Sports Doing Good Newsletter, #99

Feb. 16 – Feb. 22, 2014

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

  1. Philadelphia 76ers Will Sign Special Needs Teen to 2-Day Contract
  2. – Sochi and Social Change So Far – A Week 1 Look at Social Causes on Display at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games
  3. The 3-Pointer Felt Across the World
  4. The touching motivation behind Boston College’s win over undefeated No. 1 Syracuse
  5. SC Featured Mendota
  6. Nothing more inspiring for an athlete than watching the Olympics
  7. Johann Koss – Olympic Athletes and the Power to Give Back
  8. Before USA-Canada, USA Meets Canada in Sochi Street Hockey
  9. With Iron Mike Productions, Tyson fights for fighters
  10. USA’s Mikaela Shiffrin stays focused on gold

This week we wrap up the latest iteration of the Olympic Games. The Sochi Winter Olympics involved a fair amount of hand-wringing, whether that was due to the complicated preparations or the social policy that had many around the world questioning the appropriateness of Russia as a host for an event that preaches inclusion and acceptance.

However, once the Games started, the attention shifted to where it needed to be during the Games, on the athletes and their efforts on the field of play. There were so many great stories involving athletes from all over the world. New stars, seasoned veterans, new events, and events with which we have long associated the Games.

This week we again offer some wonderful stories out of Sochi. We hope that you will keep them in mind even after the Games end and the athletes have returned to their respective homes around the world. For while these Games will end, training starts once again for those athletes we will see in South Korea in 2018.

In addition to the great Olympic stories, we are proud to include: an incredible gesture by the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers for one of their fans; Boston College’s inspirational upset of No. 1 Syracuse; the powerful story of the Mendota High School Football team; trendsetting Ivy League basketball players and coaches; and high school student-athlete Dom Cooks, who is facing life’s greatest challenges with a spirit that should move us all; 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. And have a good week.

Philadelphia 76ers Will Sign Special Needs Teen to 2-Day Contract
Grow has become an inspiration to the Sixers organization, as his story has swept the nation. Grow, who has Down syndrome, has served as his high school basketball team’s manager for four seasons. His coaches put him on the court for the team’s final two matches of the season, and his first varsity games, in which he scored 14 points, including three 3-pointers and a buzzer beater. After he signs his two-day contract, Grow will eat dinner in the players lounge, tour the practice facility and receive Sixers gear. He will join the team on the floor toward the end of practice, meet and shoot around with his new teammates, be greeted by his coaches. – Sochi and Social Change So Far – A Week 1 Look at Social Causes on Display at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games
These Olympic Games have brought us intriguing sub-stories around issues both global and hyper-local. Some will only play out over the next week’s worth of events, others may find this moment in time as a jumping off point for a longer and deeper discussion on larger issues such as LGBT equality & inclusion or climate change. Either way, these games are worth watching. Here’s a quick look at what caught our attention during week one in Sochi…

The 3-Pointer Felt Across the World
How else to explain a light-hearted, shooting contest during the timeout of an NBA game in Orlando potentially saving the life of a child thousands of miles away in Ethiopia? How else to explain a dentist who hadn’t touched a basketball in years other than a 15-minute practice session at his kid’s school burying a 24-foot 3-pointer as the horn sounded? How else to explain the kismet from last Friday night that nearly brought Dr. William Dunn to his knees in utter disbelief?

The touching motivation behind Boston College’s win over undefeated No. 1 Syracuse
Dick Kelley is gone, passing away last week and being buried Tuesday after a long and courageous fight with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease). Yet the longtime men’s basketball media relations director was the spirit that moved the 7-19 Eagles to absolutely shock the college basketball world, upsetting undefeated No. 1 Syracuse 62-59 in overtime in the Carrier Dome. There is no doubt. This win – the Eagles’ biggest in years and most improbable in decades – was for Dick.–1-syracuse-043859078-ncaab.html?soc_src=mediacontentstory

Boston College players celebrate after defeating Syracuse 62-59. (AP)

SC Featured Mendota
With players who work their summers in the central valley’s agricultural fields, the Mendota High School football team has overcome challenges of an impoverished, immigrant town to become a football powerhouse thanks to its transformational coach and star.

Nothing more inspiring for an athlete than watching the Olympics
Not many things are more inspiring for an athlete than watching the Olympics. It is a reminder of the “fine line” between losing and winning in sport. I can think of six or seven examples of little breaks or plays in the game that seem insignificant when they happen, but end up being the difference between winning and losing. That is what I really respect about Olympic athletes; they have to be so dialed into the little details. When you listen to Olympic athletes being interviewed they are usually very intelligent, insightful, and have a higher level knowledge of fitness.

Brodie Merrill (Philadelphia Wings)

Johann Koss – Olympic Athletes and the Power to Give Back
Over the past 20 years, athletes have played a central role to the growth and success of the Sport for Development and Peace movement. Right To Play alone has more than 300 professional and Olympic athletes from 40 countries that have signed on as Athlete Ambassadors. They use their profiles in different ways to help spread the message that play is fundamental to a child’s development and that through it, we can teach children how to protect themselves and empower them with the confidence and skills to become leaders in their communities.

Clara Hughes visits Right To Play programs in Uganda (2012)

Before USA-Canada, USA Meets Canada in Sochi Street Hockey
I’ve seen a lot of things at these Olympics, but the semi-impromptu street hockey game that broke out in front of the USA and Canada houses on Wednesday morning may honestly have been the best… The two teams gathered for photos, and they were all smiling ear to ear. As NBC camera crews hovered, the competitors began hankering for a postgame celebration, but no one could quite agree on exactly how it should go. “Molson!” someone cried out. “Budweiser!” came the response. America won out on that front. The women’s gold-medal game on Thursday, and the potential USA-Canada men’s matchup on Friday, will really have nothing on this.

With Iron Mike Productions, Tyson fights for fighters
To that end, Tyson prefers fighters to finances and will likely spend more and more time in the gym, doing what he loves most — talking with and teaching fighters. “He really is most comfortable in the gym,” says Jonas. “He loves it when he’s in there. He gets a little bit of a glow and an adrenaline rush. You automatically see a different Mike Tyson. He’s in his element. “As this year rolls around, more and more he’s focusing on the boxing side. And more and more he’s going to be spending time in the gym. We’re putting another gym in Las Vegas so that a certain group of the fighters can be with Mike on a full-time basis.”

Former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson says he wants his fighters to be active and entertaining, and that’s not negotiable. (Photo: Thomas Sampson, AFP/Getty Images)

USA’s Mikaela Shiffrin stays focused on gold
Shiffrin is a student who makes teachers want to take her on and possesses the kind of talent and drive that alters the arcs of people around her. Her parents — Jeff, an anesthesiologist who skied at Dartmouth, and Eileen, a masters ski champion, shaped their family’s life around the sport after Mikaela followed her brother Taylor down the hill. Pfeiffer, the U.S. Ski team’s head technical coach, met Shiffrin when she was 16 and knew at first sight she was the kind of athlete the universe bestows on a coach once in a career: present and focused for every training session.

U.S. skier Mikaela Shiffrin, 18, became the youngest to win slalom gold. AP Photo/Christophe Ena


Sarah Burke’s Legacy Felt In Sochi As Women’s Skiing Halfpipe Makes Its Olympic Debut
Burke was the Canadian freeskiing icon — a four-time winner of the Winter X Games — who fought hard, first to get women involved in her sport, then to take it to the highest level… The International Olympic Committee added halfpipe and slopestyle skiing to the program in 2011. Less than a year later, Burke died after suffering fatal injuries during a training run in the halfpipe. She was 29 and would have almost certainly been the favorite in this event had she been here.

Collins Would Be an Asset on the Court, the Nets Say, Not a Distraction Off It
Joe Johnson, who played with Collins when they were with the Atlanta Hawks, called him a “great teammate,” adding, “We would gladly welcome him here with open arms.” Kidd and Collins played several seasons together for the Nets when the team was still in New Jersey. Kidd lauded Collins’s character and emphasized that he could still help a club.

Jason Collins, left, last played in the N.B.A. with the Washington Wizards in 2013, before he announced that he is gay. Jim Young/Reuters

Canada’s Women’s Hockey Team Left An Inspirational Note For The Men’s Team
As the saying goes, behind every men’s hockey team on the verge of success is a women’s hockey team that already won a gold medal. Before Canada’s men’s hockey team faced off against the U.S. squad in a semifinal matchup on Friday it found an inspirational message waiting in the locker room. Three members of Canada’s triumphant women’s team left a note that was spotted by CTV National News correspondent Daniele Hamamdjian.

CAF and Uefa join forces to boost football development
The agreement will focus on the sharing of information and experience, along with conducting joint technical development programmes, in fields including coaching, refereeing, youth football, women’s football, organisation of competitions, administration, marketing, media and social responsibilities.

Ivy League Hoops: Ahead Of The Curve In Coaching Diversity
Although some may be surprised that the Ivy League is on the cutting edge of coaching diversity in its basketball conference, the schools known as “The Ancient Eight” have a long-standing tradition of African-American accomplishments within their athletic programs and being somewhat ahead of the national curve.

New physical education curriculum delivered in Gram Vikas Kankia School in Odisha, India
The arrival of a qualified PE teacher from the UK, with a background in curriculum development has helped to add structure and integrate key elements from international education and sporting principles such as the UK’s ‘every child matters’ framework and the long term athlete development plan.

High School Student With Brain Tumor Gets Seattle Seahawks Surprise
A Washington State high school student battling an aggressive brain tumor got the surprise of his life when a Seattle Seahawks player fresh off a Super Bowl victory made a special visit to his high school. Doug Baldwin, a Seahawks wide receiver, snuck in a side entrance at Decatur High School in Federal Way, Wash., on Thursday night and spoke to an overflow crowd at the school’s gymnasium about Dom Cooks, an 18-year-old senior at the school who was a standout football player before being diagnosed with a brain tumor two years ago that has left him confined mostly to a wheelchair.–abc-news-topstories.html?vp=1

Hardwood Hustle Basketball Podcast: Using Basketball to Teach Life Lessons
In this episode of the Hardwood Hustle, Adam and Alan discuss how to use basketball as a vehicle to teach important life lessons. There are teachable moments in every game, practice and team function regardless of whether you are winning or losing. If your focus as a coach is on the bigger picture of impacting players’ lives, and not just on winning games, they are easy to find.

Female football player earns respect in professional debut
The team held a weeklong training camp before the season began and Welter, who has a Ph.D. in psychology and works as a sports psychologist and personal trainer, said there was no big fanfare when she made the squad. She was off to Los Angeles to appear on the Arsenio Hall show when the team told her to report to practice the next day, which meant she had survived the cuts.

Welter is complimented by North Texas Crunch defender Cedric Hearvey, who fiercely tackled her during the game.

NBA testing player-performance devices in Development League
During games, the devices collect player data on cardiovascular exertion, musculoskeletal intensity, fatigue, rate of acceleration and deceleration, number of jumps, distance and direction of runs and other intel. Additional NBA D-League teams are expected to adopt the technology before the end of the season. “As the research and development arm of the NBA, the NBA D-League is the perfect place to unveil innovative performance analytic devices in-game,” says NBA D-League President Dan Reed.

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 InformationSarbjit “Sab” Singh