Sports Doing Good Newsletter, #87

Nov. 24 – Nov. 30, 2013

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

  1. How These 5th Grade Football Players Responded to Their Waterboy Being Bullied Will Move You to Tears
  2. A physicist, an athlete, and an engineer; MIT senior Margo Batie plays hard on the rugby field and works hard in the physics lab.
  3. 2nd Annual Ali Center Athletes and Social Change Forum
  4. 6 Ways to “Give an Assist” on #GivingTuesday
  5. Here’s to the Better Angels of the Sports World
  6. Molded by his mentor, Gary Pinkel has pushed Missouri into prime time in SEC
  7. Majoring In The Minors: “Pay As You Go” Night A Smart Idea
  8. Fields of Growth International & Team Uganda
  9. Sports Legend Bo Jackson Surprises Blake Leeper, Paralympian, On ‘Arsenio’
  10. Newtown football team goes undefeated in season dedicated to Sandy Hook

We have entered that period of time during the year when people are more aware (at least we hope) of the good people and things they have in their lives. During the “holiday season” we should reflect on that which makes us feel happier, healthier, and however you define it, holier. For us at Sports Doing Good, we actually get to reflect on those things each week as we put together another newsletter.

This week we had a lot to reflect on, including great stories such as: a team of young football players in Massachusetts rallying around a friend; a student-athlete, Margo Batie, from MIT who juggles major responsibilities while working to make the college experience better for others; a college football coach, Gary Pinkel, following in the footsteps of his mentor; a sports legend, Bo Jackson, surprising a young athlete who sees Bo as an inspiration; and the high school football team from Newtown, CT completing an undefeated regular season in honor of those lost at Sandy Hook. Each story in its own way reminds us of the opportunities to find happiness in our lives by working to deliver such a feeling to others, friends and strangers alike.

Other stories featured this week include: the Washington High School football team; the one-year anniversary for Bonfire Impact; teen skiing star Mikaela Shiffrin; MLS goalie Matt Reis; NBA referee Violet Palmer; Boston College running back Andre Williams; and high school football player Naji Nizam.

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.

How These 5th Grade Football Players Responded to Their Waterboy Being Bullied Will Move You to Tears
When his fifth-grade teammates learned kids were picking on Danny for wearing a tie and jacket, and for having a speech impediment, they decided to do something about it. They rallied behind Danny by all coming to school donning suits and ties.

A physicist, an athlete, and an engineer; MIT senior Margo Batie plays hard on the rugby field and works hard in the physics lab.
Studying both physics and nuclear science and engineering at MIT is no small challenge, but it’s just one of the activities that senior Margo Batie juggles. During her time at MIT, Batie has played on the varsity basketball team, led the women’s club rugby team, conducted research at two national laboratories, and helped strengthen minority support systems and outreach programs.

Margo Batie in action on the rugby field. Photo: Allegra Boverman

2nd Annual Ali Center Athletes and Social Change Forum
The 2nd Annual Muhammad Ali Center Athletes and Social Change Forum will take place March 21-22 in Louisville, KY. The Forum is designed to advance education, advocacy and research on the role and contribution of athletes toward social change, human rights and development. This year we welcome scholars, practitioners, policymakers and advocates who are working to advance the realm of athletes and social change through the six core values of Muhammad Ali: Respect, Confidence, Conviction, Dedication, Spirituality and Giving.

6 Ways to “Give an Assist” on #GivingTuesday
This holiday season, Sports and Social Change is calling on sports fans to “Give An Assist” to those in need. And we figured the best way to do that is with a little bit of coaching and a game plan. Whatever your favorite sport, team or athlete may be, we’ve got all kinds of ways you can “Give An Assist” during the holidays and throughout the entire year. It’s GAME ON for #GivingTuesday!

Here’s to the Better Angels of the Sports World
In a sports year often interrupted by sorrow and scandal, more than ever some deserve a Thanksgiving Day thank-you.

Clockwise from top left: The Red Sox at Fenway Park, Tatyana McFadden, Mariano Rivera and Terrell Thomas, center. Jason Szenes/European Pressphoto Agency; Uli Seit for The New York Times; Barton Silverman/The New York Times; Adam Hunger for The New York Times

Molded by his mentor, Gary Pinkel has pushed Missouri into prime time in SEC
The guy who molded Gary Pinkel as much as anyone – his coach, his boss, his mentor, his ideological blueprint – would absolutely be reveling in this wholly unexpected, 10-1 Missouri football season. He would love seeing how Pinkel has turned every crabby critic from 2012 back into a staunch supporter and how he has risen above his driving while intoxicated arrest of 2011.–molded-by-his-mentor–gary-pinkel-has-pushed-missouri-into-prime-time-in-sec-154705507.html

Missouri coach Gary Pinkel isn’t fazed by the big expectations in the SEC. (AP Photo)

Majoring In The Minors: “Pay As You Go” Night A Smart Idea
Here is a great example from this past week, a promo pulled off by the Central Hockey League’s Missouri Mavericks designed to help those less fortunate and probably engage some new fans down the line. The promo was called “Pay As You Go.”  And it was aimed at providing less fortunate fans and their families, the opportunity to attend a professional hockey game.

Fields of Growth International & Team Uganda
KANDOTE is a feature-length documentary currently in the production stage of development. It chronicles the journey of Africa’s first national men’s lacrosse team, Team Uganda, as they work towards achieving their goal of competing in the 2014 World Lacrosse Championships held in Denver, Colorado. The film focuses on five players with differing pasts and presents as they experience the trials and tribulations of life, love, and lacrosse.

Sports Legend Bo Jackson Surprises Blake Leeper, Paralympian, On ‘Arsenio’
“I want to say thank you for never giving up on your career. If it wasn’t for you I wouldn’t be here today. You inspired me to be who I am today,” Leeper told Jackson. “You inspired me to go out there and show the world that regardless of who you are, regardless of if you have a disability, it doesn’t matter.

Newtown football team goes undefeated in season dedicated to Sandy Hook
Quarterback Andrew Tarantino said winning a championship would be particularly poignant this year. “Obviously, what our team and community went through the past year was really tough, but we just want to put a smile on everyone’s face by bringing home a state championship,” said the 17-year-old senior, who has broken all the school’s quarterback records.

Christian Abraham/Connecticut Post


Football helps town struck by tornado; Washington High School loses state playoff game, but wins hearts at home
As the motorcade rolled into Washington along Main Street, residents stepped out of their homes to see what was happening. When they realized it was the Panthers, they screamed and yelled. They jumped up and down and waved. One family unfurled a giant American flag. It was their way of saying thank you. Their way of lifting up the 80 young men on the varsity football team who had just returned from the Illinois 5A state football semifinals.

Fans show support for the Washington High School football team as it heads off to a state semifinal game Saturday.  Tim Klein for ESPN

Happy 1-Year Anniversary to
Ronnie Cameron, CEO/Editor in Chief of, is a former NFL Defensive Tackle. Ronnie is an Old Dominion University graduate and earned his Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Information Technology. He completed his Bachelor’s in Information Technology at Hofstra University. Ronnie completed both degrees in four years concurrently while playing collegiate football at both universities.

Teen skiing superstar Mikaela Shiffrin wins a reindeer at World Cup race
Shiffrin was first tabbed as a potential Winter Olympics answer to Summer Games teen sensation Missy Franklin here at Prep Rally in February when she won the slalom world championship. She’s adding impressive World Cup performances since then and is emerging as a potential favorite to win the slalom in Sochi.

Mikaela Shiffrin poses with her newly won reindeer, Rudolph — AP

Orlando Magic Help Make Thanksgiving More Special at the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida
The annual event is just one of many ways that the Magic have tried to tackle the homelessness epidemic throughout Central Florida. Over the last four years alone the Magic have donated more than $2 million to homelessness causes in Orlando and the surrounding area.

On the field and in the community, Matt Reis is a champion in every sense
For his heroic actions, Reis was honored this week as the MLS WORKS Humanitarian of the Year. It’s the first such league-wide recognition for Reis, who has been the Revolution’s Humanitarian of the Year each of the past three seasons. But there’s so much more to Reis’ story than saving a life.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Kenbriel Hearn, Memphis High School Teen Who Survived 2 Strokes, Scores Touchdown
The senior at Memphis High School suffered two strokes caused by a bleeding mass on his brain and spent three weeks on life support. By the time he awoke this past summer, his 5-foot-7 frame had withered from 160 pounds to 112. He was paralyzed on his right side, unable to walk or talk. His football season was the last thing on his mind.

Violet Palmer: The Right Woman for the Job
Kanter left the NBA after five years in 2002, but Palmer has lasted long enough to finally see more female officials coming up in the pipeline behind her, thanks in part to how well she’s paved the way. “Two more women have already been working two or three NBA games a month this season as on-the-job training that will go through January,” Palmer said of Brenda Pantajo and Lauren Holtkamp. “And I’m not sure anyone even noticed much. Which is great.”

When Violet Palmer first started refereeing, critics tried to say she wouldn’t be able to keep up. AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

The Renaissance Heisman candidate: Boston College’s Andre Williams
However, to truly understand Williams’ place on campus amid this star-kissed season, it’s important to explore the second level of Williams’ off-field life. The senior toiled anonymously for three years, earning a reputation as a thinker and philosopher as much as a football player. He reads poetry before running backs meetings, serves as a teaching assistant and has already written 80 pages of a book titled “A King, a Queen and a Conscience.”

In addition to starring as a running back, Boston College senior Andre Williams (44) excels off the field.  Anthony Nesmith/CSM/Landov

Port Jefferson teen with muscular dystrophy fulfills football dream
As a young boy, Naji Nizam fell in love with football while watching his older brother Ray play for the Earl L. Vandermeulen High School varsity in Port Jefferson. Playing was all Naji Nizam ever wanted to do, and he wasn’t going to let anything stand in his way. Not even the debilitating disease that should have made his goal impossible.

Q&A With Carol Kruse, New Global CMO of Tough Mudder
Now, she’ll oversee the global marketing for a brand that might not be a traditional sport — but sure is crazy. Touting itself as “Probably the Toughest Event on the Planet,” Tough Mudder asks participants to complete 12-mile long military-style obstacle courses, filled with underground mud tunnels, high walls, icy waters and electrified barriers.

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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.We invite you to send in news, press releases, and guest pieces for possible publication, and email us with suggestions about the content and format of the newsletter and Sports Doing Good website.
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