Sports Doing Good Newsletter, #86

Nov. 17 – Nov. 23, 2013

Welcome to week eighty-six of the Sports Doing Good newsletter. This week’s first 10 stories include:

  1. Austin Hatch, survivor of two plane crashes, refuses to quit on basketball dream
  2. Philippine Basketball After the Storm: Amazing Happens
  3. Norwegian prodigy Magnus Carlsen is new world chess champion
  4. Howard Schatz’s Images Of Female Athletes Are Unbelievable
  5. Twins peak: In NBA, as in life, Marcus and Markieff Morris lean on each other
  6. Andrew McCutchen – A Most Valuable Player With an Invaluable Platform
  7. New Basketball League Is Part Of Group’s Goal To Help Professional Athletes Extend Their Careers
  8. NBA, WNBA, Africare and ExxonMobil Launch New Initiative to Engage and Empower Nigeria’s Youth
  9. Cornell Star Draws Inspiration From His Sister’s Courage
  10. RIP: MLBPA union leader Michael Weiner dies

This was a basketball-friendly week as we had a number of stories regarding my favorite sport to watch and LeBron James’ favorite to play (that’s a safe assumption, right?). As both the college and professional ranks got underway, we were not surprised to see at least a slight uptick involving players, teams, leagues, non-profits, and even nations.

Austin Hatch’s story is one of the most heartbreaking and uplifting you will ever come across. This young man has gone through so much in his life but is persevering and hopeful that basketball will continue to be part of his physical and emotional healing. We also have pictures of basketball playing in some of the most devastated areas of the Philippines. In the face of so much destruction these players seek out and find an element of normalcy, which again, hopefully will be part of their recovery.

Other stories involving hoops include: a look at the strong bond between NBA players Marcus and Markieff Morris; a proposed league that will give players more time to stay engaged with the game they love; the NBA (and WNBA) partnering up with one of their all-time greats, Hakeem Olajuwon, to engage and empower Nigeria’s youth; and a feature on superstar WNBA player, Brittney Griner.

In addition to our portfolio of basketball stories, we are fortunate to feature: a story about new chess champion Magnus Carlsen; the amazing images of female athletes captured by Howard Schatz; MLB MVP Andrew McCutchen; and college football player Jeff Matthews.

Finally, we finish our first 10 stories with a piece about Michael Weiner, the head of the Major League Baseball Players Association, who passed away this week at the age of 51. I never met Michael, though I did have the good fortune of hearing him speak a couple of times at conferences. The consensus was that this was an amazing lawyer, friend, and family man. We were sorry to hear about his passing and hope that everyone that he touched directly and indirectly will continue to honor his memory in whatever way they feel is appropriate.

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So enjoy. And have a good week.

Austin Hatch, survivor of two plane crashes, refuses to quit on basketball dream
Eight years after he and his dad walked away from a 2003 crash that killed his mother, 11-year-old sister and 5-year-old brother, Hatch had to cope with another tragedy. His dad was flying the family between its Indiana home and a Michigan summer house in June 2011 when the small, single-engine plane plummeted nose-first into a garage along a residential street north of Charlevoix Municipal Airport, killing Hatch’s father and stepmother and critically injuring him.–austin-hatch–survivor-of-two-plane-crashes–refuses-to-quit-on-basketball-dream-after-family-tragedy-063906240.html?soc_src=mediacontentstory

Philippine Basketball After the Storm: Amazing Happens
It started with a moving essay by the Associated Press’s Todd Pitman, who happened across a half-court basketball game amid the ruins in Tacloban. “The basketball goal was one of the first things this neighborhood rebuilt,” he wrote. Before long, Twitter and Facebook were lighting up with images of Filipinos playing hoops in the wasteland, capturing the country’s intense love for the sport and its people’s awe-inspiring resilience.

Norwegian prodigy Magnus Carlsen is new world chess champion
The Russian grandmaster Garry Kasparov has dubbed the young Norwegian as the Harry Potter of chess while others have compared him to Mozart…Chess champion Susan Polgar commentated on the game and described him as “having a different style and a very good sense of humour. He will be a “good boost for chess”, she said.

Carlsen went into the tournament as the favourite to win (AP)

Howard Schatz’s Images Of Female Athletes Are Unbelievable
The images below show an incredible variety of women, ranging in weight, height, race and proportion. What they all have in common is that they are professional athletes at their physical peak. The images, taken by photographer Howard Schatz for his 2002 book, Athlete, recently resurfaced, reminding us of the diversity of women’s bodies.

Twins peak: In NBA, as in life, Marcus and Markieff Morris lean on each other
Their time apart lasted an NBA season and a half in their nearly 24 years of life. But even that short chapter seemed like an eternity for identical twins Markieff and Marcus Morris. Now reunited with the Phoenix Suns, they are on a united mission to remain teammates the rest of their NBA careers. “We vowed that we work so hard that it will never happen again,” Markieff Morris said. “You never know how it will happen or how it’s going to go. We are cherishing this time.”–twins-peak–in-nba–as-in-life–marcus-and-markieff-morris-lean-on-each-other-040450966.html?soc_src=mediacontentstory

Markieff (left) and Marcus Morris have both seen their play improve this season. (USA Today)

Andrew McCutchen – A Most Valuable Player With an Invaluable Platform
“Baseball and the players union, they’re doing things to try to expand the game and give knowledge to kids and show them that baseball is fun, baseball is a great sport to play, and they’re doing everything they can to spread that word. I’m going to do everything that I can to spread it with them.”

Andrew McCutchen, the Pittsburgh Pirates’ center fielder, had 28 of 30 first-place votes for the Most Valuable Player award. Vincent Pugliese/Getty Images

New Basketball League Is Part Of Group’s Goal To Help Professional Athletes Extend Their Careers
There’s been a lot written about the plights and financial struggles of athletes after they’re out of sports. Many of these guys are young — late 20’s, not even at the peak of their career before they’re cut or retired. That competitive edge doesn’t just fade away. It can be hard to move on, and even harder to find something to move on with. With the launch of the U.S. Pro Athlete Enterprises, CEO Carl George (pictured on right in photo with VP of player management Dan Wasserman, coach John Starks and VP of business development) thinks he has a viable solution.

NBA, WNBA, Africare and ExxonMobil Launch New Initiative to Engage and Empower Nigeria’s Youth
Nigerian native and Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon, fellow countryman and former NBA player Obinna Ekezie and three-time WNBA champion Swin Cash joined leading Nigerian government officials in tipping off the program today during a two-day launch event in Abuja.

Cornell Star Draws Inspiration From His Sister’s Courage
“That would be amazing,” Katie Mathews said as she began to cry. “My parents got divorced when I was 8, so I haven’t really been there for a lot of his major accomplishments because we lived with different parents. To be able to be there for that huge part in his life, I would love that.”

Jeff Mathews has been sacked 29 times in eight games this season and 132 times in his college career. Gregory Payan/Associated Press

RIP: MLBPA union leader Michael Weiner dies
Michael Weiner, the plain-speaking, ever-positive labor lawyer who took over as head of the powerful baseball players’ union four years ago and smoothed its perennially contentious relationship with management, died Thursday, 15 months after announcing he had been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. He was 51.

(Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)


How Slam-Dunking, Gender-Bending WNBA Rookie Brittney Griner Is Changing the World of Sports
In a world in which the female body is always up for critique, Griner stands as very tall testament to how much we’ve changed in our attitudes toward difference, but also to the distance we have yet to travel. Hers is the story of how a 22-year-old physical anomaly with the energy of the goofy skater kid she is during her off-hours…is challenging norms of both sexuality and gender.

A Coed Vision of Professional Basketball
He hopes the coed concept, which has been popular in college intramurals, will be the immediate attraction: the possibility of seeing the unexpected — or even the image he created in the league logo — come to life. One television network, Howard said, has told him to send the first highlight of a woman dunking on a man, pronto.

Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

Average MLS Franchise Value Up To $103M, A 175% Jump From ’08
In 2011, average MLS attendance hit 17,872 to surpass both the NBA and NHL, and it has since increased to 18,611 fans per game. More impressively, the average franchise is now worth $103 million, up more than 175% over the last five years. With five planned expansion teams and a new league TV deal on the way, there’s no reason to believe that growth is slowing anytime soon.

Plaza honors legendary coach; Fans flock from near and far for Friday’s dedication of Pat Summitt Plaza
“Pat is someone who teaches more than basketball skills. She teaches life skills and how to succeed in life after basketball,” Llano said. “Pat has always made me feel a part of the Lady Vols family. I can’t begin to express in words what it all means. It was very special and a well-deserved dedication and tribute to a special person.”

Dozens of former players, including Tamika Catchings, right, were on hand for Friday’s dedication. Randy Sartin/USA TODAY Sports

Filipino typhoon survivors cheer Pacquiao triumph
Thousands of survivors of Typhoon Haiyan erupted into wild cheers Sunday to celebrate the victory of Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao, bringing back laughter and revelry briefly to a central Philippine region that was turned into a corpse-strewn wasteland by the powerful storm.

(AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

Clemson’s Daniel Rodriguez, a Purple Heart recipient, scores a touchdown against The Citadel
He joined the military after the death of his father. Rodriguez was planning on playing football in college after high school, but his father died four days after he graduated. With poor grades, and what USA Today termed “a splintered family,” Rodriguez joined the Army. His first college football experience was seven years after he last played in high school.–ncaaf.html

Former CEO Joe Moglia proving coaching chops at Coastal Carolina
But the real story on Saturday will be on the Coastal Carolina sidelines. That’s where a man who is just four years younger than Spurrier is getting his chance to live a dream that he’d given up on 30 years ago. That man is Coastal Carolina coach Joe Moglia, who just happens to be the former CEO of TD Ameritrade. I wrote a book about Moglia’s remarkable return to coaching, called 4th And Goal: One Man’s Quest to Recapture His Dream.

After succeeding in business, Joe Moglia is living his dream and is 15-6 in two years at Coastal Carolina. MCT/Landov

Manning-Brady stands with the great rivalries in American sports
There has been some talk about this possibly being the last time they play. Of course, anything is possible — Manning is 37, Brady 36. But you get the feeling Brady and Manning don’t feel close to the end yet. Anyway, even after this, the playoffs are coming. That’s the beautiful thing about the Manning-Brady rivalry. As big as this game is, the next game always might be even bigger.

Tom Brady and Peyton Manning will have cameras on them for the entirety of their Week 12 duel. Winslow Townson/SI

Howie Long Takes First Sunday Off In 20 Years to Watch Sons Play
Howie, a 6-foot-5 defensive end and Pro Football Hall of Famer, was a menacing presence in the NFL for more than a decade, so it would seem inevitable that his sons would one day play football at a high level. But Sally Jenkins and Rick Maese wrote in a recent Washington Post feature that Long never pushed football on his sons. The boys didn’t attend many of Long’s games, and Long says he secretly wanted them to pursue other interests.

Getty Images

West Virginia University Gymnastics Team Signs On Krista Mae Peraldo, 8-Year-Old With Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
The ‘Mountaineers’ joined forces with Team IMPACT, a Boston-based nonprofit which pairs sick children with college athletic teams, so that Mae could compete as an official Mountaineer. She will be practicing and competing with them throughout the coming season. “Krista Mae brightens Cary Gym every time she comes in for practice, and her smiles and enthusiasm are infectious,” coach Jason Butts told

Dale Sparks/All-Pro Photography

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