Sports Doing Good Newsletter, #219

June 19 – June 25, 2016

Welcome to week two hundred and nineteen of the Sports Doing Good newsletter. This week’s 10 stories include:


1.      Soccer league pits man versus fat

2.      From Bullied Foster Kid to NBA’s Doorstep

3.      Who’s the face of the Rio Games? It may not be who you think

4.      Warren Buffett Meets a Relative Whose Biggest Asset Is His Pitching Arm

5.      From Refugee To Olympic Hopeful: Biya Simbassa’s Excellent Life In The Land Of Opportunity

6.      Sailing Sustainability Practices By 11th Hour Racing Are A Model For All Sports

7.      What makes Novak Djokovic the perfect tennis player – and so hard to beat?

8.      How Kelsey Robinson uses tech on the road to Rio

9.      Minnesota Viking DB Jabari Price is currently on a marathon charity walk

10.   Hilarious Sports Stuff People Have Tried to Crowdfund



Never Wavering (WNBA’s Tina Charles) (The Players’ Tribune)

Riddell’s Smarter Football Program Aims to Make Game Safer (Beyond Sport)

Rookie vs Intern: Jamal Murray (The Players’ Tribune)

Youth Sports Improves Self-Regulation In Kids (NAYS)

Pakistan’s Diana hunts for glory in cricket — and football (Peace and Sport)            


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Soccer league pits man versus fat
Bird has dropped nearly 60 pounds and is now down to 210. His gout and leg ulcer have improved “immeasurably.” “I feel a million times better,” Bird said. “This has given me the confidence that if you are making the right choices, you will feel better for it. Being around other guys who struggled with weight fostered a great spirit amongst us of being in it together and sharing our knowledge and experience without any judging or snide comments.” Shanahan is expanding the league across the rest of the United Kingdom beginning in July, and he hopes to start similar leagues in the United States and other countries. “We saw a lot of health improvements, whether it was guys curing their sleep apnea, reversing their diabetes or lowering their blood pressure,” Shanahan said. “The other really notable thing was how much many of the players grew in confidence. “I think it’s a great thing to undertake a project with other people who desperately want the same thing. It gives you energy and impetus. Working with the guys has been one of the greatest privileges of my career. To share in their excitement and to witness their achievements has been amazing.”

Soccer leaguePlayers from Beer Bellies United hydrate during a match.

From Bullied Foster Kid to NBA’s Doorstep
“When I was upset, when I was angry, any different type of emotion, I could always just go to the court and shoot, and it would be OK,” Jackson says. “I remember there were certain things when I was in foster care that I couldn’t do. And I would be upset, and I’d be crying, and I’d just go out and shoot. Eventually, I’d feel better. The court was definitely an outlet for me. “It was on the court that I could definitely be myself, be comfortable.” One basketball hoop after another has been a stepladder through his life and recovery. They are his scrapbook. Those hoops also tell the story of the people of Mishawaka, the small town filled with incredible hearts who collectively seemed to take Jackson in and allow him to keep finding himself, one hoop after another, one heart after another, one hug after another. The hoops and that town are how the impossible happened—how Demetrius Jackson, who was going to end up as a statistic and was destined to fall through the cracks, instead ends up as a well-adjusted, Notre Dame-graduate-to-be who is also projected to be picked in the first round of Thursday’s NBA draft.

Demetrius JacksonAndy Lyons / Getty Images

Who’s the face of the Rio Games? It may not be who you think
Burroughs is married with a newborn and a 2-year-old. On his well-maintained personal website, he describes himself as an avid reader, fond of video games and interested in owning his own shoe and clothes store sometime in the future. A self-styled normal guy, he has 140,000 Twitter followers, though that number only scratches the surface of the data available to advertisers as they seek the perfect pitchman. MVP Index, a company co-founded by Jordan Spieth’s father, helps sponsors dig deeper into an athlete’s or entertainer’s overall social-media impression. It looks at not only how many posts a celebrity makes, but how much attention those posts draw. Using a formula, it puts a value on certain types of posts depending on how well they draw an audience and where they’re posted. It makes the same judgments about the sort of views and responses those posts receive. For example, Burroughs’ Instagram posts generated 1.5 million impressions for Chobani over the last 90 days with 21,400 “engagements” — people who respond to the posts. Because of that, and many other numbers, Burroughs ranks second behind U.S. soccer player Alex Morgan among the Olympians MVP Index is tracking. “Social media is more than a sentence,” says the company’s chief marketing officer, Kyle Nelson. “A sentence is a post. Social media is a conversation. I want an athlete who’s going to build me into the conversation. It’s, how often can I be in front of an audience? Even if that audience is far smaller than what everyone else has, the totality of that conversation is going to be more meaningful.”

BurroughsIn this March 9, 2016, file photo, U.S. Olympic gold medalist wrestler Jordan Burroughs poses for photos at the 2016 Team USA Media Summit in Beverly Hills, Calif. This year more than ever, the so-called “face” of the Olympics could be a wrestler, or a fencer, or an athlete who most of the world has never heard of before. Inside of two months before the start of the Rio Games, Burroughs is leading the way among this generation of “new” faces. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)

Warren Buffett Meets a Relative Whose Biggest Asset Is His Pitching Arm
Cowboys Coach Josh Holliday, the older brother of St. Louis Cardinals left fielder Matt Holliday, called it a “big league outing.” Warren Buffett agreed. He watched the game on television at home, down to the last out, his first time watching Tyler play. “He pitched fabulously,” Warren Buffett said Tuesday morning in a telephone interview from his Omaha office. “He just went to work. He didn’t dawdle out there in the mound. He had some really good stuff. We talked a little bit about that on Sunday night, different pitches, how he delivered them, all that sort of thing.” Monday represented the third consecutive outstanding start in the N.C.A.A. tournament for Tyler Buffett (9-3, 2.84 E.R.A.), a seventh-round draft pick by the Houston Astros who worked out of the bullpen for most of the season. Warren Buffett did not know about a college pitcher in the family until Tyler’s father, John, told him two years ago. Warren Buffett said he planned to be at TD Ameritrade Park for Tyler’s next start, most likely in the championship series if Oklahoma State advances.

Tyler BuffettOklahoma State starter Tyler Buffett during the first inning of a College World Series game against Arizona on Monday in Omaha. Credit Nati Harnik/Associated Press

 From Refugee To Olympic Hopeful: Biya Simbassa’s Excellent Life In The Land Of Opportunity
Simbassa was born in 1993 in Asela, Ethiopia, about two hours from the capital, Addis Ababa. And yes, he did run the cliché five miles to school. In 2007, Biya, his parents, two brothers and a sister (“We are not a big family”) sought a better future in the land of opportunity, and landed as refugees in Houston. Simbassa, age 13, accepted, even embraced, the daunting task of learning a new language and a new culture. He had not studied English at all until he started school, but instead of hardships, he constantly references the opportunities he’s been given. Simbassa joined the Team USA Minnesota distance training group two months after graduating from the University of Oklahoma in 2015, lives in Minneapolis, and works part-time at Fleet Feet Marathon Sports. Fleet Feet general manager Zach Schendel said, “Biya is fantastic, one of the most polite young men we’ve had here. I don’t want to read into it, but I think he’s more grateful than most people. He’s happy to live day-to-day, he’s positive and upbeat. He’s a hard worker and very good with customers.”

SimbassaTaken in 2014 when Simbassa ran for the University of Oklahoma. Photo credit: Sooner Sports

Sailing Sustainability Practices By 11th Hour Racing Are A Model For All Sports
The sport of sailing relies heavily on the health of the world’s oceans and waterways and its participants are now evolving to become some of the Earth’s fiercest protectors. 11th Hour Racing, in collaboration with the Schmidt Family Foundation, is prioritizing sustainable sailing from strategy to everyday practices to embed deep and lasting positive change on the marine environment. “We are not selling a product. This is purely about sustainability,” said Jill Savery, 11th Hour Racing’s Sustainability Advisor. Savery, who holds a Master’s from Yale’s School of Forestry and Environment Studies, has seen a paradigm shift in sailing that has been spurred on by top thought leaders and competitors, including famed Olympian Sir Ben Ainslie. “Global sports events around the world are trying new ways to encourage fans to adopt more sustainable behaviors, such as not using single use plastic water bottles,” Savery said. “The Ellen MacArthur Foundation says that by 2050 oceans are expected to contain more plastics than fish by weight and sports events offer an ideal opportunity to engage with people and inspire them to take action.”

11th Hour

What makes Novak Djokovic the perfect tennis player – and so hard to beat?
Henri Leconte, the former France Davis Cup player, believes Djokovic is as dominant now as Federer and Nadal were in their pomp. “He is the one and only for the moment,” says Leconte, who will be commentating for Eurosport during Wimbledon. “After winning the Davis Cup against France in 2010 he’s definitely found a way to concentrate himself and be ready for the big tournaments and grand slam play, as he is doing now.” Leconte says Djokovic’s tough upbringing, in war-torn Serbia, played a part in his mental strength. “Definitely, life has been hard and complicated for him and as a family,” Leconte says. “Definitely, I think that he went through a lot of terrible things, so now he can enjoy life. For him, if he wins it’s very important, if he loses it’s not the end of the world. He is happy in his life, he knows his body really well, mentally he can also produce and be more relaxed. When you are winning everything, when you are on top of your game and you’re the No1, you just enjoy yourself, you know what to do.”

Novak DjokovicNovak Djokovic ‘is more flexible than anyone else’ and ‘his fitness is the best in the world’, says the former France Davis Cup player Henri Leconte. Photograph: Rex/Shutterstock

How Kelsey Robinson uses tech on the road to Rio
The USA team has had the privilege to test out a bunch of emerging technology to increase our performance, but one of my favorites so far has been the Basis Peak, a watch the team was given last year. The watch is simple in design and usability. The interface has three main screens: the first shows your time and heart rate, the second shows calories and steps taken and the third shows your stats during a workout. It also syncs with my phone, which then shares information of how long and how well you slept. This is such a huge advantage for our team to get feedback on how our sleep was on the plane, the night we arrive and the nights to follow while in a new country. With the stats the watch provides, I can test, track and eliminate certain habits that may be negatively affecting my sleep, like staying up and binging on Netflix shows or sipping that afternoon coffee. This information is vital to my adjustment and my performance. It allows me to be at my best by the end of the week, whether in Thailand or flying across the ocean to Dubai. I can maintain a performance level throughout a month-long tournament with the help of the Basis Peak.

Kelsey Robinson

Minnesota Viking DB Jabari Price is currently on a marathon charity walk
Price and (his brother Dahrnaz) Tigner first became passionate about the issue of childhood obesity through First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign. The brothers want to further her efforts and hope Obama will join the Walk of Hearts for the final mile in Washington, D.C. “We’ve seen Michelle Obama push awareness for the cause, and we’re taking that next step ourselves,” said Price, who recently became a first-time father. During the walk, Price and Tigner plan to meet and invite local children to participate in “The Mile of Hearts,” where they’ll have a chance to walk a mile with the brothers and learn more about a healthy lifestyle. The idea behind the activity is to show children that exercising and losing weight can be fun and a part of everyday life. “We will be taking stops along the way to raise awareness,” Price said. “Exercising, riding bikes, doing the whole nine yards to promote this idea and show kids, ‘If we can do it, you can do it.’ We want them to just get out and play 60 minutes a day, whatever it takes.”

Jabari PriceJabari Price upends Jameis Winston. Ann Heisenfelt

Hilarious Sports Stuff People Have Tried to Crowdfund
Cleveland Cavaliers fans are probably regretting that whole Kevin Love GoFundMe page, huh? Love grabbed 14 rebounds in Game 7 of the NBA Finals. So it would seem attempting (however cheekily) to incentivize him to sit out any games for money was obviously ill-advised. It was still funny though. It wasn’t the first time sports fans have attempted to use crowdfunding to their advantage with hilarious results. Serious or not, the following campaigns were definitely humorous—some a little, some a lot. It should be noted, crowdfunding is a useful way to raise money for everything from a new business idea to a charitable cause. This collection of sports humor is not intended to cheapen the legitimacy of such campaigns, but instead merely point out a few clever and/or ridiculous sports fans out there. In addition, a few of the following campaigns ended up donating funds raised to charity. Humor and philanthropy together? Sounds like a win.

Kevin Love1Mark Duncan/Associated Press


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