Sports Doing Good Newsletter, #168

June 14 – June 20, 2015

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

  1. A Game of Healing: Still in the Game
  2. One Young World: The Value of Sport
  3. Baseball and Black History
  4. Researchers have a theory to explain why high-school athletes go on to be successful in life
  5. The Grassroot Project Launches First Ever Leadership Academy
  6. Sponsors catch on to booming women’s sport
  7. When one stadium announced LGBT Pride Night, angry fans sold their tickets. So she bought them all.
  8. Pope Francis Calls for Youth Sports Shake-Up
  9. Massachusetts 6-Year-Old Plays 100 Holes of Golf for Charity
  10. Team photo of Edmond softball team has gone viral because it’s as powerful as it is cute

The positive impact of sports, especially for youth, has been a topic we have covered here multiple times. Many of those stories featured have spoken to the elements of teamwork, determination, sacrifice, sportsmanship, etc. And the stories have been a mix of real-life occurrences, individual perspectives and research studies that looked at the short-term and long-term impact of sports on individuals, especially kids.

We have several stories this week that again speak to youth sports, with that mix of research, perspective, and actual play. Those stories include: a heartfelt piece from a youth ambassador from One Young World; an athletic and educational trip for a youth baseball team throughout some of the most historical sites in our country; a new study extolling the long-term positive impact on those who play at least high school sports; a look at the Grassroot Project’s first leadership academy effort; a statement by Pope Francis regarding the need to reconfigure how youth sports engages our youth; a 6-year old golfer who clearly has an appreciation for friendship and doing things for others; and a great picture of young female athletes (and princesses) that captures the very real ability to have multiple interests, without one completely defining you.

Other stories we are happy to feature this week include: a powerful one dealing with love, loss, and the nature of healing involving a member of the Baltimore Orioles family; the very real uptick in interest and dollars in support of women’s sports; and one fan’s creative economic solution to advocating for tolerance, respect, and inclusion.

Finally, a couple of notices about events this week. First, the wonderful Kicking & Screening Soccer Film Festival is back for a week-long run in New York City. Please check out the schedule of great films and panel discussions taking place at And a last reminder about the Beyond Soccer Series event in NYC tomorrow night.

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So enjoy. And have a good week.

A Game of Healing: Still in the Game
Sports helps explain relationships. It connects generations, spouses, friends, parents and children. It becomes an expression of love and later a channel for grief. People etch team logos on headstones and sprinkle ashes on sports fields. For someone grieving a loss, a trip to the ballpark might offer a respite, a chance to escape their pain. For others, it’s a time to embrace their loss and feel closer to a loved one. For Barlow, it was everything. Baseball had dictated his routine for so long. Monica was gone, but the game would continue. “The grinding schedule, maybe I sometimes resented in the past, what it took away from Monica and me,” Barlow said. “Over the last year, it really has become reassuring, that you have sort of a constant.”

Ben Barlow, left, talks to an Orioles fan at a community booth at Camden Yards honoring Barlow’s late wife, former Orioles public relations director Monica Barlow.

One Young World: The Value of Sport
I decided to write this article because I have been actively involved in sport from a very young age, and, to be honest, sport has made the person I am today. My journey to attaining the success in my sport and my professional career as an Engineer for Arup had a lot of ups and downs – but what’s important is the principles of discipline, hard work, leadership, teamwork, courage and passion always persisted even through the bad times. Sport fast tracked my understanding of these principles and many more. It showed me the importance of effort, self-awareness, self-belief and how every mistake is meant for you and there is a lesson that can be learned. I was able to use my approach to sport as a method of achieving success in every area of my life. I applied all these characteristics and values to achieve success in school, college, professionally and personally.

Baseball and Black History
But over three weeks in late June and early July, she and 13 other kids on her team here — the rest of them boys, most of them black, all roughly her age — have a schedule of exhibition games across the country that mixes exhilarating notes with somber ones. They’re not just hitting the road. They’re taking it south, into history: the church in Birmingham, the bridge in Selma. They’ll play ball, then visit Little Rock Central High School, a battleground in the fight to integrate schools. They’ll swing for the fences, then bow their heads at the house in Jackson, Miss., where Medgar Evers lived. In a country still lurching toward racial harmony and looking to give underprivileged kids more grounding, grit and hope, it’s a compelling itinerary. And at a time when corruption and criminal behavior have cast a pall over soccer, football, boxing and more, it’s a feel-good reminder of the positive impact that athletics can have on young people — on the way in which sports, too, can be a bridge.

Steve Bandura, right, the coach of the Anderson Monarchs, with his team, including pitcher Mo’ne Davis, front left, on the 1947 bus they are using for their civil rights tour. Credit Fred R. Conrad for The New York Times.

Researchers have a theory to explain why high-school athletes go on to be successful in life
For years, economists have shown that former student athletes go onto earn significantly more than their non-sports-playing peers — between 5% and 15% more, according to research cited by the Atlantic. Now, a new study, published this month in the “Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies,” suggests a potential explanation for those higher salaries: One-time athletes are seen as having more self-confidence, more self-respect, and better leadership skills than people who pursued other hobbies — yearbook and band, in the case of the study. “People seem to activate a certain set of expectations with people who’ve played high-school sports,” lead researcher Kevin Kniffin, a professor at Cornell University, tells Business Insider. And notably, those expectations seem to hold whether or not the people doing the evaluations were once athletes themselves. “We’re not reporting that likes are attracting likes,” Kniffin explains. It’s everybody.

People see former athletes as having more self-confidence, more self-respect, and better leadership skills.

The Grassroot Project Launches First Ever Leadership Academy
At the heart of this unique opportunity is a partnership between TGP and The Foundation for Sport Development and Peace whose mission is to contribute to the understanding and promotion/advancement of sport as a tool for development, social change and peace through advocacy, education/training, community engagement and research based on Universal, Development and Olympic values. The Foundation headquartered in the University of the Western Cape in South Africa will introduce members of the Leadership Academy to local partner organizations and provide the opportunity to interact with representatives of community based organizations, practitioners and coaches involved in the sport and development field as well as HIV/AIDS advocacy.

Sponsors catch on to booming women’s sport
“As a result, we’ve seen significant new investment come into women’s soccer and sponsors with a clear strategy and intent align their brand and investment with girls, women and their families,” Horrox wrote in a blog. A similarly groundbreaking standalone deal came in women’s cricket in 2014 when South Korean carmaker Kia agreed to sponsor the newly professional English team. Postlethwaite of the Female Sport Group says traditionally male sectors like financial services, utilities, car makers and consumer electronics are all ripe for deals as companies recognize the growing buying power of women, adding his new agency is already in talks with six major multinationals.

Jun 16, 2015; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; United States goalkeeper Hope Solo (1) and defender Becky Sauerbrunn (4) and defender Meghan Klingenberg (22) and defender Ali Krieger (11) celebrate their win over Nigeria in a Group D soccer match in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

When one stadium announced LGBT Pride Night, angry fans sold their tickets. So she bought them all.
Her plan was a hit with fans. It was so successful that she started a GoFundMe page to raise money for additional tickets for the LGBTQ youth community center. Dolan and Doolittle agreed to match all donations up to $3,000. In less than a day, the page had already exceeded its $6,000 goal. She also provided a bit of an explanation of why this issue is so dear to her heart: her mom. Or, rather, moms. “Many people don’t know this about me, but I have two moms. My biological mom Kathy and her partner Elise (who grew up in the Bay Area) are both die-hard A’s fans as well as super gay. Like, they’re so gay for each other that they’ve fostered a long-term loving relationship likely no different from any heterosexual loving relationships you’ve seen or been a part of.”

Girlfriend of @Athletics star offers to buy tix of fans upset about team’s LGBTQ pride night

Pope Francis Calls for Youth Sports Shake-Up
Like the renowned Developmental Psychologist, Jean Piaget, Pope Francis understands that children’s play can have profound educational value. In his charge, Pope Francis explained that under the direction of competent coaches, sports can develop children socially, morally, and spiritually, as well as athletically. Good coaching must be child-centered and developmentally sensitive. For example, Pope Francis pointed out that at the earliest stage of youth sport, coaches should encourage children to take risks, face difficulties, and build confidence in themselves and others. At a later stage, coaches should help adolescents to become good teammates, putting the common good first. Just like other child care professionals, like doctors, psychologists, and teachers, coaches need a “solid formal education. Educators must be educated,” he insisted.

Massachusetts 6-Year-Old Plays 100 Holes of Golf for Charity
A 6-year-old Massachusetts boy has raised $25,000 for cancer research by playing 100 holes of golf in one day in memory of a classmate who died of the disease. Ryan McGuire, of Foxborough, completed the golf marathon Wednesday at MGA Links at Mamantapett, a par-3 course in Norton. Ryan played the 100 holes in memory of his kindergarten buddy, Danny Nickerson, who died in April of a rare and inoperable form of pediatric brain cancer. He got the idea to play 100 holes of golf because his mother, Cheryl, is the program director of Golf Fights Cancer, a nonprofit organization that encourages golfers to play and raise money for cancer-related charities.

Ryan McGuire, 6, of Foxboro golfed 100 holes at the MGA Links in Norton Wednesday to raise money to combat cancer in memory of Kindergarten classmate Danny Nickerson. Ryan watches a putt. (Photo by Mike George)

Team photo of Edmond softball team has gone viral because it’s as powerful as it is cute
Last Wednesday, the girls gathered at the softball field at Central Oklahoma and shot a bunch of pictures wearing their Elsa dresses, socks, cleats and eye black. “Pretend that your brother stole something from you,” Betsy told them at one point. The frames she snapped of cute little girls looking tough and mean were among the ones she shared on her Facebook page for the other moms to see later that night. The moms loved them, so Betsy decided to put one on a photography website. The interested exploded. Sports Illustrated for Kids. The Ellen Show. On and on it went. With local TV and national websites still doing stories, that will only grow. “It was never our intention,” Betsy said of the photo going viral, “but it’s neat to see it happening.” That’s because she thinks something about the photo resonates with people. Yes, the photo is grand fun. Sure, the girls are stinkin’ cute. But the best thing about the photo is the girl power.

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Contact InformationSarbjit “Sab” Singh