Sports Doing Good Newsletter, #107

April 13 – April 19, 2014

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

  1. Boston Marathon: His Win Obscured, Runner Left Mark Off the Course
  2. Farmingdale State College Students Launch Campaign to Aid Underprivileged Youth through Sport
  3. Meet Amaris Jackson, a 10-year-old girl who just signed with the Washington Wizards
  4. Michael Rapaport Made the Must-See Knicks Doc ‘When the Garden Was Eden’
  5. Assaulted swimmer gets surprise visit from Team USA athlete
  6. Leveling the Playing Field encourages sports for area youth
  7. Nation’s tallest prep basketball player has big dreams beyond the court
  8. The Race and Sports Lecture – A Film Screening: Little Ballers
  9. A Team Welcomes All Who Have the Talent
  10. 33 Classic Moments From David Letterman’s Shows That Sports Fans Won’t Ever Forget

Our role at Sports Doing Good is to find stories being told in the U.S. and around the world about those who are fulfilling their hopes and dreams, or those for others, through sports. These stories of personal triumph and perseverance, along with those of individuals, organizations, teams, leagues, and corporations assisting others in their own efforts, inspire us and motivate us. This week, that inspiration and motivation was wonderfully activated through the students at the school at which I teach.

We are proud to include a story this week of sport and business management students at Farmingdale State College who led an effort to collect new and gently used sports equipment to be distributed to those in need in the Long Island area. The students partnered up with an organization previously featured here, Children’s Sport Connection, and organized an effort that galvanized the college community and resulted in hundreds of pieces of equipment being collected.. We applaud the students for showing the type of initiative regularly highlighted here and are grateful to have had a small hand in making it all happen.

Other stories we are proud to present include: two related to the Boston Marathon and the power of sport to help heal; young athlete Amaris Jackson and the NBA’s Washington Wizards; swimmers BJ Johnson and Omid Babakhani; fellow sports equipment collector Leveling the Playing Field; rising basketball star Tacko Fall; sports documentary Little Ballers; Romanian soccer team A.S.F. Fratia Bucharest; and finally, a look at some very fun sports-related moments from the career of David Letterman; 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.

Boston Marathon: His Win Obscured, Runner Left Mark Off the Course
Last June, Desisa returned his first-place medal — gold-plated with a diamond stud and framed — to the city of Boston in a public ceremony on Boston Common. Privately, he gave his racing bib to a woman who lost her lower leg and her husband who was also seriously injured. “Sport holds the power to unify and connect people all over the world,” Desisa told a crowd of more than 6,000 runners at the time, speaking through an interpreter. “Sport should never be used as a battleground.”

Desisa gave his first place medal to the City of Boston as a tribute to those who were killed and injured in the bombings. Credit John Tully for The New York Times

Farmingdale State College Students Launch Campaign to Aid Underprivileged Youth through Sport
“We welcome families, friends and Long Island organizations to help support Children’s Sport Connection,” said PJ Waszkiewicz, President of the Sport Management Club at Farmingdale State College. “Playing sports can lead to valuable life lessons such as hard work, dedication, setting goals, and creating a safe and positive environment to boost a child’s self-esteem through sport.”

Meet Amaris Jackson, a 10-year-old girl who just signed with the Washington Wizards
When Jackson and her family arrived at the arena Saturday afternoon, she was brought into the Wizards locker room and presented with a personalized jersey — that she said she will wear “all the time” — and shoes. Her day would also include watching shoot-around, meeting players, and sitting in owner Ted Leonsis’ box during the game. But before tip-off, she met with Leonsis and signed a Wizards contract. Jackson was beaming the whole time.

Amaris Jackson poses for pictures in front of John Wall’s locker. (Photo courtesy of the Washington Wizards)

Michael Rapaport Made the Must-See Knicks Doc ‘When the Garden Was Eden’
The 1969-70 Knicks were the franchise’s first world championship team (fans should undoubtedly remember the Willis Reed game), but the 1972-73 squad may have been even better. As “When the Garden Was Eden” shows, however, the team’s title-clinching victory in Los Angeles was barely watched on television in New York due to its late local start time. In fact, former team member Bill Bradley says in the doc that he hadn’t seen the actual game until last year because video wasn’t previously available.

George Kalinsky

Assaulted swimmer gets surprise visit from Team USA athlete
BJ Johnson, 26, a USA National Swim Team member, flew in to Chicago on Sunday morning from his home in California just to tell Omid Babakhani that his “swim family” from across the country supports him in his recovery and encourages his return to swim…“Everybody has been so wonderful,” said Ben Babakhani. “The world is full of good people; it’s just sometimes we need a reminder.”

Omid Babakhani, 14, right, of Crystal Lake, is all smiles after receiving an autographed swim cap and t-shirt from BJ Johnson, left,, a member of the US National Swim Team, before the start of a swim banquet on Sunday. (Stacey Wescott / Chicago Tribune)

Leveling the Playing Field encourages sports for area youth
Leveling the Playing Field provides soccer balls, shin guards and other equipment to the City of Rockville’s Latino Youth Program. The nonprofit was founded by 25-year-old Max Levitt who has the goal of keeping children on the playing field and out of the streets. “One in five underprivileged households aren’t getting involved in sports,” Levitt said. “Kids who participate in youth sports are 60 percent less likely to drop out of school.”

Nation’s tallest prep basketball player has big dreams beyond the court
Of course, Fall isn’t relying solely on basketball to build a life in his new country. Donning his trademark glasses, he told the Sentinel he hopes to become the tallest person (probably) to achieve something else. “I’m hoping to play professional basketball,” he said, “but at the same I time I want to be a biochemist.”–taco–fall–the-nation-s-tallest-high-school-basketball-player-150607770.html?soc_src=mediacontentstory

The Race and Sports Lecture – A Film Screening: Little Ballers
Set against the backdrop of New York City, LITTLE BALLERS tells the story of 4 diverse eleven-year old boys and their legendary coach as they set out to win an AAU National Championship.  For these young men, basketball is a passion and holds a special meaning: escaping poverty, getting an education, living the American dream and bonding with a father, but more than anything, basketball offers them hope.

A Team Welcomes All Who Have the Talent
Fratia, which means brotherhood in Romanian, is special in that it is the only club in the league run on the principles of equality and nondiscrimination. Age, race, religion, ethnicity and disability are not barriers to making its roster; determination and a little talent are all that is needed. Take, for instance, Lema, who is the first and only black coach in Romanian soccer. Then there is the goalkeeper, who was born with one hand, and the owner, who doubles as the team’s groundskeeper.

Tudorel Mihailescu, the team’s 47-year-old goalkeeper, has a left arm that does not extend beyond the elbow. “I always dreamed of being a goalkeeper,” he said. Credit Cristian Movila for The New York Times

33 Classic Moments From David Letterman’s Shows That Sports Fans Won’t Ever Forget (VIDEO)
With Letterman announcing that he will retire in 2015, here are 33 classic sporting moments from his decades behind desks and on stages for CBS and NBC. From interviews with Michael Jordan and Wayne Gretzky when both were still establishing their greatness and an unforgettable encounter between wrestler Jerry Lawler and comedian Andy Kaufman during the 1980s to a reflective chat with Magic Johnson and Larry Bird in 2012, Letterman became an unlikely but unshakeable part of the wide world of sports during his unforgettable career.

David Letterman and Charles Barkley discuss Brett Favre’s sexting scandal. | CBS


Legacy Award Celebrating 10th Anniversary of the Steve Patterson Award for Excellence in Sports Philanthropy Announced
“The greatest testament to the Patterson Award is that it gives organizations a platform for their future success,” said Alisha Greenberg, Executive Director of the Patterson Award. “Nothing makes us happier than hearing that our past winners have built on the Award to make a greater impact in their communities.”

Olympic gold medalist touches thousands with mentorship non-profit
Classroom Champions pairs classrooms from across the United States and Canada with an Athlete Mentor. The assigned Mentor then delivers monthly video messages to his or her classroom around designated lessons plans such as perseverance, goal-setting, teamwork and friendship. Through the integration of flat screens, iPads, Apple televisions and other forms of technology, students and their Mentors form a genuine relationship, albeit virtually.

Uruguay Coach Touts Unity and Spirit, Restoring Glory in the process
Describing the feeling of solidarity and euphoria that engulfed Uruguayans in the last World Cup, Jaime Roos, a popular musician here, said in a documentary he directed about the tournament that it was as if the entire nation was “aboard the same ship, captained by Tabárez.” Tabárez, a philosophical man who offered his thoughts on the distribution of wealth and soccer as an instrument for tackling social problems, is acutely aware of the importance of his role.

Óscar Tabárez, a former schoolteacher, steered Uruguay to the Copa América, the South American championship, in 2011, its first title in 16 years. Credit Matilde Campodonico/Associated Press

Derrick Gordon, UMass Basketball Player, On Feeling ‘Ecstatic’ After Coming Out And Jason Collins’ Influence
“At the end of the day I do want to play in NBA,” he said. “So if it didn’t work out for Jason, I’d probably still be in the closet. He played a big impact. And [NFL prospect] Michael Sam. Even though Michael Sam is in a different sport, seeing an athlete come out and be open about themselves, it gave me a lot of confidence, to be able to be myself, too, and not worry about what other people say.”

University of Massachusetts basketball guard Derrick Gordon talks with reporters on the school’s campus, Wednesday, April 9, 2014, in Amherst, Mass. Gordon hopes his decision to become the first openly gay player in Division I men’s basketball will inspire others. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) | ASSOCIATED PRESS

A whole new ballgame for Bessie Noll
Born in Yokohama, Japan, to American parents teaching at international schools and raised in Tokyo, Noll’s story is shared by expatriate families the world over, a child of one culture immersed in another. Less common, perhaps even unique, is the athletic path she followed as a result. There just aren’t a whole lot of Division I softball players who aspired to play baseball in the Little League World Series. There are even fewer who aspired to play for the Japanese team in Williamsport, Pa. freshman softball outfielder Bessie Noll has great bat speed, developed over years of baseball training. Graham Hays/ESPN

The Once and Future Saint – A visit to St. Cecilia’s, the Detroit gym where George Gervin, Magic Johnson, Jalen Rose, and many other basketball greats tested themselves against the city’s best
“Sam was a fixture of Detroit basketball even then, and he invited me to work out at St. Cecilia,” Bing said. Word spread quickly, especially after Washington Sr. asked if Bing would like to play in a tournament at the Saint. “I brought Jimmy Walker [Jalen Rose’s father], Ralph Simpson, and George Gervin,” Bing said. “After that, St. Cecilia became the place in the Midwest where you had to play.”

Global Messenger Stories: A Mission to Make Unthinkable Dreams Come True
AJ’s involvement with Special Olympics has given him many opportunities not offered to him anywhere else. It has helped him make many friends for the first time in his life and meet many important people, has allowed him to travel to places he probably would have never gone and taught him many valuable lessons that will help him in his journey through life.

World Games Global Messenger, AJ Fry, after completing his 7th Disneyland Law Enforcement Torch Run Fundraiser for Special Olympics Southern California.

Handball in South Africa: A new sport breaking boundaries
sportandev welcomes PLAY HANDBALL South Africa as a new organisation to the platform. PLAY HANDBALL uses the sport of handball as an engine to empower young women and cut across racial boundaries. As handball is new to South Africa, it is an ideal sport to use to promote dialogue and empowerment. The sport also requires little equipment and is low cost, allowing it to be widely played.

JJ Watt proves he’s friends with young Texans fan
Not many will believe you if you say you’re close friends with an NFL player. So when a young Houston Texans fan told his peers at school that he’s pals with JJ Watt and nobody believed him, the star defensive end gave them proof. Watt posted an Instagram video of him and his buddy Trey and told the world “all those of you that don’t believe Trey’s my friend, believe this touchdown.”

Training Tracks: Shalane Flanagan
Growing up 17 miles north of Boston, in Marblehead, Mass., Shalane Flanagan watched her parents compete in the Boston Marathon and had long envisioned herself standing on podium there. So when the 2008 Olympic bronze medalist in the 10,000 meters finished fourth in her Boston debut last year, she was feeling down. Then the 32-year-old learned about the bombings at the finish line.

Shalane Flanagan finished fourth in last year’s Boston Marathon. She wants to become the first American to win since 1985. AP Photo/David J. Phillip

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