Aug. 17 – Aug. 23, 2014
Welcome to week one hundred twenty-five of the Sports Doing Good newsletter. This week’s 10 stories include:
- How the Brewers’ Wily Peralta went from lofting lemons to firing fastballs
- Cowboys DT Amobi Okoye overcomes ‘one-in-a-million’ syndrome, lengthy coma to return to NFL
- Jo Pavey, 40-Year-Old Mom Of 2, Becomes Oldest Woman To Win Gold At European Championships
- How one man accepted the challenge; Beyond buckets and ice water, Pete Frates leads the growing charge against ALS (video)
- THE GLOBAL PEACE GAMES FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH – 2014 – Registration is now open!!
- A Basketball League Whose Success Isn’t Measured by Points
- The Little League World Series Shows Everything Right In Sports (And What The Pros Are Missing)
- European soccer clubs opening US academies
- Triathlons forge nurse-patient bond; Chicago-area nurse motivated to change by patient with locked-in syndrome
- Most Inspiring ‘From-Rags-to-Riches’ Sports Stories
We have featured stories in the past with individuals who include a family member or friend, someone who on their own is physically unable to participate in sports, in their sporting efforts. One of the most famous is the father and son tandem, Dick and Rick Hoyt. We have two such stories this week, with a slight twist. In these stories, the family member/friend is not part of the activity, but they serve as the inspiration for others to compete.
The first story is a feature on Pete Frates, the inspiration behind the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Pete’s story, and those of many others with ALS, have helped spur a grassroots phenomenon which has touched individuals of all types from all over the United States. While Pete is limited in what he can do physically, his spirit and that of so many who suffer from ALS and other incapacitating conditions, can still be a part of the world of sports. They motivate others to do things they maybe thought was impossible.
That is surely the case of Mary Jo Harte and her friend and inspiration Patrick Stein. Mary Jo, a nurse, was maybe the last person you would think would even contemplate doing any type of triathlon. But Patrick’s situation, and eventually his encouragement, literally moved her to challenge herself, just as Patrick and many others who are physically limited, do every day just to be able to live life. Their fight will always have a place in the Sports Doing Good newsletter.
Other wonderful stories this week include: Milwaukee Brewers star Wily Peralta; Dallas Cowboy player Amobi Okoye; champion runner Jo Pavey; the upcoming Global Peace Games for Children and Youth; a special basketball league in New York City; the incredible Little League World Series competitors; growing opportunities for young American soccer players to train with some of the world’s most favorite clubs; and a series that looks at those great “rags to riches” stories we love.
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How the Brewers’ Wily Peralta went from lofting lemons to firing fastballs
In Samana, Peralta had plucked his baseballs from the lemon tree in his backyard. Sometimes the neighborhood boys would wait months for the lemons to reach the size of a baseball. They’d play catch using squares of cardboard as gloves, and before long their ball was a soft, pulpy mess, sending them back to the tree to pick out a new yellowy pearl.
Cowboys DT Amobi Okoye overcomes ‘one-in-a-million’ syndrome, lengthy coma to return to NFL
As soon as next Monday, Amobi Okoye is expected to practice football. He’s going to crouch down in a stance. And charge at offensive linemen in his path. And work alongside his teammates. He’s going to do all this 17 months after he was felled by a rare disease, went into a coma and was left with a 145-day gap in his memory. “It’s a blessing every day,” said Okoye, the 27-year-old Cowboys defensive tackle. “You count your blessings. Your faith gets tested. I am happy to be back doing what I love to do.”
Jo Pavey, 40-Year-Old Mom Of 2, Becomes Oldest Woman To Win Gold At European Championships
“I’ve been trying for years to win this and never managed it. It seems funny to do it at the age of 40 now I’m a mother with two young children,” Pavey said after her win, per The Guardian. “I’m so happy in my personal life. I train really hard but don’t get stressed about it.” She also told the news outlet that her victorious performance at the European Championships, as well as her bronze-medal winning 5,000m run at the Commonwealth Games earlier this month, has invigorated her.
How one man accepted the challenge; Beyond buckets and ice water, Pete Frates leads the growing charge against ALS (video)
Today, Frates, 29, the former Boston College baseball star and inspiration behind the viral ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, has lost his voice to the ravages of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. But thanks to the power of social media, Frates now has thousands of voices speaking on his behalf. Each ALS Ice Bucket Challenge video posted to Facebook, YouTube, Twitter or dozens of other websites brings another voice to the cause, continually raising awareness of this devastating disease. That groundswell of support has been staggering.
THE GLOBAL PEACE GAMES FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH – 2014 – Registration is now open!!
PLAY SOCCER founded the Global Peace Games in 2001 to promote a global network of children and youth committed to a culture of friendship, understanding and peace. The Global Peace Games are “grass roots” soccer games that take place under the initiative of PLAY SOCCER and are organized by organizations and communities around the world. The Games are linked by common themes and encourage children and youth to share and celebrate the values and skills they learn on the playing field through sport and to find peaceful solutions in their daily lives and communities. The Games take place in the fall of each year at locally scheduled dates around the time of the United Nations International Day of Peace (September 21st). Read the Reports on the Global Peace Games for Children and Youth from previous years to learn how the Games are celebrated in diverse ways in many countries!
A Basketball League Whose Success Isn’t Measured by Points
Success for the league is measured outside of points. It is in the stacks of college acceptance letters; the teenagers who help keep the game books; the 14-and-under home team, the Amsterdam Sonics, who once brought back a Rucker Park championship, a high honor in playground basketball; peer mentoring; and the young men who show up from as far away as Albany with fresh confidence. The night before, with his team down by 15, a 19-year-old shooting guard from Harlem took over the game and scored 42 points to lead his teammates into the playoffs.
The Little League World Series Shows Everything Right In Sports (And What The Pros Are Missing)
Every August 16 youth baseball teams from around the globe descend on Howard J. Lamade Stadium in South Williamsport, Pa. for the Little League World Series. First held in 1947, the event annually reminds everyone why they first fell in love with sports. In place of the highly-paid prima donna athletes and the recycled media hot takes they inspire, those tuning into ESPN for the Little League World Series are often treated to something increasingly hard to find: They will discover an unadulterated game imbued with joy and passion that produces both must-see highlights and heartwarming moments.
European soccer clubs opening US academies
European clubs like Barcelona, Liverpool and Arsenal have long sent coaches to work at U.S. summer camps, but now some are opening year-round U.S. academies aimed at finding new talent while also expanding their fan bases and revenue opportunities in the states. Later this month, Barcelona will open FCB Escola Florida, its first permanent U.S academy, in Fort Lauderdale. Argentine Boca Juniors and English Everton are already operating in New York and Connecticut, respectively. Other teams are expected to follow. The expansion of such programs is part of a bigger trend, as major international clubs try to grow their brands in the U.S. to battle for the hearts and pocketbooks of Americans today and in decades to come.
In this Thursday, Aug. 1, 2014 photo, Lee Santamaria, front, of Cooper City, Fla., works with children during a soccer camp held by FC Barcelona in Miami. European clubs like Barcelona, Liverpool and Arsenal have long sent coaches to work at U.S. summer camps, but now some are opening year-round U.S. academies aimed at finding new talent but also to expand their fan bases. This is part of a number of initiatives of major teams to grow their brands in the U.S. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Triathlons forge nurse-patient bond; Chicago-area nurse motivated to change by patient with locked-in syndrome
As Harte then headed toward the finish, Nick pushed Patrick in his wheelchair alongside her, before Harte took over. They crossed the line together. Scott Hutmacher, regional marketing manager for Life Time Athletic Events, which put on the race, heard the cheers as they approached and watched the finish. He says it was a moment “so impromptu that it was perfect.” “I’d almost say there wasn’t a dry eye in the house,” he says. “It was pretty powerful.”
Most Inspiring ‘From-Rags-to-Riches’ Sports Stories
Rags-to-riches stories are just one of the many things we love in sports. We can’t seem to get enough of these tales and the athletes who are part of them. The beauty of a real rags-to-riches story is that it doesn’t always start from childhood. It can take place during college or even during the pros. Guys who are overlooked, underrated and forgotten fit that category. So without having to wait any longer, let’s take a look at some of the best rags-to-riches stories in professional sports.