Sports Doing Good Newsletter, #273

Oct. 8 – Oct. 21, 2017

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

  1. Pure endurance: Wounded vet attempting 31 marathons in 31 days to run in St. Louis
  2. How Joel Lanning Went from QB to LB to QB/LB and the Story of the CFB Season
  3. Meet the Olympian Working to Fund Indian Athletes to the Global Games
  4. The Women’s Sports Foundation and Chevrolet Team Up to Help Get Girls Ahead of the Game
  5. Arizona’s Sudden Star QB: Khalil Tate Runs Like Vick, Throws Like…Grandma?
  6. How Women Have Pushed Sports and Broadcasting Forward For Eight Decades
  7. Kevin Durant’s Killer Crossover
  8. April Ross Wants You To Dig Pink This October
  9. NYCFC Kick Off Opening of First Ten Soccer Fields as Part of Soccer Initiative
  10. How the Loss of His Mother Inspired Dak Prescott to Advocate Cancer Education

Things Are Different Around Here (by Zaire Franklin) (The Players’ Tribune)
‘Project Rugby’ launched to grow participation in new communities (Beyond Sport)
Training Detroit Basketball Coaches in Strategies to Connect with Youth (Up2Us Sports)
Learning Out Loud (Laureus USA)
Brutal blaze sparks heartfelt Hanuabada homecoming (Sport and Dev)


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

Finally, if you think others would like to receive the newsletter, please feel free to forward it on or have them contact us directly at (If you do not want to receive the newsletter anymore you can use the Unsubscribe button at the end of the email)

So, enjoy. And have a good week.

Pure endurance: Wounded vet attempting 31 marathons in 31 days to run in St. Louis
He called the project Rob Jones Journey, and began in October 2013 by riding his bike some 5,180 miles across the country, often in the rain and snow. The trip took 181 days and raised $126,000. But Jones still wasn’t at his $1 million goal, so for the past year and a half he’s been training and planning for phase two: 31 marathons in 31 days. The planning has taken advantage of Jones’ military efficiency, with each run carefully plotted around a “base camp” in each city and a detailed itinerary to complete his mission. His wife, Pamela Relph, a Paralympics two-time gold medalist, and his mother, Carol Wire, are accompanying him on his endeavor. And in each city, people have come to run with the veteran. “So many people have come out,” Jones said Wednesday after his seventh marathon. “They’re supporting me, but they’re also supporting all veterans.” As of Oct. 18, Jones’ marathons had raised about $65,000. Along with the funds from his 2013 bike ride, Jones has raised $191,000 out of his $1 million goal. Jones’ month of marathons will end on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, at the National Mall in Washington.
(Video, Caption: Rob Jones — Month of Marathons — Promo

How Joel Lanning Went from QB to LB to QB/LB and the Story of the CFB Season
And then it hit him: Why not ask Lanning—the most respected player on his team and the one player everyone gravitates toward—to move to defense and play the most important position on that side of the ball? Forget that Lanning hadn’t played defense since he was in eighth grade, or that middle linebacker has a steep learning curve. This would not only get him on the field; it could change his life. Lanning’s response to the Campbell’s wild plan to save his senior season? “I’ll do whatever you want,” he said. But like everything else in Lanning’s world, nothing happened without considerable effort. As they say in Iowa: It isn’t the farm that makes the farmer, it’s the hard work and character. Making the move included daily game-tape sessions and working with coaches and teammates on the intricacies of the position. It was learning to recognize subtle tells from the offense, like the way a lineman positions his hands as a dead giveaway for pass-blocking. It was learning terminology, understanding and setting fronts and coverages and every blitz package. Lanning was still playing quarterback—just on the other side of the ball. Then came reality: The overload of information was manageable. The tough part was facing 300-pound linemen from every angle.

Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

Meet the Olympian Working to Fund Indian Athletes to the Global Games
What are some of the things that you think we need to do as a nation to support our young people in sports?
As a nation, we are far behind other countries as far as Olympic sports are concerned. There are more pressing problems of health, poverty, job security, women’s empowerment, infrastructure and many more that rank above sports. However, I am a firm believer that sports can bring social change, and sports also teaches you so many lessons that are necessary and go beyond the four walls of a classroom. Every kid, irrespective of the regional difference, should play some sport in or outside of school. The idea of promoting sports in schools is the key. Now that Col. Rajyavardhan Rathod, a 2004 Olympic Silver medalist, is the sports minister, the government is taking bigger steps like Khelo India, which is great for the grassroot development of sports in our country. We also need to have more role models like Saina, Sindhu and Mary Kom to encourage the youth and make them believe that anything is possible. At the professional level, we still struggle for funds, good coaches, sparring partners and correct planning, and that’s why India lags far behind countries that are not even a sixth of our population. For this we need experts and funds. But I am hopeful that things will change for Indian athletes in the years ahead!

The Women’s Sports Foundation and Chevrolet Team Up to Help Get Girls Ahead of the Game
The Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF) today announced Chevrolet as a WSF National Partner and the official automotive sponsor of the organization. The Foundation is the leading charitable partner of the Chevrolet GoalKeepers Project, a program that provides the tools and resources to inspire and empower girls to become the next generation of female leaders, to stay in sport, and to pursue their athletic and professional goals. The partnership reflects the Foundation’s mission to create leaders by ensuring all girls access to sports. Research demonstrates the profound impact of sports participation; a girl who participates in sports is healthier, has higher self-esteem and shows greater achievement in education and employment. “The Foundation believes in the transformative power of sports and has a longstanding commitment to the health and future success of girls and young women,” said Deborah Antoine, CEO of the Women’s Sports Foundation. “Alongside Chevrolet, we will expand sport and participation for future generations and showcase powerful female role models to inspire girls to get and stay in the game.” The program will feature a group of “GoalKeeper Legends” — accomplished female leaders who played sports in their youth and transformed that experience into success later in life. With more than 90 percent of female leaders in the C-suite playing sports as girls, these women are shining examples of what’s possible for the next generation of GoalKeepers around the world.

Arizona’s Sudden Star QB: Khalil Tate Runs Like Vick, Throws Like…Grandma?
“Not many quarterbacks can run through linebackers and defensive backs like he can,” Peterson says. “He’s setting his own type of standard for a different type of quarterback.” Broadly speaking, this characterization—great runner, questionable passing mechanics—is the same as was applied to Tim Tebow and Vince Young, among others. Those are lofty comparisons, especially for a guy who hasn’t even been named Arizona’s starter yet. But they show there is a path to college football stardom with this skill set. And besides, Tate went 12-of-13. You can credit his grandmother, Oma, for that. She’s the one who taught him to throw a football, and it’s his effortless throwing that made Rodriguez and his staff so sure Tate was a quarterback. “He wasn’t the most polished guy in high school throwing the football, but, man, he could naturally let it spin,” Smith says. “You could just see the ball coming out of his hands. Now it would just be a matter of giving him some fundamentals. … He can make any throw there is.”

Leon Bennett/Getty Images

How Women Have Pushed Sports and Broadcasting Forward For Eight Decades
A look back at women in sports — whether on the court, field, or mat, on the sidelines, or in the press booth — shows what is possible when people are allowed to compete and prosper, regardless of gender. For the Paley Center for Media’s president and chief executive, Maureen J. Reidy, television has helped propel this message forward through compelling images and representations of pioneering women doing just that in front of millions of people. The organization is dedicated to preserving these images and educating the public about their importance. “Tonight, we demonstrate how television, more than any other medium, serves to shatter stereotypes, educate audiences, and bring people together,” Reidy said. As part of an ongoing commitment to diversity in the Paley Center’s programming, the funds raised from the Paley Honors will benefit the Paley Center’s programming dedicated to women in television and the expansion of the Women’s Collection in the Paley Archive, the nation’s largest publicly accessible archive of television and radio programming. The Women’s Collection will be preserved in perpetuity and used to educate scholars, students, the creative community, and the general public.

Sports broadcaster Erin Andrews. Image by Neon Tommy/Flickr.

Kevin Durant’s Killer Crossover
For him, the variety show is just the beginning. He and Kleiman have big plans for his YouTube channel: They see it growing into a hub for a variety of programming, with shows (some hosted by Durant and some not) devoted to entertainment, food, video games, and sports. Over time, they hope the platform will allow the basketball star to circumvent the traditional media tours a championship player is expected to go on—the late-night talk-show interviews, the sports-radio appearances. “This way, I talk directly to my fans,” Durant says. “If I have something to say, I’ll stream it to the page. It puts the power in my hands.” Eventually, scripted programming might follow, or a documentary series. “Part of what’s impressed me,” says Neal Mohan, the chief product officer at YouTube, “is the intuitive grasp Kevin has on the technology.” Not only is Durant uploading new content at a fast clip, Mohan says, but he is spending a lot of time on the community tab, interacting with fans. “When you build that kind of connection, it can be an extremely powerful thing.” And power is what Durant is looking for as he crafts an off-court—and eventually post-playing—career that confers the kind of respect and authority that he now earns through athleticism.

“You can’t go around making investment decisions based solely off of coolness,” says Durant, whose port­­folio includes everything from enterprise services to drones. [Photo: Pari Dukovic; Stylist: Nchimunya Wulf]

April Ross Wants You To Dig Pink This October
Two-time Olympic medalist and professional beach volleyball player April Ross has seen the scary side of cancer. When Ross was in elementary school, her mother Margie was diagnosed with breast cancer. Through various treatments and remissions over fifteen years, Margie battled and fought but the disease eventually took her life in 2001. Ross was a sophomore in college. These days, however, Ross is seeing and spreading hope in the breast cancer community. An advocate for the Side-Out Foundation, Ross encourages high school and college volleyball programs to get involved in breast cancer awareness month by hosting a Dig Pink® event. Launched by Rick Dunetz in 2005, the Side-Out Foundation rallies the volleyball community through Dig Pink® matches and fundraising events to bring awareness of cutting-edge research and clinical trials for stage 4 breast cancer, the most advanced stage of the disease. To date, the foundation has raised nearly $12 million and averages between $1.3 million to $1.5 million a year.

NYCFC Kick Off Opening of First Ten Soccer Fields as Part of Soccer Initiative
“This investment in new soccer fields will bring school communities together and encourage teamwork and exercise among students,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina. “We thank our partners at NYCFC for their support in helping us bring high-quality afterschool opportunities to hundreds of families in all five boroughs.” Pioneering a national movement to increase soccer opportunities in dense urban settings, private partners have pledged to invest a total of $3 million in the new soccer pitches and provide free programming for New York City school children focused on healthy, active living. Youth programming will reach 10,000 young people over 5-years with after-school soccer and mentoring programs that promote safe, active and connected communities. Through the construction of these new play spaces, the New York City Soccer Initiative aims to create safe spaces for youth and wider communities to gather, repurpose underutilized spaces in targeted neighborhoods, and connect more young people to soccer, expand U.S. Soccer Foundation’s nationally-recognized soccer after-school program – Soccer for Success ­– and ‘City in the Community’ schools program.

How the Loss of His Mother Inspired Dak Prescott to Advocate Cancer Education
Prescott is only in his second NFL season, but his personal experience has spurred him to use his platform as a young star on America’s team to address the cause that matters to him most. Last season, he wore navy cleats printed with “Mom” and a colon cancer awareness ribbon during the NFL’s My Cause, My Cleats campaign, which were auctioned off to raise more than $4,000 for the ACS. This summer he appeared with actor Eric Stonestreet on a campaign to educate and raise funds for immuno-oncology research into using the body’s own immune system to better target cancer. He also announced this offseason the launch of his own non-profit, with an emphasis on cancer awareness; the name is the Faith, Fight, Finish Foundation, invoking the three words Peggy used to encourage her three sons. In the notes Prescott writes his mom on his phone, he always assumes she already knows what he’s doing on the field and about his work off it. So, he usually writes something simple like, “I love you” or “Thank you.” Her messages still ring loudly in her son’s ears, especially the one about her being his story. This wasn’t the story Prescott wanted, but he’s come to understand that he can serve another purpose beyond raising cancer awareness and education—a beacon for others who have also lost loved ones, and may not be sure if or how they can move forward.

Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Quick Links…

Our Website

More About Us
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.

Our mission is to have Sport Doing Good be a consistent, and significant, contributor to the areas of sports, social responsibility and development. We look forward to partnering with other stakeholders in producing content, in creating and/or sponsoring athletic and service events, knowledge sharing, and conferences/seminars, and even having a commercial arm that could be the source of innovative social businesses.

We invite you to send in news, press releases, and guest pieces for possible publication, and email us with suggestions about the content and format of the newsletter and Sports Doing Good website.

Contact Information

Sarbjit “Sab” Singh