March 25 – April 7, 2018
Welcome to issue two hundred and eighty-four of the Sports Doing Good newsletter. This week’s 10 stories include:
1. How Loyola Chicago’s Basketball Team Shattered a Racial Barrier for Black Athletes 55 Years Ago
2. Mars to support women’s, disabled football with new FA deal
3. This is the true story of the Final Four’s best holiday cover band
4. The NBA’s Autism-Friendly N.Y.C. Store Is A Slam Dunk
5. Education abroad gives black student-athletes greater sense of identity
6. ‘My biggest problem was I had never been in the huddle with an African-American person’
7. This Paralympics Snowboarding Champion Is Using Her Gold Medals To Change The Conversation About Disabled People
8. Improving the lives of those with dementia – by using memories of baseball
9. Meet The Woman Smashing Stigma And Rallying For Muslim Women In Sports
10. How Hayden Hurst Went from Baseball Flameout to Potential 1st-Round NFL Pick
Friday April 6th: The #WhiteCard Campaign Goes More Global Than Ever (Peace and Sport)
Wimbledon Foundation champions water for all through new partnership with WaterAid (Beyond Sport)
Exploring the impact of sport and play on social support and mental health (Sport and Dev)
Why I’m Jumping to the G League (by Darius Bazley) (The Players’ Tribune)
Baltimore Ravens Partner with Up2Us Sports (Up2Us Sports)
We have talked about resilience before in the Sports Doing Good newsletter. We are rightly impressed with how individuals can bounce back from setbacks big and small. While we would all like a nice linear path to accomplishing our goals, that is not always the case. Not only may we take a different path, we actually may end up changing what our goals are, and that is okay. We have two stories of athletes who transitioned from their first main sport to a different sport, one by choice and one due to a medical condition. In each we can glean lessons when it comes to being adaptable to changing situations and the importance of a strong network. We know you will be impressed with Hayden Hurst and Brenna Huckaby.
The other stories we are featuring this week include: a look back at Loyola Chicago, one of this year’s surprising NCAA men’s basketball teams, and the program’s impact on racial progress in sports and society; how corporate sponsor Mars is doubling down on its commitment to football in England by dedicating resources to the women’s game and in support of disability teams; a fun story of one of Loyola Chicago’s best and most musical of players, Cameron Krutwig; the NBA’s groundbreaking autism-friendly store in New York City; a first-person account by college student-athlete Devin Walker of how studying abroad can be a life-changing experience and how more black student-athletes can benefit from that experience; the more-than interesting and rich life of former NFL player and longtime college football coach Bill Curry; an enlightening account of how we can assist and comfort those with dementia by tapping into something the person loves, in this case, baseball; and how Dr. Muslimah ’Ali Najee-ullah, a Baltimore-based author, science teacher and fitness coach is fighting misconceptions about Muslim women by inspiring them to compete in sports.
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How Loyola Chicago’s Basketball Team Shattered a Racial Barrier for Black Athletes 55 Years Ago
Loyola’s victory, however, does deserve more play. It’s among the most important moments in college basketball history. Back in the early ’60s, an unwritten rule governed the college game. Teams should play no more than two black players at a time, maybe three if you were getting your butts kicked. Loyola, a Jesuit school next to Lake Michigan on the North Side of Chicago, broke the unctuous gentleman’s agreement and sent out four African-American starters during the school’s title-winning season. Loyola’s victory helped erase such racial restrictions, which afforded more African Americans the opportunity to receive athletic scholarships and shine both on the court and in the classroom. Three seasons later, Texas Western won the national championship with an all-black starting five, famously beating an all-white Kentucky team in the final. Teams like Loyola and Texas Western sent a clear message to college basketball coaches, who, after all, are paid to win games: Carry a racist playbook at your own risk.
Loyola defeated Mississippi State in the Mideast Regional first round game 61-51 at Jenison Field House in East Lansing, Mich., on March 15, 1963. Rich Clarkson—NCAA Photos/Getty Images
Mars to support women’s, disabled football with new FA deal
Mars will continue to serve as an official supporter of the men’s senior and U21 national teams and an official partner of the FA Mars Just Play programme until July 2022. The new partnership will also include sponsorship of the England women’s and disability teams for the first time. The renewed agreement will place an increased focus on supporting greater equality, diversity and inclusion at every level of the English game. The fresh deal will extend to all confectionery brands under the Mars Wrigley umbrella, including chocolate, sweets, ice cream and chewing gum. Mars will develop integrated sponsorship campaigns across its product range and increase the scale and reach of the partnership nationwide. As part of the new deal, the FA Mars Just Play programme will extend its remit to reach a broader range of participants, including BAME, women and disabled people. Mars will also provide 200 Level 1 FA coaching bursaries, with a particular focus to be placed on increasing equal representation and participation among women and in the BAME community.
This is the true story of the Final Four’s best holiday cover band
Krutwig’s musical taste, like his basketball game, is old school. He’s a big Motown guy, especially anything Jackson and The Temptations. The Beach Boys are high on his list. He likes “the crooners,” according to his dad, and has extensive knowledge of songs released decades before he was born. When Roberts and his fiancée, Stephanie, were struggling to pick out music for their wedding, they enlisted Krutwig’s help. “He’s like Spotify,” Loyola assistant Bryan Mullins said. “He knows everything from what my dad knows to what these guys are listening to in the locker room. A throwback, for sure.” Krutwig’s teammates are aware of his music IQ, but most haven’t heard The Cheersmen. “I’m glad you reminded me,” guard Clayton Custer said Tuesday. “I think I’m going to go listen to it after practice today.” It’s no “One Shining Moment,” Custer. The Cheersmen always will be part of Krutwig, not so much for the music but the bonding with friends. Nickoley, Rechtsteiner and Schwartz traveled to Atlanta last week to cheer on Krutwig and Loyola in the South Regional. “Words can’t describe the feelings that we were going through,” Nikoley said. “Me, Brian and Cooper were up in the rafters and I’m sure he could hear us just screaming from up there. That’s something I’ll never forget.
The Six Cheersmen is now a group of five. Courtesy of Jack Nickoley
The NBA’s Autism-Friendly N.Y.C. Store Is A Slam Dunk
The Cavs connected the NBA to a nonprofit called KultureCity, which works to make public spaces friendlier for people like Carson. The sports league on Friday opened its fourth sensory-inclusive space at the home of the Utah Jazz. The Cavaliers and two other teams–the Sacramento Kings and the Oklahoma City Thunder–already have these rooms. And today, in New York City, the NBA Store on Fifth Avenue announces that, with the help of KultureCity, it has outfitted its space to make it more inclusive for people with sensory disabilities. While other retailers have held sensory-friendly shopping days, the NBA Store is believed to be the first store of its kind in the world make it a permanent part of its operations. “Our hope is that we will demonstrate how easy it is to make spaces more inclusive, and will inspire other stores to do the same,” says Todd Jacobson, SVP of social responsibility at the NBA. “It’s not just the right thing to do, it’s also good for business, since it means people with extra needs and their whole families will feel welcome.”
[Photo: courtesy of the NBA]
Education abroad gives black student-athletes greater sense of identity
Education abroad challenges students to understand themselves and their identities outside of the American context. For black student-athletes who have been revered for their athletic exploits at the expense of other aspects of their identity, this can be an extremely powerful and liberating experience. “My experience in Ghana changed my life and helped me realize how much more I have to offer than my athletic skill set,” said Malcolm, a former Division I football athlete. Upon returning to school, Malcom felt more confident in all areas of his life including athletics and academics. He was named captain of his team and also enacted a professional development plan for himself that today has him in law school studying ethics and justice within the law. While demand for study abroad has increased, the Institute of International Education found study abroad participants are overwhelmingly white (72%) and female (67%). Black students are one of the least likely groups to participate, making up only 5% of study abroad students, let alone black student-athletes. However, in recent years, many colleges and universities have begun developing service-learning trips for their student-athletes, where selected athletes from a variety of teams travel abroad to conduct a community service project. While there are still many challenges to engaging black student-athletes in these programs because of their unique time demands, a growing number of prominent athletic institutions have found short-term service-learning trips are one of the most effective ways to engage their black student-athletes in education abroad.
‘My biggest problem was I had never been in the huddle with an African-American person’
One might not expect a 75-year-old former Southeastern Conference football coach, a WASP born and raised in College Park, Georgia, to be an outspoken advocate for racial justice. But Bill Curry always enjoyed challenging expectations. Selected in the 20th and final round of the 1964 draft, Curry surprisingly made the roster of Vince Lombardi’s powerhouse Green Bay Packers. He had a 10-year NFL career as a center with the Packers, Baltimore Colts, Houston Oilers and Los Angeles Rams, including a stint as president of the NFL Players Association. After leaving the NFL, Curry became a successful college coach. He was the ACC Coach of the Year at Georgia Tech in 1985 and Bobby Dodd National Coach of the Year at Alabama in 1989, and in 1993 he led Kentucky to its first bowl game in nearly a decade. He then teamed with Mike Golic to call college football for ESPN. In 2010, Curry returned to coaching for three years to launch the football program at Georgia State. Curry still lives in College Park (also the hometown of Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and rappers Ludacris and 2 Chainz) with his grade school sweetheart Carolyn, an author and women’s advocate. Curry travels the country speaking on leadership and also shares his thoughts on Twitter. As the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination neared, he spoke with The Undefeated about how pro football affected his views on race and why it was important for him to march in King’s funeral procession in Atlanta.
Coach Bill Curry of the Alabama Crimson Tide walks onto the field with his players before a game against the Kentucky Wildcats at Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama, September 23, 1989. Allen Steele/Getty Images Sport
This Paralympics Snowboarding Champion Is Using Her Gold Medals To Change The Conversation About Disabled People
Huckaby’s journey to the top wasn’t easy. As a young girl, she was a nationally ranked gymnast, but when she was diagnosed with osteosarcoma at 14, her right leg had to be amputated. Afterward, Huckaby went through a mourning period where she had to accept that her life would no longer be the same. “It wasn’t until a few months after I finished treatment that the reality of what had happened sank in,” Huckaby says. “I realized that my life as it used to be was no longer an option. I wasn’t afraid I wouldn’t compete again; I was afraid I wasn’t going to be happy again.” In a quest to help their daughter find her spark again, her parents signed her up for different activities and sports. “I had an open mind to any and all possibilities of what I could do. I knew my two-legged life was over, but I also knew it was only the beginning of whatever I wanted to be from there on out,” she recalls. What led her to eventually become a Paralympian? A rehabilitation ski trip arranged by a doctor from her hospital for child cancer patients who had undergone amputation.
Paralympian gold medal winner Brenna Huckaby. Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images.
Improving the lives of those with dementia – by using memories of baseball
So a few years ago, I started to look outside of the U.S. to learn about how other countries are responding to Alzheimer’s in innovative ways. I found that sports – specifically, something called “sports reminiscence therapy” – is increasingly playing a role. Sports reminiscence therapy falls under the umbrella of what are called “socialization programs,” in which persons with dementia gather in a group setting and participate in activities with their peers. Most current socialization programs incorporate some form of creative expression – music, storytelling, theater and dance – and past studies have demonstrated their effectiveness. Because many with dementia have witnessed their usual outlets for self-expression gradually dissipate, these programs give them structured opportunities to tap into the brain’s creative network and socialize with caregivers, staff members and peers. Art gallery viewings and drama productions were also found to be valuable activities: Those who participated were generally happier and more social. However, because two-thirds of those who have dementia are female, many of these socialization programs have traditionally been geared towards women. For this reason, sports reminiscence therapy is starting to gain traction as a type of socialization program that could work particularly well for men with dementia.
When persons with dementia engage with others who share their passion for the game, colorful memories can emerge. SAHAS2015/Shutterstock.com
Meet The Woman Smashing Stigma And Rallying For Muslim Women In Sports
Sports have long been linked to American identity. They have played a major role into efforts to combat discrimination and exclusion, and now that’s beginning to be true for Muslim women. On the world stage, there’s fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, who made headlines in 2016 when she became the first American to compete in the Olympics in a hijab. A year later, Nike introduced its first sports hijab. But local visibility is important too, and Muslimah ’Ali Najee-ullah is doing her part. Known as Dr. ’Ali, The Fitness Doc ? she holds a doctorate in anatomy and neuroscience ? the Baltimore-based author, science teacher and fitness coach is busy fighting misconceptions about Muslim women by inspiring them to compete. She has run three marathons and 14 half-marathons, and last year led a 12-woman, all-Muslim team in a 200-mile nonstop race called a Ragnar Relay. She believes it was one of the first entirely Muslim teams to run a Ragnar. Dr. ’Ali chatted with HuffPost about the race, representation, and what she wants to accomplish as both a runner and a Muslim-American athlete.
Dr. ‘Ali poses with her teammates at the Washington, D.C.-area Ragnar Relay last year.
How Hayden Hurst Went from Baseball Flameout to Potential 1st-Round NFL Pick
From the time he was in high school, Hurst associated baseball with money because everyone told him there was so much to be made. He associated football, meanwhile, with freedom. Baseball, with its slow pace and anticipation between plays, was draining. Football, with its explosive bursts, is exhilarating. “It’s a beautiful and perfect game,” he says of his new sport. “At its purest form, it’s I’m going to be better than this guy for three-and-a-half hours and kick his butt up and down the field.” It’s an enticing combination for NFL teams—of unrealized potential, high-end ability and rare passion. Though he will be 25 before the NFL season starts, he is a puppy of a tight end. “He has played this position for two years,” Muschamp says. “He’s in the infantile stage of his career. That’s why I think he has tremendous upside.” His mother apologized long ago for doubting Hayden. “To go from such a high in baseball to such a low, and now to have another opportunity, it’s almost like, Pinch me, I’m going to wake up and it’s all going to be a dream,” she says. Hurst had to go there to get here, and he knows it. All of it—football being taken from him in high school, falling in the baseball draft, the nasty pitching coach and the callous teammates, the hypnotism and tapping, having Elarton come into his life, being snubbed by Florida, Muschamp becoming his coach—all of it happened for a reason.