Sports Doing Good Newsletter, #111

May 11 – May 17, 2014

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

  1. Meet a table tennis player with no hands
  2. Homeless future Boise State football player overcomes huge odds
  3. Kickstarter Campaign: Goal! The Incredible Journey
  4. Fifteen years ago, this college runner beat cancer. Now he’s a doctor who treats it.
  5. FC Dallas Goalie Chris Seitz Risks Career to Save a Stranger
  6. Ohio State Buckeyes Enter Bone-Marrow Registry For Teammate
  7. Middle School Girl Helps Twin Sister Finish Race, Carries Her over Finish Line
  8. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s 3×3 Basketball Team Wins National Title
  9. Andretti Formula E Joins the Green Sports Alliance
  10. Kick4Life kicks off “Kick4Life World Cup Challenge”

This was a busy week in the world of “sports doing good.” In addition to the two events we highlighted last week – Sports Management Summit and Beyond Sport United – there was the 2nd Annual Gala for Up2Us, which we were fortunate to attend. There was great energy in the room as organizations of all types, large and small, shared stories of work being done, success stories, and challenges that they are facing. We spoke with Laureus USA, Green Sports Alliance, After-School All-Stars, and Steady Buckets, amongst others. Congratulations to Up2Us for putting together a stellar event.

This week we again had a variety of stories that will astound and amaze, inspire and motivate. How about a table tennis player with no hands? Or a runner who after beating cancer in college, dedicated his life to helping those similarly situated? Or two stories involving bone marrow testing and a life-saving procedure done for a total stranger? Or two fundraising campaigns in support of a documentary featuring an inspiring group of female soccer players and Kick4Life’s World Cup-themed effort?

In addition to those stories please take a moment to check out: Boise State University football player Antoine Turner; twin sisters Chloe and Claire Gruenke; Secretary of Education Arne Duncan; the Andretti Formula E team; Olympian Tim Morehouse and the “Future of Fencing”; and a new program America Rows; amongst others.

Finally, congratulations go out to a Darren Meenan, founder of The 7 Line, featured before at Sports Doing Good. His baseball-inspired wedding day should bring about a smile, even if you aren’t a New York Mets fan.

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So enjoy. And have a good week.

Meet a table tennis player with no hands
Hamato then taught himself to hit the ball by holding the paddle in his mouth. He can now volley with the best of them. In the video, which was released on Friday by the ITTF, the Egyptian-born player goes head-to-head with some of the world’s best. “My best achievement in life is divided into two parts,” Hamato said. “The best thing in my life is my wife, who is everything to me. The second part is table tennis, where I find my biggest success being able to enjoy every point I win.”

The unique story of a man from Egypt with no arms. He was invited as an honour guest of the ITTF President Adham Sharara to visit and enjoy the ZEN-NOH 2014 World Team Table Tennis Championships in Tokyo, Japan.

Homeless future Boise State football player overcomes huge odds
“Wake up, survive. Go to sleep, survive. Wake up, survive. Every day,” Turner explains. The 6’3″, 280-pund defensive end has battled adversity from an early age. It’s also a pattern the currently-homeless, future Division I athlete continues while readying to join the Boise State Broncos in June. “My mom died when I was four of cancer. I had this big of a hole in my heart,” said an emotional Turner, describing the start of his long journey.

Kickstarter Campaign: Goal! The Incredible Journey
As I got to know some of the U.S. teams, I saw how the irresistible power of a sport could be channeled toward coaching not only soccer, but also life skills. I quickly came upon some amazing life stories, so I knew there was a good film waiting to be made…Goal! follows the trip of five women who were selected to represent the United States at the 2013 Homeless World Cup. Through their story we explore how soccer can help people take control of their lives.

Fifteen years ago, this college runner beat cancer. Now he’s a doctor who treats it.
“I think the biggest thing I took from my experience and try to apply to others is honoring their story and just trying to listen. When you listen that way and want to get to know who they are, I want to know how they feel when they heard they have cancer. If you enter each encounter from that mindset and remembering what it was like for me at each of those steps, to hear I have cancer, to hear I have no more options and being able to check back to that moment and think about it as I go into a room with a patient in invaluable.”

FC Dallas Goalie Chris Seitz Risks Career to Save a Stranger
But for Seitz, the decision was simple. He went to his coach and team, who he said “got behind me and really helped me and gave me the space and opportunity to do it.” “It’s kind of surreal. You don’t know what you’re getting into. You listen to the doctors, they tell you everything they’re going to do,” Seitz said. “I had 52 holes in my lower back. You feel really weak…. But it’s worth it. You’re giving someone a chance to fight and win the battle.”

Ohio State Buckeyes Enter Bone-Marrow Registry For Teammate
According to the Columbus Dispatch, all 37 team members and coach Greg Beals had their cheeks swabbed for DNA testing, signed consent forms and provided personal histories to begin the process of becoming potential donors for Farmer or anybody else who may be eligible for a transplant. “As soon as we learned Zach’s diagnosis, I told [Beals] about this,” Wetzel told the Dispatch. ” … Everyone was on board with this. This puts the game of baseball into perspective.

Ohio State teammates are hoping to be a bone-marrow match for freshman lefty Zach Farmer, pictured here during a 2012 game before joining the Buckeyes. Mike Janes/Four Seam Images/AP Images

Middle School Girl Helps Twin Sister Finish Race, Carries Her over Finish Line
The 13-year-old West-Clin middle schooler was in the middle of an 800-meter race at the Southern Illinois State track meet when the injury occurred, leaving her hobbled and unable to continue. That’s when Claire, Chloe’s twin sister, stepped in… Hoisting Chloe to her feet, Claire put her injured sister on her back and began jogging. Claire carried Chloe the remaining 370 meters, and the two girls crossed the finish line together to roaring applause from the crowd.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s 3×3 Basketball Team Wins National Title
“It’s been absolutely amazing, a dream come true,” said Duncan, who played professionally in Australia after graduating from Harvard as an Academic All-American. “We lost our first game so we didn’t even know if we were going to make the playoffs. We had to win our last game to win the whole thing; it’s unbelievable. They (USA Basketball) ran a fantastic tournament; we’ve played in tournaments all over the country but nothing like this, this is something I’ll never forget.”×3-basketball-team-wins-national-title

Andretti Formula E Joins the Green Sports Alliance
“We’re honored to be the first motorsports team to enter the Green Sports Alliance and hope we can help set a new benchmark within the industry,” said Andretti Formula E team-owner Michael Andretti. “The FIA Formula E series represents new innovations within racing that we hope will lead to better sustainability across not just motorsports, but the automotive industry as a whole.”

Kick4Life kicks off “Kick4Life World Cup Challenge”
On Thursday, May 15th Kick4Life (, an awarding winning soccer based non-profit, launched the Kick4Life World Cup Challenge ( to engage corporate sponsors, fans, soccer clubs and supporters in rallying to support Kick4Life’s mission of transforming the lives of some of the most disadvantaged children in the world by participating in an exciting fundraising challenge around the world’s most popular sporting event, the 2014 World Cup. Everyone who participates in the campaign will be eligible to win amazing incentive prizes from the likes of corporate sponsors such as Puma, Sports Authority, BCKSTGR and others. The campaign is being supported by Kick4Life ambassadors Giuseppe Rossi and Tyson Beckford who will be heavily involved in the campaign.


The week of July 13-20, 2014, thousands of youth sports coaches, athletic directors, recreation directors, association members, sponsors, young athletes, and parents across the country will show their support focusing on P.L.A.Y.S. ~ Physical activity, Living healthy, Access, Youth development, Safety.  All youth sports organizations are encouraged to use National Youth Sports Week as an awareness campaign opportunity to promote your own organization and encourage your members to promote their programs.

The Future is Now: The Future of Fencing
Seventy years ago, the sport of fencing adopted an equipment system reliant on an intricate, but fragile, system of wires and technologies. Today, fencers across the world still depend on this same outdated system. Tim Morehouse, an Olympic silver medalist, is revolutionizing the sport by bringing the latest technology to schools and training facilities across the country. His educational organization, Fencing in the Schools, is dedicated to “empowering youth to achieve excellence through the sport of fencing.”

Serving Through Sports: My Universal Language
Prior to GHC, I worked with Grassroot Soccer in Zambia, which runs HIV/AIDS education programs for youth across sub-Saharan Africa, using sport as a tool to educate and inspire communities to stop the spread of HIV. Being a college and life-long soccer player/fan, I am incredibly inspired by the way sport can be used as a universal language and tool for social change. This experience led me to GHC and my role with The Grassroot Project (TGP), which uses much of the same curriculum and methods as Grassroot Soccer, but works specifically on addressing the HIV/AIDS epidemic in DC; our nation’s capitol.

NFL players warn rookies: Stop spending!
Rolle credits the NFL’s Rookie Symposium, a two-and-a-half day event at the end of June, and the Titans’ player development director for helping him think wisely about money. “The best advice I got was to remain humble,” says Rolle, who left the NFL and is now in medical school. “There are veterans on the team who have six or seven cars they drive to practice and Louis Vuitton and Prada suits. If you give into that lifestyle, you go broke quickly.”

The Houston Texans took Jadeveon Clowney first in the NFL Draft. Ex-players hope he and other rookies manage their money wisely.

Social Impact of Professional Sports Teams
Though the driving motivation behind sports philanthropy was originally altruistic, today, professional teams have found that their philanthropic activities add intrinsic value to the organization and benefit the team. Professional sports teams are identifying the powerful impact their brand has on members of their community, and as fan-based organizations, their success relies on building a strong and engaged community. Eli Wolff, Director of the Sport and Development Project at Brown University, notes that from a business standpoint, professional sports teams often find social impact programs lead to more tangible business results and stronger consumer connections.

Adapt & Thrive: Right to Play’s Johann Koss at TEDxLakeGeneva
With four Olympic speed skating gold medals, 10 world records and three world championships, Johann Koss is one of the greatest winter athletes of all time. Johann’s achievements on the ice have since been eclipsed by his efforts on behalf of Right To Play, an International NGO that uses the power of play to transform the lives of children affected by poverty, conflict or disease. Present in over 20 countries, Right To Play is working with street children, child soldiers and children with disabilities to heal, educate and reduce violence.

Wake Up, America: Here’s Why Soccer Is The World’s Best Sport
Soccer is the sport played most consistently around the world. It’s not sectioned off or dominated by one particular country. According to FIFA’s most recent Big Count survey, there are 265 million players actively involved in soccer around the world, roughly about 4 percent of the world’s population. Sports like American football, on the other hand, are predominantly played and watched in only one country.

First International Day of Sport for Development and Peace a resounding success!
With almost 350 projects in over 90 different countries on all five continents, 6 April has undeniably become a landmark event for the peace and development through sport movement. The variety and outstanding quality of projects registered on, initiated by both institutional and field stakeholders, are a testament to the power of our movement.

Rowing Toward Hope in a Troubled World
To return the sport to its blue-collar roots, USRowing, the national governing body, hired Richard Butler as its first “inclusion manager” five years ago. USRowing now offers free basic memberships, and Butler has spearheaded a program called America Rows, which aims to introduce youths of all backgrounds to the sport. Chicago Training Center was the first of what are now 35 affiliates in cities like Boston, Los Angeles and Washington.

From left, Jose Tellez, 17; Daniel Izguerra, 18; Diego Flores, 14; and Curtis Miranda, 16, practicing on the Chicago River on May 1 for the Chicago Training Center, a nonprofit organization that offers a free program to introduce low-income minority youths to rowing. Alyssa Schukar for The New York Times

Athletics and Academics Can Be a Winning Partnership
At Union College, the athletics department reports to the dean of the faculty and is part of the academic-affairs division of the college. I have come to value this structure because it has led me to develop a close partnership with our athletic director. Consequently, the academic administration supports and encourages the athletic department’s close attention to the academic lives of student-athletes. Our athletic director’s performance is evaluated, in part, on the percentages of student-athletes who study abroad and who engage in undergraduate research, as well as on their grade-point averages in an environment in which there are plenty of distribution requirements and no hiding places in “easy” majors.

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