Welcome to issue two hundred and ninety-eight of the Sports Doing Good newsletter. This week’s 10 stories include:
1. How an 0-for-45 slump shaped Craig Counsell’s managerial career
2. British Sailor Alex Thomson Battles the Elements Alone at Sea
3. Welcome to the Data-Charged Future of Sports
4. NBA and WNBA launch Her Time To Play
5. Opinion: Events of 1968 brought purpose of disruptive protest into focus
6. NBA star Joel Embiid was so bad at basketball he watched YouTube videos to improve — here’s how he ultimately found success
7. The Harlem Globetrotters of Africa
8. Ten Fingers Are Overrated
9. UEFA Commits to Growing Women’s Game
10. College Hockey Alumni Rise in Prominence in the N.H.L.
Sports Stars Partner with Rock The Vote for US Voter Registration Campaign (Beyond
Fighting to Stop Sexual Abuse in Sports (by Nancy Hogshead-Makar) (The Players’
Sport Performance Anxiety in Youth Sports (TrueSport)
Football Star Blaise Matuidi named Champion of the Year and Champion for Peace (Peace and Sport)
Sport and hyper-masculinity in the age of #MeToo (Sport and Dev)
We present again our “Featured Video” offering(s). With the explosion of video content out there highlighting the good in sport, we want to showcase such content for your enjoyment and learning. This will be an ongoing effort.
The Cholita Climbers of Bolivia Scale Mountains in Skirts
For me, doing the newsletter for the past 5+ years is the gift that keeps giving. I am constantly inspired, motivated, encouraged, and entertained when reading about individuals and organizations who are doing so much good in the world. I can’t help but think about doing more in support of these folks or finding other things to do that can have a positive impact on a local level and maybe around the world. Well, I think I may have come up with something.
This week I am proud to introduce Love Equals (www.loveequals.net), an apparel and accessories brand based on the idea that the most important and strongest feeling we can have is “love.” And that when we want to express real affection for another person, place, group, activity, company, organization, or anything else, we say “I love that.” It is the highest form of praise you can offer. The equals sign (Lov=) connects one’s love to that object of affection. And we believe in the idea that “the move love you give, the more you get in return.”
Our strategy is one of differentiation built on quality, innovative design, and core message. I want people, i.e. you, to see the company as honest, truthful, loyal, generous, and benevolent.
Again, my thanks goes out to our readers and all of the people doing such positive things around the world. I don’t think I would have had the wherewithal to do this if it were not for you. While Love Equals is not a sports-only brand, we proudly target that market with our initial products and our initial good work initiatives. That mean, from the outset, taking 10% from every sale and donating it to a non-profit. The first three organizations targeted are all sport-related.
Now, back to the newsletter The stories we are happy to feature this week include: Milwaukee Brewer manager Craig Counsell; British sailor Alex Thomson; how sports is becoming “data-charged”; the partnership between the NBA and WNBA to get more girls to play basketball and live a better life; an Opinion piece by Kenneth Shropshire reflecting on racial protests that took place 50 years ago on the world’s biggest sports stage, the Summer Olympics; NBA star Joel Embiid; the burgeoning basketball market in Angola; a repeat appearance by a fantastic young man, Trashaun Willis; a commitment by UEFA to grow the game of women’s football/soccer; and the prominence of college hockey players and coaches in the NHL.
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So, enjoy. And have a good week.
How an 0-for-45 slump shaped Craig Counsell’s managerial career
“I get a chance to help build a team in a community that’s really important to me,” Counsell said when asked why he took the job of Brewers manager. “When I took over it was very clear what was going to happen and the path we were going to take. That never deterred me in any way.” In this era, there isn’t a small-market team that hasn’t attempted a rebuild of sorts. Milwaukee accomplished it about as fast as any of them, with Melvin giving way to current GM David Stearns and with Counsell the mainstay between the two executives. “We did have talent on the team and knew it was going to get traded,” Counsell said. “We thought we could accumulate talent right away, but you never know how fast it’s going to come together.” In three seasons under Counsell, the Brewers increased their win total from 73 to 86 to 96 victories. They’re at 99 wins if you include the NLDS sweep. So what’s made him so good at his job? “He was released, put on waivers, designated for assignment,” Melvin said. “You name it. He kept battling back. What player can’t appreciate that?
Craig Counsell’s own career as a player has made it easier to navigate difficult conversations, like the one he had with Travis Shaw this summer after the Brewers traded for two other infield options. AP Photo/David Zalubowski,
NBA and WNBA launch Her Time To Play
Los Angeles Sparks’ Nneka Ogwumike celebrates her winning basket with about four seconds left as the Sparks beat the Minnesota Lynx 77-76 to win the WNBA basketball championship title in Game 5 on Oct. 20, 2016, in Minneapolis. Jim Mone/Associated Press
Opinion: Events of 1968 brought purpose of disruptive protest into focus
Much like many today in regards to NFL players kneeling to protest social justice issues, the anti-patriotism angle is not what I saw. Don’t get me wrong; I understand the analysis. I better see it as a conundrum: If you don’t protest in a way that causes discomfort, you won’t get the attention needed to highlight your issue. Without a doubt there was no moment bigger than the Olympics in terms of attention. Also, the patriotic aura of the Olympics in 1968 was today’s environment on steroids. Looking back, there was no bigger, connected moment to protest the issues concerning the Olympic Project For Human Rights. Looking back, the only bigger moment could have been on the victory stand for the men’s 100 meters, the race that crowns the world’s fastest human. But the 200 was more than adequate. Two things about the Olympics at that time that may not resonate so well with those who have not been longtime viewers of the games. First, many more Americans were track and field fans, and we knew these athletes the way people today know the stars of the NFL. The popularity of athletics was at a very different level. Second, the medal count made this whole show exciting, especially the prospect of the United States beating the USSR. This was a very patriotic event. It really was America versus the world. The bad guys were the communists, including the USSR and East Germany. You could also still find yourself rooting for American allies (yes, of the World War II vintage) such as Canada, Great Britain and Australia, when there was not a U.S. presence in a given race.
Tommie Smith and John Carlos, gold and bronze medalists in the 200-meter run at the 1968 Olympic Games, engage in a victory stand protest against unfair treatment of blacks in the United States. With heads lowered and black-gloved fists raised in the black power salute, they refuse to recognize the American flag and national anthem. Australian Peter Norman is the silver medalist. (Photo courtesy Getty Images)
NBA star Joel Embiid was so bad at basketball he watched YouTube videos to improve — here’s how he ultimately found success
Born in Cameroon, Embiid grew up playing sports like soccer and volleyball. “Nobody in Cameroon plays basketball. You can play volleyball,” Embiid writes his father told him when he first expressed an interest in basketball after catching some of the 2009 NBA Finals on television. Embiid, who was 15 at the time, was inspired by great players like Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard. “The way they moved, and the athleticism, I thought it was the coolest thing in the world,” Embiid writes. “I had that moment like, ‘I just wanna do that.’” Embiid started playing pickup basketball on a local court near his house. He’d even yell “Kobe!” with every shot he hoisted. “Imagine it. I’m out there shooting bricks, yelling out ‘Kobe,’ on a busted hoop in Cameroon. Seven years later, I was playing Kobe,” Embiid says of his surprising rise from unknown to a first-round NBA draft pick in 2014.
The Harlem Globetrotters of Africa
While Angolans have a rabid fan base at home, pro scouts rarely made their way to its oil- and diamond-rich lands. Part of the challenge was political: Until recently, an Angolan visa was one of the most difficult in the world to come by. Another difficulty was that opportunities for youth athletes to play basketball are scarce, as the quality of life remains low, with life expectancy and infant mortality rates in Angola ranking among the worst in the world. Still, Angola is opening itself up to the world — and that shift could benefit its hoops dreams. As of March, Angola began issuing visas on arrival for tourists from 61 countries, including the United States, China and all European Union members. It eliminated a mandate requiring a “letter of invitation” for all would-be visitors and has ramped up efforts to create a sustainable tourism industry. On the basketball front, NBA Africa and FIBA partnered to host a Basketball Without Borders camp in Angola in 2016. And Helmarc Academia, an Angolan semipro team, is partnering with the NBA to create a Jr. NBA program in conjunction with 12 other African nations. “We see it in the camps — they are going to produce NBA players in the next few years,” Fall says. If you’re looking for the next Embiid, look no farther than Angola.
Ten Fingers Are Overrated
Born with amniotic band syndrome, a condition in which amniotic bands entangle the fetus and stunt the growth of parts of the body, Trashaun’s left arm ends where his elbow would be—his “little arm,” he calls it. It’s a condition he shares with rookie NFL linebacker Shaquem Griffin, a similarity not lost on Trashaun. “The ultimate goal is to make it to college and then hopefully the next level,” Trashaun says. “Whether it’s football or basketball, it doesn’t matter to me as long as I’m playing. I feel like I can compete with anyone on the court or on the field as long as I continue to push myself hard enough.” On the football field, Trashaun has found a home at middle linebacker this season after playing quarterback as a freshman. At 6’5″ and 220 pounds, he has the size to play at either spot. On the hardwood, thanks to his build and silky-smooth shooting motion, Trashaun can play almost any position. It is on the basketball court that the world first learned of him. In 2017, Trashaun dunked in a game as an eighth-grader—a moment that went viral after a flood of national coverage. Almost two years later, college coaches are showing interest in a player who will be celebrated as an underdog because of his “little arm.” But Trashaun wants no part of that story. “I refuse to say that I am disabled,” he says. “Because I’m not.”
UEFA Commits to Growing Women’s Game
UEFA President Aleksander ?eferin said: “The potential for women’s football is limitless and it is with this in mind UEFA has taken the step to increase the funding available to the national associations to help improve the women’s game across the continent. Increasing the participation and the role of women in football has been one of my main objectives, both before and after I became UEFA president.” The 50% increase is part of UEFA’s commitment to the #WhatIf campaign – a social media-based initiative created by the organisation Women in Football and supported by Synergy. #WhatIf inspires and encourages businesses, celebrities and members of the public to identify one way that they can take action to contribute to empowering girls and women. Ebru Köksal, chairperson of Women in Football said: “We launched #WhatIf nearly five months ago and the support we have received from the football industry and beyond has been immense. To now welcome UEFA, the governing body of European football, to join our inaugural campaign is a huge honour.
College Hockey Alumni Rise in Prominence in the N.H.L.
College hockey, once largely dismissed as a path to a pro hockey career, now has a large footprint throughout the N.H.L. When the season began this month, the league had six new coaches, four of whom played N.C.A.A. hockey. Two of them led college teams last year: Dallas’s Jim Montgomery (University of Denver) and the Rangers’ David Quinn (Boston University). Now, nine of the 31 N.H.L. coaches are former college hockey players, including Mike Sullivan, who won Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2016 and 2017. Up the organizational ladder, 12 general managers have roots in college hockey, the most recent being the Wild’s Paul Fenton, who, like Quinn and Sullivan, played at B.U. According to a database maintained by College Hockey Inc., an independent marketing arm for the sport, about 300 former N.C.A.A. players are employed by N.H.L. teams as coaches, executives and scouts. It’s hard to imagine there was a time in the 1960s when Tommy Williams was the only former college player in the N.H.L. Now, a third of the league’s players came through the N.C.A.A.