Sports Doing Good Newsletter, #58

May 5-May 11 2013

Welcome to week fifty-eight of the Sports Doing Good newsletter.

In sports, and in life in general, we hope we are equipped with everything we need to be successful in life. That could be intelligence, physical strength, the will to succeed, and the emotional maturity to take on even the toughest challenges. All are important, some even seemingly indispensable.

But how much of any of these traits is enough? Do I need two arms, two legs, and perfect vision and hearing to be successful on and off the field of play? As we have seen several times in previous Sports Doing Good newsletters, the definition of “enough” depends partially on the context and very much on the person involved. This week we have three stories which highlight the efforts of individuals who challenge notions of disability and what is “needed” to be an athlete. We are rightly amazed by their feats of athleticism and the power of their commitment to doing their best.

In addition to those three stories we present ones that feature a new soccer ball company with a “TOMS Shoes” model of giving back, a new Carnegie Sports and Entertainment exclusive interview, a baseball player who literally gives a fan the shirt off his back, and a baseball team providing a wonderful on-the-field experience for some special young athletes, amongst other stories.

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

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So enjoy. And have a good week.

New Soccer Ball Company Seeks to Change the Game
Pass It Forward, LLC, is an organization that provides environmentally friendly soccer equipment to children in need around the world through a ‘Pay It Forward’ approach. We are committed to the global soccer community by sharing the passion of soccer and providing an opportunity for others to give back.

“When you buy a Pass It Forward soccer ball, one is donated to a child in need. You can also donate directly should you not need a ball for yourself. Buy one and be a game changer!”

Carnegie Exclusive Interview: Noah Levine, Executive Director, Global, SEED Project
SEED Project is a 501(c)3 non-profit that uses basketball as a vehicle to inspire, empower, and support a holistic development of promising African youth in educational opportunities. Carnegie spoke with SEED Project Executive Director, Noah Levine, as he was on the ground in Senegal at the SEED Academy to learn more about the vital role sport plays in the education of Senegalese youth.

Matt Kemp gives fan an autograph … then his hat, jersey and shoes (Video)
Here’s the back-story, as well as we can piece together via YouTube descriptions and comments: The fan in the video, Joshua Jones, is fighting “a tough battle,” says his friend Tommy Schultz, who filmed and uploaded the video. Jones’ family “put money together” to get great seats to see the Dodgers play the Giants in San Francisco. The group, including dad Steve Jones and brother Ryan Jones, was able to get the attention of Dodgers third-base coach Tim Wallach.
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Undaunted: Josh Ruchotzke has not let the ravages of a near-deadly infection keep him off the baseball field.
About 20 people lost limbs in the Boston Marathon bombings. Now they’re swimming in that soup of phantom pain and real fear of what their future holds. Boy, do I have a kid for them. His name is Josh Ruchotzke. He’s 18. And he’s one of the better hitters on the Farmington (Ill.) High School varsity baseball team. Why does Josh matter? Because he’s basically doing it all without legs or hands.

Kenneth Faried makes moms proud; When Jason Collins announced he is gay, he had an ally in Denver
Minutes after Jason Collins revealed he was gay on April 29, a certain Denver Nugget fired up his iPhone to send out an urgent tweet. He wanted to be the first to give a standing ovation, the first to say the world was a better place. It took him about 60 seconds to type his words in, and, presto, Kenneth Faried was in the fray again.

Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Dear Nike: I Can’t Tie My Shoes
Cindy McCombe tells the story of how Matthew Walzer, a 17-year-old with cerebral palsy, used social media and key influencers to make his message go viral, and how Nike responded by making custom shoes for him.

16-year-old girl, born without legs and one arm, is now a swimming champ
“It’s kind of indescribable. When they announce her name and she’s representing the United States, I get goose bumps all over. I’m so amazed that’s my child,” Joyce Wheeler, Kayla’s mother, said. “We always told her there is nothing you can’t do, we just might have to figure out a different way for you to do it, and she has pushed the envelope.”

It’s Just Another Hurdle for Blind Athletes
But it is extremely rare for the visually impaired to compete in the pole vault. It is one of track and field’s riskiest and most technically demanding events, requiring competitors to sprint down a runway, plant the pole in a box, invert their bodies and turn 180 degrees while flying over a crossbar. Many high schools have eliminated the event because of liability concerns.

Aria Ottmueller, a high school junior, began vaulting only five weeks ago after trying for more than a year to persuade her coach to let her participate.  Joshua Lott for The New York Times

Fort Myers Miracle players make memories for youngsters at camp
The entire Miracle team and coaching staff was on hand to teach the kids hitting, throwing, catching and fielding skills. The camp is hosted by Cape Coral resident Dave Clark, who suffers from the effects of post-polio syndrome. Clark spent the afternoon buzzing around in his wheelchair, merrily chatting with the campers and their family members.

Fort Myers Miracle Cole Johnson high-fives special needs student Yesenia Villeda, 20, of Golden Gate High School, during a baseball camp Saturday at Hammond Stadium. / Terry Allen Williams/The News-Press

Street Soccer USA National Cup – July 20-22, 2013
Welcome to the Street Soccer USA Cup, the nation’s premier sport for social change event. The Street Soccer USA Cup is a world class amateur sporting competition and the only 4v4 national championship. Visit the links below to get involved or see the menu bar for details.

How the Portland Timbers made a cancer-stricken 8-year-old’s wish come true
Atticus Lane-Dupre, a shaggy-haired 8-year-old boy diagnosed with cancer last fall, not only conjured up the idea of taking on the mighty Portland Timbers, but he of course starred in his side’s 10-9 victory on Wednesday. He scored four goals, including the match-winner in front of 3,000 fans at JELD-WEN Field. Through Make-A-Wish Oregon, Atticus was granted his greatest wish: that his club, The Green Machine, would play against the Timbers in a scrimmage.

Griner Says She Is Part of Mission to Help All Live in Truth
When the N.B.A. center Jason Collins announced he was gay last week, I was thrilled. Not only was I extremely happy for him, I thought that maybe, just maybe, his courage and the wave of positive reaction meant that we were on the verge of an era when people accept and celebrate one another’s differences. I think that’s what makes life beautiful: everyone is different and we can all learn from one another.

Brittney Griner writes, “I never thought that to be beautiful, you had to look any certain way at all. In my opinion, you’re beautiful because you are you.”

TheScore secures $16 million in funding to beef up its mobile sport apps
“This financing allows us to ramp-up the development of some exciting new features for our mobile sports platforms, providing sports fans with an even more immersive experience while accelerating user growth across the United States,” John Levy , Chairman and CEO of theScore said.

Ronda Rousey Among Business Insider’s “50 Women Who Are Changing the World”
UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey is breaking new ground every day, and everyone seems to be taking notice. Rousey’s latest honor is landing on the Business Insider list of “50 Women Who Are Changing the Word.”–mma.html

Texas Rangers Foundation to break ground on Miracle League Field
The Texas Rangers Foundation is making a $100,000 donation towards the building of Miracle League field in Southlake. This will be the fourth facility for the Miracle League of DFW, which develops field to encourage children to play ball across North Texas.

NFL looks to improve Rooney Rule on minority hiring
The league’s first major step will take place in Philadelphia this week, when the NFL holds a career development symposium at Penn’s Wharton School of Business from Monday to Wednesday. Potential head coach and general manager candidates will attend, with panels on such topics as the expectations of ownership and managing relationships with the front office.

Stanford’s David Shaw was one of only 18 black head coaches at124 Division I-A schools last season. (DARRYL BUSH / Associated Press)

United Drives to collect games and toys during June
Throughout the 2011 Major League Soccer season, D.C. United collects items at every home game to benefit pre-determined non-profit organizations within the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area.  This June, the club will collect games and toys for the kids at Children’s National Medical Center and The Children’s Center in support of United Drives.

Lionel Messi Biopic Is In Works, Expected To Hit Theatres During ’14 World Cup
Producers aim to focus on the story of a young boy from humble beginnings in Rosario, Argentina, who overcomes his physical shortcomings to become one of the greatest players of all time. “The goal is to make a powerful and positive film that will leave audiences feeling inspired to go after their dreams no matter how impossible they may seem,” said Ewald.

BTF and the New York Mets Foundation to Donate up to $1 Million through Grant Program for Youth Baseball and Softball Organizations Affected by Superstorm Sandy
“Immediately after the storm, we made a pledge to help our hometown recover from Sandy. This grant program, in partnership with the Baseball Tomorrow Fund, to restore fields damaged by Sandy is another opportunity for us to lend a hand in this ongoing process,” said Fred Wilpon, Chairman & CEO, New York Mets.  “The recovery effort has been and will continue to be a priority for all of us at the Mets in the weeks and months ahead.”

The World At Their Feet – Karachi United Football Foundation
Established in 1996, Karachi United Football Club (KUFC) has become one of the premier clubs in the greater Karachi area, having successfully established a track record of accomplishments and organising forums for the development of football in Pakistan. Over the course of the last 5 years, it has increased its ambitions to take on this broader developmental role.—Karachi-United-Football-Foundation
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