Jan. 19 – Jan. 25. 2014
Welcome to week ninety-five of the Sports Doing Good newsletter. This week’s first 10 stories include:
- Little Girl With Hearing Loss Wants Seahawks’ Derrick Coleman To Know She Gets It
- NHL’s St. Louis Blues Help Honor Teammate’s Sister With Visit to Yale
- Bad Lip Reading Is Back with Another Hilarious NFL Version
- Fans help fund Jamaican bobsled’s journey to Sochi for Winter Olympics
- With Super Bowl in town, New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art shows off football trading cards
- Hoops 4 Hope: A social initiative teaching children about integrity, responsibility, self-esteem, Ubuntu & more
- World-Renowned Violinist Vanessa-Mae Qualifies For The Sochi Olympics In Skiing
- To build the camaraderie needed to win together, No. 1 Arizona first had to live together
- At the Palestra, one thing is clear: ‘There’s nothing like playing in this place’
- A Code of Honor, Not a Referee, Keeps Curlers Honest
When not one, but two, mega sporting events are on the calendar, there are surely going to be stories that get our attention, in a good way. We have that this week with Super Bowl XLVIII in the New York City area and the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. The efforts of the participating athletes often highlight not just extraordinary talent, but extraordinary determination, perseverance, and resilience.
So in recognition of these two mega events, we are happy to be able to highlight this week: Super Bowl participant Seattle Seahawk Derrick Coleman and one of his very special fans; the Jamaican bobsled team (they’re back!); world-renowned violinist Vanessa-Mae who just happens to be a world-class skier; dual sport athletes who have made their mark in the Summer Olympic Games and are now focused on the Winter version; the wonderfully honest world of curling; and Sports Illustrated’s 100 greatest Super Bowl photos; amongst others.
Other stories worthy of attention include: the NHL’s St. Louis Blues honoring the sister of one of their teammates; the organization Hoops 4 Hope; legendary basketball arena the Palestra; the NBA and MLB; Seattle Seahawks owner Paul Allen; and X Games gold medalist Colten Moore; amongst others.
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So enjoy. And have a good week.
Little Girl With Hearing Loss Wants Seahawks’ Derrick Coleman To Know She Gets It
Riley Kovalcik, a 9-year-old girl from Roxbury, N.J., is a big fan of the Seahawks’ Derrick Coleman. A child with a hearing loss, she sees Coleman as a source of inspiration. So, she decided to pen a letter to the NFL’s first legally deaf fullback to let him know all that they have in common. Her father, Jake Kovalcik, tweeted the adorable letter to Coleman and the Seahawks, writing, “@Seahawks @DC2forlife you’ve inspired my little girls in a way I never could. THANK YOU! #Seahawks #SuperBowlXLVIII.”
NHL’s St. Louis Blues Help Honor Teammate’s Sister With Visit to Yale
They did not plan on sightseeing on their day off Friday. Instead they had arranged to be in New Haven to support the family of their teammate Jaden Schwartz, whose sister, Mandi, played hockey at Yale before she died in 2011 of acute myeloid leukemia at age 23…The Blues were to spend Friday at Yale’s Ingalls Rink to take part in a benefit to raise money for the foundation that bears Mandi Schwartz’s name. Their practice, at 3 p.m., was to be open to the public, and they planned to be on hand at night when the Yale women’s team played Brown in a game that has been designated a White Out for Mandi.
Jaden Schwartz’s sister, Mandi, played hockey at Yale before she died in 2011 of acute myeloid leukemia at age 23. David Silverman/DSPics.com
Bad Lip Reading Is Back with Another Hilarious NFL Version
The talented folks at Bad Lip Reading have done it again with another hilarious NFL version. Jim Harbaugh, Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers and more make it into this year’s version. In case you missed it last year, the first version of “The NFL: A Bad Lip Reading” was great and produced the classic “Orange Peanut” line with Adrian Peterson. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zce-QT7MGSE)
Fans help fund Jamaican bobsled’s journey to Sochi for Winter Olympics
Lincoln Wheeler, who started the campaign through Crowdtilt, said he was thrilled to have helped the team raise as much as it did in such a short period of time. “It’s wild to harness the power of the Internet like this,” said Wheeler, a consultant who lives in Washington, D.C. “Obviously the movie had some influence, but I think this also became about the idea that we, as fans, could have an opportunity to influence sports.”
The last time Jamaica sent a bobsled team to the Olympics was in 2002. Robert Laberge/Getty Images
With Super Bowl in town, New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art shows off football trading cards
The cards — which feature football greats, lesser-known collegiate players, owners and teams — were inserted into such products as candy, gum and tobacco. With the Super Bowl being played Feb. 2 in nearby East Rutherford, N.J., the first time the game is being held outdoors in a cold-weather city, organizing the “Gridiron Greats” exhibition was a natural, said Freyda Spira, the Met’s assistant curator of the department of drawings and prints.
The 150 cards, including a series from 1894, are part of approximately 600 football cards from the museum’s vast collection of sport trade cards donated to the Met by the late hobby pioneer Jefferson Burdick. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Hoops 4 Hope: A social initiative teaching children about integrity, responsibility, self-esteem, Ubuntu & more
Thierry moved to Johannesburg, where he decided to help kids in Soweto learn the game he loved. This was the birth of Hoops 4 Hope – a social initiative that aimed to teach children about integrity, responsibility, self-esteem, self-awareness, Ubuntu, sense of humour and focus. Thierry later moved to Cape Town, taking his initiative to Crossroads. Hoops 4 Hope continues to be a success – some of the participants now help run the programme, while others have gone on to receive university scholarships locally and abroad.
World-Renowned Violinist Vanessa-Mae Qualifies For The Sochi Olympics In Skiing
Vanessa-Mae, once a child prodigy and now a renowned classical-pop musician, will compete at the upcoming Olympics for the home country of her father, Thailand. She will use her dad’s surname, Vanakorn. Vanessa-Mae’s manager, Giles Howard, told the Associated Press that she has met the qualifying criteria to compete in Russia. Vanessa-Mae started skiing when she was 4, one year before she picked up a violin for the first time. While she advanced further in the world of music — by age 13 she had become the youngest soloist to record both the Beethoven and Tchaikovsky violin concertos — she never lost her love of skiing. She was born in Singapore and moved to England when she was 4. Now 35, Vanessa-Mae owns a home at a Swiss skiing resort and has been training for the Olympics for the past four years.
To build the camaraderie needed to win together, No. 1 Arizona first had to live together
“Chemistry on the court comes from chemistry off the court, so living together has definitely helped,” Tarczewski said. “We had a great team last season and did some special things, but the chemistry this year is on a different level. Last year, the older guys hung out by themselves a lot. There were a few groups of guys that would always be together. This year, everyone’s always together. We look at each other as a family. When everyone gets along so well, it helps the team out so much.”
At the Palestra, one thing is clear: ‘There’s nothing like playing in this place’
But what makes the building truly special isn’t so much the history — although that’s a factor — as the building itself. It’s so small, with the court below street level, that it’s easy to drive past the entrance on 33rd Street without even noticing it. Because of its rectangular shape and because it’s so small, there are no bad seats in the Palestra. Sure, they’re uncomfortable — most don’t have chair backs — but none has a bad view. Fans sit almost on top of the court on all four sides.
The Palestra opened in 1927 and has been a mecca of college basketball ever since.
A Code of Honor, Not a Referee, Keeps Curlers Honest
In general, curlers are a courteous group. Many still adhere to a tradition in which the winning team buys the losing team drinks after a game. On the ice in Las Vegas, many of the top athletes were taking breaks from their full-time jobs, and many were parents. Opposing teams were paired for tournament play, and curlers exchanged high-fives with the same people they are likely to be pitted against for podium spots in Sochi. Such longstanding friendliness has made self-policing work well for generations, curlers said.
The World Continental Cup in Las Vegas last weekend. Isaac Brekken for The New York Times
THE NEXT 10 STORIES
NBA Dreams Big for Black History Month; Campaign includes ads with Chris Bosh, Roy Hibbert
Excellence and inspiration are the recurring themes behind the NBA’s efforts to celebrate Black History Month that begin next week. The push includes ads from GlobalHue that star the Miami Heat’s Chris Bosh and the Indiana Pacers’ Roy Hibbert, the first of which (scroll down to watch it) breaks Monday during telecasts of games being played on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The tagline is, “Dream big.”
The ads incorporate players, but the messages transcend sports.
MLB to Honor Dr. Maya Angelou, Berry Gordy and Jim Brown with Beacon Awards During Civil Rights Game Festivities in Houston
The MLB Beacon Awards Luncheon is one of the Civil Rights Game events, which were developed by MLB to pay tribute to those who fought on and off the field for equal rights for all Americans. Accordingly, the MLB Beacon Awards recognize individuals whose lives and actions have been emblematic of the spirit of the civil rights movement. The 2014 Civil Rights Game and ancillary events, which also includes the Baseball & Civil Rights Movement Roundtable Discussion and a youth baseball and softball event, will be co-hosted by the Astros.
An Athlete for Two Seasons Can Double Up on Games
Lolo Jones, the oft-frustrated Olympic hurdler turned bobsledder, undoubtedly will attract plenty of attention in Sochi at her first Winter Games. So will Lauryn Williams, the former Olympic sprinter whom Jones helped introduce to a new sport and a new medal opportunity. And there are at least three others who have switched sports and seasons and are expected to become bobsledding Olympians: the Australian hurdler Jana Pittman, the Belgian sprinter Hanna Marien and the British men’s sprinter Craig Pickering.
Lolo Jones qualified for the Winter Games with bobsled pilot Jazmine Fenlator. Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images
Children ‘GO BLUE!’ with Ecover Schools Blue Mile!
The idea is that for a day, schools will organise a project that will teach children about the sea, seashore and marine wildlife. The Ecover Schools Blue Mile has produced a range of resources and ideas for cross-curriculum activities – some in the classroom and some outdoors. From painting and making sea creatures, to swimming and trying out a watersport, the activities are designed to educate young people about the importance of the oceans – and where possible, get them out into a natural environment.
Colten Moore wins X Games gold in memory of brother
Colten Moore parked his sled atop the hill, celebrating a run by honoring his brother, Caleb. It had been 364 days since a crash in the X Game here caused injuries that ultimately led to Caleb’s death at 25. In that quiet moment, Moore raised a hand toward the heavens and thought of an older brother who had constantly pushed him. Yet it was the chaos of his run, the engine of his snowmobile purring as he sailed over jumps to the applause of more than 50 friends and family, where Colten most felt his brother.
Colten Moore celebrates his X Games gold medal with a nod to his brother Caleb. (Photo: Doug Pensinger, Getty Images)
Longtime college basketball coach inspiring even rival teams with his fight against cancer
As word of Pete’s illness has spread, so did the willingness of others to help out in any way they could. Amid dire, potentially tragic circumstances, beauty can arise. A man can find out how many friends he has, how many lives he’s touched in a career spanning more than three decades of working with young people. Said Dambrot: “He’s coached with a lot of good people. He was a head coach three times [at Walsh, St. Joseph’s and Youngstown State] and worked with a lot of other great coaches. We just thought it was something to create awareness, and all those schools really got behind it. This can happen to anyone.”
Akron director of basketball operations Dan Peters, right, is battling pancreatic cancer.
Paul Allen: Hands-off Seahawks owner with passion for sports
To understand Paul Allen, the enigmatic sports team owner whose Seattle Seahawks are on the edge of a Super Bowl berth, you have to look back further — back 50 years to Seattle’s Wedgwood neighborhood. There, you’d see a tall, thoughtful and not terribly athletic boy tossing a football to his father in the street outside their modest home. On Saturdays in the fall, they’d be at Husky Stadium, cheering from the grandstands and enjoying hot dogs in the rain.
Paul Allen, owner of the Seattle Seahawks, directs the franchise from his Vulcan headquarters in the Chinatown International District overlooking CenturyLink Field. John Lok / The Seattle Times
Street Soccer USA and MLS Growth
SSUSA has over 20 teams of homeless players across the country. One of the lessons taught in training perfectly illustrates how soccer equates to real life, how skills on the field translate directly to the street. The lesson they teach is called “taking the space.” On the soccer field, taking the space is keeping your head up, reading the movement of the ball and players on the field, and taking advantage of opportunities as they occur in front of you. SSUSA teaches this in the context of a soccer game but it’s a short through ball to equate this skill to players’ lives off the field. The game provides a secure environment where participants are encouraged to look for opportunities, to have the confidence to take chances as they arise, and to not fear making that first move forward.
Capitals look to Google Glass and Skybox to enhance fan experience at Verizon Center
When I heard about what the capabilities were and the kind of apps that would be developed, I said this is something we should embrace and be the first in sports,” said Ted Leonsis, chairman, majority owner and CEO of Monumental Sports & Entertainment. Enter APX Labs, a Washington firm that started building “smart glasses” for the U.S. military before Google Glass was launched. The company adapted its technology to create the Skybox app, which is aimed specifically at patrons of pro sporting events.
Neil Greenberg uses Google Glass and Skybox at a recent Capitals game.
SI’s 100 Best Super Bowl Photos
SI’s photographers have shot every Super Bowl in history, leading to this collection of their best shots — with at least one picture from every game.