Sports Doing Good Newsletter, #124

Aug. 10 – Aug. 16, 2014

Welcome to week one hundred twenty-four of the Sports Doing Good newsletter. This week’s 10 stories include:

  1. ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Invades the Sporting World
  2. Sport pays tribute to Robin Williams
  3. Facebook’s Newest ‘Intern’ Is a 6-Foot-8 NBA Star
  4. The Trick to Making Sports Fun for Kids? Good Coaching
  5. Cutting a Path to the Course, With the Help of Her Family
  6. All-Black Team Provides More Than a Little Hope
  7. Washington Nationals’ Stephen Strasburg reflects on his youth baseball days, overcoming obstacles and staying positive
  8. Meet Meya Bizer, an American badass
  9. Meet the man who gave PGA golfer Erik Compton life
  10. Knights Without Borders; UCF looks to leave lasting impression on Croke Park

There were two stories with a slight sports connection that were all over the various media platforms this week. One came with a message of hope and support for those dealing with an incurable illness, while the other involved a brilliant individual who lost his battle with another potentially fatal condition.

The ALS #Ice Bucket Challenge has taken over Facebook and other media as thousands of individuals are taking the “challenge” and subjecting themselves to the wonders of a bucket full of ice and cold water being poured over their head. We are seeing family and friends, teammates and rivals, and everyone else joining an effort to bring attention, and money, to the fight against amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” named after the legendary New York Yankee. This has been a tremendous effort (I just wish people could do it without wasting so much water!) and is another example of the power of social media and the potential for collaboration in our communities and across the country.

The other story that dominated the news this week was the passing of Robin Williams. Yes, he was a comedian and actor, jobs which are normally not covered by Sports Doing Good. But Mr. Williams was a man of the world with a very big heart and his love of sports – as a fan, participant, and advocate for others – put him squarely in our world. His passing was a tremendous blow to those whom he touched by his connections to sport, and of course, in his legendary career as a performer.

Two illnesses – one more physical, the other more mental – that have a debilitating effect on those suffering from those conditions.  We, including many involved with sports, have shown a remarkable reaction to a campaign to help deal with the condition which has the more obvious effect, i.e. physical paralysis. That effort should certainly continue and sport can certainly remain a major part of the effort. But for those who struggle with what seemingly plagued Mr. Williams, i.e. mental illness, the pain is no less serious and the need for help no less urgent. Hopefully all of us, including those involved with sports, will see that that condition is also confronted by the power of our collective action and that we will start to see more progress in treatment of that illness.

In addition to those two stories we are happy to feature the following:  NBA star Harrison Barnes not just thinking but doing something about his post-playing career; Olympic legend Edwin Moses on the importance of good coaching in youth sports; the wonderful story of LPGA champion Mo Martin; a special group of young baseball players achieving their dream of playing in the Little League World Series; Washington Nationals’ Stephen Strasburg and his perspective on success and staying positive; female rugby star Meya Bizer; the touching story of a young man whose organ donation led to a better life for several individuals, including a pro golfer; and the great efforts by a group of students from UCF to leave a legacy in Ireland long after their classmates play in a historic football game.

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So enjoy. And have a good week.

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Invades the Sporting World
So what’s this all about? Well, it’s about raising awareness for ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease—a degenerative motor neuron affliction with no cure that is capable of striking people of all ages. Challenged participants have 24 hours to dump buckets of ice water on their heads and/or donate $100 to ALS research. While the challenge’s origins are disputed, The Boston Globe’s Rachel G. Bowers reports that one of the catalysts credited with the trend’s crazy growth is Pete Frates, a former Boston College baseball player living with ALS. In a July Facebook post, Frates challenged The Howard Stern Show and a number of his friends to participate in the Ice Bucket Challenge.

Sport pays tribute to Robin Williams
With the news of Robin Williams’s death on Monday, a worldwide outpouring of tributes, memories and mourning followed. The sports world was not immune. The Oscar-winning actor and comedian was no stranger to the sports stage, from his early days as a high school cross country runner to his love for cycling to his support of local and national charities. Here is a look at how many athletes and organizations reacted to Monday’s tragic news

Robin Williams actively participated in the San Diego Triathlon Challenge as part of the Challenged Athletes Foundation relay team. AP Photo/Rich Cruse

Facebook’s Newest ‘Intern’ Is a 6-Foot-8 NBA Star
Facebook calls him an “extern,” not an intern. Barnes isn’t getting paid, and he’s not taking a hungry college student’s spot. But he’s meeting, working with and shadowing Facebook employees this week, giving — and receiving — knowledge in the process. His presence in Menlo Park is twofold. First, as one of pro sports’ more active and savvy Facebook users, he’s there to learn even more about the platform. Second, he’s there to provide Facebook’s development teams with feedback it can’t get from anyone but the high-profile athletes and celebrities who use their products, particularly the recently-launched Mentions app.

Harrison Barnes traded roundball for laptop this week at Facebook’s Silicon Valley HQ. Image: Sam Laird/Mashable/Sue Ogrocki/Sue Ogrocki

The Trick to Making Sports Fun for Kids? Good Coaching
We need coaches and mentors that are going to guide children and ingrain positive values and sportsmanship, while also highlight the importance of education and physical fitness to get kids on an overall path to success in life. As an Olympic Gold medalist, I appreciate the drive to win, but we have to understand that not every child is going to play professionally and sports are too important to children’s well being to scare them away before they get to high school. Coaches need to recognize that and adapt their tactics accordingly. This is why a huge focus of the Sport for Good movement nationwide has been equipping coaches with the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively work with children and create these early positive experiences.

In this July 20, 2011 file photo, a member of the Salina South High School soccer team works out for conditioning training in Salina, Kansas. A new survey finds that being a good sport, positive coaching, and trying hard are key to kids having fun playing sports. (Photo: Tom Dorsey AP)

Cutting a Path to the Course, With the Help of Her Family
Known for playing a sparkling short game with a 5-foot-2 frame, Martin, 31, had a challenging childhood with limited financial resources to pursue golf, and spent six years on the developmental tour before earning L.P.G.A. status in 2012. “None of my life was really groomed to be a professional golfer, and the odds were definitely stacked against that throughout my life,” she said in a recent telephone interview…“She’s a gamer, and I can’t tell you how many putts she makes on the last hole on a regular basis,” Morrison said. “It might sound strange, but she’s not focused on the end result. She focused on the journey.”

Mo Martin, at last month’s Women’s British Open, is one of three Americans to win a major this year. Credit Nigel Roddis/Reuters

All-Black Team Provides More Than a Little Hope
Granderson said he liked what the Jackie Robinson West team represented, as well as the idea that the team’s appearance in the World Series would prompt discussion about blacks in baseball. “The cool thing is the way people talk about it,” Granderson said. “Like, ‘Wow, there is an all-black team out there; I didn’t know there was an all-black team playing.’ “The fact that people don’t realize that there is a black team means that people are under the assumption that black kids aren’t playing baseball. Hopefully this could be something that sheds light both in the African-American community and the non-African-American community.”

Pierce Jones, center, after homering for the Jackie Robinson West team, which is representing the Great Lakes region in the Little League World Series. Credit Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

Washington Nationals’ Stephen Strasburg reflects on his youth baseball days, overcoming obstacles and staying positive
Stephen Strasburg of the Washington Nationals sits down with the National Alliance for Youth Sports to discuss giving children the freedom to choose their own sports path, the importance of nutrition for youth athletes and keeping perspective of disappointments in sports…Game Changers is a web series developed by the National Alliance for Youth Sports in which well-known and respected professional and collegiate coaches and current and former athletes share incredible insight on their lives; discuss the influential coaches and parents who impacted them growing up; and reveal how those experiences not only led to their success in sports but enabled them to become respected and productive members of society.,-overcoming-obstacles-and-staying-positive?utm_source=August+2014+-+NAYS+update&utm_campaign=August+2014+Newsletter&utm_medium=email

Meet Meya Bizer, an American badass
Bizer might just be the hardest-hitting athlete, male or female, in sports. She played football in high school and was a good enough kicker that she earned a scholarship to play at the University of St. Mary’s, a small school in Kansas. But once she started playing rugby, kicking was no longer enough to satisfy her hunger for hitting. From watching the clip below, you’ll understand. It’s a collection of collisions that would make NFL linebackers and UFC heavyweights shudder.

Meet the man who gave PGA golfer Erik Compton life
Isaac Klosterman, former club volleyball player at the University of Dayton, is the story behind the best story in golf. His heart now beats for Erik Compton, the two-time heart transplant recipient who finished tied for second at the U.S. Open and who is about to play in his third major of the season, the PGA Championship, with a spot in next spring’s Masters already tucked inside his bag… “Isaac was competitive, adventurous, did his best in everything and didn’t waste a minute of his life,” his mother said. “We’re all thrilled Erik is the same kind of guy, and someone who is taking full advantage of the gift.” The ultimate gift.

Isaac Klosterman’s death gave life to more people than just Erik Compton. Among the medical miracles were donations of Klosterman’s skin, eyes, jaw, both his kidneys and his lungs. Courtesy Lillian Klosterman

Knights Without Borders; UCF looks to leave lasting impression on Croke Park
Senior Associate Athletics Director Jessica Reo, KWOB trip coordinator – “I couldn’t be more pleased with our trip to Dublin – and that is due in large part to the people of Ireland, Habitat for Humanity and Croke Park. When we decided get involved with this project, the hope was that we would be able to impact the community long-term; to give Croke Park a lasting, impression of UCF. We left today with numerous new friendships and relationships that I believe will carry on after our football team plays Penn State at the end of the month.

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