Feb. 15 – Feb. 21, 2015
Welcome to week one hundred fifty-one of the Sports Doing Good newsletter. This week’s 10 stories include:
- Soccer Superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic Wore Temporary Tattoos to Raise Awareness of Hunger
- Interview with Coach Jim White of McFarland USA
- US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State joins historic women-only program to save lives using the power of soccer
- Coach’s Ph.D. in Psychology Is Applied on Court and in Classroom
- How One College Is Using Tech to Grow Sports Beyond Football
- Game Changers: Mike Conley, Jr. (Episode 7) – National Alliance for Youth Sports
- Through The Orlando Magic Youth Fund, a McCormick Foundation Fund, $1 Million Distributed to 21 Central Florida Organizations
- Emerging from a Father’s 7-Foot-6 Shadow
- Baseball is changing lives in Colombia
- Northport, NY’s Mikey Brannigan is SI’s Feb. High School Athlete of the Month
The idea of power in sports sometimes is offered to explain a negative situation, one in which some person or group misuses their influence to garner an unfair advantage. But to us, that is not the norm. What we think about when the word power is used to describe sport (and its participants, fans, and supporters) is all of the good that sport helps to create in the lives of those touched in some way by the array of activities that are enjoyed around the world. That influence can be on one person or an entire country. And that influence can be everlasting.
We have several stories that involve the idea of the influence, i.e. the power, of sport to change lives directly and indirectly. Our first story is a wonderful example of the power of sport and celebrity to bring attention to a global issue that on its own, may not occupy people’s mindset on a regular basis. Zlatan Ibrahimovic took a powerful stance to bring attention to the ongoing problem of global hunger. Jim White, the coach featured in the upcoming movie McFarland USA, speaks to the power of sport to motivate individuals who question their own abilities, but then realize they can succeed and experience change for the better. We also have a profile done by Sports Illustrated of elite high school runner Mikey Brannigan, who found his calling through the power of running, changing his own life and serving as a role model for so many more young athletes.
Other stories we are proud to feature this week include: the international NGO Spirit of Soccer; basketball coach and professor John Tauer; the University of Mississippi; NBA star Mike Conley, Jr.; the Orlando Magic franchise; young basketball player Bol Bol; and the baseball program run by the good folks at Grupo Internacional de Paz (GIP).
Finally, we want to announce that the industry’s leading program for the study and practice of sports philanthropy is once again accepting applications. http://business.gwu.edu/programs/professional-certificates/sports-philanthropy/
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So enjoy. And have a good week.
Soccer Superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic Wore Temporary Tattoos to Raise Awareness of Hunger
Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s yellow card for taking his shirt off during Paris Saint-Germain’s Ligue 1 game with Caen on Saturday looked typical enough, but it has since turned out that the Swede did so to reveal temporary tattoos to raise awareness of hunger. A video released by the World Food Programme, above, explains that the striker put 50 names—representing starving children—on his chest. According to the video, 850 million people are without food, which presumably Ibrahimovic felt was worth highlighting, despite the inevitable yellow card he drew just a couple of minutes into the game.
Interview with Coach Jim White of McFarland USA
Kevin Costner plays real-life coach Jim White in Disney’s McFarland USA, the story of a group of teenage “pickers” (crop workers) who became California state cross-country champions. In an interview, Coach White spoke about what makes great coaches and great runners, and why McFarland is still his home. When he speaks to the kids he coaches and when he speaks about coaching, his most important focus is not on the techniques of running and endurance. “I preach a lot on attitude. You have to have a good attitude about what you want to do.”
US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State joins historic women-only program to save lives using the power of soccer
“’Educate a man, you educate a man. Educate a woman and you educate a generation’ – This quote has always really struck home to me,” Spirit of Soccer Founder Scotty Lee said. “We need to provide more opportunities for women to be empowered and educated to make the world a safer and more peaceful place. It’s an honor to work with such inspirational women this week and I look forward to visiting each of their countries through this coming year to learn what skills and knowledge they have passed onto their children and communities.” This groundbreaking project has been made possible by the PMWRA – US Department of State.
Coach’s Ph.D. in Psychology Is Applied on Court and in Classroom
St. Thomas is 95-17 under Tauer, who took over after Fritz coached the Tommies to the 2011 N.C.A.A. Division III title. “In Division III, we have a limit on how much time we can and should spend with players, so they can truly balance academics and athletics,” Tauer said. “For the seven-plus months that we’re not in season, we can’t do anything with them. If we get intrinsically motivated players, they work incredibly hard in the off-season. They come back as better players. If we get extrinsically motivated players, we’re probably not going to see anything near the skill development.”
The Tommies during practice. They won 16 straight before a loss to Concordia-Moorhead on Saturday. Credit Tim Gruber for The New York Times)
How One College Is Using Tech to Grow Sports Beyond Football
Embraced by retailers in the past year or two, beacons are becoming commonplace at large entertainment venues, sports arenas and museums. Major League Baseball tested beacons that connect with its At the Ballpark app last season, for example. Another mission for the rewards program is simply to gauge and promote game attendance through reminders and points. Attendance is on the rise for many of the school’s sports including volleyball, which grew from 5,834 total game-goers in 2013 to 8,289 in 2014, and the school’s biggest sport, football, which attracted 405,000 attendees in 2013 compared to 430,829 attendees in 2014 — an all-time record, according to Mr. Thompson.
Swayze Field at Ole Miss
Game Changers: Mike Conley, Jr. (Episode 7) – National Alliance for Youth Sports
The National Alliance for Youth Sports sits down with Mike Conley, Jr., point guard with the Memphis Grizzlies, to discuss the benefits of having his dad as a coach, the number one thing youth sports coaches can do to keep their players motivated and why being a good sportsman is just as important as being a good athlete.
Through The Orlando Magic Youth Fund, a McCormick Foundation Fund, $1 Million Distributed to 21 Central Florida Organizations
“Our mission is to be World Champions on and off the court delivering legendary moments every step of the way. And today truly is a legendary day,’’ Martins said. “This truly is my favorite day of the year because we truly know that we are making a significant impact in Central Florida with the funds that we distribute to these very worthy organizations.’’ In the past five years, OMYF-MFF has granted nearly $5 million to various organizations throughout Central Florida. In the past 25 years, OMYF-MFF has given $19.8 million to some 500 non-profit organizations – funding that has impacted more than 2 million children and people in need. That philosophy of giving falls in line with the vision of legendary owner Rich DeVos, who has stated through the years that it was always his hope to use the Magic as a vehicle to assist others and make a difference in the community.
Emerging from a Father’s 7-Foot-6 Shadow
It is not by happenstance that toy basketball hoops are scattered about the house of 15-year-old Bol Bol, or that his bedroom in the basement is home to about 40 pairs of basketball shoes. His love for the game was passed down by his father, Manute Bol, the 7-foot-6 shot blocker whose impossibly long arms and lighthouse smile made him a fan favorite for 10 N.B.A. seasons before he died in 2010. But Manute Bol’s on-court fame paled in comparison to the humanitarian work he did on behalf of his native Sudan, raising money and awareness for a country bloodied by civil war. They are big shoes to fill in every way, and Bol Bol is struggling to do so.
Amy Stroth for The New York Times
Baseball is changing lives in Colombia
In Colombia, where football has so many passionate fans, it is surprising to see that baseball is helping change the lives of hundreds of boys and girls. Beisboleritos, also known as Little Baseballers, is a programme run by Grupo Internacional de Paz (GIP). GIP is an NGO that started working with children in vulnerable environments to strengthen them through sport methodology based on a psychosocial component. Beisboleritos began in 2012 on the outskirts of Medellín, where GIP bases its operations.
Northport, NY’s Mikey Brannigan is SI’s Feb. High School Athlete of the Month
Michael Brannigan was diagnosed with autism at 18 months old. When he was three, his parents were told he could end up in a group home and were advised to start getting on waiting lists because the good places had waits of 12 years of more. At five, he spoke unprompted for the first time. At seven, he would discover running and his life would change forever. Now the defending national champion in the outdoor 3,200-meters, Mikey is one of the best high school middle-distance runners in the country and is beginning to look beyond his high school running career towards his Olympic dreams, starting off with an invitation to train for the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro as a dress rehearsal for the traditional Olympics in 2024.