Sports Doing Good Newsletter, #90

Dec. 15 – Dec. 21, 2013

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

  1. 2013’s Most Amazing Sports Photos
  2. Outside the Lines honored with ESPN’s first-ever Alfred I. duPont Award
  3. Manning’s year impressive given the obstacles he’s overcome; Broncos QB won Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year and is primed to set the record for TD passes
  4. New York Mets Host Holiday Party For More Than 100 School Kids
  5. Harlem Globetrotters begin 88th season, launch national partnership with World Vision
  6. Shoes provided by Lolo Jones offer leg up to area kids
  7. Ravens Angel: Josephine Gay (video)
  8. Disney Laces Up for Jesse Owens Biopic
  9. UFC lightweight contender Edson Barboza overcame overwhelming odds at birth
  10. Ranking the most memorable sports moments in 2013

At this time of year we get a steady stream of “Best of” and “Worst of” lists (we at Sports Doing Good care more about the “Best of” lists, of course).  Not to let a good opportunity pass us by, we will also be releasing our own list highlighting those people, organizations, events, etc. that were especially good in 2013.

In the meantime, we are fortunate to be able to highlight a couple of great features, including the Huffington Post’s selection of the 10 best images of 2013. Taken together, they capture some thrilling, inspiring, and thoughtful moments from the past 12 months. We finish the first block of 10 stories with a look at Sports Illustrated’s top 113 (why stop at 10?!?!) memorable moments of the year. Even a cursory look at the images provided will spark memories that will remind us that 2013 was in fact a special year.

In addition to the year-end looks, we are proud to have stories featuring: ESPN’s Outside the Lines; the NFL’s Peyton Manning; the New York Mets; the world-famous Harlem Globetrotters; Olympian Lolo Jones; very special Baltimore Ravens fan Josephine Gay; the legendary Jesse Owens; and UFC fighter Edson Barboza; 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. (Happy Birthday Mom!)

2013’s Most Amazing Sports Photos
2013 was a year of impossibilities come true — from a 64-year-old’s swim to Florida from Cuba to a football win fought out in eight inches of snow. Elsewhere, a bitter rivalry plays out, and the World Series brings a community together after tragedy. Ahead, find out top 10 sports moments of 2013.

Auburn cornerback Chris Davis returns a missed field-goal attempt 109 yards to score the game-winning touchdown as time expired in the fourth quarter of an NCAA college football game against No. 1 Alabama. Auburn won the Iron Bowl game 34-28. (AP)

Outside the Lines honored with ESPN’s first-ever Alfred I. duPont Award
It marks ESPN’s first duPont Award, which honors outstanding broadcast, digital and documentary journalism and recognizes excellent reporting in the public service, commitment to important stories and innovative storytelling.

The Donnovan Hill story was part of OTL’s winning submission.

Manning’s year impressive given the obstacles he’s overcome; Broncos QB won Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year and is primed to set the record for TD passes
“I think it definitely makes it more remarkable for him to overcome all this adversity,” receiver Bubba Caldwell said. “But that’s what leaders do and that’s what champion players do. They rally up their team behind them and they make sure they play at a championship level and everybody else follows.”

Despite injuries and loss of players and coaches, Peyton Manning is still just four touchdown passes short of breaking Tom Brady’s record of 50 TDs. Photograph by: Justin Edmonds , Getty Images

New York Mets Host Holiday Party for More Than 100 School Kids
The New York Mets hosted more than 100 school children at Citi Field for lunch and presents at their annual holiday party. Second baseman Daniel Murphy filled in for Saint Nick and pitcher Zach Wheeler went as his 6-foot-4 elf.

Harlem Globetrotters begin 88th season, launch national partnership with World Vision
“Through its partnership with World Vision, the Harlem Globetrotters are entertaining the world and serving the world,” said Morris Franklin, Director of Sports & Entertainment at World Vision US. “Our organizations share the common value of serving children and I am confident that this partnership will improve the lives of children around the world.”

Three Harlem Globetrotters players – Buckets Blakes, Special K Daley and TNT Maddox (pictured from left) – recently traveled to World Vision communities in Honduras.

Shoes provided by Lolo Jones offer leg up to area kids
As kids flowed into the gymnasium to be fit for one of 400 pairs of shoes, though, the glances and whispers were nowhere to be found. There was smiling. And laughing. And singing. And running. The moment unfolded as pure elation, without the unwanted pricetag of bruised feelings.

Lolo Jones lifts Findley Elementary student Natalia Torres over water basins after helping her get into a new pair of shoes Tuesday during the ‘Shoes for Hope’ program. Mary Willie/Des Moines Register

Ravens Angel: Josephine Gay (video)
Rick Reilly tells the story of Josephine Gay, a young Ravens fan with autism, who was a student at Sandy Hook Elementary School. A year after her loss, the Sandy Ground Project dedicates a new playground in her honor, on her birthday.

Disney Laces Up for Jesse Owens Biopic
Set against the backdrop of  the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, “Triumph” tells the story of how the son of an Alabama sharecropper shattered Adolf Hitler’s myth of Aryan supremacy by winning a record four gold medals in the 100-meter dash, the 200-meter dash, the long jump and the 400-meter relay.

UFC lightweight contender Edson Barboza overcame overwhelming odds at birth
Barboza’s story is one of perseverance, faith and survival, of a man repeatedly overcoming monstrous odds against him at almost every turn. The fact that Barboza was even born is a miracle, but that he survived to become one of the world’s best fighters is a storyline that would be hard to believe even in the movies.

Edson Barboza (right) during his victorious UFC 162 match against Rafaello Oliveira. (USA TODAY Sports)

Ranking the most memorable sports moments in 2013
What will you remember about 2013? The historic? The hysterical? Or the heart-stopping? Sensational highs. Tragic lows. Any way you look at it, the past year in sports had an overwhelming number of fascinating moments. How overwhelming? Just try to narrow down — and rank– them all. So here is our completely subjective, entirely debatable ranking of the 113 most mystifying, monumental, mesmerizing and magical sports memories of 2013.

What injury? Nadal dominates, returns to No. 1. Image Credit: Darren Carroll/SI


Call for Abstracts: “Sport for Social Inclusion: Critical Analyses and Future Challenges”
There is a growing awareness that more knowledge and expertise is needed to raise the alleged social potential of sports. Incorporating an international and multidisciplinary perspective, the special issue aims at making a comprehensive, critical and state-of-the-art analysis of different aspects that are related to the role of sports towards a more inclusive society.

Celebrating a Successful Year in Green Sports
There is incredible progress to celebrate this year. And, looking toward 2014, we will keep pushing the conversation forward – identifying how sports teams, venues, leagues and events can embrace sustainability to improve their bottom line and create a lasting legacy in their respective communities and beyond.

Meet the Jerusalem snowboarder from The Wall Street Journal’s front page
Lots of people are very proud of me. They’re surprised to see a religious Jew streaming through the air on a snowboard; it’s kind of an oddity. Lots of positive feedback. My parents are happy to still see me connected to snow and lots of things I grew up with.

Sport as a peace building tool: Experiences from Nigeria
In spite of the prevailing insecurity challenges in Nigeria, we in the Peace Initiative Network (PIN), with the support from Generations For Peace (GFP), have decided that sports are the perfect vehicle for our goals of bringing together and empowering communities in Nigeria  – indigenes and settlers, Muslims and Christians, and all ethnic groups. We use sport to let people understand and appreciate each other beliefs, values and way of life better, leading to tolerance, harmonious and peaceful Nigeria.

How Seahawks’ Earl Thomas and Doug Baldwin are building Athlete Inc.
“I want people to feel like they have the ability to go to athletes and actually have intelligent conversation,” Baldwin said. “I want to be an example that there can be a connection between professional athletes and fans, and it can be cordial and intellectual and people actually get something out of it.”

Defying Winter’s Dreariness With an Arctic Embrace
The cold water swimming boom is partly attributable to the growing popularity of triathlons, which has also increased the number of cyclists on the roads. But there is more to it, said Jonathan Cowie, race director at the South London Swimming Club. “People do cold water swimming for a buzz, for health reasons, for the friends they make and to alleviate depression,” Mr. Cowie said. “But it is also part of a wider movement toward a closer relationship with nature.”

An early-morning swimmer at Brockwell Lido, an outdoor pool in London, where people go for a bracing dip even in the winter. Andrew Testa for The New York Times

Formula E buoyed by major US investment
Alejandro Agag, chief executive of series promoter Formula E Holdings, said the investment by American sports team owners is “a game-changer.” He added: “The US is one of the main markets for Formula E. To have a partner that knows deeply the US sports market places us in a unique position to develop our championship in the Americas.”

U.S. to spend $14 million on concussion research, using NFL funds
The projects, partly funded by the National Football League, are aimed at chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a condition linked to the loss of decision-making control, aggression and dementia. The condition is tied to repeated hits to the head, such as those experienced by football players, hockey players and boxers. The condition currently can be diagnosed only by examining a person’s brain after their death. But researchers with the National Institutes of Health aim to develop tests to detect and treat CTE while the patient is alive. Credit: Reuters/Shannon Stapleton

Eagles draft her signaling system into the NFL
Cakert invented it in 2007 to help her players read signs better, then watched it languish in softball and field hockey semi-obscurity until this summer, when, in a Hail Mary, she mailed it to Chip Kelly. And in an upset, the new Eagles coach mailed her back a personal check for $25 (it’s $24.99 on the Web) and a thank-you note.

At her home in Ventnor, N.J., Jill Cakert shows an example of her Signalfan product. She caught a huge break this past summer when Eagles coach Chip Kelly began using it. (MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer)

Sochi 2014: For American skiers and snowboarders, path to podium starts at Center of Excellence
With neither mountains to rival the European Alps nor a centuries’ old Nordic skiing tradition, the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association has compensated with this $25 million Center of Excellence, the result of American ingenuity and private philanthropy. The technology treadmill is just one piece of equipment in the three-story complex, which since its May 2009 opening has emerged as a major asset in the United States’ pursuit of Winter Olympics hegemony.

Skiing and snowboarding for the U.S. Olympic team is not just about taking to the slopes. At the Center of Excellence in Park City, Utah, the Post’s Lee Powell found it involves science, whirlpools and nutrition.

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