Nov. 9 – Nov. 15, 2014
Welcome to week one hundred thirty-seven of the Sports Doing Good newsletter. This week’s 10 stories include:
- Lauren Hill honored with her own commemorative Wheaties box
- An evening with North Carolina’s oldest living basketball alumnus Bob Gersten
- The ‘Other’ World Cup Takes Place in Chile With a Mission to Fight Homelessness
- St. Louis Sports Commission Announces the Winners of the 2014 Musial Awards
- One-handed Florida freshman Zach Hodskins makes debut
- 10 incredible facts about Clayton Kershaw’s Cy Young and MVP season
- Need he say more? Kawhi Leonard’s evolving game speaks for itself
- Expert in X’s and O’s Was Inspired by His Father, a Man of Letters
- The Ultimate Shocker: How Ron Baker Went from Walk-On to NBA Prospect
- More than a Game: The Nexus of Sport and Human Rights
One of the most inspiring but also most heart-wrenching stories we have featured at Sports Doing Good is this week’s first offering. Lauren Hill is a young student-athlete who is living her life to the fullest. Part of that life, unfortunately, is the fact that she has an inoperable brain tumor. Lauren has continued to battle and this week was honored with her own Wheaties box cover. This honor is not given to just anyone. It is reserved for our most special champions and most often these are professional or Olympic athletes. Lauren, however, more than qualifies as a champion. Her determination in the face of such a terrible condition has inspired millions and has gotten individuals and organizations to do things heretofore, were unimaginable. We are proud to feature this story this week just as the world is proud of Lauren Hill.
Other stories that are sure to inspire and entertain involve: UNC basketball alum Bob Gersten; the 2014 Homeless World Cup; the winners from the annual Musial Words for their amazing acts of sportsmanship; student-athlete Zach Hodskins of the University of Florida; MLB star Clayton Kershaw; NBA champion Kawhi Leonard; St. John’s head basketball coach Steve Lavin; Wichita State student-athlete Ron Baker; and an essay on the connection between sport and human rights.
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So enjoy. And have a good week.
Lauren Hill honored with her own commemorative Wheaties box
Lauren Hill never needed the validation, but she now stands among other sporting champions. Hill, a freshman at Mount St. Joseph who has an inoperable brain tumor, got her own Wheaties box after playing her first game last Sunday and scoring the game’s opening and closing points. Mount St. Joseph defeated Hiram College 66-55 in front of 10,250 fans who flocked to Xavier University to see Hill’s big moment.
An evening with North Carolina’s oldest living basketball alumnus Bob Gersten
Bob possessed many distinctions in his career at UNC. He was the president of the Monogram Club, captain of the basketball team and recipient of the Patterson Medal, the top award for career athletic achievement awarded at the University. But for one day in 1941, his most important distinction was that he was Jewish. “We were invited to play in the NCAA semifinals, it was out in Madison, Wisconsin because it was moved from Madison Square Garden because (of fear that) the Germans were about to bomb New York,” he said. “They moved the whole thing to Madison.”
The ‘Other’ World Cup Takes Place in Chile With a Mission to Fight Homelessness
Today, the event works with 70 national partners and coordinates efforts to help develop life management and soccer skills for displaced people worldwide. The programs aim to be sustainable and expansive, helping individuals in ways not previously offered. The entire event is about empowerment: an opportunity to better oneself and sense of worth. James Traynor, the goalie for Ireland, exemplifies everything the Homeless World Cup stands to improve. Later battling drug and alcohol addiction for years, James was displaced at the young age of 13. He spent time in jail and often fought his own emotions. “I felt sub-human and honestly, I was sick of feeling sick”, he says about his past life. Through the Irish Street League and strong support of sponsors and counseling, James has been able to turn his life around.
James Traynor, goalie for the Irish team. Photo by Alex Walker
St. Louis Sports Commission Announces the Winners of the 2014 Musial Awards
A nine-year-old swimmer who gave his championship trophy to an ailing rival. A high school wrestler who lost his state championship match, but still had the presence of mind to hug his opponent’s father, who is battling cancer. A professional golfer who withdrew from the U.S. Open because he might have committed a penalty during his qualifying round. These are just some of the remarkable stories of selflessness, kindness and integrity in sports that will be celebrated at the 2014 Musial Awards presented by Maryville University.
One-handed Florida freshman Zach Hodskins makes debut
Hodskins may have missed his only shot attempt, but he was just happy to be out on the court. As he told the The Alligator, the school’s student newspaper: “I’ve always dreamed of being here, and tonight I feel like I fulfilled that dream and now I’m just gonna take the next step forward. It didn’t really matter [if I played tonight or not], I was hoping I would, I’m glad I did but I’m glad that my teammates played well. … I love it, I mean as long as they treat me like a normal human being and a player and their friend I’ll be just fine.”
Photo: (Phil Sandlin/AP)
10 incredible facts about Clayton Kershaw’s Cy Young and MVP season
Kershaw is the first NL pitcher to sweep the awards since Bob Gibson in 1968. Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers was the most recent, earning both AL honors in 2011. It’s elite territory reserved for next-level talents, which, at 26, Kershaw certainly is. Even still, a lot had to come together for him to make history. Here are 10 incredible facts and tidbits from his 2014 season that ultimately added up to an award sweep.
(USA TODAY Sports)
Need he say more? Kawhi Leonard’s evolving game speaks for itself
Popovich frequently refers to Leonard as “the future of the Spurs.” And there is a reason. “You can only talk to somebody so much [before] they don’t hear you anymore,” says Popovich. “Him hearing it from [the media], maybe he starts to understand the responsibilities that come with that. It’s not easy to come every night and do what the big guys do.” Leonard gets it. “I just want to keep improving, to keep getting better,” he says. When the interview is up — after 2:05, to be exact — Leonard shakes hands and disappears into the weight room. It will be a while before he speaks to any reporters one-on-one again. Off the court he’s as quotable as his Spurs elders. On the court Leonard has a chance to be just as good too.
Photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images Sport
Expert in X’s and O’s Was Inspired by His Father, a Man of Letters
Somewhere in the boxes of letters and notes from his father he has saved, Lavin knows there is a phrase of wisdom he could apply to the Briscoe decision. Wait a second. He just thought of one: “The beauty is in the journey, and the bittersweetness that comes with it.” The son of the English teacher had to know on some intellectual level that the Briscoe decision was not Shakespearean tragedy. With a team to coach, with more recruiting ahead, all he could say Thursday night was, “Batter up.”
St. John’s Coach Steve Lavin last season. On Thursday, the university was spurned by a top recruit who chose Kentucky. Credit Nate Shron/Getty Images
The Ultimate Shocker: How Ron Baker Went from Walk-On to NBA Prospect
Baker started believing in himself when he held his own against Wichita State’s veteran guards in practice. The Shockers, a fifth seed in the NCAA tournament that year, had three future pros in the backcourt. Toure’ Murry opened this season on the Utah Jazz, and both Joe Ragland and David Kyles play overseas in Europe. “I have visions of having a really good day, and those days kind of stuck with me and gave me confidence,” Baker said. “I just remember guarding Toure’ and keeping him in front of me and thinking that was a really big accomplishment. I started thinking, ‘Man, I’m coming along.’ ”
http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2238917-the-ultimate-shocker-how-ron-baker-went-from-walk-on-to-nba-prospect?utm_source=cnn.com&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=cnn-sports-bin&hpt=hp_bn15Scott Kane/USA Today
More than a Game: The Nexus of Sport and Human Rights
People all over the world live and breathe sports, so to remove human rights from the equation underestimates their importance. Despite the fact that athletes and teams are often raised to the level of celebrity, this does not mean they should “get a pass” from addressing human rights concerns. In fact, because of their influence, those who organize and participate in sports should be even more accountable to human rights standards. They have the potential to be role models for young people and help create an ethical society built on human rights principles.