Sports Doing Good Newsletter, #94

Jan. 12 – Jan. 18. 2014

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

  1. Deaf Seahawks Fullback Derrick Coleman Stars in Terrific Duracell Commercial (video)
  2. Rockets mascot Clutch takes on inflatable form, scares Houston players after practice (video)
  4. A Coach With a Cause Ditches His Shoes
  5. The Skate Escape: In Bangalore, skateboarding has become an unlikely refuge for stressed-out young professionals and street kids.
  6. Soccer clinic for amputees builds confidence, camaraderie for kids
  7. Washington Capitals Braden Holtby Grants Wish of The Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada Child (video)
  8. Unequal Technologies’ Protective Gear Named Top Innovation of 2013
  9. Greg Oden dunks on first touch in first NBA action in four years (video)
  10. Kobe Bryant sat in on a marketing class at Boston College, reveals secret love of Boston and Bostonians

Sports is ripe with expectations. Expectations we have of ourselves and others, and the expectations others, friends and strangers alike, have of us. Much of the time expectations are good for they serve as a motivating force in overcoming challenges or obstacles to what we are trying to achieve, on and off the playing field. However, there is also the dark side to expectations. Expectations can get individuals and groups to limit themselves or what they allow others to do for fear of injury or embarrassment.

Many stories that have been featured at Sports Doing Good over the past two years have that common thread known as expectation and this week is no different. The first story featured is one involving professional football player Derrick Coleman (of the Seattle Seahawks) who has been deaf since the age of three but has overcome the low expectations some have had of him and made it to the NFL. Another professional athlete featured, the Miami Heat’s Greg Oden, has had the opposite problem. The expectations of him couldn’t have been higher. “The next great center” was what many anticipated would be his calling when he was coming out of high school, through college and into the pro ranks.So imagine how he must have felt going through a series of major injuries that eventually had him on the outside looking in to the world of the NBA, being referred to as a bust. Well, four years after his last game, Oden made his return this week. Will he be that next great center? Doesn’t matter. It comes down to the expectations he has of himself and those who support him. If Oden is happy and satisfied, so should everyone else.

Finally, in the amateur ranks, we are treated to the story of wonderful individuals who have created First Kick, a soccer clinic for amputees. Many of the participants are kids, kids who may have thought that sports would not be for them, that they would be excluded because of expectations that had them being unable to play. As the article outlines, getting to play required a change in the expectations people had of them, and ultimately, many had of themselves.

In addition to those 3 great stories we are happy to feature: Georgia State basketball coach Ron Hunter; Washington Capitals player Braden Holtby; Laker legend Kobe Bryant; skateboarding in India; a fun Houston Rockets mascot; Denver Bronco All-Pro Peyton Manning; professional golfer Morgan Pressel; and Portland Trailblazer Damian Lillard; 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

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. And have a good week.

Deaf Seahawks Fullback Derrick Coleman Stars in Terrific Duracell Commercial (video)
According to Ross Jones from, Coleman has been deaf since he was three years old, and he requires hearing aids to make out noises that aren’t deep bass. Coleman played in 12 games during the 2013 regular season, catching eight passes for 62 yards and a touchdown.  He was an undrafted free agent out of UCLA, but has made his NFL dream a reality.

Rockets mascot Clutch takes on inflatable form, scares Houston players after practice (video)
Most of the time, an NBA team’s inflatable mascot serves to brighten our days, whether through elaborate and often delightfully chaotic dance numbers or by providing an airy synthetic Trojan horse deployed by our beloved for a marriage proposal. (You might not have experienced that last one personally.) Sometimes, though, the lovable bouncers can be used to inspire fear … like, for example, after one recent Houston Rockets practice:–nba.html?soc_src=mediacontentstory

Back9Network, based in Hartford, Connecticut, is a lifestyle multiplatform television network and media company.  Back9Network was developed as a complementary alternative to traditional media’s focus on professional golf tournament coverage.  Focused on compelling storytelling, interesting personalities, features and fashions, interviews and instruction, travel, gear and much more, fans of all kinds are being invited into the golf lifestyle.

A Coach With a Cause Ditches His Shoes
The 49-year-old Hunter will work the sidelines Saturday sans shoes to draw attention to his real passion — providing footwear to millions of poor children around the world. He’s already collected some 6 million pairs through the group Samaritan’s Feet, and personally delivered many of them on eye-opening trips to Third World countries, journeys that left him drained emotionally but inspired him to keep doing more.

The Skate Escape: In Bangalore, skateboarding has become an unlikely refuge for stressed-out young professionals and street kids.
In 2010, Mr. Abhishek, Mr. Raghupathy, and a few others started the Holy Stoked Collective, selling boards and gear imported from the United States, offering lessons to children and conducting workshops around South India. Mr. Abhishek quit his job to work for Holy Stoked full-time in January 2011, and Mr. Raghupathy followed soon after. Mr. Kamath, formerly a product manager at a mobile phone retailer, joined the group in 2012 as a full-time instructor.

Abhishek, who goes by one name, skating at the Play Arena Skatepark in Bangalore, Karnataka, on Dec. 22, 2013. Adam B. Lerner

Soccer clinic for amputees builds confidence, camaraderie for kids
All the kids at First Kick soccer clinic have lost something — some from accidents, some from ailments. They share a unique, but tragic bond, but it doesn’t get in the way on the soccer field. It’s a group of kids who are all amputees. Tyoma Frick is just 5 years old and has never experienced life with both feet. “He’s just an amazing kid who believes he can do anything,” said Tyoma’s mother, Kristen Frick. That made First Kick, an amputee soccer clinic, a natural fit.[1395910410650038]&action_type_map=[%22og.recommends%22]&action_ref_map=[]

Washington Capitals Braden Holtby Grants Wish of The Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada Child (video)
Braden Nienaber, a Saskatoon, Saskatchewan native, joined Holtby after the Caps practice on Saturday, where he skated around with the goalie and received a tour of the Caps locker room. Much to his surprise, Nienaber found that he had his own designated locker, complete with custom Caps equipment. After suiting up. Holtby did a little one-on-one with Nienaber that ended in an adorable (fake) fist fight. You know, hockey stuff.

Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby chats with 8-year-old Braden Nienaber during warmups at the Capitals game on Jan. 12. Nienaber’s wish, granted through The Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada, was to meet Holtby.

Unequal Technologies’ Protective Gear Named Top Innovation of 2013
Unequal is featured for its multifaceted approach to protection, including outfitting pro football linebacker James Harrison after he suffered an orbital fracture, providing movie stars and stunt men with custom gear on set, and even developing versions of the company’s technology to help protect international media correspondents. Unequal took the top spot in tech innovation among a suite of advanced products that also included Google Glass, the IBM Watson supercomputer and Oculus Rift virtual reality glasses.

Greg Oden dunks on first touch in first NBA action in four years (video)
With Oden, the question is always his health. We don’t know how his body will recover from playing in a game, whether his health will continue to improve, or even if Heat coach Erik Spoelstra trusts him with extended minutes in non-blowouts. Oden presumably wants a career, not just a heartwarming moment or two, and that goal still remains very much in doubt. However, it’s difficult to watch him and not smile at the fact that he’s on an NBA court in the first place, let alone that he made a few positive plays. There’s no certainty that he’ll reach his intended destination, but his being on the journey at all inspires good feelings.–nba.html

Kobe Bryant sat in on a marketing class at Boston College, reveals secret love of Boston and Bostonians
While the Lakers legend and venerable Celtics nemesis can’t yet suit up for Mike D’Antoni’s team, he can travel with the squad and show his support. There’s only so much time you can spend rehabbing, though, and Bryant’s search for something to do during his downtime led him to a little Catholic campus in Chestnut Hill.–nba.html

Kobe Bryant greets students at Boston College. (Photo via @RyanDontas)


Digital Coach Perched Right in Your Pocket
In the last year, companies have started to introduce some intriguing sports devices that analyze movement using sensors, in particular multi-axis accelerometers (for measuring linear acceleration) and gyroscopes (for measuring orientation). The point of all these gadgets, in essence, is to put a digital coach into your pocket.

Swingbyte collects data to analyze your golf swing and sends it by Bluetooth to your mobile device.

Rollins, Young, Weiner to be honored at Baseball Assistance Team (BAT) dinner
Weiner, who passed away in November after a 15-month battle against an inoperable brain tumor, will be honored posthumously with the Baseball Assistance Team Lifetime Achievement Award for his years of support of the organization. During his time with the MLBPA, Weiner garnered support for B.A.T. from players and the MLBPA. His wife, Diane Margolin, will accept the award.

Every time Peyton Manning yells ‘Omaha’ against Patriots, $500 will be donated to his charity
Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce president and CEO David Brown announced Thursday that five Omaha-based companies are combining to donate $500 to Manning’s “Peyback Foundation” each time he shouts “Omaha” in Sunday’s game against the New England Patriots. Manning said “Omaha” 44 times in last week’s game. The same number against the Patriots would be worth $22,000 to his foundation. The participating companies are ConAgra Foods, First National Bank of Omaha, Mutual of Omaha, Omaha Steaks and Union Pacific Railroad.

‘Omaha’ becomes a trending topic on Twitter on Sunday and Monday after Peyton Manning shouts it 44 times before the snap in Denver’s divisional round win over San Diego. Doug Pensinger/Getty Images.

Fatherhood and Mentoring Take the Field at NFL Players Association Collegiate Bowl
“Studies show that young people whose fathers and other caring adults are actively involved in their lives have greater self-confidence, perform better in school, and are better able to avoid risky behaviors,” says Kenneth Braswell, NRFC director. “A strong father-child bond is based on shared interests and experiences. The Collegiate Bowl is an excellent environment for children and dads to spend time together and for families to get tips and information on parenting, mentoring, health and wellness, and everyday activities that promote responsible fatherhood and commitment to children’s well-being.”

$3.4 Million Raised By Morgan Pressel Foundation To Fight Breast Cancer
The 7th Annual Morgan & Friends Fight Cancer Golf Tournament hosted by St. Andrews Country Club January 5 and 6 raised a record $600,000 to further the fight against breast cancer through early detection and testing. A total of $3.4 million has been raised entirely through the generosity of St. Andrews CC members and various sponsors of the Morgan Pressel Foundation since 2007. Pressel is a current LPGA star and is the Resident Touring Professional at St. Andrews CC.

How can sports help to promote youth employment?
What do employers expect from employees? For the most part, that they are hard-working, punctual, disciplined, creative, team players, proactive, risk takers, responsible, leaders in their own fields, respectful, results-driven, positive, competitive, fun and energetic. These qualities are known as “soft skills”, which are common expectations from the world of work. But they are also found in another world that is very popular among young people: sport.

Women’s Triathlon Approved by NCAA as Division I Emerging Sport
“After four years of hard work behind the scenes, this announcement represents a huge victory for current and future student-athletes, for the NCAA member institutions that will operate varsity triathlon programs, and for USA Triathlon’s future Olympic success,” Urbach said in a statement on his organization’s website. An emerging sport, a designation only given to women’s athletic programs, gains full varsity status if 40 schools add it within 10 years. Other current women’s sports that have followed that route to varsity status include ice hockey, water polo and rowing.

For NBA Rising Star, Training Is All in the Data
This season, the Trail Blazers began using a new biomechanics evaluation system called OptoGait, which uses optical sensors to analyze a person’s gait and claims to measure data such as power, balance, speed, acceleration and symmetry to the accuracy of one-thousandth of a second.

Damian Lillard does a side-to-side movement within OptoGait sensors. Boone Speed for The Wall Street Journal

CONCACAF to instruct referees to stop games in event of racism
Referees should stop games and order a public-address announcement calling for racist behavior to cease, including the display of racist banners. If racist behavior continues, the referee should suspend matches for 5-10 minutes, send players to their locker rooms and order a second announcement. As a third step – ”a very last resort” – referees may decide to abandon the match. CONCACAF President Jeffrey Webb, who also is a FIFA vice president, says ”the procedure outlines a clear and precise approach of zero tolerance for racist or discriminatory incidents that may arise during matches.”
Bill Clinton teams with top athletes to support kids and sports
“Sports give young people the opportunity to be active, stay healthy, and live up to their best potential,” Clinton said via ESPN. “This conversation, as part of the Health Matters Conference, will bring leaders from sports, health, education, and other sectors to address the need and value of good coaching, and access to physical activity for all children.”

Quick Links…Our WebsiteMore 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