Sports Doing Good Newsletter, #61

May 26-June 1, 2013

Welcome to week sixty-one of the Sports Doing Good newsletter.

Wedding announcements, no surprise, are not a common feature at Sports Doing Good. We leave that to traditional outlets such as the New York Times and your local newspapers. However, this week we felt it more than appropriate to highlight the nuptials of someone we at Sports Doing Good consider a friend, Eli Wolff.

Eli, a former Paralympian, is a real leader in the sport and inclusion/development movement. He is well-known for his tireless efforts when it comes to researching and promoting meaningful discussion about this topic. His efforts have helped spur important action in the U.S. and around the world. So this week we send our congratulations to Eli and his wife, Paralympic champion Cheri Blauwet, who will individually, and together, continue to find success when it comes to sports and social change.

We have several stories this week that speak to the idea of inclusion (participation) at all levels. Whether it is Curtis Granderson’s $5 million donation to build a new baseball stadium, Nike’s fight against inactivity, the wonderful growth of competitions like Tough Mudder, funding to help build healthier communities in Australia, MLB’s Diversity Business Summit, UNICEF’s focus on children with disabilities, or Tyler Perry’s support of sports programs in Ohio, we see the sphere of influence of sports being extended and positive change being the result.

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.

Athletes who served in the military
Memorial Day is a time to remember those who have fallen while serving our country. We are saluting the athletes who put their careers on hold so that they could help protect our freedom. Happy Memorial Day!–649365809.html

Baseball player Ted Williams served in the Navy reserve during WWII. After being discharged, he returned to the Red Sox in 1946 where he played until he was called to fight in the Korean War. There he served as a pilot for the Marines. He flew 39 missions during the war, which resulted in him losing part of his hearing.

Muthu Alagappan: Stanford student gaining cult status for rethinking NBA philosophy (TEDxSpokane)
His discovery has opened up a whole new basketball debate — a Pandora’s Box-and-One, if you will. Alagappan argues that basketball’s traditional five positions are as outmoded as James Naismith’s peach basket, insisting instead that there are at least 10 distinct positions. And he has the topological data analysis to prove it.
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Eli Wolff and Cheri Blauwet: Paralympian couple influencing change
Wolff and Cheri Blauwet celebrated their wedding this past weekend at Sioux Falls’ historic McKennan Park. Like many weddings before it, people smiled and cheered, but this wedding was different. It featured two Paralympians, a pair of international advocates. Kemp flies terminally ill fan Joshua Jones to L.A., introduces him to his famous pals
The baseball newscycle had almost forgot about Joshua Jones, the 19-year-old fan for whom Kemp almost undressed. But Kemp hadn’t. His goodwill toward Jones — who is terminally ill with cancer and who recently had brain surgery — didn’t stop when the Dodgers outfielder pulled off his cleats.

Curtis Granderson to give $5 million to build new baseball stadium at his alma mater
When New York Yankees star Curtis Granderson had his jersey retired in February at his college alma mater, the University of Illinois at Chicago, he promised to help fund a new baseball stadium there that would serve both the college and the community.
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Arvind Mahankali of New York wins National Spelling Bee
Arvind Mahankali has conquered his nemesis, the German language, to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee on Thursday night, winning at last after third-place finishes in 2011 and 2012. The 13-year-old from Bayside Hills, N.Y., correctly spelled “knaidel,” a small mass of leavened dough, to win the 86th version of the competition.

Racing cars, racing people and the beauty of sports
Occasionally an announcer points out a good-looking golf swing, or mentions a batter with a perfect turn on the ball. But with a couple of exceptions we marginalize the aesthetics of sports, and leave the ideas and ideals of beauty to eggheads and old poets and ancient pottery.

Al Bello/Getty Images

Zack is back. Surviving the Aurora shootings
He didn’t want attention, pity or a hero’s medal. You’re not a hero because you got shot. The only thing he wanted was a new Colorado State football jersey. When he’d verbally committed to CSU that June to play offensive line, his mom bought him one and he wore it everywhere. But now it was soaked in blood and cut off him by EMTs in the ambulance. He called Rams coach Jim McElwain to tell him he was OK and to ask for a new one.

Zack Golditch has bravely fought to keep his life on the path it was on before he went to see “The Dark Knight Rises” at the Aurora 16 theaters in Colorado last July.

Nike-created initiative is designed to fight physical inactivity epidemic
“I get to use my role as an athlete to empower other people,” she said. “We all need to be evangelists in some way. You can be that role model in your community. And we all can incorporate sport and play in our daily lives.”

The first female leg amputee, Ironman triathlete Sarah Reinertsen, 38, talks about a Nike initiative to fight physical inactivity at the American College of Sports Medicine annual meeting May 30, 2013, in Indianapolis. Barb Berggoetz,

Film lineup for 5th annual Kicking + Screening Soccer Film Festival in New York
Five rebels. An inspiring underdog national team. A kooky musician. And one badass Australian. It’s going to be quite the menagerie of stories at the 5th annual Kicking + Screening Soccer Film Festival in New York. And we’re thrilled to announce the complete film lineup. K+S NEW YORK 2013 will take place Tuesday, June 18, through Friday, June 21, at the Tribeca Cinemas in downtown New York City.


‘Tough Mudder’ is a grueling test, a growing business
“We’re all stuck in corporate offices all day long, and it’s a good way to let your hair down,” says the wiry Perko, who was celebrating his 50th birthday with his 19-year-old son. “Maybe we were all deprived with our sandboxes when we were children and this is our outlet.” Last year, there were 1.5 million US participants in just the three largest obstacle companies: Tough Mudder (the largest), Spartan Race, and Warrior Dash.

Stan Grossfeld/Globe Staff. There was no joy in mudville for this competitor, because the “Electric Eel” obstacle features dangling wires that give off powerful shocks.

NFL’s San Diego Charger’s Le’Ron McClain Visits Wounded Warrior Families (Bonfire Impact)
“I think (the similarities include the) work ethic, being part of a team, and having your brothers back on the battle field. On Sundays we approach the field and go in as a team. The difference is… football is men hitting each other and in the military it’s men and women coming together and fighting for our country.”

Gatorade, NFL and MLS Launch Beat the Heat Campaign to Educate Athletes, Parents and Coaches About Heat-Related Illnesses
As a part of Beat the Heat efforts, Gatorade worked with leading experts in hydration and heat safety to compile the Gatorade Heat Safety Kit, an educational go-to resource for heat safety tips and advice. The Kit provides easy recommendations for athletes, parents and coaches alike to reduce the chances of heat illness this summer. The Gatorade Heat Safety Kit will be available for free download on, and

Girl power no longer a novelty at Indy 500
While Formula One flirts with the idea of a female driver, girl power is already as much a part of the Indianapolis 500 as turbo-charged engines and the winner chugging cold milk in Victory Lane. Swiss Simona de Silvestro, Brazilian Ana Beatriz and Britons Pippa Mann and Katherine Legge represent the four women who will take the command to start their engines alongside 29 men at the famed Brickyard for Sunday’s race.

Dragon Racing driver Sebastian Saavedra (R) of Colombia talks with Dale Coyne Racing driver Ana Beatriz of Brazil after the two finished qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana May 19, 2013. REUTERS/Brent Smith

Australia supporting Pacific countries to develop healthier communities through sport
A $14 million competitive grants program funded by AusAID and managed by the Australian Sports Commission signifies the opening of the Pacific Sports Partnerships. “Sport is a wonderful driver for social inclusion and for development, which is why we are providing grants of up to $2.5 million per selected sport to help achieve development outcomes in the Pacific” Minister for Sport Senator Kate Lundy said.

The Australian Sports Outreach Program using sport to achieve development outcomes in the Pacific

2013 MLB Diversity Business Summit and the NSHSS
The 2013 MLB Diversity Business Summit is designed to promote workforce and supplier diversity throughout Major League Baseball and exposes professionals and entrepreneurs to the many business opportunities that can be found league-wide. The second annual summit, which will be co- hosted by MLB and the Houston Astros on June 18th and 19th, is our way of giving individuals interested in our industry the opportunity to connect with executives from all 30 MLB Clubs, Minor League Cubs MLB Network, MLB Advanced Media and MLB’s central office.

UNICEF launches its flagship publication State of the World’s Children which this year focuses on children with disabilities.
You can access the full report in the range of accessible formats at It specifically mentions the right to sport and recreation on page 13 and 16, but there are many other related topics mentioned throughout like rehabilitation and education. A number of personal essays included in the report are easily accessed at: British Paralympian Tanni Grey-Thompson wrote one on ‘Sport is a Gateway to Inclusion’

Iterations: How ESPN Thinks About The Future Of Its Product And Technologies
Now as the SVP of Product for ESPN, the massive sports media and entertainment company, I invited Ryan and his colleague, Aaron LaBerge, who runs technology, to share some insights of how they left the technology world and ended up at ESPN and what ESPN thinks about the intersection of mobile and social in delivering content, developers and their APIs, the emerging hardware ecosystem for sports and fitness, and much more.

Tyler Perry donates $100K to help student athletes in the city’s South-Western schools.
The Columbus Dispatch ( ) reports that Perry was drawn to Finland Middle School on Friday after seeing a TV report about teacher Mary Mulvany starting a foundation to raise scholarship money to cover fees.  South-Western schools earned national attention when athletics and extra-curricular activities were eliminated after a failed levy in 2009. The ballot request was later approved by voters, and sports, clubs and other activities were resurrected for a fee.

Spurs’ Tim Duncan beast on court, if not in press
“It’s the little things that make him special. Offensively, he can destroy you in the low post, he can run perfect pick and rolls with any decent guard and when all else fails, he can just bank that pretty 15-footer. Seriously, does anyone else in basketball have that shot?” Simmons asked in the video. “Since 1997, you never heard about Duncan dogging it, calling out teammates, showing up heavy for training camp, complaining about money, asking for a trade, giving himself a nickname. Of course, people found that boring. … I’m sorry. Since when was winning boring?”

(photo, Tim Duncan)