind of helps my mindset with getting better at baseball, and baseball’s a sport of failure so it helps with that mindset of ‘I’ll get through it’.”

Sims made it his mission to make the Rebels’ varsity roster and accomplished that his freshman year. He made it count as he hit .400 during the 2021 season. Despite only being a sophomore, the young Rebels look to him as one of the leaders alongside players such as sophomore Christian Kiper and freshman Cole Thomas.

While not an everyday starter, Sims makes the most of his time on the roster, often serving as a liaison between the players and the coaching staff.

“Landis is honestly the heartbeat of this program (because) he resonates with the other players so well, and he’s such an asset to have as basically an extension of our coaching staff,” Rebels’ first-year head coach Mitch Massard said of Sims. “He’s so knowledgeable about the game and is constantly asking both myself questions and to coach Todd (Tyree). He’s learning from us and relaying that information to some of the younger and older guys.

“When it comes to fundamentals, mental approaches and situational gameplay, he parlays that into his peers who respect him enough to take that advice and criticism,” the coach continued. “It means the world because now he can see things that I can’t see. I can’t have eyes everywhere, but he can coach some guys up and help me out and knows how this program is supposed to be run. It’s worth its weight in gold.”

When baseball is out of season, Sims can also be found hooping it up for the Rebels’ boys’ basketball team, primarily playing on the JV roster. Once his high school career ends, Sims hopes to find a career in either broadcasting or get on to be a coach or manager in Major League Baseball.

Regardless of which path he goes down, he already has plenty of practice being in front of cameras. For the past eight years, camera crews have followed his journey, which will be chronicled in a documentary called “Landis — Just Watch Me” by Taikuli Productions. The documentary is set to be released July 12.