Sports Doing Good Newsletter, #162

May 3 – May 9, 2015

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

  1. Why Play Is Seriously Important For Girls
  2. Trailer: L.A. Judge Starts A Running Club On Skid Row
  3. Holy hoops! Pope Francis shows he’s got game with the Harlem Globetrotters
  4. Santander and New England Revolution Launch 2015 Santander Soccer Scholars Program
  5. Dallas Marathon and FC Dallas Focus on Fitness Together
  6. Roots Run Deep with NYCFC’s Jeb Brovsky
  7. Jimmy Butler: From Homeless Texas Teen to NBA’s Most Improved Player for Bulls
  8. Executive Women’s Day puts top female business leaders at the fore as The Players golf tournament is about to begin
  9. Why Does The Army Care So Much About Women’s Lacrosse?
  10. A mom on the rise: Natalie Bieule

Something that we have often presented before but not explicitly discussed is the entrepreneurial nature of so many of those who recognize the power of sport.
Their skill does not stop with mere recognition. Rather, that recognition is coupled with action that seeks to fill a void in the marketplace, whether that void is a product or service or both. Ironically, in a world with so much consumption, there is still so much need. That is our task. To figure out ways to give to many more individuals the opportunity to consume that which is key to a full life – happiness, interaction, service and experience.

This week we have multiple examples of such entrepreneurial activity, including: the One World Play Project and its new All Girls Can Play initiative; Los Angeles Superior Court judge Craig Mitchell, an avid runner, starting the Midnight Mission Running Club; Santander Bank and the New England Revolution launching the 2015 Santander Soccer Scholars Program; the MLS’s FC Dallas and its partnership with the Dallas Marathon; NYCFC’s Jeb Brovsky and his non-profit Peace Pandemic; the PGA Tour’s Executive Women’s Day effort; and the creation of a varsity-level women’s lacrosse program at West Point.

Other featured stories this week include: the Harlem Globetrotters and Pope Francis (that’s right, the Pope makes an appearance!); NBA All-Star and this year’s Most Improved Player, Jimmy Butler of the Chicago Bulls; and Paralympic champion, and mom, Natalie Bieule.

Two final items: 1) we want to make you aware of a new INDIEGOGO campaign by Jeppe Rasmussen, the founder of PinoleroGO! (; and 2) a new book by Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director at League of Fans, entitled “How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan,” which can be purchased via Amazon.

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

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So enjoy. And have a good week.

Why Play Is Seriously Important For Girls
One World Play Project distributes ultra-durable soccer balls (they don’t need a pump and never go flat) to children around the world. For All Girls Can Play, the goal is to fill a container with 2,200 One World Futbols over the next three months. To get the balls on the ground, they’re partnering up with Women Win, a non-profit organization based in Amsterdam and working with partners worldwide, which aims to equip adolescent girls to exercise their rights through sport, and BAWSI (Bay Area Women’s Sports Initiative), an organization founded by World Cup soccer legends Brandi Chastain and Julie Foudy that strengthens the women’s sports community through leadership and service.

Girls in India play with One World Futbols provided through Communities Rising.

Trailer: L.A. Judge Starts A Running Club On Skid Row
Los Angeles Superior Court judge Craig Mitchell, an avid runner, started the Midnight Mission Running Club with a few residents of the Midnight Mission, a homeless shelter in L.A.’s skid row area that provides food, shelter and counseling to those who need it. Many of the club members are homeless and battled drug and alcohol addictions before they became runners. The group, which meets three times a week at 5:45 AM for a 5-6 mile run, have completed a number of races in the past year, including the LA Marathon, Accra International Marathon in Ghana and the Rome Marathon this past March. This video is a trailer for the forthcoming Skid Row Marathon documentary, a feature length film which is expected to be completed in September. Donations to the project, which to this point has been funded by Mitchell and the documentary’s producers, can be made at

Holy hoops! Pope Francis shows he’s got game with the Harlem Globetrotters
Pope Francis pulled off some trick moves in St. Peter’s Square on Wednesday. He had great instructors: The Harlem Globetrotters. The basketball troupe met with the pope during his weekly general audience. They presented a framed No. 90 jersey backed with “Pope Francis,” and encouraged him to play with them. With teammates Hi-Lite Bruton, Ant Atkinson, and Big Easy Lofton looking on, Flight Time Lang got a red, white and blue ball spinning on his own finger, then took the pope’s right index finger and let a smiling Francis try it himself. and New England Revolution Launch 2015 Santander Soccer Scholars Program
After more than 350 New England families signed up to take part in the three-week Santander Soccer Scholars contest in September 2014, the Bank and the Revolution extended the program throughout the 2015 MLS regular season. Santander is the Official Bank of the New England Revolution, who are currently playing their 20th season in Major League Soccer. “Through our partnership with the Revolution, we look for new and exciting ways to engage the community on issues that are important to us. We’re excited that Santander Soccer Scholars will allow us to celebrate and support educational excellence in our local communities,” said Mike Bruno, region president for Northeast New England at Santander. “Making Santander Soccer Scholars a season-long program gives us even more of an opportunity to recognize the outstanding academic achievements of students throughout New England.”

Dallas Marathon and FC Dallas Focus on Fitness Together
FC Dallas and organizers for the Dallas Marathon, Half Marathon and Behringer Relay today announced a partnership designed to amplify both groups’ commitment to supporting youth and general fitness initiatives in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. The new partnership will come to life at year-round events and through cross-promotional activities including the 45th Dallas Marathon and the inaugural FC Dallas Footy 5K and Fun Run presented by VAZATA on July 11, 2015, with more events in development. “We’re excited to create fun and memorable events for North Texas throughout the year by teaming up with FC Dallas,” said Patrick Byerly, president of the Dallas Marathon. “This partnership creates an energetic team between those organizing the state’s oldest marathon and an FC Dallas organization that first put professional soccer on the map in Texas.”

Roots Run Deep with NYCFC’s Jeb Brovsky
While at the University of Notre Dame, Brovsky founded Peace Pandemic, a non-profit organization that uses youth soccer camps to teach nonviolence and promote social justice. He also volunteered his time working for homeless shelters in the South Bend, Ind., area. Peace Pandemic has since taken Brovsky and his wife Caitlin to orphanages in Guatemala and poverty stricken villages in India. “What we realized was that the women were the most marginalized people in those societies and the violence toward them both structurally and physically was appalling to us,” Brovsky said. “For me, to prevent this from happening, we need to raise better men. I think soccer is a tool where I can get on that platform so I can speak to these young boys about it.”

Jimmy Butler: From Homeless Texas Teen to NBA’s Most Improved Player for Bulls
“We wouldn’t be in the position that we are today without him,” Thibodeau says. “Whatever we’ve asked him to do, he’s excelled in that role. He came in primarily as a defensive player, a great effort guy, and he’s made himself into a great scorer, and most importantly, a winning player. He’s very, very unselfish and very, very efficient. He scores in a lot of different ways and he’ll guard anybody and he’s a fierce competitor.” Beyond physical appearance — they both look more like NFL linebackers than basketball coaches — Williams and Thibodeau share the ability to inspire Butler. Butler attributes both of them for pushing him beyond his talent love. The coaches have led Butler to focus on the mental aspects of the game just as much as the physical aspects.

The 2014-15 season was Jimmy Butler’s time to tell his underdog story, and his acceptance of the NBA’s Most Improved Player Award on Thursday was the freshest chapter.

Executive Women’s Day puts top female business leaders at the fore as The Players golf tournament is about to begin
Beyond business relationship development, the event also focuses on health and wellness issues. It is sponsored by Astellas Pharma US, a pharmaceutical company. Donna Fiedorowicz, a PGA Tour senior vice president, said organizers are “thrilled to see the success of Executive Women’s Day as a powerful way to engage the growing female PGA Tour fan base with information that helps them stay strong, healthy and connected through discussion of health and well-being as well as broader professional development opportunities.”, Times-Union file photo
PGA Tour agronomist Chuck Green talks at the 2014 Executive Women’s Day about course maintenance near the green of hole #18.

Why Does The Army Care So Much About Women’s Lacrosse?
The Army believes there is a crucial relationship between those two things — an athletic background and being a soldier. As the military prepares to allow women on the front lines of combat in 2016, there is an immediate need for strong, tough women from within the Army’s ranks. And, in a philosophy often mentioned on campus and believed by MacArthur himself, the Army believes athletes make better soldiers. That philosophy doesn’t apply just to the best Division 1 athletes, either. West Point officials explicitly state that even successful prep athletes who aren’t quite good enough to play at the NCAA level still have a head start. That’s a big reason why a core tenet of attending West Point is participating in a sport — every cadet must play either a Division I or club sport.

Courtesy of Army West Point Athletics Communications

A mom on the rise: Natalie Bieule
Was it not for a chance meeting with three-time Paralympian April Holmes in 2013, Bieule may never have given track and field a shot. “I first saw Natalie at an amputee convention and noticed her across the room,” Holmes said. “One of the first things that I noticed about her was that she looked young and athletic. “I called out to Natalie to come over to talk to me, and while she looked surprised, she came over with a smile on her face. It was almost like she was looking for an answer to her questions or a conductor on the road she was traveling. I introduced myself and basically volun-told (volunteer and told) her that she was going to join our team.” From there, Holmes connected Bieule with U.S. Paralympics track and field high performance director Cathy Sellers, and within a week, Bieule was training with five-time Paralympic legend Scott Danberg.

Natalie Bieule after winning the 2014 U.S. Paralympics Track and Field Championships

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Contact InformationSarbjit “Sab” Singh