Sports Doing Good Newsletter, #114

June 1 – June 7, 2014

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

  1. How thousands of football fans are helping to save lives
  2. Teen Tennis Star’s Success Is A Powerful Argument Against Body-Shaming
  3. Chasing the Dream: Some basketball players are willing to go wherever it takes.
  4. “Lessons I Learned At the Empire State Games:” Reflecting on Seventeen Amazing Competitions
  5. The Game Before the Game (World Cup)
  6. Female golfer Stackhouse poised to make history
  7. The World’s Largest Organized Youth Sports Program Partners With The World’s Most Iconic Building To Celebrate The 75th Anniversary Of Little League®
  8. Chasing the Dream at 5200 Feet
  9. Cobi Jones: Soccer Unites, Soccer Empowers, Soccer Inspires
  10. How Dikembe Mutombo’s Finger Changed the NBA

We have discussed the issue of legacy before in the newsletter as it is such a key part of sport, whether we are talking about facilities, events, coaching, innovation, etc. The potential to significantly impact individuals, communities, and even countries is not to be underestimated. However, there are those stories which cannot be ignored that deal with sports’ occasional difficulty in converting its wondrous intentions, e.g. physical creations such as stadiums and arenas, into more than just glorified tourist sites. Legacy, rather, is ideally about sustainable impact, so much so that those benefiting from the legacy may not even remember the event or person who launched the initiative.

We had the good fortune this week to see The Only Real Game, the documentary about baseball in the state of Manipur in India, that was featured in last week’s newsletter. The game, first introduced to the area during WWII, still exists today, and continues to grow. That growth is directly tied to the coaches who, generation after generation, impart the rules and techniques of the game, along with the ideals of teamwork, effort, and perseverance. The sport also continues to grow with the assistance of organizations such as Major League Baseball, Spalding, and the non-profit First Pitch: the US – Manipur Baseball Project. Each in their own ways is contributing to the long-term development of the game and we applaud those efforts. The film is terrific and we strongly suggest seeing it. (If you are in NY there is a special 3:00pm showing today, Sunday.)

Other stories this week in the newsletter touching upon legacy include: Sport Club Recife; Stanford University golfer Mariah Stackhouse; Little League Baseball; basketball star and humanitarian Dikembe Mutombo; Mount Everest conqueror, 13-year old Malavath Poorna; the World Cup Project; and the rehabilitation of soldiers in Uganda through sports; amongst others.

Finally, we want to remind everyone about two special events taking place this week, both including in their programs discussions about legacy. Beyond Soccer and Beyond Sport United happen in New York City, on June 10 and 11, respectively. Certainly worth attending but if you cannot, please check Beyond Sport and this newsletter for some highlights.

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

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So enjoy. And have a good week.

How thousands of football fans are helping to save lives
A campaign by one of Brazil’s biggest football clubs to encourage fans to become organ donors has led to a massive rise in the number of life-changing transplants and reduced waiting lists for organs in the area almost to zero… The success of the campaign has been noticed around the world and Sport Recife has been contacted by Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona, both thinking about adopting similar campaigns, Peixoto says. He hopes the forthcoming World Cup will help spread the idea further.

Sport Racife/Ogilvy & Mather Brasil

Teen Tennis Star’s Success Is A Powerful Argument Against Body-Shaming
Both Townsend and Garrison say her negative experience with the USTA over her weight and fitness level have helped her improve — both on and off the tennis court. “It’s made her tougher. She’s very good now at taking that negative and turning it into a positive. You can’t help but grow up in that situation,” Garrison told the New York Times this week. “It helped me believe in myself more,” Townsend told ABC News of the criticism. “It also opened my eyes to say, ‘You know, you’re not going to look like everyone else.'” The USTA reimbursed Townsend’s mother for their travel costs to the 2012 U.S. Open, and Townsend and the organization have since reconciled.

Matthew Stockman via Getty Images

Chasing the Dream: Some basketball players are willing to go wherever it takes.
But what Summers went through is emblematic, if more extreme, of what thousands of players all over the world deal with, driven by an unshaken belief that to play professional basketball at the highest level is what they’re meant to do. Constant movement, low pay and no security is the reality for many more who earn a living shooting hoops than the glamorous lifestyle we often associate with The League.!U4mC0

DaJuan Summers has traveled the world in order to keep his dream alive, even staying in war-torn Ukraine for an opportunity. (Getty Images)

“Lessons I Learned At the Empire State Games”: Reflecting on Seventeen Amazing Competitions
While the outcomes of the competitions do not matter at all, there is something beautiful in having the chance to lose in addition to the chance to win. It means we have been included in an authentic competition, rather than relegated to a contest where we either cannot play due to our disabilities or are given the stock patronizing speech that “everyone is a winner”.

The Game Before the Game (World Cup)
Before the goals, before the glory, there is an unseen game played in the locker room. Watch how the best prepare for greatness with Beats SOLO2 and Studio. This is how the game is won. Featuring: Neymar Jr., Bacary Sagna, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Blaise Matuidi, Cesc Fàbregas, Daniel Sturridge, Chicharito, Jozy Altidore, Luis Suárez, Mario Götze, and Robin van Persie. Special Appearances: Neymar da Silva Sr., LeBron James, Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Rafaella Beckran, Rio Ferdinand, Serena Williams, Sydney Leroux, Stuart Scott, and Thierry Henry.

Female golfer Stackhouse poised to make history
“It’s not my goal to ever be the first African-American to do something,” said Stackhouse, who grew up in the Atlanta suburb of Riverdale. “I just want to be as good as I can be. “But I also appreciate the fact that there is some other African-American girl out there interested in golf and I can be a source of inspiration and show her that she shouldn’t feel left out. It always helps to see somebody like you doing something to make it believable. If I can inspire some other young girl, that makes me happy.”

When Stanford’s Mariah Stackhouse tees it up for the United States in the Curtis Cup this week at St. Louis (Mo.) Country Club, she will become the first African-American woman to compete in the matches against Great Britain and Ireland. Donald Miralle/Getty Images

The World’s Largest Organized Youth Sports Program Partners With The World’s Most Iconic Building To Celebrate The 75th Anniversary Of Little League®
Little League will continue to host a number of initiatives throughout the year that celebrate the fundamental values of the program – community, family, friendly competition and relationships that last a lifetime. People can visit to see the Little League Big Legacy Project digital mosaic (unveiled on Friday, June 6), learn about the history of the Little League program, explore the interactive timeline with photos and videos celebrating Little League, and get the most up to date information on events and activities and how they can commemorate the organization’s 75th Anniversary.

Chasing the Dream at 5200 Feet
Everyone struggles to run in Lesotho. Maseru itself is located at 5200 feet above sea level and the rest of the country is even more mountainous. Even more so than their ability to run at ease in this lung-busting altitude, however, the younger runners in the group impressed me with their drive to succeed. Coming from a stable, middle-class American background where taking up running in high school was a reasonable, if not exactly the most popular proposition, the sacrifices some of these runners were making was eye-opening. For a lot of the group running wasn’t just a way of life, but a way to survive, not only for themselves, but also to literally support their families.

RAJESH JANTILAL via Getty Images

Cobi Jones: Soccer Unites, Soccer Empowers, Soccer Inspires
I have seen first-hand that on the soccer pitch, youth can learn to live together peacefully and discover common values. Through exchange programs held in more than 100 countries, the State Department has sent soccer players to work with youth in all corners of the globe. SportsUnited has also hosted close to 300 youth soccer players in the U.S. where we’ve built relationships based on a common passion for sports. It is in this spirit that we wish all athletes good luck as they compete in the 2014 World Cup.

How Dikembe Mutombo’s Finger Changed the NBA
The wag has become so famous that today it nearly outshines the staggering things Dikembe Mutombo achieved on the court. He appeared on eight all-star squads, earned four NBA Defensive Player of the Year awards, and blocked more shots than anyone in the league’s history with the exception of Hakeem Olajuwon. But if Mutombo eventually reaches the Hall of Fame — he becomes eligible in 2015 — it’ll have more than a little to do with the cultural influence of his right hand’s index finger. In other words, the wag is what made Mutombo Mutombo, what turned a lumbering non-native English speaker who excelled on the forgotten end of the floor into a bona fide superstar.

Dikembe Mutombo posts up against Shawn Kemp of the Seattle Supersonic in Seattle.
Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images


This Girl Was Born In India’s Lowest Caste… But At 13, She Stepped On The Top Of The World.
Malavath Poorna was born a member of the Dalits, which are India’s lowest caste and are otherwise known as the “untouchables“. And life for Dalits in the world’s biggest democracy is still very tough, as Malavath herself acknowledges in an interview with the BBC: “For a tribal girl like me, opportunities are very rare and I was looking for one opportunity where I could prove my caliber.” And, boy, did she prove it! The 13-year-old girl has now become the youngest female to climb Mount Everest, the world’s highest mountain.

NBA Finals: Ray and Rashard, Reunited
After leaving behind an almost-great team 10 years ago, Heat veterans and old friends Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis find themselves competing again for the championships that eluded them in Seattle…“We all have to be prepared for that moment, because at the end of the game, the only thing that matters is winning a championship,” Lewis said. “It’s not about guys getting minutes or scoring 20 points or getting playing time. To me, it’s about if you’ve got to make one 3-pointer to win that championship, we need you to make that one 3-pointer. Whatever it takes.”

At French Open, Simona Halep Carries the Hopes of Romania
Ruzici, still lithe at age 59, won the French Open in 1978 and reached the final again in 1980, losing in a hurry to Chris Evert. Long a television analyst, Ruzici is now Halep’s manager, having first seen her when Halep was 14 and having first believed in her ability to make a big professional impact after watching her win the French Open junior title at age 16 in 2008. “She’s so fluid; you don’t see her coming,” Ruzici said.

Credit Dominique Faget/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

AJ Fry: We Should All Be Given a Chance to Show our Abilities
Joining Special Olympics gave me a chance to show what I’m capable of in sports and in life. My coaches have taught me that winning medals is not always the most important thing. They’ve taught me to set goals, work hard and always give 100 percent, because when you do those things in sports and in life, you’ll always be a winner.

Rehabilitating soldiers in Uganda through sports
Last week more than 100 injured Ugandan soldiers participated in a workshop, where they were introduced to seven disability sports in their home in the Mubende Barracks. The hope is that sport will become a recurring event for moving the soldiers forward in their rehabilitation process.

UEFA Publishes Football and Social Responsibility Report (
The wider purpose of the report was to develop a concise reporting format that will not only form the basis of communication with UEFA’s stakeholders going forward, but also help to measure and further the progress of this work each year. UEFA’s FSR unit maintains close partnerships with expert organisations to address key social development issues through football. As such, the report is structured by social themes, with each section detailing the work undertaken by the relevant group of UEFA portfolio organisations. Themes include Diversity, Inclusion, Peace & Reconciliation, Health and Environment.

NFL Locker-Room Culture Change Starts Now
We believe the moment is now to really effect change,” Gulliver said over the weekend. “This is not a Band-Aid from [NFL offices at] 345 Park Avenue in New York. This is the chance to start a dialogue about what a more respectful locker-room culture is all about. While we have rules and policies on the books that talk about the workplace, what is also important is the culture that reinforces the rules and policies. We believe that a more respectful culture is part of a winning culture.”

Ex-Falcon Patrick Kerney will be among the NFL contingent in Atlanta on Monday to discuss locker-room culture. (Paul Spinelli/AP)

Gatorade Launches Tenth Annual Beat the Heat Campaign With Support of NFL, MLS, MLB & NBA
To help keep athletes safe and performing at their best during the hot summer months, The Gatorade Company, a division of PepsiCo (PEP), has partnered with top professional U.S. sports leagues, including the NFL, MLS, MLB and NBA for the Gatorade Beat the Heat educational campaign. In its 10th year, Gatorade Beat the Heat continues to raise awareness among athletes, parents and coaches on how proper hydration can help reduce heat-related illnesses during athletic activity.

The World Cup Project: First episodes released
The World Cup Project is proud to release the first of a series of episodes featuring grassroots football projects from across the world. See how football can change lives…The first four episodes of the series focus on projects in Australia, India, New Orleans and New York that use football to fight for local social development goals. All episodes are available to watch for free on Watch out for new releases from the World Cup Project in the near future, including those featuring Liberia, Sierra Leone, Israel, Columbia and Lesotho.

The World Cup Project will produce 11 mini documentaries from across the globe in the build-up to the World Cup in Brazil

After Seahawk career, a career at … Starbucks?
After playing a few years in the National Football League for the Seattle Seahawks, what’s a retired football player going to do? Work at Starbucks Corp.? That’s the idea behind the Seahawks and Starbucks’ job shadow program, where seven current Seahawks spent some time during the past few weeks job shadowing people in various departments at Starbucks headquarters in Seattle, to find out about jobs after an NFL career.

(photo, D Smith)  Caption: Seattle Seahawks defensive tackle D’Anthony Smith was among seven Seahawks who job shadowed people in various departments at Starbucks headquarters in Seattle. Starbucks photo

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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 forward 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