Sports Doing Good Newsletter, #191

Nov. 29 – Dec. 5, 2015

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

  1. Jonah Lomu was ‘a freak on the field and a gentle, caring giant off it’
  2. How the Gatorade Shower Was Born
  3. 12-Year-Old Female Football Star Sam Gordon On Why Girls Should Play Sports
  4. In His Homecoming, Stephen Curry Is King
  5. The First Step: Clarisse Machanguana (The Players’ Tribune)
  6. Former Cleveland Browns’ Josh Cribbs starting youth flag-football league in response to concussion concerns
  7. Sports Mentors Help Kids Take ‘Tiny Steps’ To A Better Life
  8. Through sport, we can get to zero
  9. Hedge Funds to Hash Marks: How Harvard Man Cameron Brate Is Schooling the NFL
  10. Game Changer: How Arne Duncan took on college sports—and won


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Jonah Lomu was ‘a freak on the field and a gentle, caring giant off it’
Eden Park was a happy hunting ground for the player, who appeared in six Tests at the venue and won five. Hart said there could be no better place for the big man’s send-off. “We’ve chosen Eden Park because it’s the spiritual home of rugby and somewhere that Jonah loved so much,” he said. World Rugby chairman Bernard Lapasset made the 18,000-kilometre trip from France to pay his respects to a man he said helped bring the sport into the professional era. “He’s an icon in rugby and I have to represent all the fans that Jonah had in the world,” he said. “This fantastic man delivered a very great message about rugby to the world … he terrified defences and thrilled spectators with a brand of running rugby that had never been seen before.” Tributes have poured in from across the rugby world since Lomu’s death, with many current players recalling how he inspired them to take up the game.

Tana Umaga leads a haka during the memorial service for the late New Zealand All Blacks rugby legend Jonah Lomu. MICHAEL BRADLEY/AFP/Getty Images

How the Gatorade Shower Was Born
He’d been coach Bill Parcells’ whipping boy in the media all week, so when his New York Giants were just two minutes from completing a 37-13 blowout of the rival Washington Redskins on Oct. 28, 1984, nose tackle Jim Burt decided it was time to get even. The 6-foot-1, 260-pound player grabbed one of the big orange Gatorade buckets from a sideline table, sneaked up behind Parcells and giddily dumped it over his head. The unsuspecting victim was soaked from headphones to toes, and Burt had unwittingly inaugurated a sports tradition: the game-ending Gatorade shower. Thirty-one years later, such dousings have become a sports cliché, acted out even on peewee soccer fields. But the one that started it all was not a celebration so much as an act of sweet revenge. In the years since, other origin stories have surfaced, but a flickering 33-second video of that moment in 1984 proves to be the Zapruder film of sideline soakings — complete with John Madden commentary.

Getty Images

12-Year-Old Female Football Star Sam Gordon On Why Girls Should Play Sports
But Gordon is not just about football. She’s an accomplished soccer player and dreams of winning a World Cup. Abby Wambach was her first follower on Twitter and Gordon has become pretty buddy-buddy with the whole U.S. women’s soccer team after being invited to visit them for practice and a game. Gordon has been crushing it at football for so long that she’s taken a year off to focus on soccer, but has already come back to the gridiron guns blazing since then. Last week, Gordon took the stage with three other young star athletes — Victoria Duval, Jaden Newman and Claressa Shields — on a panel at the espnW Women + Sports Summit in Dana Point, California to talk about being at the top of their games. When asked how Gordon plans on competing on the tackle football field with middle school boys, she stated simply and with a grin: “As they get bigger, I try and get faster.” Gordon’s dad Brent is usually right by her side for interviews, but now that she’s 12, Gordon took a seat (on the ground, cross-legged) with The Huffington Post at the espnW Summit to talk about why sports matter to her.

In His Homecoming, Stephen Curry Is King
His father, Dell, had begun Wednesday night as the family’s designated honoree. Now he was another admiring spectator, standing courtside in a pinstripe suit with a black backpack hitched to it as his internationally famous son moved about the lower stands, navigating the dozens of people who had known him since his pint-size days, when Dell was the Curry with the Midas touch. These were not anonymous fans stepping up for an autograph, photo or hug as much as they were catching Curry up — “Steph, this is my granddaughter” — on more conventional lives that had influenced or touched him on the way up. “I can tell this brings some normalcy back to his life, especially after the run they had last year and all the accolades,” Dell Curry said. “He’s a guy that always wants to be as normal as possible and getting back to his roots — his family, his high school, his college — kind of puts things back in perspective, as opposed to being on that stage.”

The Warriors’ Stephen Curry before Wednesday’s game in Charlotte, N.C., where his father, Dell, played professionally. Even his pregame routine has become an attraction. Credit Travis Dove for The New York Times

The First Step: Clarisse Machanguana (The Players’ Tribune)
Magic’s announcement, I believe, altered the course of HIV awareness in the U.S. Of course, there still is a lot more work to do in America, but it’s come a long way since that day in November 1991. You can see that progress in Charlie Sheen’s own announcement last month. Halfway across the world, however, my country is still dying and suffering in silence. Our mentality is where the U.S. was when Magic first announced: People are scared and afraid. All these years have passed and Mozambique is still no further along in eradicating or controlling this disease. Every day, we sign death sentences for the next generation because we will not talk about HIV. Well, I’m talking about it now. In fact, I’ll be walking as well. Next spring, I’ll be traveling across Mozambique for three months, walking 50 kilometers a day to start the conversation on HIV. I’ve already spent much of this past year visiting students to educate them on HIV and just how widespread it is in our nation. They look at me like I’m crazy when I say to them, “Look around you, because three in five of you have HIV.”

Former Cleveland Browns’ Josh Cribbs starting youth flag-football league in response to concussion concerns
With age and a greater appreciation for the long-term effects of repeated head trauma, the three-time Pro Bowler wants to chart a different course for his 6-year-old son and other kids. Cribbs is helping start youth flag football leagues, which expect to debut in January at the MultiPlex in Warrensville Heights. The leagues are for children ages 6-to-11 and the idea is teach the fundamentals without the hitting. “A lot of parents are worried about concussions with their kids in contact sports,” said Cribbs, who played 10 NFL seasons. “I want my son to play contact sports but my wife is so scared that every time she watches a football game she thinks somebody is going to get knocked out. “My son (Israel) will play football. It probably will be flag football up until high school. I want him to wait as long as possible.” Many contact sports are dealing with the specter of head injuries at all levels. None more than football.

Sports Mentors Help Kids Take ‘Tiny Steps’ To A Better Life
When done correctly, sports seem to have the power to change the lives of children, improving their behaviors and their futures. Lou Bergholz of EdgeWork Consulting and Boston University’s John McCarthy work with kids in need. They also help train others to promote youth development through sports. They joined Bill Littlefield to discuss these experiences and the latest research on how mentoring can change lives. “The sport context is really special in many ways, and it’s not going to achieve all things for all kids. But it is about trying to keep that kid for one more hour, for one more day, for one more season, knowing that the progress could be dramatically slow and backwards for half the time, but that staying there by itself is a stabilizing experience. I have one kid right now, he’s coaching the football team. He was a kid from Puerto Rico, he didn’t speak any English when he first came in, and now he’s made this great transition to a real mentoring role. And he’s from the community so he’s the real deal–he can speak Spanish to the kids, he can do things that I could never do.

Through sport, we can get to zero
It has been documented that the majority of people infected with HIV remain unaware of their status. This is due to a number of factors, including stigmatisation, a lack of sound knowledge of the virus and a lack of advanced available treatment. As the world unites together on World AIDS Day and continues to strive towards its goal of  ‘getting to zero’, one perhaps unexpected tool has proven to be useful in the fight against the disease: sport. The power of sport cannot be ignored, especially in engaging those that are more susceptible to the virus. Through sport, the world can reach out to adolescents in Africa. AIDS is the number one cause of death among this group and the second among adolescents globally. Girls, who are still seen as secondary citizens in some communities within Sub-Saharan Africa, can be engaged through sport and this will ensure that they are not left behind as the world strives to ‘get to zero’ infections. In fact, in the region, girls account for 7 in 10 new infections among those aged 15-19. In those traditions that don’t allow women to attend health classes because of their gender, sports have been used and can be utilised as an ‘ice breaker.’ Can you imagine Masaai men playing cricket and, during the game, talking about women’s empowerment?  There are some communities who traditionally see women as secondary, not allowing them to make choices such as when to have children or negotiate to have safe sex. men to discuss family planning and allowing women to make informed decisions can help the world to get to zero.

Hedge Funds to Hash Marks: How Harvard Man Cameron Brate Is Schooling the NFL
Despite his recent success, Brate hasn’t lost sight of what he’s already accomplished. “I would say the odds of making it into the NFL from a tryout were smaller than graduating from Harvard,” Brate said. “But Harvard is hard in a lot of ways, especially juggling football with school work. I’m pretty proud of the fact I was able to graduate in four years. I would have to go with graduating from Harvard [as the bigger accomplishment].” Once his NFL career is complete—whenever that may be—Brate could stay involved in football by becoming a coach or helping athletes with their financial situations. “Definitely,” Brate said. “I love being around the game. I don’t want to rule out going into football after I’m done, but I would like to start taking some MBA classes this offseason. As lame as it sounds, I love being in school and learning.”

Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Game Changer: How Arne Duncan took on college sports—and won
Eight months later, in December 2014, Duncan discussed bipartisan legislation to establish a presidential commission to push college sports reform even further, including steps to address such issues as academic fraud, scholarship security and escalating coaches’ salaries. With Obama’s time in office winding down, and Duncan returning to Chicago and his family—wife, Karen, daughter Claire and son Ryan—after the second-longest term of service of any member of the President’s original cabinet, the work mandated by that proposed legislation will probably be left to another president and Congress. Duncan has nonetheless laid down a marker borne of a world he had seen and felt and touched. “This stuff is very personal to me,” he says. “I grew up playing with guys who never graduated college, never made the NBA. They were on national TV, making millions for their universities, and now they’re back on the streets. As a teenager, that got seared into my mind. To me, enriching universities and coaches and sponsors and TV, with nothing in return on the academic side, is morally unacceptable.”

Duncan dropped his jacket and practiced some basketball diplomacy during a visit to a Haitian high school in 2013. Photo: Dieu Nalio Chery/AP

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