Sports Doing Good Newsletter, #293

July 29 – Aug. 11, 2018

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

  1. From the Homeless Shelter to UFC, JJ Aldrich Says Tough Times Made Her Stronger
  2. How Bob Ley Became ESPN’s Most Important Broadcaster
  3. Cartoon Network, Minor League Baseball Partner to Bring Cartoons to the Ballpark
  4. What the Wisdom Generals Were Up Against
  5. Inspired by LeBron James, NFL players using their wardrobe to push for social change
  6. The Azmi Sisters Go Hard in Ball Hockey. Don’t Act So Surprised.
  7. Dikembe Mutombo Q&A: NBA Africa Game and Life as a Global Ambassador
  8. The tech powering the 2020 Olympic Games
  9. The impact live-streaming and OTT platforms could have on women’s sport
  10. HQ Trivia’s Scott Rogowsky Started His Career as an Angry Mascot

How sports can move the ball for women’s rights around the world (Sport and Dev)
Flight to Fight (Rebekah Irwin) (The Players’ Tribune)
4 Ways to Foster Teamwork (by TrueSport)
Gallery: Dropping kilos and lifting spirits in a tiny Fijian village (Sport and Dev)           4,000,000 NOT OUT: Chance to Shine reaches another major milestone (Beyond Sport)

We present again our “Featured Video” offering(s). With the explosion of video content out there highlighting the good in sport, we want to showcase such content for your enjoyment and learning. This will be an ongoing effort.

Who Invented the Bicycle Kick?
The Olympic Gold Medalist Working to End Drowning
The Footballer Tackling Stereotypes


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 And we are now also on Instagram. Find us at sportsdoinggood.

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.

From the Homeless Shelter to UFC, JJ Aldrich Says Tough Times Made Her Stronger
“She did everything she possibly could for us,” Aldrich tells Bleacher Report. “She did it all by herself for years. She didn’t have any other family helping her out. She didn’t have friends that she would trust us with. It was just her raising us. My mom is my biggest inspiration, just as far as fighting every day and making it through, even if it doesn’t seem like tomorrow is going to be a great day.” Now 25, much has changed for Aldrich, though that fighting spirit forms the backbone of her professional life. As a pro MMA fighter with a 6-2 record, she competes in the UFC’s strawweight division. This Saturday at UFC 227 in Los Angeles, she takes on Polyana Viana in a bout that will appear on the event’s main pay-per-view card. A victory would give Aldrich three straight inside the Octagon, perhaps vaulting her into the organization’s official rankings and cementing her as a contender at 115 pounds. That makes the Viana fight the biggest step yet in a martial arts journey that began when Alrdich’s mother started taking her to taekwondo classes when she was nine.

Aldrich and the team from 303 Training Center, including champ Rose Namajunas. Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

How Bob Ley Became ESPN’s Most Important Broadcaster
One afternoon last week, Ley and I were driving through Bristol on our way to a late lunch. Ley was full of energy. He’d just returned from a vacation in Nantucket, where he’d binged Season 4 of Bosch and hosted a World Cup viewing party. True, the man the Encyclopedia Blazertannica calls “a tastemaking prophet for football in America” would have preferred to host the actual World Cup, which now belongs to Fox. But this month, as Ley was relaxing at the Stone Pony in New Jersey—Jersey is Bob’s birthplace; Springsteen is his lodestar—an idea struck him. “I’m thinking to myself, I’m having a helluva time,” he said. “I couldn’t have done any of this if I’d gone to the World Cup.” Ley, who is 63, started working at ESPN three days after the network launched in 1979. He is so familiar with the Bristol campus that he has been known to show up in the cafeteria with the exact change to buy a sandwich and a drink. When Ley hosts the network’s Boston Marathon bombing coverage or captains its all-night wake for Muhammad Ali, a certain image takes hold in the public mind. Ley is a capital-J journalist, a man who rises above Bristol’s petty intrigues to a higher moral plane. “From the day he started to almost 40 years later now, Bob Ley has been our conscience,” said his pal Chris Berman.

by Jason Raish

Cartoon Network, Minor League Baseball Partner to Bring Cartoons to the Ballpark
“This campaign lines up perfectly with Minor League Baseball’s vision,” he said. “The league aims to create industry-leading value for fans, member clubs, local communities, and partners. When you roll that into this partnership, and what Cartoon Network is about, it ‘checks all the boxes,’ if you will.” For the network, it gets access to a broad platform with minor league ball clubs known for their penchant in designing creative, engaging, innovative promotional campaigns that attract families and crowds of all types. “That’s what our entire league is built on and about,” Jones stated. “Here, you see it all — Family Night, Dollar Dog Night, Student Night, Super Hero Day, etc. For teams in the minor leagues, it’s all about keeping fans interested and engaged. The entire emphasis is really on the experience and the atmosphere.” It’s precisely that audience Cartoon Network’s marketing team is striving to reach. In turn, the network has a ready-made audience looking for exactly the kind of content Cartoon Network programming provides. Having cartoons and being associated with fun characters kids are familiar with keeps the much younger fan base interested and engaged. What youngster wouldn’t enjoy watching baseball with his or her favorite cartoon character involved or in attendance, and getting to see the shows they watch outdoors on an enormous screen?

By Minor League Baseball

What the Wisdom Generals Were Up Against
Soccer was a means of escape for Andrade. During his tenure at Wisdom, the school—formerly known as Robert E. Lee High School—was undergoing a demographic transformation of sorts. An influx of Asian, African, Mexican and Central American immigrants had populated the region; between 2000 and 2013, the Houston metropolitan area’s immigrant population grew at nearly twice the national rate, and Wisdom’s student population was changing as a result. (Today, 60 percent of Wisdom students are English language learners, and 200 of those students are first-year immigrants to the U.S. The student body is made up of pupils from more than 60 countries who speak some 40 different languages—”our own United Nations,” Wisdom High School Principal Jonathan Trinh, an immigrant from Vietnam, says.) The school’s motto, painted on a wall near the entrance, reads: “Where the World Comes to Learn.” Andrade graduated from Wisdom in 2002 and enlisted in the Army as a combat soldier. (He had become a father at 15, which meant forgoing college soccer scholarship dreams.) “My first tour was a year and seven months,” Andrade says. “I came home, and I told myself, If I survive, one of my dreams is to come back to my old high school and teach and coach, to make a difference.”

The 28-man Wisdom High School boys roster is made up of immigrants from 13 countries and four continents. Photo by Jill Hunter

Inspired by LeBron James, NFL players using their wardrobe to push for social change
Players chose to focus on the issue of youth incarceration, because they believed it would be a unifying issue within locker rooms, where many players are also parents. Earlier this year, four New England Patriots successfully lobbied for a Massachusetts state law that raised the age from seven to 12 for youth to enter the justice system. “It seems no matter how many times and how many players say it’s not about the anthem people want to keep this false narrative, we feel the best way to actually show people is through the work that we’ve been doing, and also the T-shirts,” Boldin said. “I feel like people want to continue to bring up and say that players are protesting the anthem because they don’t want to deal with the real issues.” Boldin said Coalition leaders had been inspired by tactics employed by LeBron James and other NBA players, who have used their pregame wardrobe to speak out on issues they care about. James and many of his peers famously wore shirts that read “I can’t breathe” in solidarity with protesters after the death of Eric Garner. “We wanted to come up with a way to send a clear message. What better way than to wear T-shirts, we don’t have to say anything, people can speak for themselves,” Boldin said.

Patriots players Derek Rivers, Dont’a Hightower, Devin McCourty, Jason McCourty (back turned), Eric Rowe, Duron Harmon and Deatrich Wise show off their “#SchoolsNotPrisons” shirt.  (Photo: Handout via Players’ Coalition)

The Azmi Sisters Go Hard in Ball Hockey. Don’t Act So Surprised.
The Azmi sisters have been featured on the Maple Leafs’ online fan network and were the subject of popular videos produced by Canadian Tire during the Winter Olympics. Still, some people are taken aback when they see the Azmis with their hockey sticks in their hijabs. “A lot of people see religious Muslims who observe, so a lot of them are surprised when they see that you’re actually like everyone else,” Husnah Azmi said. Even in hot conditions, intensified by the hijabs under their helmets, the Azmi sisters display a love of ball hockey that has endeared them to others in the league and to prominent ice hockey personalities such as Kadri and Hayley Wickenheiser, a four-time Olympic gold medalist. In one of the Canadian Tire videos, which have the slogan “We All Play for Canada,” Wickenheiser surprises the sisters from the Winter Games in South Korea. “The sisters embraced a new culture in a way that was unique and authentic to them,” said Eva Salem, Canadian Tire’s vice president of marketing. “We really were trying to find real people who sort of embodied the values of inclusivity, sportsmanship and selflessness.”

The Azmi sisters — from left, Asiyah, 25; Husnah, 21; Sajidah, 18; Haleemah, 17; Nuha, 23; and Mubeenah, 14 — outside their home in Toronto, where they play ball hockey in a summer league. Credit Marta Iwanek for The New York Times

Dikembe Mutombo Q&A: NBA Africa Game and Life as a Global Ambassador
The third NBA Africa Game will tip off Saturday in Pretoria, South Africa, with 18 NBA players participating in the exhibition as part of Basketball Without Borders, the NBA’s outreach program that helps spread the sport around the globe. This year, the game will be played in support of the Nelson Mandela Foundation in honor of Mandela’s centenary, and the participants are spending the week mixing basketball camps with community service, including NBA Cares projects like Habitat for Humanity, Hoops for Hope, and other local organizations. Over 80 current and former NBA players have direct ties to the continent of Africa, and while the NBA Africa Game focuses on positively impacting local communities, it also serves to honor the players who paved the way for African-born players to make it to the NBA. Among those pioneers is Dikembe Mutombo, who carved out a Hall of Fame career over 18 years in the NBA. Just the third African-born player to appear in the league, Mutombo grew up in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and went on to attend Georgetown before being drafted at No. 4 by the Denver Nuggets in 1991. A staple of the Basketball Without Borders program, Mutombo met with Mandela several times as part of the NBA’s efforts to grow its presence in Africa. The Crossover caught up with Mutombo to discuss his career, his hometown, and what it means to be an ambassador for the game of basketball.

Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

The tech powering the 2020 Olympic Games
Carbon-free cars and reusable fireworks won’t be the 2020 Olympics’ only step towards sustainability – the city is planning to use recycled e-waste in its medals, and has placed collection boxes in offices for workers to donate old phones and other small electronics. In 2014 alone, Japan discarded 143kg of gold, 1,566kg of silver and 1,112 tons of copper (the main component of bronze) in the form of waste electronics – just a fraction of which would be enough to produce all the medals needed for the 2020 games. “There’s a limit on the resources of our earth, so recycling these things will make us think about the environment,” said Tokyo 2020 sports director Koji Murofushi. Hopefully that sort of resourcefulness means that the only thing left behind after the 2020 Olympic Games will be a raft of new technology that can benefit Japan and the rest of the world – at future sporting events and beyond.

The impact live-streaming and OTT platforms could have on women’s sport
The sports rights landscaping is changing. With more live-streaming and OTT platforms entering the market, these could provide the space women’s sports need to showcase coverage and reach a wider demographic. Broadcasters have always chosen to display the sports that will gain them the best viewing figures. Therefore, even though women’s sports have growing fan bases all around the world, coverage has been lacking on our TV screens. With the introduction of live-streaming and OTT platforms smaller sports no longer need to hope for a break in TV schedules or be shown during unsociable hours. Instead, organisations have the opportunity to create agreements which allow for content to be made available to the public online…Women’s football is growing in the UK and is fastly becoming one of the most competitive women’s leagues in the world. As a result, clubs are attracting some of the world best players and with these comes their supporters. As part of the redevelopment and league structure the FA Women’s Super League, has found a new home on Facebook Live as well as the BBC Sport website for their ‘free to air’ games each weekend.

HQ Trivia’s Scott Rogowsky Started His Career as an Angry Mascot
Scott Rogowsky, now the popular HQ Trivia host, and Neil Janowitz, the editorial director of New York magazine entertainment site Vulture, met at a job interview back in April 2008. Janowitz was an editor at ESPN The Magazine seeking new voices to contribute short sports takes tinged with humor. Rogowsky’s mother had a friend who passed along her son’s résumé. Recently, the pair recalled their introduction. “We met up and, I think, almost immediately, you were like, ‘I have no interest in contributing to the magazine,’” Janowitz said. “I said, ‘I don’t think I’d be very good at this,’” Rogowsky added. The interview was over as soon as it started, but the conversation veered to comedy. Rogowsky had been doing stand-up in New York City, and Janowitz had been taking improv classes at the Upright Citizens Brigade, the club started by Amy Poehler and others. Rogowsky brought institutional knowledge of the comedy world, Janowitz from the sporting realm. They soon started a partnership producing sports comedy under a name Rogowksy had been kicking around: 12 Angry Mascots.

HQ Trivia’s Scott Rogowsky (left) and Vulture’s Neil Janowitz created 12 Angry Mascots’ sports comedy video series.  (Courtesy of Neil Janowitz)

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