Sports Doing Good Newsletter, #91

Dec. 22 – Dec. 28, 2013

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

  1. Peyton Manning, Jason Collins, Jack Hoffman Headline 2013 Sports ‘Nice List’
  2. Diana Nyad: Never, ever give up (TED Talk)
  3. Disney Pitching First Trailer for Jon Hamm’s ‘Million Dollar Arm’
  4. New Cowboys QB Jon Kitna will donate $53,000 game check to the high school where he works
  5. The World Cup Project
  6. Giving Back: Sports Greatest Charitable Initiatives
  7. Downtown Youth Boxing Gym Is Taking a Swing at Helping Youths
  8. 60 Minutes Sports: Wheelchair Sports Federation New York Sled Rangers
  9. Standout Olympian Joetta Clark Diggs Using her Talents to Better Shape the Lives of N.J. Children
  10. 50 Best Sports Pics of 2013

Our efforts in sports are sometimes very purposeful – you come up with a goal and train like crazy to achieve it, no matter how long it takes. Other times they are borne from the unexpected, e.g. a contest that seeks to find professional players in a sport foreign to the populace of more than 1 billion people. Either way, we are driven by opportunity to challenge ourselves and in the meantime, maybe serve as an inspiration to others in and out of sports.

The two stories alluded to above involve: first, 60+ year-old Diana Nyad, legendary long-distance swimmer who took on the incredible challenge of a  more than 100 mile swim after years away from the sport. Driven, committed, some would say crazy, she persevered and accomplished her goal of swimming from Cuba to Florida. Listen to the story in Diana’s captivating TED talk. The other story, you could say, is the total opposite of Diana’s, at least when it comes to achieving a long-time goal. The two young athletes featured in the upcoming film, “Million Dollar Arm,” surely had zero vision of being professional baseball players. Cricket players? Sure. But as the trailer hints at, these athletes also have obstacles to overcome, and in their own way are setting an example for those undertaking something new or unfamiliar in their lives.

Other stories we are happy to feature include: math teacher/NFL quarterback Jon Kitna; Detroit’s Downtown Youth Boxing Gym; the New York Sled Rangers; Olympian Joetta Clark Diggs; Houston Rockets player Chandler Parsons; the NHL’s Minnesota Wild; lacrosse standout Devon Wills; NFL star London Fletcher; along with a couple of more “Best of” lists; amongst other stories.

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

Finally, if you think others would like to receive the newsletter, please feel free to forward it on or have them contact us directly at (If you do not want to receive the newsletter anymore you can use the Unsubscribe button at the end of the email)

So enjoy. Have a good week. And Happy New Year! We’ll see you next week/year.

Peyton Manning, Jason Collins, Jack Hoffman Headline 2013 Sports ‘Nice List’ (Huffington Post)
To paraphrase a certain North Pole resident, there is room for every athlete on the HuffPost Sports Nice List. That said, it takes a special type of year to make the cut. Whether it was outstanding in-game performances like Peyton Manning’s record-setting season in Denver or upstanding off-field gestures like when Kevin Durant donated $1 million to the Red Cross to help tornado relief efforts in Oklahoma, this list is for everyone who garnered attention for the right reasons in 2013.

Diana Nyad: Never, ever give up (TED Talk)
In the pitch-black night, stung by jellyfish, choking on salt water, singing to herself, hallucinating … Diana Nyad just kept on swimming. And that’s how she finally achieved her lifetime goal as an athlete: an extreme 100-mile swim from Cuba to Florida — at age 64. Hear her story.

Disney Pitching First Trailer for Jon Hamm’s ‘Million Dollar Arm’
“Arm” stars Jon Hamm as real-life sports agent Jeff Bernstein who discovered professional pitchers Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel through a reality show he staged in India with cricket players. Lake Bell, Alan Arkin, Aasif Mandvi (“The Daily Show”), Suraj Sharma (“Life of Pi”) and Madhur Mittal (“Slumdog Millionaire”) also star.

New Cowboys QB Jon Kitna will donate $53,000 game check to the high school where he works
The NFL return is a win-win for all parties. Kitna gets one more taste of the NFL life. The Cowboys have a battle-tested quarterback should Kyle Orton go down. Lincoln gets a nice donation from its most famous teacher. And, best of all, Kitna doesn’t have to take personal days or write up lesson plans for a substitute teacher. Lincoln is on winter break until next Thursday.

The World Cup Project
We will travel to eleven countries around the world where football is changing the lives of children and adults affected by war, religious persecution, homelessness and drug abuse. In each episode we will meet a new player, explore the part of the world they live in, and the work they do in their community to promote social change and development.

Giving Back: Sports Greatest Charitable Initiatives
Rick Horrow highlights some of sports greatest charitable initiatives from the NFL’s Play 60 and Heads Up groups to the NBA Cares and individual PGA Tour event fundraisers. Rick talks about how these charities have helped to raise thousands of dollars for people across the country this year.

Downtown Youth Boxing Gym Is Taking a Swing at Helping Youths
The problem was simple – lack of education led to poverty, and that poverty led to crime. Too many of the kids he met were on the verge of dropping out, leading their lives down a dangerous path. With the insight that education has to be a priority, the Downtown Youth Boxing Gym was born.

60 Minutes Sports: Wheelchair Sports Federation New York Sled Rangers (video)
On December 4, 2013, this piece aired on 60 Minutes Sports on Showtime.  It was part of a larger piece on sled hockey, which I have edited to only show the sled rangers.  Richard Buddenhagen produced this piece and has graciously given us permission to post it here.  Richard and his crew spent many hours with us filming and getting to know us.  The piece speaks for itself, and we are hugely appreciative.

Standout Olympian Joetta Clark Diggs Using her Talents to Better Shape the Lives of N.J. Children
Diggs carved her own path after a standout high school career at Columbia High School, going on to the Knoxville, where she took nine NCAA titles (including relays) and a degree in public relations back to New Jersey. She was an Olympian in 1988, 1992, 1996 and 2000 and continued to compete in a high level, all the while fine tuning her efforts for a career inspiring others to heights of personal greatness.

Reena Rose Sibayan/The Jersey Journal

50 Best Sports Pics of 2013
From the good folks at the Bleacher Report.


Chandler Parsons shaves his head in support of young cancer-stricken fan
Rockets forward Chandler Parsons is sporting a new haircut. To look more like his new friend Patrick Hobbs-DeClaire, Parsons shaved his hair off on Monday night after the Dallas game. Patrick is a 10-year-old going through treatments for terminal cancer. Parsons met him last week and was inspired by the young man’s determination and fight.

Chandler Parsons with Patrick Hobbs-DeClaire and his twin brother Trent. (Photo courtesy of the Houston Rockets)

Blackhawks, Blues alumni to play game in Peoria for tornado relief
“We are looking forward to the Blackhawks and Blues Alumni game at Carver Arena,” Washington mayor Gary Manier said. “Central Illinois has been overwhelmed by the support we have received from all over since November 17th. This game will give us a chance to watch the players that we all grew up with. The City of Washington would like to thank these players for their effort and support.”

Everything to gain; Coach Brian McDermott took back his life after a brutal accident
Both are grateful for the grace shown by their former coach. “I was just trying to get Brian out of the house,” Zwaan says now. After a year of watching coaches suffer from the pressure of their jobs — after a year of hearing mostly about what is lost in coaching — his simple gesture was a beautiful reminder of what can be gained.

McDermott serves as a special assistant coach for the running backs at West Chester. Bob Leverone

Minnesota Wild About Children Raises $162,000
The entire Wild roster served as celebrity waiters and traded in their jerseys for aprons to wait on 275 guests. The event raised money through several fundraising vehicles, including a silent and live auction. The Minnesota Wild Foundation exists to support the game of hockey and to improve the lives of families in the State of Hockey.

Devon Wills Becomes First Woman Selected By Major League Lacrosse Team
Wills, 29, first began to make a name for herself at Dartmouth College, when she made the All-Ivy First Team three times and was also named All-American three times. More recently, as goalkeeper, she also helped the U.S. national team win gold at two Federation of International Lacrosse World Cups.

Devon Wills, right, was selected by the New York Lizards this week in a historic move for Major League Lacrosse. | Joe Amon via Getty Images

London Fletcher Lasted Where Most Don’t
Having somehow survived for 16 seasons without sustaining any kind of disabling injury, all while playing amid the chaos and attrition rates that are parts of an inside linebacker’s life, Fletcher has said he plans to call it quits after Sunday’s game while he is still ahead. By the end of this week, though, he was hedging a bit, not quite sure he was truly ready to walk away.

London Fletcher (59) has played 16 seasons at inside linebacker. Alex Brandon/Associated Press

Michael Carter-Williams – NBA rookie phenom plays tight D with his money
Carter-Williams’ agent, Jeff Schwartz, said his Excel Sports Management firm starts talking to clients about financial planning and post-career preparation from day one. “I am really proud of Michael, who is not only making a sound financial decision for himself, but is also setting a great example,” Schwartz said by email.

Millionaire on the court: Philadelphia 76er phenom Michael Carter-Williams. Getty Images

Jeremy Guthrie uses Twitter to find throwing partner in Kansas City and ends up with a friend as well
According to the Cut 4 story, Guthrie and Wesley played short toss and long toss for about 40 minutes, but also took time to get to know each by swapping stories about their children. It started as an offseason throwing session, but it quickly morphed into an unlikely bonding session between two fathers who love the same wonderful game.–mlb.html?soc_src=mediacontentstory

USA Today

Iraqi girls’ soccer team visits Triangle to receive training, inspiration
Girls in Iraq face pressure from a culture that says sports are just for boys. The exchange program requires the girls to come up with an “action plan” for finding a way to promote sports for girls in their communities. “That is the main reason they are here,” said Patty Hester, the group’s chaperone through the University of Tennessee, a partner of the State Department. “They get to do the soccer, they get to go to the games, and that’s all amazing, but the point of it is that these women and girls, we believe, can make a change.”

As part of the State Department Sports Visitor Program, 13 female Iraqi soccer players will receive soccer instruction during a clinic at the indoor XL Soccer World arena. The high school age girls, who are in the U.S. for 10 days, worked out with the Women’s Head Soccer Coach at Cary High Laura Kerrigan. COREY LOWENSTEIN —

Those with disabilities thrive in sporting program
Northeast Passage’s potential to transform lives was on display last weekend at the University of New Hampshire, where three of the group’s competitive sports teams held practices at the Whittemore Center. The teams reflected the range of people with disabilities who are taking advantage of Northeast Passage programs to compete with other athletes.

Northeast Passage Power Soccer assistant coach Kayla McDermott instructs Katherine Ryan as she dribbles the ball through a series of cones during practice at the Whittemore Center at UNH. Ioanna Raptis/

Quick Links…
Our Website
More About Us
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.

Contact Information
Sarbjit “Sab” Singh