July 27 – Aug. 2, 2014
Welcome to week one hundred twenty-two of the Sports Doing Good newsletter. This week’s 10 stories include:
- Armless man throws out first pitch at Royals game (video)
- Tennis star Caroline Wozniacki to join the thousands running the NYC Marathon in November, just weeks after her season ends
- Making academics a fantasy sport; Michael Robinson enlists Marshawn Lynch, Russell Wilson to inspire students
- New York Jets’ Oday Aboushi helped create 185 smiles
- New Partnership Allows Athletes for Hope to Support Global Health & Development Causes
- Former Florida State DB Jajuan Harley turns in Walmart badge for shot with Bills
- Detroit soccer team to compete for homeless world cup in New York
- Peres Center for Peace on peace-building in times of conflict
- Connor Barwin Commissions Aristocratic Style Paintings Of His Eagles Teammates
- 3 Things I Learned at the 2014 Green Sports Summit (from Sportsandsocialchange)
The title of the first story may have had you do a double-take. Yes, a man without arms threw out the first pitch at a Major League Baseball (MLB) game. Actually, he has made the throw at over 20 MLB stadiums, and is surely on his way to doing all 30.
Tom Willis’ story is a great one for multiple reasons, including the most obvious one. But we also were taken by Tom’s attitude, his sense of independence, love of baseball, and his firm resolution. Whatever the physical attributes we have – it does not seem that Tom wastes his time thinking of “deficiencies” – those are the ones we should try to maximize. And by testing or challenging ourselves, we better ourselves, and very likely, the people around us as well. I know that I was affected positively by Tom’s story and it is such stories that we want to continue to feature.
Many of the stories this week follow such a theme of challenging oneself or others, including: tennis champion Caroline Wozniacki pledging to run the NYC Marathon this year; former Seattle Seahawk Michael Robinson challenging his former teammates and dozens of high school kids; New York Jet Oday Aboushi who went outside his “comfort zone” to be part of a wonderful effort in Sudan; a new partnership that will give athletes opportunities to support global health and development causes; aspiring NFL player Jajuan Harley; and a group from Detroit joining together to play soccer and give themselves a shot at a better life; amongst other stories.
Finally, I would like to extend special congratulations to my brother, Dr. CJ Singh, and all of his wonderful classmates from the Executive MBA program at NYU. One-hundred and twenty game changers. NYU/EMBA Doing Good!
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So enjoy. And have a good week.
Armless man throws out first pitch at Royals game (video)
Never let it be said that a man without arms can’t throw out a ceremonial first pitch at a baseball game. Tom Willis has proven that to be false, time and time again. Willis, a motivational speaker who was born without arms, tossed out the first pitch at Thursday night’s Kansas City Royals game. It’s something that Willis has done at 22 different ballparks through his Pitch for Awareness campaign. Willis, 54, has learned how to do everything with his feet. He has an organization called Tomsfeet Productions, where the mantra is “No hands. No arms. No problem.”
Tennis star Caroline Wozniacki to join the thousands running the NYC Marathon in November, just weeks after her season ends
Caroline Wozniacki, the 13th-ranked tennis player in the world, was not yet in her running gear, but was in town just the same, taking photos against the backdrop of Central Park, announcing that she would be running the TCS New York City Marathon for charity, becoming the first athlete to take on the 26.2 mile gauntlet while in the prime of a career in another sport…“Running the New York City Marathon has always been on my bucket list, for years and years,” said Wozniacki, who will join Meb Keflezighi, the former New York Marathon champion and winner of the 2014 Boston Marathon, as the ambassadors of the New York Road Runners “Team for Kids,” raising a projected $4.5 million to support youth fitness.
Caroline Wozniacki and Meb Keflezighi will serve as ambassadors for the New York Road Runners. Anthony DelMundo/New York Daily News
Making academics a fantasy sport; Michael Robinson enlists Marshawn Lynch, Russell Wilson to inspire students
“When we were done, the confetti was falling, and I was so grateful to be there,” Robinson says of the Seahawks’ Super Bowl XLVIII victory. “I had a tough year being sick and all the little things, being cut, and then coming back this way. … I just felt like there was an emptiness. There was a joy I was anticipating that really wasn’t there. I couldn’t figure it out. “I came back home and took a tour with a group called Communities in Schools. When you see these kids and they find out I was a Super Bowl champion, they go crazy. You appreciate what the Super Bowl does for you. You appreciate that platform. But you also see what really matters to us [as a society]. What did I really do for all this?”
As Seattle’s fullback, Michael Robinson opened lanes for Marshawn Lynch, who, in turn, offered support to Robinson’s academic program at Varina High School. Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports
New York Jets’ Oday Aboushi helped create 185 smiles
Aboushi was particularly touched by the story of one patient who had the procedure two years ago, but before that had withdrawn from school and rarely left his house because he felt out of place. After the surgery, Aboushi said, he’s at the top of his class in grades and going on interviews. “It’s crazy, and so awesome,” he said. “I look forward to hearing more about certain kids we worked on and see where they are in life, just to have that chance to be normal and be able to do daily functions that everybody does.”
Oday Aboushi was part of a five-day surgical mission by the Islamic Medical Association of North America in early March to repair cleft lips in Sudan. AP Photo/Frank Franklin II
New Partnership Allows Athletes for Hope to Support Global Health & Development Causes
“We are proud to partner with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and empower our network of athletes to support global health and development causes, “said Ivan Blumberg, President of Athletes for Hope. “ Over the past seven years, our athletes have touched the lives of thousands of people through their charitable work and this partnership will allow us to increase our impact on a global scale.”
Former Florida State DB Jajuan Harley turns in Walmart badge for shot with Bills
At one point, he said, “I went broke.” From his parents’ house, he wrote letters and emails to every single NFL team. He even agreed to a deal with the expansion Bemidji Axemen of the Indoor Football League. But late last January, only a few weeks after he left his toy department job, he got a call from Buffalo. “I thought it was a joke,” he said. “They called me in the middle of a workout. I busted out into tears right there.”
Detroit soccer team to compete for homeless world cup in New York
Ikard is talking about his soccer team going to New York, representing Detroit with his teammates, all of whom used to be homeless. Sheilah Clay is president and CEO of the Neighborhood Service Organization. “They didn’t know anything about this, so it was an overwhelming thought of ‘you want us to compete as a team and play in New York,'” Clay said. “In (the last three months) their confidence has grown.” They are Team Resilience and are competing in the street soccer USA Cup.
Peres Center for Peace on peace-building in times of conflict
The Peres Center for Peace understands that in this region, the opportunity for Palestinian and Israeli, and Jewish and Arab children to meet each other is incredibly rare. Media, education systems and the current political circumstances keep the two sides apart, while maintaining existing harmful stereotypes and dehumanisation of the “other.” Children and youth are severely affected by conflict, and due to the lack of interaction and positive dialogue, they are susceptible to developing fears and misconceptions of the “other.”
Connor Barwin Commissions Aristocratic Style Paintings Of His Eagles Teammates
The Eagles’ 27-year-old linebacker is an athletic specimen, having played both football and basketball at Cincinnati. He’s an advocate of public transportation (sometimes taking the bus to practice) and is a music aficionado. So leave it up to Barwin to add color to Philadelphia’s linebackers room with a collection of hilarious and tasteful paintings of his teammates in the style of aristocratic portraits. Using a company called “Nobilified,” Barwin had several works commissioned. He posted the photos to Twitter:
3 Things I Learned at the 2014 Green Sports Summit (from Sportsandsocialchange)
The 2014 Green Sports Summit was a great opportunity for sharing of best practices and examples of what’s possible in creating a sports experience that leaves a very small environmental footprint. There were a wide range of presentations around construction topics, energy efficiency & lighting, recycling & composting, sustainable purchasing & sourcing, and transportation. I was drawn to more of the marketing and event discussions, as those intersect with the work we do around Cause Marketing and CSR, but everything I attended was extremely insightful and definitely valuable.