Sports Doing Good Newsletter, #210

April 10 – April 16, 2016

Welcome to week two hundred and ten of the Sports Doing Good newsletter. This week’s 10 stories include:

  1. Sport is the most unifying tool for peace in the world
  2. Orlando Magic, UnitedHealthcare, Magic Players and Coaches Team Up to Fight Hunger in Central Florida
  3. This Muslim Figure Skater Is Determined To Make History At The Olympics
  4. Pint-Size Crystal Dunn Reaches New Heights With U.S. Soccer
  5. Pulling Together: Row New York Builds Confidence and Teamwork, by Land and by Sea
  6. Before Brooklyn, Jackie Robinson proved himself in Montreal
  7. Playing cricket with no arms
  8. Independent Report Recommends how FIFA Needs to Manage the Far-Reaching Human Rights Risks of its Global Enterprise
  9. Mental health charity Mind launches physical activity project
  10. Villanova’s Ryan Arcidiacono & Daniel Ochefu Surprise 4-Year-Old Who Has Cancer

Jayson Tatum – My First Classmate (The Players’ Tribune)
Barclays Launches “I Am One Campaign” (Beyond Sport)
Coaching with compliments (NAYS)
Tokyo dreams fuel Cambodia’s first disabled basketballers (Peace and Sport)

The exhilaration that comes up with success in sports often comes up with a comparatively equal or even greater feeling of disappointment. For when Villanova wins the NCAA men’s basketball championship, it is not just North Carolina that is disappointed, it is 66 other teams that this year were in the tournament and did not leave with the “championship hardware.” But disappointment does serve a purpose, especially for the competing athlete. It serves as motivation and as a learning opportunity that will hopefully lead to future success.

That relationship between exhilaration and disappointment in sports is captured in our favorite story this week, which involves U.S. women’s soccer national team player, Crystal Dunn. (In the interest of full disclosure, we are biased when it comes to Dunn as she is a fellow Rockville Centre (NY), South Side High School product who has been dazzling fans for more than half her life.) But Crystal’s recent experience would lead anyone and everyone to admire her determination, resolve, and overall excellence. After being the last cut for the national team before the Women’s World Cup, Dunn did not personally experience the amazing run that her teammates enjoyed nor the celebratory activities that took place afterwards. Instead of having this derail her career, Dunn blew up the women’s pro league by leading all players in goals and being named MVP. She has make a triumphant return to the national team and in this week’s story by the New York Times, established her as a current and future pro sports star.

The other stories we are happy to feature include: an essay by Wilfried Lemke, special adviser to the UN secretary general on sport for development and peace about the power of sport to champion the good in the world; the NBA’s Orlando Magic’s effort to combat hunger in Central Florida; inspirational ice skater and 2018 Winter Olympic hopeful Zahra Larin from the UAE; the wonderful Row New York organization; the story of baseball legend Jackie Robinson before he broke in with the Brooklyn Dodgers; an amazing story of perseverance and positive attitude of a cricket player who found a way to excel at the sport even though he has no arms; a report highlighting the work that must be done by FIFA to ensure the human rights of everyone touched by the “beautiful game”; an interesting new physical activity project by the mental health charity, Mind; and a touching gesture by two members of the aforementioned Villanova Wildcats for alums and their child.

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So enjoy. And have a good week.

Sport is the most unifying tool for peace in the world
In many countries, however, opportunities to participate in sport are limited by significant infrastructural, social and political barriers. For example, people with disabilities are marginalised in many societies, preventing their involvement in sport. Given the personal and social development benefits sport offers, increasing access and participation is a development goal. For this reason, the UN office on sport for development and peace has been running a youth leadership programme since 2012, with the aim of empowering young leaders from disadvantaged communities to use sport as a tool for progress. The initiative has enjoyed some notable successes. In 2014, a young Paralympic athlete, Maclean Dzidzienyo, from Ghana, participated in the Berlin YLP camp. He has since reached the B-standard qualifying time for the Paralympics. He is working towards qualification for the Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro in September. In August 2013, the UN general assembly adopted a resolution establishing 6 April as the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace. The day offers a natural focal point for the movement, which was buoyed by sport’s recognition in the sustainable development agenda adopted by the UN last year. The day encourages people to participate in sport, and aims to raise awareness about sport’s potential as a development tool, and promote grassroots projects and organisations.

A boy plays football in front of two UN peacekeepers outside Mali’s Mamadou Konate stadium during an event organised to promote peace among young Malians. Photograph: Marco Dormino/UN Photo

Orlando Magic, UnitedHealthcare, Magic Players and Coaches Team Up to Fight Hunger in Central Florida
“This is just so amazing to have two groups (Magic and UHC) that are so supportive and continue to give back,” Second Harvest Food Bank Stewardship and Special Projects Manager Jennifer Landress said. “The hardest thing is when they (kids) go to school Monday, haven’t eaten all weekend, now they’re supposed to take a test, pay attention in class. They shouldn’t worry about where their food is coming from and we know that kids can’t be as successful as they can be if they are worrying about being hungry every night.” The 6,000 service hours spent annually by Magic staff and players in the community go a long way in helping families and children live healthier. In his time in the area since joining the Magic in 2014, Fournier has noticed the impact. “When they asked me to come (to Tuesday’s event), I said of course,” Fournier said. “Any time I can do something to help someone, I’ll do it. The Magic are doing a lot of things. They are really involved in the community and they show us by example. They set the table for us.” Since the Magic drafted him in 2013, Oladipo has made a pledge to be someone who others can look to for support and inspiration. He takes pride in helping others reach their full potential and accepts being a role model for thousands of children. This approach and mindset doesn’t go unnoticed. In fact, Oladipo was recently named the 2015-16 Rich & Helen DeVos Community Enrichment Award winner for all his contributions in the community.

This Muslim Figure Skater Is Determined To Make History At The Olympics
Lari said that both of her parents were initially hesitant about her skating, worried that she would be injured or that her academics would suffer. But when they realized how passionate she was about the sport, she said they began supporting her 100 percent. “There was a period of time that my Dad wanted me to stop because he said that I was getting too serious and he felt that I had reached the age that I needed to stop,” Lari said. “He always did so with love and kindness.” “When there was a national competition, he refused to allow me to participate,” she said. “But in all fairness, he took me to watch and cheer for my fellow teammates. When he saw how happy I was for them but sad for myself, he allowed me to continue. That was when he finally understood me and how much I truly loved this sport.” Now, Lari said that her dad cheers for her just as loudly as everyone else.

Pint-Size Crystal Dunn Reaches New Heights With U.S. Soccer
“It was really crushing for her not to make” the World Cup roster, the United States co-captain Becky Sauerbrunn said. “But you saw that great reaction from her in the N.W.S.L. She used that time to get better. She got confident, and that translated over to the national team, and she has kept that confidence. She’s played herself into a really great spot right now.” Ellis said: “A lot of it, for Crystal, hinges on the confidence piece. I think she’s in a good place mentally in terms of what she thinks she can add to this team.” Since rejoining the United States team in the fall for its so-called victory tour, Dunn has scored 12 goals in 18 games, five of them coming in a 10-0 rout of Puerto Rico in February. She has also reconfirmed her status as the team’s most versatile player. Having played as an outside back, an outside midfielder and a striker for the United States, and as an attacking midfielder for the Spirit, Dunn now finds herself having an effect at right wing with her speed and her high-energy game.

Crystal Dunn, center, during Sunday’s friendly against Colombia. She has reconfirmed her status as the U.S. national team’s most versatile player. Credit Mark Makela for The New York Times

Pulling Together: Row New York Builds Confidence and Teamwork, by Land and by Sea
So, if Row New York can make rowing inexpensive and accessible, how can it stand out from the crowd? The answer: The unique nature of the sport itself. Speak with anyone at Row New York, and you’ll quickly discover that the sport attracts passionate, dedicated, and driven people. And, they want to make a difference for their student-athletes on and off the water. “It’s a unique sport. You’ll master a skill that not a lot of other people have. And with that, you’ll forge a bond unlike any other with peers that otherwise you may not have known,” says Eichler. “Through what we would describe as rigorous programming—we have the kids six days a week, we have weekend commitments, one of the days of our program is academics, or doing homework help, or college prep—we’re seeing them create these connections with their teammates, and develop the kind of teamwork skills that will help them far into the future. “They need to rely on one another. There’s really a feeling of a galvanized team,” he says. And that team is a growing, active, and connected community.

Before Brooklyn, Jackie Robinson proved himself in Montreal
Robinson would have to go through spring training with Royals in the deep South — starting in Sanford, Florida. Robinson and Wright weren’t allowed at the team hotel, so stayed at a private residence in Sanford, along with Rachel, the journalist Smith and a photographer. Hopper overcame his concerns and shook Robinson’s hand at the team’s first practice. Robinson wrote in his autobiography that the black fans who came to Sanford to watch practice “cheered if I leaned to tie my shoe.” The camp would later move to Daytona, where Jackie and Rachel would again have to stay separately from the rest of the team. When the team eventually made its way to Montreal, the Robinsons found a different reception. They lived in a French-Canadian neighborhood. “There we felt genuinely that few people thought we were intruding,” Rachel said in 1951. “Even the younger children, who had never seen Negroes before, didn’t make us feel that we were different.” Teammate George Shuba was in the first known photograph of a white player celebrating with a black player. “We were ballplayers,” he said. “It didn’t matter what color he was. Shaking his hand was just the right thing to do.”

Jackie Robinson clubbed one of his three homers he hit for the Royals that season on Opening Day against the Jersey City Giants in 1946. AP Photo

Playing cricket with no arms
Before the tragedy I had no passion for cricket – it was only afterwards that my love for the sport began. I used to go to our neighbour’s home to watch games because we didn’t have a TV set at home, but then one day, when I was cheering on my favourite cricket players, they turned the TV set off and asked me to leave. That hurt me. I left, but I still wanted to watch the match. I ended up watching a whole innings from outside, spying through a crack in their window, and it was at that moment that my feelings for cricket crystallised and I pledged that I would play. I struggled hard to develop my technique, whether it was bowling or holding the bat. Thanks be to God, I have done pretty well. Our society seems to have a problem with disability. Here I was, having lost both my arms, and a lot of people used to say that I would’ve been better off dead, even to my face…Nobody can predict what will happen tomorrow but my hope is that I will one day become an international player, and I’m working really hard to make that happen. God-willing one day I will take my place in the national para-cricket team.

Independent Report Recommends how FIFA Needs to Manage the Far-Reaching Human Rights Risks of its Global Enterprise
“FIFA governs and supports a global network of over 200 national football associations and is connected through its tournaments to thousands of businesses. As for any international sports organization today, this kind of global footprint brings with it significant risks to people’s basic dignity and welfare. And that reality demands a robust and proactive response. FIFA is not solely responsible for solving these problems where the actions of others are the primary cause. But it must use its influence to address these human rights risks as determinedly as it does to pursue its commercial interests,” said Ruggie. Ruggie’s recommendations for FIFA are based on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the global standard on business and human rights of which he is the author. In its revised Statutes, adopted in February 2016, FIFA introduced a new provision committing it to respect all internationally recognized human rights. “The key now is implementation. For my report to have the necessary impact, FIFA’s top leaders need to follow through on its recommendations…“FIFA is fully committed to respecting human rights,” said FIFA President Gianni Infantino. “I would like to thank Prof. Ruggie for his work in producing this report, which, together with FIFA’s own analysis and ongoing work, will guide the way forward. This is an ongoing process and of course challenges remain, but FIFA is committed to playing its part in ensuring respect for human rights and to being a leader among international sports organizations in this important area.” Read the report at:

Mental health charity Mind launches physical activity projectMental health charity Mind has launched a Sport England-backed physical activity project aimed to support 75,000 people with mental health problems. Mind’s website asks people to select barriers to participation and provides practical tips to inspire people to take the first steps to physical activity. “We know that having a mental health problem can make getting active more difficult. The thought of joining a running group when you have bipolar disorder, depression or OCD can stop you in your tracks – but a mental health problem doesn’t have to prevent anybody from getting active,” said Hayley Jarvis, Mind community programmes manager, sport. “Our new website is full of practical tips and inspirational real life stories which can help people take the first step, and reap the benefits of an active lifestyle. Being active can be an enjoyable, fun and social way of looking after your physical and mental health. Lots of people tell us it is a great way to socialise and make new friends – and there is a huge number of activities people can do if they struggle with social situations or new faces.”

Villanova’s Ryan Arcidiacono & Daniel Ochefu Surprise 4-Year-Old Who Has Cancer
As well as they might have played during the 2016 NCAA tournament, it’s what Villanova’s Ryan Arcidiacono and Daniel Ochefu did off the court recently that left a family of Wildcats fans speechless. Fresh off a national championship, Arcidiacono and Ochefu made a trip to the Davis family’s house to give them a surprise of a lifetime. Both mom and dad went to Villanova, and their four-year-old son Blaise is a big Wildcats fan as well. Not long before his fourth birthday, however, Blaise was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. According to emails via, a family friend stepped up to redo the Davis’ basement to give the youngster a place to play throughout the recovery process. That set the stage for a memory that will last a lifetime.
(Video,  Caption: Arcidiacono and Ochefu both heard about Blaise’s story and decided to surprise the family by just chilling in the playhouse. The reactions, especially the mother’s, say it all.

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