Sports Doing Good Newsletter, #136

Nov. 2 – Nov. 8, 2014

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

  1. Tiny Hockey Fan Hands Out Adorable Pregame Fist Bumps To Bruins Players
  2. Curt Flood – The Athlete Who Made LeBron James Possible
  3. Breaking News – Coaches Across Continents & Chevrolet Win Beyond Sport Award
  4. Malaysian youngsters sample life in the fast lane with Laureus’ double World MotoGP Champion Marc Márquez
  5. Successful Beyond Sport Summit and Awards 2014 Comes to a Close in Johannesburg
  6. Ryan Boatright – UConn Guard Says Degree Will Mean More Than Title
  7. David Eckstein thrives post baseball with an out-of-this-world business
  8. NHL Insider: Jablonski focused on helping others with spinal injuries
  9. Bullied in his youth, Special Olympics propelled him to powerlifting
  10. Indiegogo campaign – Culture Relay (“Girls CAN Run the World”)

The first story this week is of the type we have actually not featured that often. And it is not because there is nothing so good about them. In fact, it is often just the opposite. The stories are large parts sweet, fun, and inspiring. We probably erred in thinking that maybe they did not have larger significance or relevance to the reading audience. We were wrong. Readers have continued to send us examples of such stories. We love this story of Liam Fitzgerald and his hero Boston Bruins and will certainly feature more just like it. (BTW, we guarantee you too will love Liam’s story.)

In addition to Liam’s interaction with some of his idols, we are proud to feature stories including: baseball and civil rights hero, Curt Flood; partners Coaches Across Continents and Chevrolet; motorsport champion Marc Marquez in Malaysia; the annual Beyond Sport Summit; NCAA basketball champion, and future college graduate, Ryan Boatright; former MLB World Series champion and MVP David Eckstein in his supporting role in his wife’s burgeoning business; young hockey player and founder of the Bel13ve in Miracles Foundation, Jack Jablonski; Special Olympian Jason Gieschen; and the great sports non-profit, Culture Relay.

All of these stories follow in the tradition of bringing light to actions taken by individuals and organizations to make the lives of others better through the power of sport, in ways big (Curt Flood) and small (Liam Fitzgerald).

Finally, we want to send our congratulations to Beyond Sport and all of those who participated in this year’s Summit and Awards event. And best of luck to the folks at this week’s 9th Annual Ivy Sports Summit in New Jersey.

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

Finally, if you think others would like to receive the newsletter, please feel free to forward it on or have them contact us directly at (If you do not want to receive the newsletter anymore you can use the Unsubscribe button at the end of the email)

So enjoy. And have a good week.

Tiny Hockey Fan Hands Out Adorable Pregame Fist Bumps To Bruins Players
Hockey players are used to taking some pretty hard hits. No matter how hard the cross-check, though, we’d like to think this young fan’s pregame fist bump was the most impactful hit the Bruins felt the whole game. The Boston Globe has identified the fan as Liam Fitzgerald, an 8-year-old boy who has Down syndrome — and a superhero-sized heart. Though he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at age 4, young Liam beat the cancer over the following three-and-a-half years, and became a huge Bruins fan in the process, too.

Curt Flood – The Athlete Who Made LeBron James Possible
Curt Flood, that is. In his 1960s prime, he was a splendid outfielder for the St. Louis Cardinals. Like Henry Wiggen, Mr. Flood invoked slavery in what proved to be trailblazing resistance to a system that chained a player to his club as surely as ancient Rome chained galley oarsmen to its ships. His courtroom trials and personal tribulations four decades ago paved the way for today’s free agency in professional sports, a process that has turned athletes from indentured servants into moguls with stratospheric incomes. Mr. Flood’s role in this transformation holds center stage in this week’s Retro Report, the latest in a series of video documentaries examining major stories from the past and their consequences.

Breaking News – Coaches Across Continents & Chevrolet Win Beyond Sport Award
Chevrolet was honored with this award for their ‘What Do You #PlayFor?’ campaign, launched in March to bring football fans closer to the sport and demonstrate that through play all things are possible. Chevrolet was recognized for their work to bring play to where it is needed most including work with Coaches Across Continents to train local coaches and members of the community on soccer and life skills from Bandung, Indonesia to Chicago to Hammanskraal, South Africa. Chevrolet has revitalized or created football pitches allowing for play in these underprivileged communities. Chevrolet also recently reached a milestone with delivery of the 1 millionth One World Futbol donated by the brand. As founding sponsor of One World Futbol Project in 2012, Chevrolet committed to support the donation and distribution of 1.5 million Chevrolet-branded One World Futbols over three years.

Malaysian youngsters sample life in the fast lane with Laureus’ double World MotoGP Champion Marc Márquez
The young people came from the COBRA rugby club in Kuala Lumpur, which last week announced a tie-up with the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation and charitable foundation Yayasan Rakyat 1Malaysia to support an innovative youth rugby programme, which it is hoped will ultimately improve the standard of international rugby in Malaysia. They joined Márquez in the Honda garage, where they were shown his bikes, met the members of the team and had the opportunity to ask the world champion about his career, his motivation and to talk about Sunday’s upcoming race. They then stayed at the track to watch a testing session.

Successful Beyond Sport Summit and Awards 2014 Comes to a Close in Johannesburg
Designed as a festival of insight and innovation, and themed around youth leadership, this year’s Summit was fuelled with new ideas on how to tackle development and best practice in utilising sport for social change around the world. “The purpose of this Summit is to give individuals and organisations an opportunity to learn from each other as they take their various projects forward,” said Beyond Sport Founder, Nick Keller. “We believe we have again achieved that objective, and we hope our guests will be able to utilise what they have learned from each other, and our speakers who offered a wealth of knowledge, as they return to their various communities and countries to continue their good work.

Ryan Boatright – UConn Guard Says Degree Will Mean More Than Title
He decided to come back, he said, in part to improve his NBA draft stock. But it was also about showing his younger brother, 18-year-old Michael, and his sisters, 12-year-old Dasia and 10-year-old De’ahjah, what it means to honor a commitment and see something through to the end. Tanesha said Ryan has been like a second father to his siblings. He gives his brother advice on life as a basketball player at a junior college in California and video chats every night with his sisters to help them with their homework. Boatright is on track to graduate in May with a major in sociology. His mother can be brought to tears just talking about it. It’s also a moment Ryan said will mean more to him than cutting down the nets in Texas last spring. “A lot of people doubted me,” he said. “They see the tattoos and they see the swag and they think that I am too cool. But I’m intelligent and I refuse to fail. I’ve got to be successful for a lot of different reasons.”

David Eckstein thrives post baseball with an out-of-this-world business
If his career in baseball was unconventional and surprising, his postplaying life is turning out to be even more so. After an injury-plagued final season with the Padres in 2010, he received multiple contract offers (he even got a call from one team in ’12, after a year away from the game), but he wanted to turn his full attention to the business that he and his wife, Ashley, had founded in ’10. Her Universe, a company that produces a fashion and accessories line for female sci-fi fans, was Ashley’s brainchild, and it was entering what Eckstein saw as its make-or-break third year. Says Eckstein, “After all the years of her making my career a priority, it was time to make *hers a priority.”

NHL Insider: Jablonski focused on helping others with spinal injuries
“The last three years, obviously life has changed a large amount, but I pride myself on trying to set a good example about how to approach a spinal cord injury after a traumatic change in life,” Jablonski said. “We’ve started the foundation to give hope for other people that don’t have the fortunate opportunity that I had. We want people to be able to get the best rehabilitation so they can make a recovery and get back on their feet. “It’s very important to me. I hope to make this as big as possible. I just want to change the world with spinal cord injury and how we look at it.”

Bullied in his youth, Special Olympics propelled him to powerlifting
If Jason is what awesome looks like, well, it looks like Special Olympics — 46 years after its founding — is still doing awesome things. The nonprofit organization was started by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, sister of President John F. Kennedy. Special Olympics Nebraska began four years later, in 1972. Special Olympics sometimes is misunderstood as a group that holds nice outings where everyone gets a hug. But it is the world’s largest sports organization for those with intellectual disabilities, offering year-round training in 32 sports. It also provides an initiative called Healthy Athletes, offering health information and screenings worldwide.

Jason Gieschen powerlifts in Indianapolis as he prepares to represent the United States at World Games next summer in Los Angeles. Gieschen was a severely abused child who weighed 13 pounds at 13 months and had autism when he entered the foster care system.

Indiegogo campaign – Culture Relay (“Girls CAN Run the World”)
Culture Relay’s mission is to create female leaders of tomorrow through a yearlong program that uses running to teach leadership skills to high school girls.  We have partnered with schools across the world to create a virtual classroom. We prepare girls to run the world by teaching them how to set goals, overcome challenges, develop grit, and get results. Training together to run a half marathon is the first step. Once they cross the finish line, they exercise all they have learned on local projects approved by their business mentor. We are preparing to launch our second program—this time connecting Kenya to the US because of strong ties between the education systems in each place. In order to help our Kenyan and American girls connect, train, learn, grow, and give back, we need to raise funds that will kickstart this program. We are asking for $12,906— a memorable amount that creates a mental bridge of the real distance between our school in Kenya and the US.

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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.

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Contact InformationSarbjit “Sab” Singh