As a defender on the soccer field, it’s Kai Gamble’s responsibility to not give up shots on goal.
Off the field, Gamble relishes in the act of giving — he gives his heart, mind and energy to try to make things better for others.
For all he does for his school and the community, the Laguna Blanca junior on Monday was honored at the Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon as the recipient of the Phil Womble Ethics in Sports Award.
Gamble’s dedication to helping U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan is a great example of his selflessness. He founded the Santa Barbara Service for Soldiers Organization, which connects soliders in Afghanistan through letters and care packages.
He is currently is working on a benefit concert to support the Wounded Warrior Project of Operation Homefront, a nonprofit organization that provides emergency assistance for military troops, the families they leave behind, and wounded warriors when they return home.
“What sets him apart,” Laguna Blanca Athletic Director Mike Biermann said, “for someone his age, he has an amazing, incredible heart, a giving heart. He lives by the motto: What can I do to make others’ lives better. He gets that from his parents, Ed and Naoko.”
Biermann said the Womble Award’s standards of being selfless, trustworthy and respectful “fit Kai to a T.”
The captain on the soccer and lacrosse teams, Gamble’s extracurricular activities don’t stop there. He serves as the ASB treasurer, is a member of the Laguna Blanca mock trial and debate teams and the engineering club. He’s been selected to the National Forensics League and was awarded the Jamie Harder Scholarship for Male Youth Leadership.
He also plays the violin and won a performing arts award in 2010.
Gamble takes Advanced Placement classes and carries a 3.85 grade point average.
Biermann feels fortunate to have an athlete of Gamble’s character and heart on campus.
“I’m glad you have one year left,” he said.
Gamble said his willingness to give to others comes from his parents.
“I like to thank my parents for instilling commitment, selfless service, determination and respect for others in me.” he said. “I hope to instill those qualities in younger athletes.”
UCSB baseball coach Bob Brontsema acknowledged the special signficance of the Womble Award.
“Kai, you’ve got a great award there,” Brontsema started. “Your resumé is pretty impressive, but I got to tell you an award with Phil Womble’s name on it, an ethics award, should be right at the top of your trophy case. That’s quite an accomplishment.”