Sports Doing Good Newsletter, #196

Jan. 3 – Jan. 9, 2016

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

  1. Refugees welcomed with sport by German Olympic body
  2. MLB hires Pride as latest Ambassador for Inclusion
  3. Fan’s Statue Will Honor Martin Brodeur, Foundation of Devils’ Glory Years
  4. The Fundamentals: Kawhi Leonard, NBA’s most understated superpower
  5. Brad Stevens skips Celtics game to visit gravely ill ex-Butler player
  6. Building young athletes up: Coaching winners on and off the field
  7. KickApp Cup Comes to Brazil
  8. Chevrolet’s #PLAYITFORWARD Reaches China
  9. How South Africa legend Mike Procter is fighting to break down racial barriers and bring hope to the poor
  10. The Cool Runnings of the refugee crisis: Somalia’s bandy team at home on ice

There was a message last week sent out by Pope Francis asking the media to highlight more of the good happening in the world. While not directly sent to us – that would have been awesome – we are happy to answer the Pope’s call. It is also a call we have heard from Sports Doing Good subscribers. We thought of various ways to do this that would keep the newsletter digestable in one email but also give some attention to folks who are regularly sending us stories. The result? 10+. In this section, we will include up to five additional stories from entities that are leaders in the sport for development space. They are: Up2Us, Beyond Sport, Peace and Sport, the National Alliance for Youth Sports, and Sport and Dev. We thank them for their support and ongoing work in this area.

More than half of the stories that we feature this week are international in nature. While we don’t focus on domestic or international stories, we tend to have more of the former. However, we are certainly open to having more stories that reflect the global nature of sport and of good/positive activity. Actually, it is because both of these ideas are universal in nature that we are able to offer up this newsletter every week and can highlight dozens of other stories via Facebook and Twitter. Playing and watching sports unites us. So do positive actions. On the flip side, negative words and actions separate us. We are by nature social beings so we should focus on those things that enhance those opportunities that create positive interactions. Hence, the presence of Sports Doing Good.

This week’s group of 10 stories start and end with looks at the efforts of those impacted by the refugee crisis impacting Europe. Over the past two months we have seen stories in which sporting entities have stepped up to make this incredibly tough period more palatable for the refugees and the communities that are welcoming them. We see that once again with a story from Germany and another from Sweden. We also have stories from Brazil (KickApp), China (Chevrolet’s #Playitforward), and South Africa (Mike Procter). The stories from the U.S. include: an uplifting announcement from Major League Baseball about Curtis Pride and Billy Bean; the recognition of legendary goalie Martin Brodeur by the NHL’s New Jersey Devils; the overwhelming brilliance but understated nature of NBA star Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs; the love that Boston Celtic coach Brad Stevens has for his current and former players at Butler University; and a reminder about the power of coaches to help develop winners on and off the field.

Finally, we would like to announce that January 17th is International Mentoring Day (part of National Mentoring Month). Legendary sportsman and humanitarian Muhammad Ali will be serving as a symbol of the power of mentoring as core to development and social change. You can learn more at

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.

Refugees welcomed with sport by German Olympic body
The German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) is using sport to reach out to its growing refugee population with an initiative to ease their integration. Welcome to Sport has been set up alongside the Commissioner for Migration, Integration and Refugees, minister of state Aydan Ozoguz, the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The programme has been designed to help refugees coming from war-torn countries, such as Syria, to play organised sport as a way of welcoming them to the country, while helping to support many volunteers at sports clubs. Running until the end of 2016, the project brings together 13 regional sports confederations under the federal programme titled Integration through Sport (IDS). The sports and activities on offer are “geared to the sporting needs and experiences of refugees”, and include cricket, swimming, boxing, cycling, dancing and women’s football, while exercise instructors and trainers will be on hand to help.

MLB hires Pride as latest Ambassador for Inclusion
In his new capacity, Pride will provide guidance, assistance and training related to MLB’s efforts to ensure an inclusive environment. A large part of Pride’s role will be to encourage continued outreach, participation and equal opportunity in support of MLB’s Youth Programs, overseen by Senior Vice President Tony Reagins. Pride will also manage the development of an inclusive educational and training forum under Wendy Lewis, who is MLB’s Senior Vice President of Diversity, Inclusion & Strategic Alliances, and will serve as a resource for individuals in the baseball family regarding issues related to disabilities. In his elevated role, Bean will be responsible for many of the League’s social responsibility initiatives, including oversight of MLB’s Workplace Code of Conduct and anti-bullying programming, while continuing to facilitate inclusion strategies with a focus on the LGBT community.

Curtis Pride played 11 big league seasons with the Expos, Angels, Red Sox, Tigers, Braves and Yankees. (Getty)

Fan’s Statue Will Honor Martin Brodeur, Foundation of Devils’ Glory Years
If all goes according to plan, Jon Krawczyk will load a slightly larger-than-life bronze statue of a hockey player onto his truck in early February, cover it tightly, and haul it more than 2,800 miles from his home in Malibu, Calif., to Newark. “I don’t want to put this in anybody else’s hands,” said Krawczyk, who is sculpting the work. The statue is of Martin Brodeur, the goaltender who won three Stanley Cups and an N.H.L.-record 691 games — a record 125 by shutout — before announcing his retirement last January. All three Cups and all but three victories and one shutout came in 21 seasons with the Devils. Brodeur, now the assistant general manager of the St. Louis Blues, will have his No. 30 retired in a ceremony on Feb. 9, before the Devils play the Edmonton Oilers at Prudential Center. The game, not surprisingly, is a sellout…“The Devils were a way for my father and I to communicate,” Krawczyk said. “And Marty Brodeur was the big guy on campus — the No. 1 guy.”

A sculpture by Krawczyk of an anonymous player is already installed at Prudential Center. Brodeur played 21 seasons for the Devils and holds a host of N.H.L. goaltending records, including most shutouts. Credit Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Fundamentals: Kawhi Leonard, NBA’s most understated superpower
The reality, though, is that we still have a long way to go in capturing the quality of truly unique players—particularly those who excel on defense first. Leonard should have something of an advantage as a lockdown artist who racks up steals in high-profile matchups. He makes the best wing players in the league fret. The weight of that matters, and yet Leonard’s play for a historically dominant team never seems to resonate as it should. Leonard doesn’t have to be beloved, and with as stoic as he is in a league driven by personality, that may well be impossible anyway. What he’s done this season, however, can and should be admired by basketball fans everywhere. Leonard’s defense is as obvious as defense gets; go-to scorers give up the ball rather than work against him, drives are blanketed from the start, shot attempts are snuffed out completely, and guards hesitate before even throwing passes in his general direction. His offensive prowess, too, has only grown clearer with time. Leonard is an emerging giant, and he has no burden of proof left unfulfilled.

Brad Stevens skips Celtics game to visit gravely ill ex-Butler player
Brad Stevens has always preached family first, and he backed up those words with action Thursday when he skipped the Boston Celtics’ game against the Bulls to visit a former Butler player of his. The Celtics announced Stevens would miss the game but didn’t reveal the name of the Butler player or the reason for the visit. Media outlets quickly put it together, though, and concluded it is former Bulldog Andrew Smith, a member of the 2010 and 2011 Final Four teams under Stevens who is in a deep fight against cancer. Smith’s father retweeted reports that Stevens is visiting his son. On Wednesday, Smith’s wife, Samantha, and his dad both posted messages to Twitter asking for prayers and a “miracle” for Andrew:

“Praying over our 2016 & that it brings a miraculous healing and more days in Hinkle like this.”

Building young athletes up: Coaching winners on and off the field
“I want people to realize that they all have self-worth, and they can all contribute to the team, but so many times coaches think it’s about them and about them winning,” says Kunz. “Really, it’s about building an organization and the most important part of an organization is to build up all of the members within it.” Kunz grew up playing a variety of sports and he had a closer look than most at the highest levels of the game as his father George was an All-Pro offensive lineman with the Atlanta Falcons and Baltimore Colts. Later, Matt found his way to Sound Bend, walked on, and played four seasons for the Irish – three for legendary coach Lou Holtz. “As much as playing and winning was important the thing that mattered more than anything else was how we went about winning,” Kunz says of playing for Holtz. “It was that we showed passion for our sport, that we followed the technique that our coaches taught us, that we respected each other, that we played together and that we had fun together. He always said at the end of a practice to go on and have a smile on your face and a song in your heart. Those were all important things to him.”

“Being an athlete is just one part of being human, but being human is every part of being an athlete,” Kunz says. “You’ve got to keep sports in perspective that it’s just one part of our lives.”

KickApp Cup Comes to Brazil
In 2015, SAP developed a novel CSR project called the KickApp Cup. The project uses football to engage disadvantaged youth and SAP employees in tech-powered social initiatives. Driven by the belief that mobile technologies can be a true game-changer in the way football-based development programmes operate, SAP has teamed up with streetfootballworld to take the KickApp Cup all over the world. Sao Leopoldo, Brazil marked the first stop in this global journey. Here, around 60 SAP staff and young participants from the streetfootballworld network split into smaller teams to take part in a design thinking session aimed at creating ideas for the development of socially-conscious football apps. Team Gol da Vida ultimately created the winning prototype with their ‘Hope’ application. This app represents a technological solution to support organisations in the field of football for good. It enables social workers, teachers and football coaches to efficiently manage the profiles, participation rates, performance and social development of youth that need our support. Though it was a close contest, the jury unanimously voted for Hope as the winning concept. This means team Gold da Vida has now qualified for the KickApp Cup Final next summer in Lyon during the EURO 2016!

“I learned from the developers how to really work together as a team without overwhelming anyone, where all opinions are heard and taken into account.” Priscila Teixeira dos Anjos, Gol da Vida Team Member

Chevrolet’s #PLAYITFORWARD Reaches China
For the past week we have been working in Shuanglang, China, located in the Yunnan province.  Participants for the first week were teachers from seven different regional primary and middle schools, as well as volunteers from Red Chalk, Chevrolet’s charity initiative in China.  The Red Chalk Program has been supporting education in rural areas in China since 2005.
“If we speak to the children it can be boring, but if we use sport to teach the children, it becomes a fun and effective way to educate and give social messages.” – Patrick; volunteer, Red Chalk Program.
During the first week of training Coaches Across Continents worked with the aforementioned local teachers and Red Chalk volunteers to impart a sport for social impact curriculum.  The training was specifically designed to benefit the teachers and volunteers who work directly in schools, with CAC games that focused on education, the environment, health and wellness, and other life skills.  A special curriculum was then designed that can be implemented by the participants during the 45 minute physical education periods.  Joining the training on the final day were representatives from the Ministry of Education in Dali.
“I like the way that CAC taught and focused on the local needs of our community.  It is excellent that you can work with the teachers, and we can spread knowledge and involve all our students to have a big impact.” – Mr Zhou; course organizer from Shuanglang.

How South Africa legend Mike Procter is fighting to break down racial barriers and bring hope to the poor
Procter’s ultimate aim is to build a cricket club in Ottawa, run by the parents, so the children can continue to be involved in the sport when they leave school. “We want to increase levels of positive attitude towards physical activity,” Malamba says. “Sport is fun and fulfilment. We want to inculcate it in such a way they do sport rather than run around doing drugs. It brings self-respect too.” But funding is needed. Around £2,000 was donated by England supporters on tour with the travel company Howzat, which Procter estimates will pay for coaching for five months, but he has had little other help recently. The children need bats, balls, helmets. This is where Cricket South Africa comes in. It has had little contact, either for political reasons or because it is overwhelmed with the challenge of taking cricket to poor communities. It has more than 100,000 children playing mini-cricket, of which around 52 per cent are black Africans. It has introduced pathways through 58 “hub” clubs in poor communities. It hails Bavuma as the role model who can inspire millions.

Mike Procter (centre, back row) and Rodney Malamba (second left) at Ottowa Primary School. Former all-rounder’s project is using cricket to help those children at the bottom of society

The Cool Runnings of the refugee crisis: Somalia’s bandy team at home on ice
Hussien first heard about bandy through a friend who said it “was something to do with the winter” and tried to teach himself the sport by watching videos on YouTube. Bandy, ice hockey’s less violent cousin, originated in the UK in the 19th century before spreading to Scandinavia and the USSR, who set up the international bandy federation in 1955. Today, it’s ingrained in Sweden’s sporting DNA and remains popular in Russia. Unlike people who grew up in Borlänge, the only ice Hussein had seen before was the cubes used to cool Coca-Cola. Though they all the team had expert coaching, he says he struggled most with the skating – “you fall on the ground again and again and your body can’t feel anything anymore.” His team-mate Mohammed Ahmmed, 19, said he was enthralled by the opportunity to represent his country. “My homeland is lagging in sport because of the war and to represent one that does not even exist in Africa was unthinkable,” he says.

The national team, hastily put together ahead of the Bandy world championships in 2014, are now getting ready for their third in 2016. Photograph: Ivan Ogilvie

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Our goal is to have Sports Doing Good be a portal housing original content and excerpts from and links to the increasing number of articles, websites, video, and other media that showcase the good in sports and society. We aim to celebrate those concepts, activities, events, and individuals by highlighting them for a wider audience. Much of the news today, whether sports- related or not, is incredibly negative and increasingly polarizing, biased, and quite annoying. We are trying to refocus some of the discussion on the good, with a focus on sports.

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