Sports Doing Good Newsletter, #160

April 19 – April 25, 2015

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

  1. Raúl – Re-Born In the U.S.A.
  2. Why Masters Champion Jordan Spieth Hired a Former Schoolteacher as His Caddie
  3. 14,000 Miles of Inspiration and Perspiration — Tour de Fox
  4. Dwayne Bowe pays respect to Chiefs ‘angel’ with final kiss
  5. Meet the Inspirational, Adorable and Utterly Badass Skater Girls of Kabul
  6. How football helps give hope to the homeless
  7. How One Teen Races Go-Karts to Victory Over Autism
  8. Ban calls on world’s athletes to help bolster emerging new UN sustainability agenda
  9. Special Olympics makes health a global priority
  10. From foster homes to the cusp of fulfilling NFL dream

I first want to thank all of those who attended the Georgetown Sports Doing Good event on April 22nd in Washington, DC. It was great to be able to connect with old friends and also with individuals I only knew through email and the SDG newsletter. A special thank you to our four wonderful panelists:

  • Paul Caccamo, Up2Us
  • Ryan Pettingill, The Grassroot Project
  • Sead Dizdarevic, Basketball Diplomacy Project
  • Christie Keswick, Good Sports

I invite you to visit their respective websites and to get in touch with them to explore opportunities to work together and support each others’ efforts.

For those not at the event, I’d like to pass along but one of the many important points that came up. That is that sport is not just an option when it comes to employing tools to provide better access and opportunity to those of all ages around the world. In fact, it may be the best option to effect change that will have a micro and macro impact today and in the future. The passion of our panelists, combined with their recognition of the sober reality, of the challenge ahead, set the tone for those in the audience who want to be part of the “sports doing good” movement.

And in line with what came up during the event, we have 10 stories this week that speak to these ideas of: access and opportunity; purpose; redemption; fulfillment; second chances; confidence; and loyalty.

Please continue to send along your stories. You are both our audience and our best source of stories. Our Twitter handle is @sportsdoinggood, and you can find us at

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 (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.

Raúl – Re-Born In the U.S.A.
My family settling in so well also has allowed me to really focus on starting my work with the Cosmos, both as a player and as a major piece in establishing their landmark training academy. The Cosmos brand is known worldwide?—?fans recall the days of world legends like Pele and Giorgio Chinaglia and Franz Beckenbauer?—?and I look forward to helping establish the next generation of stars at the club. There remains massive potential for soccer in the United States, and I like that the Cosmos are looking to do something a little different in cultivating that potential, breaking away from the traditional ways in which American youth players have been developed.

Raúl in a preseason match with the Cosmos in Hong Kong. (Photo: New York Cosmos)

Why Masters Champion Jordan Spieth Hired a Former Schoolteacher as His Caddie
But the reason he has latched on with golf’s biggest rising star has little to do with measuring yardages or memorizing breaks on a green. It is because of moments like this: When Spieth double-bogeyed the 17th hole Saturday, Greller didn’t say much as they walked to the 18th tee box. He mostly just listened. “You don’t want to overanalyze or make it harder than it is,” Greller said. “I just try to be a calming influence on him. He’s very intense.” Spieth recovered to end his round with a par on No. 18, a pivotal sequence in the tournament. And while it’s impossible to assess a caddie’s impact, the moment speaks to how knowing your boss can trump so many other aspects of the job.

Jordan Spieth, right, with caddie Michael Greller on the 18th green after winning the Masters on Sunday. Photo: Reuters

14,000 Miles of Inspiration and Perspiration — Tour de Fox
Since 2011, Sam Fox, 27, an ultra-athlete, has completed two extreme fundraisers for The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, raising $400,000. His mom, Lucy, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease more than 15 years ago, and he dedicates his efforts to her. Yet he takes his greatest inspiration from the Parkinson’s community — the countless moms, dads and families touched by Parkinson’s, the second most common degenerative brain disease after Alzheimer’s, for which no cure has yet been found. Now Sam is preparing for his most extreme stunt yet: a three-month, 14,000-mile journey across the United States punctuated by 5,000 miles of cycling, 10 technical mountain climbs and 38 day climbs and hikes, in an attempt to raise $1 million for research. This is Tour de Fox.

Sam and his mother, Lucy Fox

Dwayne Bowe pays respect to Chiefs ‘angel’ with final kiss
However, family members said it was an extraordinary gesture by Bowe – who would kiss Betty Johnson at every home game – that they will remember forever. “He flew in for my mother’s funeral to give her the last kiss. Her celebration was just what she wanted. I wished I could have seen her in heaven today. I know she was there in spirit. It was a special ending to very special person,” Susan Johnson said. Bowe got up at the memorial and said a few words about his biggest fan. He even sent her a wreath of white flowers. “You might have thought you were the Chiefs No. 1 fan, but in so many ways, we were yours. Thanks for making Arrowhead feel like home to me. I will continue to play my heart out for you. Kisses to you my special angel,” the current Cleveland Browns player wrote on the flowers.

Former wide receiver Dwayne Bowe made a special trip to Kansas City Tuesday to pay his respect to 86-year-old Betty Johnson.

Meet the Inspirational, Adorable and Utterly Badass Skater Girls of Kabul
“I met so many impressive women and girls in Afghanistan,” Fulford-Dobson told Saatchi Gallery. “A teacher as tough and determined as any man; young Afghans in their early twenties who were volunteering at an orphanage and were passionate about being seen as strong and willing to fight for themselves, rather than as victims of circumstance; and girls who were being educated to be leaders in their communities and who were already thinking carefully about their own and their country’s future. And of course there were the young skate girls, so fun to be around and so totally unspoilt.”

How football helps give hope to the homeless
James Buckley, a talented midfielder as a teenager and now head of coaching at the Homeless Football Association, had a sliding?doors moment when encountering Joe Hart the other day. Talking to the England international, Buckley thought of how his own journey in life could have been different had he not been dealt such a difficult hand early on. Buckley’s story is one of despair but also of hope, of the beacon that football can provide in dark times and of the support given to a troubled young man by organisations such as the Homeless FA and Liverpool Homeless FA.

Joe Hart trained with the Homeless side as they prepare for the World Cup

How One Teen Races Go-Karts to Victory Over Autism
As Austin gets faster, his father Jason sees him getting more comfortable, almost as if the karts — at speeds approaching 100 mph — are finally keeping up with the pace of Austin’s complex thoughts. “It’s a bit hard to wrap your head around it,” says Jason. “He can’t tie his own shoes or cut chicken nuggets, but yet he can race a go-kart at 100 MPH. I can’t explain it. He looks like he’s sitting in a lawn chair as if everything around him is running at a normal pace.” This year, as Austin graduates to shifter karts, it isn’t just racing on the minds of the Riley family. They’re trying to raise awareness for autism with a tour and a planned documentary, being put together by Canadian photographer Jon Blacker, detailing how Austin lives his life on and off the track.

[Austin Riley. Photo:]

Ban calls on world’s athletes to help bolster emerging new UN sustainability agenda
“Let us use sport to leave a transformative and sustainable legacy for our children and grandchildren. It is their motivational appeal that gives hope and helps improve the lives of many,” he continued, expressing his hope that Member States negotiating the shape of the future development agenda see the importance of sport, not only in health, but in peace and harmony, reconciliation, mutual understanding and respect for others, and fair games and rule of law and human rights. “All these will be duly reflected so that we all can work together to build this world better for all, where all the peoples human dignity and human rights and happiness and prosperity and wellbeing will be respected. Through sport we can foster inspiration and hope for a better future for all,” he said finally.

A view of the Economic and Social Council Chamber, as Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (shown on screen) speaks at a special event on the theme, “United Action Towards Sustainable Development for All Through Sport.” UN Photo/Mark Garten

Special Olympics makes health a global priority
Haemels lobbied universities to incorporate specific training for patients with intellectual disabilities, which they did. Now podiatry students must complete 20 hours of course work as well as eight hours of volunteer clinical work at Special Olympics events. Similar programs have been added at medical schools in other countries, including the U.S. As of 2014, Special Olympics — which runs Healthy Athletes clinics at major competitions as well as independently — had trained 120,000 health care professionals how to treat people with intellectual disabilities. And every doctor who signs up to participate in Healthy Athletes screenings commits for at least three years.

Special Olympics athlete Paul Hoffman gets a vision exam at a Healthy Athletes screening. Many people with intellectual disabilities go through life thinking the world is blurry until they get examined at the Special Olympics World Games. Courtesy of Special Olympics

From foster homes to the cusp of fulfilling NFL dream
Mauldin tells his story today with an eerie sense of ease, as if he doesn’t fully grasp the abnormality of his childhood. He walks with a distinguished calm, his face constantly wearing a half-smile. He is, by most accounts, a candidate for the third round of the 2015 NFL draft after two seasons as a starter, compiling 16.5 sacks and 26 tackles for loss between his junior and senior seasons, earning second-team all-conference honors (American Athletic in ’13, ACC in ’14) both years. His isn’t the first tale of extreme poverty in the backstories of the men who make up the NFL, and won’t be the last. He’d like for his story to be relayed not to satisfy lurid curiosities, or as an attention grab or pity plea, but as a message to children around the country who grew up in similar circumstances. The promise: You have power over your circumstances, no matter how dire. Someone, somewhere, wants to help you.

Lorenzo Mauldin spent his childhood bouncing from foster home to foster home—16 of them to be exact. The statistics said he was unlikely to amount to anything, but now he’s a college graduate about to be drafted into the NFL. He beat the odds; he wants foster kids to know they can do the same

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