Nov. 23 – Nov. 29, 2014
Welcome to week one hundred thirty-nine of the Sports Doing Good newsletter. This week’s 10 stories include:
- Uprooted by War, Focused on Joy (photo exhibit)
- UCLA honors Jackie Robinson by retiring number 42 across all sports
- Every ECC Institution Takes Part in Second Annual “Team Up to Clean Up” Initiative
- A Breakout Season for Lydia Ko, a Low-Key 17-Year-Old
- The Unlikely Story Of How Rugby Changed The Future For These Inner City Students
- LA Galaxy Defender A.J. DeLaGarza Honored as MLS WORKS Humanitarian of the Year
- Joe Andruzzi Foundation Raises More Than $900,000 for Cancer Patients and their Families at Gratitude Gala
- NFL alumni coping with health and careers through ‘The Trust’
- Dog Follows Athletes Through Mud And Water, And Melts Hearts
- Giants’ Odell Beckham Jr. Made The ‘Catch Of The Year’ That Is Actually The Catch Of The Year
As we celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S., we can’t help but think that every week we put together the Sports Doing Good newsletter, we are witnesses to things that make us and so many others thankful. There are numerous examples of individuals and organizations providing opportunities to those who for too long have gone without or have been virtually ignored. There are those who go out of their way to document the good work being done all over the world, not only bringing deserved attention but also serving as inspiration to others to do good themselves. So whether it is the efforts of a determined coach to bring a foreign sport into the lives of youth seeking positive outlets or the institution-wide recognition of the life and legacy of one of its greatest alums, there is good taking place.
Other stories this week that make us thankful for the good in sports include: a photo exhibit that captures the durability of the human spirit; the schools of the East Coast Conference’s effort to give back to the communities in which they reside; Lydia Ko, a breakout star in the world of women’s golf; MLS star A.J. DeLaGarza overcoming personal pain to change the lives of others; the ongoing work being done by the Andruzzi Foundation; the NFL’s improving efforts to ensure a positive post-career life for their players; an amazing connection made between a stray dog and a team of adventure athletes; and Odell Beckham, Jr., who made a catch in an NFL game that even when seen, is hard to believe.
Finally, we also want to take this opportunity to congratulate our friends at Bonfire Impact, on its 2-year anniversary. Started by former NFL player Ronnie Cameron, Bonfire Impact is helping to usher in an era of smarter, more relevant, and more positive dialogue. We wish them continued success.
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So enjoy. And have a good week.
Uprooted by War, Focused on Joy (photo exhibit)
A project run by the photographer Brendan Bannon in the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan gave young people digital cameras to chronicle the details of their lives, which were shaken by war in Syria, their home country. One of the assignments in Bannon’s “Do You See What I See?” workshop was for the students to photograph sports played in the camp. Their photos, capturing the joy of play even in joyless surroundings, are described in the captions by the photographers.
Syrian Refugees in Zaatari Camp Document Their Athletic Pursuits
UCLA honors Jackie Robinson by retiring number 42 across all sports
The retirement of Robinson’s number 42 follows UCLA’s announcement on November 21 that a series of 22 athletic and recreation facilities across campus will be named the Jackie Robinson Athletics and Recreation Complex. Chief among the campus’ recognition of the complex will be an in-ground number 42 at each entry point to UCLA’s training centers, competition sites, fields and stadiums as a reminder of Robinson’s tremendous courage in the face of adversity. “Jackie Robinson’s name and his legacy are an honor to this university, and to all the students and student-athletes who will continue to be inspired by his courage, dignity and grace,” said UCLA Chancellor Gene Block following Friday’s announcement.
Every ECC Institution Takes Part in Second Annual “Team Up to Clean Up” Initiative
After three member institutions took part in the event last year, all 11 schools cleaned up their local communities this fall. “For the East Coast Conference and our member institutions, a major part of who we are is tied into us partnering with and giving back to our communities,” stated ECC Commissioner, Dr. Robert Dranoff. “We are very proud of our student-athletes, coaches and staff members committed to making a difference.” “The idea is for our student-athletes to work locally and help to beautify public places, reduce waste, and make a contribution in some way in their neighborhoods. As you can see from the work done by our 11 schools, this was a resounding success.”
A Breakout Season for Lydia Ko, a Low-Key 17-Year-Old
Peerless in golf, Ko is the same age as Wayne Gretzky when he signed a $1.75 million contract with the Indianapolis Racers of the World Hockey Association; the same age as Bob Feller when he made his major league pitching debut for the Cleveland Indians; and the same age as Kobe Bryant when he was drafted in the first round by the Charlotte Hornets and traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. No wonder Time magazine in April chose Ko as one of its 100 most influential people. “To come up with three wins is an amazing year,” Ko said.
With her Tour Championship win Sunday, Lydia Ko secured the inaugural $1 million bonus awarded to the season’s points leader. Credit Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
The Unlikely Story Of How Rugby Changed The Future For These Inner City Students
The English sport of rugby is like a fish out of water at Roosevelt, Fletcher told The Huffington Post. The majority of the students fall below the poverty line, come from broken homes, often don’t leave high school with a diploma, and struggle each day to avoid the drugs and violence gangs bring into their neighborhoods. Their resources for moving beyond these socioeconomic forces are few and far between, so when Breen volunteered to bring rugby to the school, he offered an unusual crew of boys an opportunity they couldn’t afford to refuse. He came across the sport himself first as a student reporter — and then as a player — during his time at the University of Cincinnati in the 1970s.
LA Galaxy Defender A.J. DeLaGarza Honored as MLS WORKS Humanitarian of the Year
DeLaGarza has been a stronghold in the Galaxy defense and a key to the team’s success in his six seasons with the club. Off the field, the Guamanian international is the first to volunteer his time to support the Los Angeles community. DeLaGarza has graciously given his time to Camps for Kids, visiting patients at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and unveiling a new soccer field in South Los Angeles. Earlier this year, the MLS and sports world rallied around DeLaGarza and his family when his son Luca was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect before being born. A true stalwart, DeLaGarza immediately thought of the other families affected by this condition and directed all monetary support to the Heart Center at CHLA, raising over $25,000.
Galaxy’s A.J. Delagarza, left, goes for a header against Manchester United’s Danny Welbeck at the Rose Bowl in July. (Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times)
Joe Andruzzi Foundation Raises More Than $900,000 for Cancer Patients and their Families at Gratitude Gala
Gillette Stadium was filled with smiles and inspiration on Monday night, Nov. 24, as New England sports stars and celebrities gathered once again to help former Patriots player Joe Andruzzi and his wife, Jen, raise money for cancer patients and their families. The Gratitude Gala raised a record-breaking $900,000 for the Joe Andruzzi Foundation, with all proceeds supporting the financial assistance of families with household expenses during cancer treatment, as well as funding cutting-edge pediatric brain cancer research at Boston Children’s Hospital.
NFL alumni coping with health and careers through ‘The Trust’
“It’s just providing that roadmap that’s so badly needed for our players, because for so long in their life, they’ve been told exactly what they need to do,” NFLPA president Eric Winston said. “Once you leave football, there’s just no direction.” The idea isn’t new. The NFL’s player engagement department has provided an ever-expanding array of programs to current and former players for more than 20 years, ranging from “boot camps” in various professions to a transition assistance program focused on total wellness.
In June, former NFL players participate in exercise funded by The Trust, an NFLPA grant-funded program that offers access to health and career advice for hundreds of former players. Pictured in the foreground to background are Drew Wahlroos, Stephen Neal, Adrian Dingle, Mike Goff. Those not holding ropes are EXOS staff in San Diego. (Photo: Handout, EXOS staff)
Dog Follows Athletes Through Mud And Water, And Melts Hearts
Sweden’s Peak Performance team was in Ecuador this month to compete in the Adventure Racing World Championship, in which athletes hike, kayak, and bike during a 430-mile endurance race through the Amazonian rain forest. It’s the kind of race where athletes try to keep moving day and night (see an example). Just before starting one stage, the team’s Mikael Lindnord made friends with a dog, sharing a meatball with him. Lindnord thought that would be the end of it — but then the dog followed him, and essentially forced his way onto the team.
Team Peak Performance says that after six days, they “crossed the finish line with 5 members instead of 4 as the 12th top team in the world.”
Giants’ Odell Beckham Jr. Made The ‘Catch Of The Year’ That Is Actually The Catch Of The Year
New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. made what may be the most incredible touchdown catch that most football fans will see in 2014 — or ever. The 22-year-old rookie’s jaw-dropping one-handed grab, made while falling down perilously close to the sideline after illegal contact from a defender, pushed the Giants further ahead of the Dallas Cowboys on “Sunday Night Football” and absolutely stunned everyone who saw it.
(Video, http://youtu.be/n8pNht6Iz1k) Caption: Odell Beckham #13 of the New York Giants scores a touchdown in the second quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium on November 23, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.