Sports Doing Good Newsletter, #89

Dec. 8 – Dec. 14, 2013

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

  1. NFL prospect from Penn State eyes Ph.D. in mathematics
  2. Vocal Acrobat Mixes Soccer Calls with Awe
  3. Chris Paul: citizen-athlete; Inspired by Magic Johnson, Chris Paul takes giving back seriously
  4. Mean Streets to Hardcourts for Chicago Youth Tennis Program
  5. On Horseback, Mallet in Hand, Breaking Barriers for Women
  6. Paul Caccamo (Up2USs): Coaches can tackle youth violence
  7. Native Grosse Pointer Knocks Down Barriers to Become Olympic Hopeful in Ski Jumping
  8. Skate Park Physics
  9. Georgetown Football Lends a Hand to NBC Washington’s Wednesday’s Child
  10. Nike announces $16 million partnership to improve activity of kids in Brazil

Two of the stories we feature this week specifically mention breaking or knocking down “barriers” to previously inaccessible fields of play – in this case, ski mountains and polo fields. Up to now women were prevented from practicing and performing as much as they wanted in these areas either due to archaic rules or misdirected policies. What we are beginning to see, thankfully, are efforts to expand opportunities at the recreational level all the way to the heights of the Olympic Games. Women are showing they are more than capable when it comes to the excelling in each of these disciplines.

In addition to those two stories, we have a number that touch upon the idea of accessibility, i.e. removing barriers and providing resources, for all types of athletes. These include: XS Tennis in Chicago; the Los Angeles Clippers’ Chris Paul; scientific skateboarders; getting coaches involved to combat youth violence; and the Cal Ripken Foundation.

Our last group of stories introduces to some special people and organizations, for example: star scholar-athlete John Urschel; sports broadcaster Ray Hudson; members of the Georgetown University football team; Nike; the legendary Bruce Lee; and Warner Pacific College in Portland; amongst others.

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So enjoy. And have a good week.

NFL prospect from Penn State eyes Ph.D. in mathematics
Penn State’s John Urschel graduated with a degree in mathematics and a perfect 4.0 GPA in just three years — no small feat for any college student. He’s also a 300-pound offensive guard for the school’s football team with a chance to play in the NFL — if he doesn’t decide to get a Ph.D. first.

John Urschel graduated with a degree in mathematics in just three years and accumulated a perfect 4.0 GPA. CBS News.

Vocal Acrobat Mixes Soccer Calls with Awe
It is this singular kind of commentary — flowery, clever, comically accurate — that has given Hudson a cult following among the soccer fans who delight in his work for beIN Sport, a young network on the fringes of the American sports television landscape. Websites collect his best phrases, a Twitter account transcribes his commentary in real time and video clips perpetuate his outlandish style in a growing visual archive.

Ray Hudson calls games for beIN Sport, a young network, from a soundproof room in South Florida. John Van Beekum for The New York Times

Chris Paul: citizen-athlete; Inspired by Magic Johnson, Chris Paul takes giving back seriously
This is the challenge facing five-time NBA All-Star Chris Paul, who took the time to talk with me recently about what’s fair to ask of athletes as part of a featured conversation with the Aspen Institute’s Project Play. The goal of the project is to convene thought leaders and explore ideas that can help stakeholders build healthy, active communities through sports, a topic Paul is familiar with as a member of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition.

Mean Streets to Hardcourts for Chicago Youth Tennis Program
Donald Young and Taylor Townsend, the last two Americans to reach No. 1 in the world junior rankings, learned to play here. Twenty-one players from XS Tennis have received scholarships to play college tennis since the club was founded in 2008, and graduates of the program have won three of the last four Illinois high school girls’ tennis championships.

Lauren Hatfield at XS Tennis, which plans to move to the site of a former public housing project on Chicago’s South Side. Armando L. Sanchez for The New York Times

On Horseback, Mallet in Hand, Breaking Barriers for Women
“I wanted to network girls who wanted to play polo and compete and had a certain professionalism,” she said. “I thought it would be cool, and it would mean that women could travel all around the world playing polo.” Maureen Brennan, a player who owns a polo club and breeds polo ponies, said there had been a surge of women into polo because of Hale.

Sunny Hale helped the Goose Creek club team to victory in the U.S. Women’s Open polo championship in Houston last month. Michael Stravato for The New York Times

Paul Caccamo (Up2USs): Coaches can tackle youth violence
Anyone who has ever played sports knows that sports are uniquely capable of providing these skills. And now, a study from the University of Chicago Crime Lab has provided the first scientific evidence that the presence of a coach-mentor can result in a 44 percent decrease in crime. The study was based on a program that used sports as a primary component for engaging youth from urban communities who were at an elevated risk of becoming involved in perpetrating violence.

Native Grosse Pointer Knocks Down Barriers to Become Olympic Hopeful in Ski Jumping
She’s already a world champion, the first in her discipline, and she’s claimed 16 national titles and more than 50 top-three finishes in international competition. No, Lindsey Van insists she competes in ski jumping for the pure joy of waiting at the top of a 90-meter ramp, skiing down it and flying hundreds of feet in the air.

Skate Park Physics
Lenardic’s greatest motivation: “To get people to understand the power of doing experiments.” He says he wants skateboarders to recognize that “what they’re already doing as they’re learning about the world through trial and error is a short jump from doing a scientific experiment.”

Georgetown Football Lends a Hand to NBC Washington’s Wednesday’s Child
“It was great to have an opportunity to help Nick,” Freshman quarterback Tim Barnes said. “Just seeing how happy he was running around on the field and putting on all of the Georgetown gear. This experience did make me appreciate what I have a lot more and be thankful for the small things that sometimes go without notice. It was an honor working with Nick and I wish him the best of luck with everything in the future!”

Nike announces $16 million partnership to improve activity of kids in Brazil
The program was launched in advance of next year’s World Cup and would culminate in 2016, when Brazil hosts the Summer Olympic Games. The effort gives Nike a platform to promote physical fitness and, by association, its footwear and apparel in a country where it is not an official sponsor of the World Cup or Olympics.


Chicago Bulls Star Jimmy Butler and Sun Life Financial Present $110,000 in Grants & Scholarships to Chicago Nonprofits & Rising Star Students at Pro Basketball Clinic
Chicago Bulls Guard Jimmy Butler, Chicago Bulls Assistant Coach Ed Pinckney and basketball legend Bill Cartwright helped Sun Life Regional Group Manager Michael Techtmann and Sun Life Voluntary Benefits Practice Leader Stephen Barreca surprise the winning students at a private basketball clinic where Butler led 35 youth from both nonprofits in a variety of basketball drills and games.

How Bruce Lee Changed Martial Arts Forever With A New Approach And Innovative Training
Bruce Lee is immortalized on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but to characterize him as a movie star is a woefully inadequate description. He was a game changer, an innovator, a pioneer. He was largely responsible for introducing Chinese martial arts to the Western world. Then he fundamentally changed martial arts through his approach — “using no way as way” — and training methods that seemed radical in the 60s and 70s, but became the standard that is still respected to this day.
(Video –

Martellus Bennett Off The Field (video)
Rick Reilly explains why Bears tight end Martellus Bennett is the most interesting man in the NFL.

Florida Panthers To Host 2nd Annual “Sports Science” Night On Friday, Dec. 13
The Sports Science program includes five interaction stations: The Science Lift, Frigid Science, Gravity and Friction, Bernoulli’s Principle, and Ice Science. Each station will be headed by an SFSC expert, and will include interactive activities for attendees to participate in. Such activities include building a rocket, dry ice experiments, and of course getting a chance to shoot pucks at the goal.

Monumental Sports & Entertainment (MSE) Foundation to Receive Mayor’s Community Service Award
In 2013 MSE Foundation, along with the Leonsis Foundation, will donate more than $1.5 million to local charities; more than $1 million has been donated to date. Some of the Foundations’ nonprofit partners include Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, District of Columbia College Access Program, Playworks Washington, D.C., the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Washington, DC Central Kitchen and KaBOOM!

College basketball team drafts little girl battling cancer
A 10-year-old girl battling cancer is an inspiration to many, including a local college basketball team. Warner Pacific College in Portland drafted Lexy de los Reyes to join the Lady Knights. Officially, she was signed as the honorary sixth man, but she’s embraced as a teammate by the players, coaches and fans.

Barcelona unveils “pioneering” Intel partnership
Intel will supply Barcelona players and coaches with the latest ‘2 in 1’ Intel based devices while working with them to improve their research, training and performance analysis. The agreement also involves Barcelona and Intel working together to improve the fan experience through new technology at the Nou Camp stadium.

Doha GOALS: making a difference through sport
Our second initiative is the Doha GOALS Prosthetics Programme which has been launched in partnership with the Katarina Witt Foundation. As quality prosthetics are expensive and a lack of mobility impedes participation in sports and in the community and isolates amputees in most emerging countries, we wanted to act to change this situation.

Unesco and ICSS link up in sports corruption fight
The two parties will also support the implementation of outcomes from the fifth Unesco World Conference of Sport Ministers and the ‘Declaration of Berlin on Preserving the Integrity of Sport’, which was adopted in Germany earlier this year.  This will include the promotion of actions by governments, the sports movement, inter-governmental and non-governmental organisations, law enforcement agencies, the betting industry and athletes in line with the Berlin Declaration.

Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation to launch $30M fundraising campaign
The Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation next week plans to unveil details of a $30 million fundraising campaign to build more youth development parks across the U.S. The Baltimore foundation — founded by brothers Cal and Billy Ripken — will have completed 26 parks or fields by the end of the 2013. The foundation’s goal is to complete 50 parks in five years.

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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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