Sports Doing Good Newsletter, #156

March 22 – March 28, 2015

Welcome to week one hundred fifty-six of the Sports Doing Good newsletter. This week’s 10 stories include:

  1. This Basketball Team Refused To Play Their Opponents. The Reason? Absolutely Incredible!
  2. Red Sox Star Pedroia Inspires Teenage Girl to Play with the Boys
  3. Somerset Patriots Looking For Kid CEO
  4. CEO’s and execs pledge big money for Bloomberg’s Bracket Challenge
  5. Crash Course: Eric Newby kicks ass in the hard-hitting sport of wheelchair rugby
  6. NFL Player John Urschel Single-Handedly Kills The ‘Dumb Jock’ Stereotype With Complex Math Paper
  7. Leveraging the Playing Field: How Soccer and New Business Models Can Promote Development and Peace
  8. An ex-NBA player who made $66 million is now a Columbia student with a 3.8 GPA
  9. Famous cricket players in India pledge to protect all women
  10. The story behind the mismatched shoes of new Cinderella UAB

Introduction
We have a wonderful array of stories this week, dealing with pro and amateur athletes, boys and girls, men and women. We have basketball, baseball, wheelchair rugby, soccer, and cricket. And we have stories that inspire, motivate and make you think.

The story that stood out for us this week is the first one, about a high school basketball team that did something so thoughtful, it will make you happy not just to be a sports fan, but a member of a thoughtful society. Two players on the Vanguard College Prep basketball team saw a problem in their opponents not getting a chance to enjoy the thrill of playing in front of fans, including family and friends. “It just didn’t seem right,” said one of the boys. But instead of just seeing a problem, they went ahead and dealt with it. This is a great story on so many levels and we encourage you to watch it – we have watched it several times – and consider how it impacts you. The actions of these boys, their teammates, and the Vanguard fans speak volumes to the power of sports and the importance of the idea that, “we are all in this together.”

Other great stories this week include: Red Sox star Dustin Pedroia and an athlete he has inspired; the Somerset Patriots baseball team giving one lucky kid an opportunity to learn everything about being a sports executive; Bloomberg’s effort combining brackets, big money, and charity; wheelchair rugby athlete Eric Newby; math wiz and NFL athlete John Urschel; ex-NBA player and current Columbia student Troy Murphy; the evolution of soccer as a tool for advancing peace and equality; Indian cricket players lending their voice to the protection of women in their country; and the special move taken by the UAB men’s basketball team to bring attention to a condition that impacts someone they care about.

Finally, we would like to let you know that the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Sports Award, celebrating individuals and organizations that make their communities healthier through sport, is now accepting applications for the 2015 honor.
http://www.rwjf.org/en/about-rwjf/newsroom/newsroom-content/2015/03/robert-wood-johnson-foundation-sports-award-accepting-applicatio.html

Please continue to send along your stories. You are both our audience and our best source of stories. Our Twitter handle is @sportsdoinggood, and you can find us at www.facebook.com/sportsdoinggood.

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So enjoy. And have a good week.

This Basketball Team Refused To Play Their Opponents. The Reason? Absolutely Incredible!
Vanguard College Prep – a private school in Waco, TX – recently refused to play against their opposing team, the Gainesville, TX, Tornadoes, a juvenile correction facility team. The reason why is a show of total compassion and good heartedness. If we all thought this way about our fellow man, we could change lives! This is definitely a moment neither team with EVER forget! Here’s Our Takeaway: “We all need someone to believe in us. We all need someone who knows our mistakes and loves us anyway.” – Vanguard basketball team member
http://inspiremore.com/this-basketball-team-refused-to-play-their-opponents-the-reason-absolutely-incredible/
(Video, https://youtu.be/VCdqwowpr4Q)

Red Sox Star Pedroia Inspires Teenage Girl to Play with the Boys
Young athletes often dream of growing up to become their sports idols. One teenage girl is taking that inspiration seriously. She switched sports and is competing with boys — all because of Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia. Sydney Dore is 14 years old. She’s about 5-foot-3 with blond hair, blue eyes and a big smile that’s lined with shiny braces. She’s down here for spring training. Standing near the Sox dugout at JetBlue Park, she held a sign: This GIRL plays JV high school BASEball because Dustin Pedroia said, “Tell us what we can’t do. Tell us what we can’t be. One of us is gonna be right.” I did and I am, so … “Go ahead. I’ve never heard it before. Tell me.”
http://www.wbur.org/2015/03/20/sydney-dore-pedroia

DOreSydney Dore, 14, in her baseball uniform (Courtesy of McKeel Academy of Technology)

Somerset Patriots Looking For Kid CEO
As the Kid CEO, the young fan will follow front office staff members during the games to learn about ticketing, merchandising, promotions, media, marketing, and ballpark operations. The Kid CEO will sit in on Patriots staff meetings and write about the experiences he/she has in the position. The Kid CEO will also receive a personalized Somerset Patriots jersey, tickets to five games, a ceremonial first pitch for a game, and a meet and greet with Sparky Lyle and the players. This is the seventh time that the team will name a Kid CEO.
http://www.somersetpatriots.com/blog/post/3401/somerset-patriots-looking-for-kid-ceo

Somerset1The Somerset Patriots and Spearhead Staffing have teamed up to hire a Kid CEO for the 2015 season.

CEO’s and execs pledge big money for Bloomberg’s Bracket Challenge
One place that the former Mayor has always devoted time and effort and dollars was to global philanthropy, an area which has only increased since he has gone back to running Bloomberg LP as well. So it should come as no surprise that a unique crossroads of business, philanthropy and sport business arose this week, one which should get some nice attention as March Madness plays out. The company gathered  36 high level business leaders, many tied to sport,  from top corporations and financial organizations for Bloomberg’s Bracket Challenge, tied to March Madness. Each CEO pledged $10,000 to get into the event, and each tied to a charity of choice. The winner at the end of the NCAA Tournament pool will receive $360,000 with all the proceeds going to their respective charity.
http://www.isportstimes.com/articles/11888/20150320/bloomberg-march-madness-brackets-charity-ncaa-tournament.htm

BracketCrash Course: Eric Newby kicks ass in the hard-hitting sport of wheelchair rugby
Quad rugby is played four-against-four on a standard basketball court, with cones at each end marking goals. The object is to carry a modified volleyball across the goal line, good for one point. To be eligible to play, a person must have impairment in three or four limbs. Each player is given a rating based on his disability, ranging from a 0.5 for those with the most severe impairments to a 3.5 for those with the most function. Aoki is a 3.5, Newby a 2. At any one time, a team may have only eight points on the floor. The game is called rugby, but it has more in common with basketball: Dribbling is required. There are pick and rolls on offense and full-court presses on defense. The action favors the offense, with just about every possession ending in a point, meaning that a single timely defensive stop can decide the outcome.
http://www.stlmag.com/news/sports/crash-course/#.VQyVA6vkvKY.facebook

Wheelchair RugbyEric Newby (right) and the Rugby Rams face off against Chuck Aoki (left) and the Steelheads.

NFL Player John Urschel Single-Handedly Kills The ‘Dumb Jock’ Stereotype With Complex Math Paper
Urschel earned a Master’s in mathematics on his way to a 4.0 GPA at Penn State, but decided to enter the NFL after he was drafted in 2014. In a piece published in The Players’ Tribune last week, Urschel explained why he decided to put his brilliant mind at risk by playing such a violent sport at the highest level. “I play because I love the game. I love hitting people,” he wrote. “There’s a rush you get when you go out on the field, lay everything on the line and physically dominate the player across from you. This is a feeling I’m (for lack of a better word) addicted to, and I’m hard-pressed to find anywhere else.”
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/23/john-urschel-math_n_6923190.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000019

Baltimore Ravens v Pittsburgh SteelersLeveraging the Playing Field: How Soccer and New Business Models Can Promote Development and Peace
Recognizing soccer’s huge potential to generate first passion, then participation, and ultimately revenue, many social entrepreneurs in the sector are innovating new models of financial sustainability. Organizations like love.fútbol, Street Soccer USA, and Kick4Life have been exploring new models for generating revenue, rather than relying solely on donor dollars. Soccer’s widespread popularity and power as a marketing engine for businesses stands to significantly shift how SDP organizations achieve financial sustainability. Some SDP organizations are also exploring how the business of soccer can be used in new ways to create opportunities for alleviating poverty in communities.
http://www.forbes.com/sites/ashoka/2015/03/24/leveraging-the-playing-field-how-soccer-can-promote-development-and-peace/

love.futbolThe love.fútbol community of Cururuquara, Brazil gather around the new field on inauguration day this past December, 2014.

An ex-NBA player who made $66 million is now a Columbia student with a 3.8 GPA
But according to Keh, Murphy always wanted to finish school and get his degree. So now, Murphy, who made $66 million in his career according to Basketball-Reference.com, has channeled the competitiveness that helped make him a good basketball player and is now directing it at Columbia professors. “For me it was: I’m going to prove I can beat this guy. I’m going to shut him down or outscore him or outrebound him,” Murphy told the Times. “Now, you have these professors who are some of the best, and you want to test yourself. You want to prove you can get an A in the class.” It’s working. In the fall semester, Murphy took four classes, got a 3.8 GPA and made the Dean’s List.
http://finance.yahoo.com/news/ex-nba-player-made-66-145053600.html

Troy Murphy(Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Famous cricket players in India pledge to protect all women
Indian cricketers, Virat Kohli, Ravi Shastri, Suresh Raina and Ambati Raydu recently supported the ‘Respect to Protect’ campaign, which calls for the protection and respect of all women. The video pledge supports women’s rights and is part of a larger movement by Hyderabad based NGO, “My Choices.” Already gaining traction on social media with the hashtag #Respect2Protect, the video features the sportsmen talking about what protection of women entails. From safeguarding a woman’s right to equal opportunity irrespective of her choices in personal appearance and profession to respecting her economic, sexual, physical and social rights, the campaign highlights a community of support towards women’s rights and gender equality.
http://nytlive.nytimes.com/womenintheworld/2015/03/27/famous-cricket-players-in-india-pledge-to-protect-all-women/
(Video, https://youtu.be/UEW0gk0lhQg)

The story behind the mismatched shoes of new Cinderella UAB
It all started this past summer during the Blazers’ offseason trip to Spain. During an exhibition game, they noticed an opponent wearing different colored shoes and “one idea led to another,” Haase told Al.com. The players decided that would be their way to honor their buddy Elijah and hopefully raise awareness to the cause, through a school partnership with the Alabama Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s Hospital of Alabama. One way to help spread the word? Pull off an epic NCAA tournament upset on national television that has everyone talking and noticing. Well done on both accounts, UAB.
http://espn.go.com/blog/collegebasketballnation/post/_/id/105050/the-story-behind-the-mismatched-shoes-of-new-cinderella-uab?ex_cid=espnFB

UABAndy Lyons/Getty Images

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Our goal is to have Sports Doing Good be a portal housing original content and excerpts from and links to the increasing number of articles, websites, video, and other media that showcase the good in sports and society. We aim to celebrate those concepts, activities, events, and individuals by highlighting them for a wider audience. Much of the news today, whether sports- related or not, is incredibly negative and increasingly polarizing, biased, and quite annoying. We are trying to refocus some of the discussion on the good, with a focus on sports.

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Contact InformationSarbjit “Sab” Singh
sab@sportsdoinggood.com
516-287-7141