Sports Doing Good Newsletter, #147

Jan. 18 – Jan. 24, 2015

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

  1. A Nomad in the N.B.A. Is a Knick … for Now
  2. Medfield High’s Jack Cadigan is SI’s Jan. High School Athlete of the Month
  3. Who said a young person cannot be a great leader?- Meet Ravinder, Magic Bus Community Youth Leader from Telangana
  4. Milwaukee Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy accepts invitation to State of the Union
  5. Athletes find their voice – College athletes are now joining the conversation at both the conference and national levels
  6. Mario Cuomo – Success in Life and Basketball
  7. The New Edge in Sports Performance and Results
  8. Clint Malarchuk’s battle with depression now life-saving inspiration
  9. ECAC Board of Directors Cast Historic Vote to Add Varsity Sports Opportunities for Student-Athletes with Disabilities in ECAC Leagues and Championships
  10. Looking Ahead to 2015 in Sports 

If someone tells you about a professional athlete, especially one from the four major sports of football, basketball, baseball and hockey, you would not be chided for thinking that athlete makes A LOT of money, lives a glamorous life of celebrity, and has things pretty easy. That is the opinion many people have of pro athletes in the U.S. and abroad.

Our first story this week takes a look at an NBA player who, while a professional athlete, is very far away from a life of glamour and having things easy. Lou Amundson is an NBA forward who plays for the New York Knicks, his 10th team in 9 years. In the story you hear from Amundson and from his mom and get insight into the everyday trials of a young person trying to make headway in their career, be happy in a relationship, and settle into a routine. Amundson gives us a look at life for hundreds, if not thousands, of elite athletes who live a non-LeBron James life. We applaud his commitment and perseverance as he lives his dream of being a professional basketball player. 

Other stories that moved us this week include: the inspirational high school student-athlete Jack Cadigan; a young man making a difference in his community in India; Milwaukee Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy; college athletes being given a chance to voice their opinions regarding matters impacting them; the not-so-well known athletic exploits of former governor of New York, Mario Cuomo; the personal battle fought by former NHL goalie Clint Malarchuk and how it is helping to improve the lives of others; along with the New York Times’s very interesting look at the array of wonderful events scheduled to take place in 2015; amongst other stories. 

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So enjoy. And have a good week.

A Nomad in the N.B.A. Is a Knick … for Now
This has been by design. Aside from all the logistical issues associating with being a nomad, Amundson — who has averaged 3.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 0.7 blocks in 12.5 minutes per game — has to quickly learn the intricacies of each team’s playing style. Until he gets all the subtleties and absorbs the overriding philosophies, his effort level and attitude are the things he can fully control. “I think teams value my professionalism and my approach, and I think I have a good enough reputation for my work ethic,” Amundson said, “so teams feel like they can have me around.” With a short laugh, he added, “I just wish I could stay around.”

The Knicks’ Lou Amundson, right, challenging the Bucks’ Jared Dudley in London on Jan. 15. Credit Mike Hewitt/Getty Images 

Medfield High’s Jack Cadigan is SI’s Jan. High School Athlete of the Month
Today, the 6’ 1” starting guard at Medfield (Mass.) High bears the mark of the surgeon’s knife, a 12-inch scar down the middle of his chest. But after a sophomore season lost to recovery and a junior year that saw him back on the court but not yet 100 percent, Jack is now fully recovered and averaging 9.8 points and 3.5 assists per game, with a nearly 75 percent rate from the free-throw line. It took a series of chance encounters to get him the life-saving surgery he needed and months of rehab and recovery to shrink his enlarged heart back to normal size. But don’t let anyone tell you Jack Cadigan doesn’t have a big heart. Because this isn’t just the story of the strength and will called upon by a young man to make himself whole after open-heart surgery. It’s also the story of how that young man then sought a way to pay that privilege forward—how a twist of fate saved not just one young life, but two.

“To see that [Green] was able to do that, from coming back from surgery, really gave me hope that I could come back and train hard and be able to play,” Jack says.

Who said a young person cannot be a great leader?- Meet Ravinder, Magic Bus Community Youth Leader from Telangana
Ravinder joined Magic Bus as a Community Youth Leader in 2012 when he was 19 years of age. He was a key player in mobilising children in the community. He would participate in door-to-door enrollment drives, organise meetings with the parents and also help in improvising the curriculum to suit the ethos of Kothwalpalle. Magic Bus gave him all forms of support as he set out to relieve his community from the clutches of poverty. “Magic Bus was my confidence booster. I felt its power when I started to see minor changes within my community. I could see young girls and boys were playing and learning together!” says Ravinder.

Milwaukee Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy accepts invitation to State of the Union
The release listed these charitable endeavors of Lucroy: 1) He supports initiatives to support the finest among us, the Americans who have served in the armed forces, by supporting Fisher House Wisconsin, planned as a “home away from home” for the families of veterans receiving care at the Zablocki VA Medical Center in Milwaukee; 2) He invites wounded heroes to Brewers games and meets with them, and he visits veterans hospitals in Wisconsin, in St. Louis, in Washington and on road trips; 3) He regularly visits patients at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin; 4) He traveled with veterans in November on an Honor Flight to visit the World War II and Korean War memorials in Washington.

Athletes find their voice – College athletes are now joining the conversation at both the conference and national levels
“As the overall NCAA model started to shift, our athletics directors and presidents decided that we should shift as a conference and model our governance structure after the national structure,” said Atlantic 10 Commissioner Bernadette V. McGlade. “We also wanted to make sure that it wasn’t just symbolic, that we were increasing participation of student-athletes in a meaningful way.” With the adoption of the new governance structure in Division I, current college athletes are being afforded more opportunities to participate in the process of creating rules and policies. In the autonomy conferences, each school will have one vote, plus three student-athletes from each conference will have a vote.

Mario Cuomo – Success in Life and Basketball
But in many ways, it was only later that his fierce dedication to people and competition came to light. During his third term, I began to play in the highly secretive and competitive basketball league that was a true passion for Mario Cuomo. He was a gifted athlete: strong, relentless and strategic. He was perhaps an even better coach and teacher. From his early days at St. John’s and his professional baseball contract to softball with staff and the Legislature to his inner obsession— basketball. The Governor’s League, later called New Yorkers Basketball, evolved after he left office and moved back to New York City in 1995.

Cuomo, with Michael Klein, was proud of Riverbank State Park in Harlem. (Photo courtesy of Michael Klein)

The New Edge in Sports Performance and Results
The elegance of life can be found in the perfection of the process of life. The organization, team or individuals with the strongest will, belief, actions and demonstrated faith in who they are re the ones that win championships and have a shot at becoming legendary. This requires a heightened state of awareness. There are no shortcuts and there is no such thing as an overnight success. However, for those dedicated to the process and those willing to look at the truth (no small feat) and believe in something greater for themselves each day, there is a whole new realm of possibilities to be experienced. To some athletes this state comes naturally, for others it must be learned.

Clint Malarchuk’s battle with depression now life-saving inspiration
The young man, a hockey fan, told Malarchuk that he had planned to commit suicide, but that somehow his father had discovered his note and managed to track him down and stop him. The father had then told his son Malarchuk’s story — about the former goalie’s failed suicide attempt, and about how he learned about his depression and anxiety — and the young man was inspired to seek help. It was in that moment that Malarchuk believed, beyond a doubt, that things happen for a reason. He was lucky to be alive, and lucky to have endured so many setbacks, including a relapse while he was working on the book. But this moment spoke to him.

ECAC Board of Directors Cast Historic Vote to Add Varsity Sports Opportunities for Student-Athletes with Disabilities in ECAC Leagues and Championships
“The ECAC is proud to promote and provide opportunities to potentially thousands of student-athletes with disabilities who attend ECAC member institutions,” said ECAC President and CEO Dr. Kevin T. McGinniss. “This historic action systematically includes student-athletes with disabilities in intercollegiate sports for the first time in any NCAA Division.  I believe this action will allow many more students, including wounded veterans returning to college, to experience the benefits of competitive intercollegiate sports.”

Looking Ahead to 2015 in Sports
Where will the most memorable sports moments in 2015 come from? They could be in the first College Football Playoff championship game, in Arlington, Tex., on Jan. 12; in Glendale, Ariz., at the Super Bowl on Feb. 1; in Indianapolis at the Final Four in April; or in Berlin at the UEFA Champions League final on June 6. A new swimming superstar could emerge at the world championships in Kazan, Russia, ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympics. The next Mo’ne Davis or Madison Bumgarner could take the mound this summer. We asked Times reporters and editors to tell us what events they are looking forward to in 2015: the sports cathedrals that belong on bucket lists, the athletes on the verge of milestones or simply a wild and wonderful event.

The opening ceremony from the 14th Pacific Games in 2011.  Marc Le Chelard/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

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Sarbjit “Sab” Singh