Feb. 22 – Feb. 28, 2015
Welcome to week one hundred fifty-two of the Sports Doing Good newsletter. This week’s 10 stories include:
- U.S. Soccer’s Expansion Boom; Beyond Major League Soccer, there is explosive growth in the lower rungs of American professional soccer
- Chicago Bulls’ Jimmy Butler: Running the Gauntlet
- The Amazing Longevity of Jaromir Jagr
- Luol Deng’s path of righteousness; In a life full of difficult challenges, Heat forward manages to keep a positive outlook
- Stephen Curry, Colin Kaepernick among celebs pushing fruits, veggies
- Center Pictures Success, Then Calls the Shots; Northern Iowa’s Seth Tuttle Points the Way Back to the Tournament
- How Football Taught These 12-Year-Olds What it Means to be a Girl
- Premier League and PFA get behind Sporting Memories Network
- The Man in Charge of the Future of Football
- One Last Save by Richter; Over a decade after his last save on the ice, Mike Richter is trying to save the planet
A topic that has not come up that often in the past 3 years of putting together Sports Doing Good is that of older individuals, whether we are dealing with actual sport performances or efforts to bring sports to heretofore untapped individuals. Sports is often associated with the young. We keep an eye out for those young athletes with potential and marvel at the amazing athletic feats of athletes in their prime. As a society we are sensitive to those youngsters who are without sports in their lives and we work hard to fill that gap. But what about those who are not so young?
One of the stories this week deals with using sport to work with those 50 years and older and help them maintain their mental acuity. It certainly makes sense. The idea of sports as a form of social currency, that which binds us despite our differing ages, religions, ethnicities, gender, etc. is well-accepted. Even those of us not yet 50 can relate. I attended a basketball game yesterday with friends from college and we inevitably talked about previous games, and experiences, good and bad. We are amazed by how young we were and quite naïve as well. Sport gives us that opportunity to reminisce and we should never take it for granted. The Sporting Memories Network is certainly onto something that we can all benefit from.
Other stories we are happy to include this week include: the growth of the U.S. soccer market; a feature on emerging NBA star Jimmy Butler; a profile of NHL legend Jaromir Jagr; a recounting of the incredible life of NBA star Luol Deng; student-athlete Seth Tuttle from Northern Iowa; the power of sport for a special group of young girls; and the post-career work of legendary New York Ranger Mike Richter; amongst other wonderful stories.
Finally, if you think others would like to receive the newsletter, please feel free to forward it on or have them contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. (If you do not want to receive the newsletter anymore you can use the Unsubscribe button at the end of the email)
So enjoy. And have a good week.
U.S. Soccer’s Expansion Boom; Beyond Major League Soccer, there is explosive growth in the lower rungs of American professional soccer
The second-tier North American Soccer League, which added two teams last year, will add another in 2015, bringing it to 11. The USL, after launching four teams in 2014, will add 13 this year, raising its total to 24. Additional new teams are expected next year in both leagues, which are entering their fifth seasons. “There’s a lot of exuberance and optimism in the market. That’s a good thing,” said Sunil Gulati, president of U.S. Soccer, the sport’s governing body.
Armada FC players celebrate the club’s first-ever goal in the team’s inaugural match on Feb 7. Photo: Logan Bowles/Jacksonville Armada FC
Chicago Bulls’ Jimmy Butler: Running the Gauntlet
He has risen from a homeless, withdrawn teenager in Tomball, Texas, to a confident Eastern Conference All-Star, and another chapter of his remarkable story is coming in July, when he is likely to sign a max contract. Michelle Lambert, the mother of four biological children who welcomed a 16-year-old Butler into her home, watches every Chicago game. “Mommy,” as Butler calls her, sees the lessons that he absorbed as a teen play out in his full-bore charges from baseline to baseline. “Going fast is instilled in Jimmy,” Lambert says. “If you’re moving and producing, you stay in the plans. If you stop or slow down for a second, it all might disappear.”
The Amazing Longevity of Jaromir Jagr
Despite recent frustrations over his playing time with New Jersey, Jagr could prove to be a useful short-term rental for the Panthers. He retains the same soft hands and keen vision that made him a five-time scoring champion. And like so many of hockey’s greatest offensive talents before him, Jagr has a knack for skating where the action is headed before it arrives. His trademark strength seems scarcely to have waned with time; he still has moments when he’s nearly impossible to knock off the puck along the boards.
Jaromir Jagr of the New Jersey Devils listens to the national anthem just before his team faces off against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, on Jan. 28. Andy Marlin/Getty Images
Luol Deng’s path of righteousness; In a life full of difficult challenges, Heat forward manages to keep a positive outlook
“Luol’s really staying involved, staying in contact, never forgetting where he’s come from, and those attributes have helped tremendously in our efforts to grow the sport on the continent,” Fall said. “His passion on the court is the same as the passion he has off the floor. He’s driven, almost like to pay it forward. Having him right there on the forefront, talking about it and making sure his friends and colleagues around the league are aware of it makes my life easier.” Said Deng: “There are so many kids in Africa who adore these athletes in the NBA and see themselves in them, even though we’re so far removed. In Africa, kids don’t look at black athletes and say, ‘They’re different from us.’ They look at them and say, ‘That can be me.'”
Deng was helped by Brixton coach Jimmy Rogers, whose club produced multiple NCAA prospects. Courtesy Luol Deng
Stephen Curry, Colin Kaepernick among celebs pushing fruits, veggies
What if cauliflower got the same type of marketing firepower as candy bars and potato chips? A campaign being launched Thursday plans to put that premise to the test by enlisting celebrities including actress Jessica Alba and NBA star Stephen Curry to shill for fruits and vegetables. The campaign will be announced by the Partnership for a Healthier America, which works with private companies and was created in conjunction with first lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative to get families to eat better and exercise. The push is being called “FNV,” which is intended to be a catchier way to refer to “fruits and vegetables.”
In this image from video provided by the Partnership for a Healthier America, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newtown is featured in the organization’s “FNV” ad campaign. The celebrity-studded campaign being launched Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015 aims to market fruits and vegetables like they were any other popular packaged snacks. “FNV” is intended to be a catchier way to refer to “fruits and vegetables.” (AP Photo/Partnership for a Healthier America) (Uncredited)
Center Pictures Success, Then Calls the Shots; Northern Iowa’s Seth Tuttle Points the Way Back to the Tournament
Conference coaches rave about Tuttle, who leads the Panthers in scoring (15.6 points per game), rebounding (6.6) and assists (3.2) while topping the conference with a 62.7 field-goal percentage. Loyola-Chicago Coach Porter Moser, a former assistant to Rick Majerus at Saint Louis, said Majerus, who died in 2012, would have loved Tuttle’s game. “This, by far, would be his favorite player in the country,” Moser said. “He’s a great passer. He can shoot it. He can pass out of the double-team. He is a coach’s dream. You don’t see post players with that kind of feel and command of their team.”
With Seth Tuttle, a 6-foot-8 senior center, as the catalyst, Northern Iowa (27-2) has won a program-record 16 consecutive games. Credit Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press
How Football Taught These 12-Year-Olds What it Means to be a Girl
“Give me your definition of what it means to be a girl?” That is the question photographer Kate Parker asked 13-year-old Callen Swiegart between her football game and cotillion class. “Being tough enough to do things that boys can do but soft enough to do things they can’t,” was her insightful answer. Every weekend Callen and her friends live just that. The Roswell, Ga. seventh graders proudly take on boys the same age in an otherwise all male flag football league on Saturdays and then Sundays the girls head to cotillion class. They cover their scrapes in makeup, their eye black is replaced by eye liner, and the muddy cleats are swapped for pretty flats as they participate in a southern tradition very much the opposite of football.
Premier League and PFA get behind Sporting Memories Network
At the heart of the projects is the use of football and sports reminiscence to engage with and improve the well-being of older people (age 50+) including those living with dementia. Sporting memories network projects across the UK have demonstrated that by using a subject such as football, which has common currency with so many people, especially men, sports reminiscence can put the voice & the memories of older people at the centre of fun & rewarding activity that engage older fans. Sporting Memories Network will work with partners in each of the four projects to recruit volunteers to help with the groups and the projects.
The Man in Charge of the Future of Football
For 12 seasons, Roman Oben was an NFL offensive lineman. Now, he’s in the trenches of an issue central to the future of football—the game’s youth ranks. Oben was hired in January as the NFL’s director of youth football, a position newly created during a time in which some parents, and some former players, are saying they won’t let their kids play football because of health and safety concerns. Youth and high school football participation levels began to drop in the late 2000s, though the National Federation of State High School Associations reported its first rise in football participation in five years for the 2013-14 school year. What’s the future of the game? That depends, in large part, on what happens at the youth level. The MMQB sat down with Oben, also a dad to two football-playing sons, ages 13 and 11, about his view from the front seat with the game at an important crossroads.
One Last Save by Richter; Over a decade after his last save on the ice, Mike Richter is trying to save the planet
Richter, who these days eschews his familiar goalie pads in favor of being a defenseman and team rover in his men’s league, might have retired from the NHL almost 12 years ago, but that doesn’t mean he’s left the sports world entirely. Hockey is in his blood and he recognizes how reliant the sport is on the environmental elements. The major American sports leagues are recognizing it, too. Programs like NHL Green and NASCAR Green are allowing the organizations to take responsibility for their entities while also urging the fans to do the same. The NHL launched a “Gallons for Goals” initiative and released a 2014 sustainability report, which laid out the best practices amongst its 30 clubs.