Sports Doing Good Newsletter, #67

July 7 – July 13, 2013

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

I was asked by a friend this week, “What qualifies as a sport?” He is a personal trainer so I thought he was going to ask if working out is a sport. We talked about a recent law case that said competitive cheerleading was technically not a sport, at least when it came to Title IX. If cheerleading was not considered a sport, I was sure that a court, and probably most people, would rule that yo-yo was definitely not a sport. So why are we including a story about a yo-yo performer in this week’s Sports Doing Good newsletter? Let us explain.

Black, the name of a Japanese performance artist, is a master yo-yo performer. What he does is surely impressive for its energy, precision, creativity, and remarkable coordination. But could you say he is an athlete? (Well, he was crowned a world champion). Again, maybe most would say no but surely a few would say yes. However, getting caught up in labels – athlete, performer, artist – could lead to missing the resilience and brilliance (that’s for you Clyde) of Black and people like him.

In a performance for the ever-compelling TED series, Black talks about being bullied, lacking and then finding self-esteem, perseverance, passion, and ultimately, achievement. It was an inspiring first-person account of themes presented week after week in the Sports Doing Good newsletter. So whether or not you think yo-yoing is a sport, there is no questioning the life lessons one can glean from Black and those who find meaning in doing something they love, e.g. sports.

In addition to Black, we are proud to include pieces that highlight friendship (Dartanyon Crockett, Leroy Sutton, Lisa Fenn), being a role model (Kim Cross and Eddie Fryer), courage (Leland Mitchell), diplomacy (Sead Dizdarevic), and achieving one’s dream (Osunaarashi), amongst others.

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.

‘Carry On’: Why I stayed
Dartanyon and Leroy Sutton grubbed their way into my heart four years ago. As an ESPN television features producer at the time, I was always on the hunt for unique athlete pieces. For 10 years, I traveled the country, chronicling human-interest stories against the backdrop of sports…But what I found on the wrestling mats at Cleveland’s Lincoln-West High School in 2009 caused my spirit to sink and soar, all in the same moment.

Leroy Sutton, Dartanyon Crockett and Lisa Fenn grew close during the reporting of her 2009 story, “Carry On.” Brownie Harris for ESPN

Triathletes Kim Cross and Eddie Fryer: Winning in their own way every time they compete
We’re not pros. We’re parents. With full-time jobs, and a dog, and a yard and professional colleagues who shake their heads and bless our hearts when they hear how we’ve spent our weekends. Eddie is an insurance agent. I’m an editor with an office job. We work hard, we train hard and we try our best to do it without neglecting our kid.

Kim Cross found the finish line later than she had hoped, but that didn’t matter to Austin, who was waiting with a water bottle and a kiss. Courtesy of Mary Lou Davis.

John McEnroe wants more NYC kids to let their rackets do the talking
“My goal when we started the Academy was to bring the buzz back to tennis, and to make it available, and attractive, as a sport to inner city kids,” McEnroe told me in an email exchange this morning. “We need to energize great athletes from the neighborhoods around Randall’s Island, Harlem and the Bronx,” McEnroe continued.

John McEnroe went on to become a tennis star after growing up in Queens.  He now gives back to NYC by helping to provide tennis instruction to inner city youth. Rick Maiman

WATCH: One Man’s Journey to Yo-Yo Mastery (TED)
What I have learned from the yo-yo is that if I make enough effort, with enough passion, nothing is impossible. To see my passion through my performance, please watch this video –

Leland Mitchell, Who Defied Racism on the Basketball Court, Dies at 72
The game between Mississippi State and Loyola on March 15, 1963 — contested at the height of the civil rights struggle — is widely seen as the beginning of the end of segregation in college sports.

Leland Mitchell (44) in the 1963 N.C.A.A. tournament. A state judge had barred Mississippi State from playing against blacks.

Crowd-funding helps athletes chase Olympic dreams
In the next five years, every elite athlete or team will be using some sort of crowd-funding, predicts Bill Kerig, the founder of an online funding site for athletes, teams and sports organizations. Kerig’s site, RallyMe.Com, is partnering with six national governing bodies, including the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association.

In a file photo from Feb. 24, 2012, Katie Uhlaender, right, reacts with her mother Karen after winning the women’s skeleton world championships in Lake Placid, N.Y. (Photo: Mike Groll AP)

Bosnian Basketball Coaches Benefits From Georgetown Sports Diplomacy Program
The second phase brought the 12 Bosnian coaches to Georgetown for a 20-day program. The coaches worked with local organizations that develop programs for at-risk youth, attended workshops on inter-ethnic sports programs and assisted at basketball youth camps, including Georgetown Head Coach John Thompson III’s boys basketball camp.
(video –

UAA All-American who lost feet to frostbite is smiling again
Cheseto’s blades came from the Challenged Athletes Foundation, a San Diego charity that provides assistance for disabled athletes. The blades were made by Ossur, the company that also manufactures the cheetah blades made famous at last year’s Summer Olympics by South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius, aka the Blade Runner. Cheseto’s blades, made for endurance running, are shorter than the cheetah blades, which are for sprinting.

Marko Cheseto crosses the finish line on his new carbon-fiber running blades at the Skinny Mini 6K race Friday evening May 31, 2013 on the Delaney Park Strip.  ERIK HILL — Anchorage Daily News

Ultimate frisbee: Building bridges between communities divided by conflict
Ultimate Peace has brought together Israeli and Palestinian young people at a residential camp which used ultimate frisbee to initiate friendships and contribute to peace-building in the Middle East.

Rascals and Heroes, Before the Babe Metropolitan Museum Opens Huge Show of Baseball Cards
In truth, the dead-ball era was about as innocent as the gyrations of Little Egypt, the Dita Von Teese of the day. But this distant time — a two-decade period between the close of the 19th century and the ascent of a true game changer, the home run hitter Babe Ruth — was far more colorful, helping to cement baseball’s claim as the national pastime.

Legends of the Dead Ball Era” at the Met contains 600 cards out of the 31,000 it holds, the fruit of one man’s obsession.” Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times


Chicago Fire’s Gonzalo Segares named July’s MLS WORKS Humanitarian of the Month
This year, he became a spokesman Gift of Hope Foundation, an organization that encourages and coordinates organ and tissue donation in Illinois and northwest Indiana. During the offseason, he attended an event for Teammates for Kids in Nashville with Garth Brooks, a founder of the Foundation, where he helped procure more donations for the Chicago Fire Foundation. He spent his two bye weekends during June attending the Fire Foundation’s Brews and Bites event and the Chicago Pride Parade.

Sports and patriotism
Sports, which were once by demand of the paying customers and the league themselves a neutral oasis from a dangerous world, have since become the epicenter of community and national exhalation…The atmospheres of the games are no longer politically neutral but decidedly, often uncomfortably, nationalistic.

From giant flags to flyovers, patriotism has become a part of American sports. Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The George Washington University Offers Online Learning for the Field of Sports Philanthropy
The George Washington University’s School of Business has launched the first ever academic program in the field of sports philanthropy.  The Certificate in Sports Philanthropy offers a ground-breaking curriculum tailored to the unique needs of those who work for professional sports teams, leagues, athlete foundations, sport-related companies with an emphasis on corporate social responsibility, nonprofits using sports for social good and those looking to enter the field.

The inaugural cohort of students launched May 1, 2013 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia with Eagles Youth Partnership.  The first group has students from all over the world including Brazil, Canada, and closer to home from the east coast to Texas.  They represent organizations from MLB and the NFL to individual athlete foundations and sport for development programs.

Osunaarashi: Abdelrahman Ahmed Shalan Becomes First Pro Sumo Wrestler From African Continent
Sumo wrestlers live in communal training stables where all aspects of their daily lives from meals to what they wear are dictated by strict traditions. Like all the younger wrestlers in the lower ranks, Osunaarashi was required to perform a variety of menial tasks that included cleaning toilets and washing the clothes of senior wrestlers.

This picture taken on May 24, 2013 Egyptian sumo wrestler Osunaarashi reacts after beating Akiseyama to win the Makushita class of the Summer Garned sumo tournament by 7-0 in Tokyo. (JIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images)

ESPN Body Issue 2013: Photos of Featured Athletes Revealed
Stars from all over the world and from all different realms of athletics have congregated within these pages of the Worldwide Leader’s publication, meaning you won’t want to miss a single image. Take a look at the latest photos and preview shots from the magazine and make sure you grab an issue when it hits newsstands on Friday, July 12.

Ben Watts. ESPN The Magazine

Getting To Know Israel Lacrosse
Right now, the Israeli women’s team is competing in Oshawa, at the women’s field lacrosse world championships, and they are definitely holding their own. The Israeli men’s team took on Turkey in a friendly match, and won that game. Much bigger than who won, the game marked the very first time a Jewish lacrosse team had played a Muslim team in international lacrosse, and as expected, the lacrosse community came together to support all the players involved. Truly a wonderful thing to see!

Former NBA player Jonathan Bender turns inventor with a successful knee strengthening device
Over the next three years after that day in the park, Bender worked on his device, wearing it to strengthen his own legs. So impressed was Walsh, he decided while working in the New York Knicks front office to give Bender another tryout. There was no shortage of skeptics. “When I went there, I was proving a point to myself,” Bender said. “I wanted to prove my product worked.”

Beyond London 2012 Awards – A Celebration of Impact
The Beyond London 2012 Awards, on 15 July, will celebrate that role – recognising those heroic organisations and individuals who have used the power and support of the Games to continue raising awareness and creating a positive social impact across a range of topics.

Signing Peter Baum boosts STX’s reputation in emerging West Coast markets
Baum, the 2012 Tewaaraton Award winner as the best player in college lacrosse, has said repeatedly that his desire to help spread the game on the West Coast led to his spurning of the more high-profile MLL. He grew up playing in tournaments now run by Adrenaline, and credits that organization with helping him get recruited.

MLB’s New York Yankees host anti-bullying group for HOPE Week
Pettitte along with several teammates, general manager Brian Cashman, Yankees vice chair person Jennifer Steinbrenner Swindal and the WWE’s “The Big Show” joined about 500 students and adults in the Great Hall at Yankee Stadium to hear Smalley’s anti-bullying presentation with his organization “Stand for the Silent” as part of New York’s fifth annual HOPE Week.

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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.Our mission is to have Sport Doing Good be a consistent, and significant, contributor to the areas of sports, social responsibility and development. We look forwarding to partnering with other stakeholders in producing content, in creating and/or sponsoring athletic and service events, knowledge sharing, and conferences/seminars, and even having a commercial arm that could be the source of innovative social businesses.

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Contact InformationSarbjit “Sab” Singh