Sports Doing Good Newsletter, #138

Nov. 16 – Nov. 22, 2014

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

  1. Ex-NFL Player Who Made $25 Million Quit Football At Age 29 To Become A Farmer
  2. How a 5’5″ Basketball Player Trained Himself to Dunk
  3. Meet Hawaii’s Scott Harding, the Most Interesting Man in College Football
  4. For disabled, ‘Field of Dreams’ becoming reality
  5. Village girl plays out soccer dream in Chile tournament
  6. The Foundation for Global Sports Development Announces 2014 Athletes in Excellence Award Recipients
  7. This Bottle Turns Air Into Water As You Ride Your Bike
  8. Ice hockey high in the Indian Himalayas
  9. 11-Year-Old Football Phenom Sam Gordon Will Not Be Stopped
  10. Billie Jean King – “Bottom Line: It’s All About Inclusion”

Among the 10 stories featured this week, several include video, including two involving folks from the world of (American) football. The first story highlights a former pro player, Jason Brown, who, after a successful and still viable pro career, retired and moved on to “greener pastures.” Well, almost literally, as he became a farmer! The second story includes someone featured before and that is Sam Gordon, a young lady, now 11 years old, who continues to thrill not because she is a girl who is good at football, she is just that good and her highlights will bring a smile to your face.

In addition to those stories, we are proud to feature those involving: American super-athlete Brandon Todd; Australian super-athlete Scott Harding; the construction of a “Field of Dreams” for those with special needs; young Indian soccer player Rohini Pashte; the 2014 Athletes in Excellence Award awardees; a potentially groundbreaking invention; the Students’ Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh; and the one and only sportswoman and humanitarian Billie Jean King.

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So enjoy. And have a good week.

Ex-NFL Player Who Made $25 Million Quit Football At Age 29 To Become A Farmer
At age 29, he still had plenty of NFL years ahead of him. He wasn’t playing at the level he was in 2009, but his career was far from over. He had interest from numerous teams, including an offer from the Baltimore Ravens. But he walked away from the game. The NFL world was surprised, and ESPN ran a story with the headline, “The Curious Case Of Jason Brown.” “My agent, he told me, ‘You’re making the biggest mistake of your life,'” Brown told CBS. “And I looked right back at him and I said, ‘No I am not.'”

Brown is doing this to help the less fortunate. He grows sweet potatoes and other vegetables and donates his harvest to food pantries. According to the New & Observer, he has given away 46,000 pounds of sweet potatoes and 10,000 pounds of cucumbers this fall.

How a 5’5″ Basketball Player Trained Himself to Dunk
Inspired by Russian powerlifters, Todd trained himself to dunk the ball through rigorous strength training, as well as running and jumping exercises. Over three years, Todd gained 85 pounds of muscle before he was finally able to dunk the ball. “I was willing to put myself through all this pain and anguish for that one moment to say: ‘I can do it.’” FIVE/FIVE is a film by Chris Jurchak and 522 Productions. The filmmaking team was inspired by Brandon’s perseverance and decided to make the project with out-of-pocket expenses.

Meet Hawaii’s Scott Harding, the Most Interesting Man in College Football
Harding is 28 years old, and he is Hawaii’s punter, but he is also one of the most intriguing hybrid/throwbacks in recent memory. In 2012, when the Warriors’ previous punter, Alex Dunnachie, was suspended for a DUI arrest, Hawaii special teams coordinator Chris Demarest noticed Harding screwing around during practice by slapping footballs downfield with his left foot, and then with his right foot. Demarest asked, “Can you do that all the time?” Harding nodded in the affirmative, and Demarest said, “You’re going to be my punter,” and then he nearly ran back to his office and started diagramming an entire scheme around Harding’s unique abilities.

For disabled, ‘Field of Dreams’ becoming reality
There’s really nothing Kayla loves more than to be outside running around with other little girls and boys. By this time next year, she’ll be able to use her bright pink sneakers to run around on a field built on love and dreams and funded by a couple of tears worth a few million dollars. Kayla and her mom attended this week’s groundbreaking along with a few hundred others eager to see Brevard’s Field of Dreams — Florida’s only all-access sports park for children and adults with disabilities — come one step closer to reality.

Lori A. Dennis of the Holeman Group and David W. Larsen of RLA Atkins look over plans for the Field of Dreams project. (Photo: CRAIG RUBADOUX/FLORIDA TODAY)

Village girl plays out soccer dream in Chile tournament
“Boys are provided education so that they get good jobs, whereas for girls here it is more than enough if they manage their signature,” says the teen sensation. “They are married off at the age of 15. My sister, too, was married off at 15. I feared that I would meet the same fate and that I would study only till Class X. I fought that through football because when we do something new it brings a change in our parents’ thinking. I want to bring progress by way of sports. I am the first girl from my village to play the game. I would practice in fields but people would discourage me. From the time I was selected for the international tournament, they started looking at sports positively. Now nobody raises the topic of marriage and I can convince them that I want to do something in life. I can speak out now.”

The Foundation for Global Sports Development Announces 2014 Athletes in Excellence Award Recipients
This esteemed award was designed to honor competing and retired athletes who have been role models, leaders and champions not just in sports, but in their communities by selflessly giving back through mentorship and outreach activities…Working closely with international sports federations, generous donors and committed athletes, The Foundation for Global Sports Development promotes sportsmanship, education, fair play and ethics among the world’s youth. The Foundation gives special emphasis to groups and communities that are most in need or most underserved by current programs, including women, minorities and youth in areas where the risk of delinquency is particularly high.

This Bottle Turns Air Into Water As You Ride Your Bike
Someday soon, cyclists might never again have to worry about running out of water on a hot and humid day. A gadget created by Kristof Retezár, an industrial design student at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, collects and condenses moisture from the air while a bicycle is in motion. It then fills up a water bottle attached to the bike frame. Named after the Roman god of wells and springs, “Fontus” uses the principle of thermoelectric cooling, in which an electricity-powered heat pump transfers heat from one side of a container to another.

This rendering shows how humid air condenses through the system.

Ice hockey high in the Indian Himalayas
Ice hockey isn’t the first sport that comes to mind when thinking about India, but it’s hugely popular in Ladakh thanks in great part to SECMOL. Ladakhi youth learn a lot from their experiences on the ice and the programme empowers them and gives them a sense of ownership. With both girls’ and boys’ teams, everyone is encouraged to participate and benefit from the programme. This video features Chamba Tsetan and his teammates talking about the life lessons hockey has taught them and the inspiration they draw from their collective experience.

11-Year-Old Football Phenom Sam Gordon Will Not Be Stopped
In August, 11-year-old sensation Sam Gordon made her triumphant return to the football field after taking a year off to focus on soccer. In her first preseason game, she reminded everyone exactly why she had won their hearts — and a spot on a Wheaties box and in Roger Goodell’s suite at the Super Bowl — in the first place. Gordon had three carries for 84 yards and a touchdown, and once again became an Internet legend. So you’re probably wondering by now how she did during the regular season. As the only girl in her age division, Gordon represented well for all the ladies as she did what she does best — running, catching, scoring touchdowns and breaking some serious ankles AND tackles. You can watch all the highlights from the season below.

Billie Jean King – “Bottom Line: It’s All About Inclusion”
There exists a tremendous amount of untapped human potential due to deeply rooted discrimination based on race, gender, sexuality and age, among other factors. Despite making up approximately half of the global population, just 5 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs are women. African-Americans and Latinos are also vastly underrepresented, making up just over 1 percent and 2 percent of CEOs respectively. We will never achieve our vast potential until our leaders — across all sectors — look at differences through a new lens: where individuals are embraced for their unique contributions rather than punished or judged for what makes them different.

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Contact InformationSarbjit “Sab” Singh