Sports Doing Good Newsletter, #102

March 9 – March 15, 2014

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

  1. High School Wrestler Brings Crowd to Tears in Classy Move After Loss
  2. Kicking + Screening Soccer Film Festival partners with streetfootballworld
  3. Ex-NFLer Rashard Mendenhall: Why I Retired At 26
  4. Ex-NBA forward Brian Grant on battling Parkinson’s: ‘I was just happy to make it through alive’
  5. Sacramento Kings and NYC Kids Come Together for UNICEF
  6. A Female Trailblazer’s Next Notch
  7. Inclusive Design, Humankind and the Paralympic and Olympic Spirit
  8. Baseball exhibit set to open at Philly museum; Focus is on role the game plays in the lives of immigrant and minority communities
  9. Women in Action: Paralympian Amy Purdy
  10. Change the Game (in NYC. Registration open)

Part of the motivation in creating the Sports Doing Good newsletter and blog was to increase the number of media/entertainment outlets promoting positive activity and the “good” in sports. We love providing at least some additional attention for the individuals, teams, leagues, events, companies and organizations that make sport so special.

We are proud to highlight another player in the media/entertainment space, the Kicking + Screening Soccer Film Festival. This event, which started modestly six years ago, has grown to include hosting festivals outside its home city of New York, signing up powerful sponsors (e.g. Budweiser) and partnering with leading soccer/football non-profits. Kicking + Screening continues its tradition of giving back to sport by announcing that it will be working with streetfootballworld as part of its social responsibility efforts in 2014. We anticipate great things from this partnership and wish them the best of luck.

In addition to that announcement, we are fortunate to highlight the following: incredible sportsmanship demonstrated by high school wrestler Malik Stewart; ex-NBA player Brian Grant and his battle with Parkinson’s; a trailblazing women’s hockey player Shannon Szabados taking the ice with her hockey “brothers;” the uber-talented Paralympian Amy Purdy; 44-year old college wrestler Rick Chipman; next month’s Change the Game conference; and Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo, amongst others.

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So enjoy. And have a good week.

High School Wrestler Brings Crowd to Tears in Classy Move After Loss
“I got a little teary because I lost the match, and I knew the hard times he was going through,” Malik told the news station. “The crowd went wild and I heard a couple people say after I did it, that was pretty classy, but I just did it straight from the heart.” Malik knew the enormity and the importance of Mitchell McKee’s victory, who had vowed to win a state championship to honor his father. Malik lost his father to a heart attack when he was only 7.

After losing the state title, high school wrestler Malik Stewart (L) congratulates his opponent’s father, who is battling terminal cancer.

Kicking + Screening Soccer Film Festival partners with streetfootballworld
”Kicking+Screening understand, just as we do, that soccer is much more than a game,” said SFW’s USA Managing Director Mike Geddes. “Soccer is emerging as one of the most powerful forces to create social change and we’re delighted to partner with K+S to both support our work and bring that message to more people. We’re looking forward to sharing some of our incredible stories from around the world in New York on April 10.”

Kicking + Screening Soccer Film Festival, New York City, April 8-11, 2014

Ex-NFLer Rashard Mendenhall: Why I Retired At 26
The box deemed for professional athletes is a very small box. My wings spread a lot further than the acceptable athletic stereotypes and conformity was never a strong point of mine. My focus has always been on becoming a better me, not a second-rate somebody else. Sometimes I would suffer because of it, but every time I learned a lesson from it. And I’ll carry those lessons with me for the rest of my life.

Running back Rashard Mendenhall #28 of the Arizona Cardinals looks on against the Detroit Lions at University of Phoenix Stadium on September 15, 2013 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Ex-NBA forward Brian Grant on battling Parkinson’s: ‘I was just happy to make it through alive’
Retired from playing since 2006, Grant has taken up a different, much more important fight against Parkinson’s disease, with which he was diagnosed in November 2008. His eponymous foundation shifted its focus in 2010 from an all-encompassing charitable organization to one that “empowers those impacted by Parkinson’s to live active and fulfilling lives.”—i-was-just-happy-to-make-it-through-alive-183140743.html?soc_src=mediacontentstory

Brian Grant roars. (Fernando Medina/NBAE/Getty Images)

Sacramento Kings and NYC Kids Come Together for UNICEF
The NBA and the Sacramento Kings have been going all out for UNICEF USA all month long with former Kings great Vlade Divac heading an effort to provide children with clean drinking water. Kings players are wearing U.S. Fund for UNICEF warm-up shirts during pre-game shootarounds, the Kings’ arena is cloaked in UNICEF blue, fans can make donations to support UNICEF water projects right at the concession stands, and coaches and even broadcasters are wearing UNICEF USA lapel pins during games.

DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings with President and CEO of U.S. Fund For UNICEF Caryl Stern and UNIS High School students at an event recognizing New York City students for their efforts to help with the UNICEF Tap Project at Trump SoHo on March 8, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for UNICEF)

A Female Trailblazer’s Next Notch
When Szabados, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, makes her expected pro debut this weekend, she will become the first woman to play in the 10-year-old S.P.H.L., a rung or two below the midlevel ECHL on the National Hockey League ladder. It is the latest stop in Szabados’s trailblazing career. She was the first woman to play in the Western Hockey League in 2002 at age 16, and she played on the men’s team at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.

Szabados with teammates Preston Shupe, left, and Neilsson Arcibal on Thursday during her first game with the team. Credit Kevin Liles for The New York Times

Inclusive Design, Humankind and the Paralympic and Olympic Spirit
The Olympic and Paralympic spirit is empowering and has the potential to reinforce the values of Excellence, Friendship, Respect, Courage, Inspiration, Determination and Equality for everyone, for ALL athletes. Perhaps these seven values together could form a new look, a new set of “rings/agitos”, images melded together.

Baseball exhibit set to open at Philly museum; Focus is on role the game plays in the lives of immigrant and minority communities
Hailed as the first large-scale exhibit focused on the role baseball plays in the lives of immigrant and minority communities seeking to express or challenge American culture, Chasing Dreams: Baseball and Becoming American features 130 baseball artifacts, including the original sheet music for “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” and a collection of uniforms and other baseball equipment used by Koufax, Robinson, Aaron, Greenberg, DiMaggio and Ichiro Suzuki.

Women in Action: Paralympian Amy Purdy
What came next is a long story — “the whole triumph over adversity from the depths of despair thing,” as she calls it — and it’s one she’s told many times. She knows the story is part of what has been bringing attention to her sport and to herself, part of what’s attracted media coverage and big-name sponsors, so she’s decided to embrace it and take control of its telling, turning it into a superhero’s origin story.

Amy Purdy and her Adaptive Action Sports organization ushered snowboardcross in to the Paralympic program. She’ll be the only double-leg amputee in the event’s debut in Sochi. Kelly Halpin

Change the Game (in NYC. Registration open)
SSrD involves looking at the actual structure and design of the whole sport experience and purposefully altering elements that we usually consider fixed.  What’s unique about the elements we examine in SSrD is that they are aspects of the sport experience that are universal to everyone involved- the coaches, players, referees, and fans.  Making changes to these aspects means changing the sport experience for everyone; it becomes impossible for participants to “not do” that aspect of the game.  If the right changes are identified, all participants will get the benefit of that change.


Back To School: Maine Grandpa Becomes College Wrestling Captain At Age 44
Rick Chipman recently finished his competitive wrestling career some three decades after it started. Chipman, 44, was a co-captain of the wrestling squad at Southern Maine, a Division III school where he enrolled at age 40…During his high school days Chipman nearly won the state title twice, but he couldn’t continue the pursuit in college. He dropped out the first semester of his freshman year after his fiancée got pregnant. As he grew older, Chipman always wondered whether he could still compete.

Blue Jackets’ Black Tie was an “unforgettable” experience for all
Together, the Blue Jackets organization, its partners, the Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation and the central Ohio community unofficially raised more than $500,000 at the 8th annual Black Tie Blue Jackets Style Show (presented by Medical Mutual) in support of the fight against pediatric cancer, the central cause of the Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation…The annual style show event provides an unforgettable experience to everyone in attendance, combining a fancy night out with a style show, celebrating the 11 Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation heroes as they walk the runway alongside Blue Jackets players and their families.

Highly touted University of Virginia signee not even playing high school girls’ basketball
After leading Yorktown in scoring as a freshman and participating in the 2011 USA Basketball U16 National Team trials over the summer, Venson’s concussion reportedly occurred against Clifton (Va.) Centreville on Dec. 6, 2011, just three games and 27 free throws into her sophomore season. “The day after I got the concussion, I didn’t know if I wanted to play high school ball anymore with the way I felt,” she told The Washington Post. “After playing three games, I didn’t know if my body could take shooting 30 free throws. I was just thinking, I need to be smart about this.”–basketball-player-isn-t-even-playing-high-school-basketball-163101496.html?soc_src=mediacontentstory

Virginia girls’ basketball recruit Mikayla Venson trains with her father Michael. (Linda Davidson/The Washington Post)

Baseball Tomorrow Fund joins Ligue de Baseball Softball de Haute Normandie to celebrate the opening of four new batting cages resulting from $150,000 USD grant
“The Ligue de Baseball Softball de Haute Normandie is proud to inaugurate these new batting cages,” said Sylvain Virey, Manager of the Rouen Baseball Academy. “Thanks to the support of the Baseball Tomorrow Fund, as well as the Ministry of Sports, the Regions Haute Normandy and the Department 76, this addition to our unique facility in France will allow our disciplines to develop and will multiply the possibilities of progress at every level.”

Leveling the playing field: Using soccer to tackle illiteracy in Haiti
By using soccer as a platform for development, GOALS is able to reach children who are left behind by conventional educational systems, offering a second chance for children who live in underserved communities. That’s why we’re incorporating literacy training into our existing sports and education programs.

Meeting with parents and students to plan literacy workshops

Cristiano Ronaldo donates $83,000 to pay for sick child’s operation
Spanish newspaper AS revealed that the family of a 10-month-old boy with cortical dysplasia — a rare brain disorder that causes dozens of daily seizures — was looking to raise €60,000 ($83,000) to raise money for a vital operation. Ronaldo — the current leading scorer in the Champions League and La Liga — was asked to donate a shirt and pair of boots to help raise funds for little Erik Ortiz Cruz, a request with which he duly obliged. But that’s not where the Portuguese star’s contribution ended: he has also offered to pay the full cost of the operation.–83-000-to-pay-for-sick-child-s-operation-155950192.html?soc_src=mediacontentstory

Cristiano Ronaldo donates $83,000 to pay for sick child’s operation. (Getty/@SocialRMadrid)

Sport in conflict: can cricket heal war-torn Afghanistan?
It would be naïve to view sport, in and of itself, as being capable of transforming the types of conflict facing countries like Afghanistan or Iraq. If sport is to be a “saviour” for nations suffering conflict, then surely it must be used as but one small element in a comprehensive set of conflict transformation strategies.

In Club Hockey League, Meager Funding Doesn’t Kill Appetite for Competition
Players receive no scholarships other than financial aid, and they typically pay a fee to play. Depending on the level of support they receive from the university and student services, that fee can range from a couple of hundred dollars per player to a few thousand. It is used to pay for coaches, ice time and travel.

The Central Oklahoma players, who traveled 26 hours on a bus to get to the national tournament, celebrated after beating Adrian College during the second round. Credit Tim Shaffer for The New York Times

Australia, Baseball’s Diamond in Rough
Upon their return to the United States in April 1889, Spalding and the teams were honored with a dinner at Delmonico’s restaurant in Manhattan. The guest speaker was Mark Twain, who entertained the crowd, which included the future President Theodore Roosevelt, and called baseball “the very symbol, the outward and visible expression of the drive, and push, and rush and struggle of the raging, tearing booming 19th century.”

From October 1888 to April 1889, Spalding’s Chicago White Stockings and a team of all-stars played exhibition games in Australia, Egypt, Italy, France, England, Ireland and the United States. Here players are pictured in Brooklyn, left to right, John Healy of the Indianapolis Hoosiers, Ed Crane of the New York Giants, Jim Fogarty of the Philadelphia Quakers, George Wood, also of Philadelphia, John Montgomery Ward of the New York Giants, Tom Brown of the Boston Beaneaters, Fred Carroll of the Pittsburgh Alleghenys, Ned Hanlon of the Detroit Wolverines, Billy Earle of the Cincinnati Red Stockings, and Jim Manning of the Kansas City Cowboys at Washington Park on April 8, 1889.

Ukrainian Paralympian Calls For Peace, Independence After Winning Medal In Sochi
Olena Iurkovska claimed bronze in the first biathlon event on the first day of competition on Saturday — the women’s 6 kilometer sitting competition. After finishing behind Svetlana Konovalova of Russia, Iurkovska said: “I devote my first medal in Sochi to an independent Ukraine. Every time I race, it will be for Ukrainian independence and peace in my country.”

Olena Iurkovska of Russia celebrates after she won the gold medal of the Women’s 10 km Sitting Cross Country competition at the Turin 2006 Paralympic Winter Games in Pragelato Plan, northern Italy, Wednesday, March 15, 2006. | ASSOCIATED PRESS

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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.
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