Sports Doing Good Newsletter, #129

Sept. 14 – Sept. 20, 2014

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

  1. Ex-Raven Ma’ake Kemoeatu gives kidney to brother, ex-Pittsburgh Steeler Chris
  2. The Philadelphia Eagles’ Secret Coaches: Professors
  3. A 260-Year-Old Shrine Unlocks Its Doors to Women
  4. Orlando Magic and Magic Guard Victor Oladipo Give Assist to New Image Youth Center in Time of Need
  5. Meet Randa Markos, the Iraqi refugee-turned-UFC fighter
  6. Billy Casper Golf’s ‘World’s Largest Golf Outing’ Breaks Record, Raises More Than $875,000 for Wounded Warrior Project
  7. Boston passes safety rules for college athletes
  8. Grassroots sports thrive in Ukraine despite conflict
  9. Capoeira continues in conflict zones
  10. A Pro Bowl linebacker is now a nationally-known yoga teacher

This week’s collection of stories stumped us. Rest assured, they all fit squarely in the realm of sports doing good. What was interesting about this cohort is that a theme did not shine through. We have 10 stories that, on their own, and when taken together, offer up the type of variety that is so encouraging when it comes to good in sports. It is not one or two areas but rather, countless.

We heard from several subscribers regarding what seemed like a steady stream of bad news from the world of sports. They mentioned that they were more than disappointed to see such a collection of negative activity. We agree. We also agreed with the sentiment that sports must do better, and it regularly does. This week’s stories prove that.

This week we have a wonderful story of brotherly love; the seeking of inspiration and insight from an unlikely source; a long-overdue change in one of the world’s oldest sports; swift action on behalf of an NBA player and team in support of a local group that does good; the emergence of an athlete who has overcome a tough childhood; the hosting of the “world’s largest golf outing”; enhanced rules to protect our young athletes; the durability of sports in times of conflict; and a pro athlete who has found another opportunity to improve himself and to give back to others.

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So enjoy. And have a good week.

Ex-Raven Ma’ake Kemoeatu gives kidney to brother, ex-Pittsburgh Steeler Chris
The former Raven said that when the family found out that his brother, who had been suffering from kidney problems since the eighth grade, would need a transplant, he immediately volunteered, quitting the Ravens in 2012. “I’m the oldest of the seven kids, and it’s my responsibility to take care of my younger brothers and sisters,” Ma’ake said. “If my younger siblings need blood, it’ll be my blood. If they need a kidney, it’ll have to be my kidney.”

Ma’ake Kemoeatu came to the aid of his brother, Chris, by donating one of his kidneys. Michael Bezjian/WireImage

The Philadelphia Eagles’ Secret Coaches: Professors
The professors’ close interaction with the Eagles showed them a different side of athletes and gave Ericsson, who had never worked with football players, a new angle on how athletes operate. “Something that many of the athletes resent is being represented as intuitive naturals,” he said. “When, in fact, they should have a similar respect to a scientist or a medical doctor, who have been able to perfect their talents through performance and learning.”

Second-year Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly, second from left, asks academics for advice on how to run his football team better. AP

A 260-Year-Old Shrine Unlocks Its Doors to Women
The decision carries powerful symbolism. The Royal and Ancient Golf Club is a 260-year-old institution that calls itself the spiritual home of golf. The separate governing body it created in 2004, called the R & A, is entrusted with running the British Open and helping adjudicate the game’s rules, making it one of the sport’s primary seats of power. But the male-only membership had increasingly become an anachronism that cast the club in an unfavorable light with fans, golfers and tournament sponsors. It also undermined one of the main mandates of the R & A, which is to expand the game.

The clubhouse for the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, long a seat of power for the sport. Credit David Cannon/Getty Images

Orlando Magic and Magic Guard Victor Oladipo Give Assist to New Image Youth Center in Time of Need
An inspirational setting that has helped so many young people improve their lives was desperate for some assistance and encouragement. On Thursday, that was delivered. The Orlando Magic and Magic guard Victor Oladipo surprised members of the youth center with all new equipment they purchased. The grief and distress felt during the prior 72 hours suddenly transformed into feelings of gratefulness and exultation. “To give back to the youth is what I am all about,” Oladipo said. “It’s tough they got all this stuff taken away from them and I am blessed and fortunate to be able to help and give it all back.” “It touched a soft part of my heart,” he added. “I am here to show that I am just like them (the kids). We all are similar. I want them to know that we (the Magic) are here to help them.”

Meet Randa Markos, the Iraqi refugee-turned-UFC fighter
In the late 1980s, near the end of the Iran-Iraq War, Markos and her family were constantly on the move in their native Iraq. They moved from city to city, country to country riding on donkeys and in cabs, sleeping in churches, eating table scraps from strangers, even spending time in prison; Randa was only 3. Eventually, the Markos’ immediate family scattered across the globe, with Randa, her parents and siblings landing in Canada. Other relatives relocated to Australia and Italy. Fast-forward two decades, and life has hardened the now-29-year-old woman into a highly skilled mixed martial arts fighter, someone who is able to tell a remarkable story of escape, imprisonment and, finally, liberation as an adult.

UFC title contender Randa Markos was born in Iraq and imprisoned in Turkey before she landed in Canada, where she has become a professional cage fighter. Stuart Pettican

Billy Casper Golf’s ‘World’s Largest Golf Outing’ Breaks Record, Raises More Than $875,000 for Wounded Warrior Project
Over 12,000 golfers, including 439 injured service members participated in the largest single day fundraiser in the history of WWP, the Jacksonville Florida based organization that honors and empowers injured service men and women and their families. In just 4 years the event has contributed more than $2 million through a portion of the golfers’ entry fees, contests and 100% of donations made at

Boston passes safety rules for college athletes
Boston will require the presence of a neurotrama consultant at every Division I football, ice hockey and men’s lacrosse event in the city as part of an ordinance approved by the city council on Wednesday. Boston is thought to be the first city to approve legislation for NCAA athletes. The ordinance, which is called the “College Athlete Head Injury Gameday Safety Protocol,” will be enforced by Boston’s public health commission and apply to any NCAA-sanctioned event in the city.

Grassroots sports thrive in Ukraine despite conflict
The Vice President of the Romanian Federation of Sport for All, Mihai Androhovici, is responsible for the Ukrainian activities during the upcoming pan-European MOVE Week. It has been decided that the Bukovina Mile, which has taken place since 2005, should still be held despite the ongoing conflict in the country. “It is paramount for everyone behind MOVE Week to plan and carry out events all over Europe, including areas and countries with instability and tensions. This way we can show Europe and the world that sport and physical activity is for all and that it can actually take place in troubled areas and hopefully help to achieve peaceful coexistence.”

The Bukovina Mile takes place despite tensions in Ukraine

Capoeira continues in conflict zones
Bidna Capoeira works in the Middle East, providing psychosocial support to children and youth living in areas of conflict, humanitarian crisis or in similarly vulnerable situations. Over the last 6 months, as conflict has increased the region, they have been extremely busy, working with upwards of 1000 children and youth a month in Syria, Palestine and Jordan.

A Pro Bowl linebacker is now a nationally-known yoga teacher
It’s a message that he’s trying to relay to men and boys of all ages now. Mitchell focuses much of his current practice on helping fellow athletes and military veterans heal the physical and mental rigors of their past experiences…He’s also very involved in trying to provide an outlet for meditation in kids, especially those in at-risk environments, through his Light It Up charity foundation. While children might not be willing to listen to a traditional yoga teacher, they’re a more captive audience when there’s a former NFL linebacker in front of the class.

(Photo by Ali Kaukas for Wanderlust Festival)

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Sarbjit “Sab” Singh