April 25 – May 8, 2021
Welcome to issue three hundred and sixty-three of the Sports Doing Good newsletter. This week’s 10 stories include:
1. Why the Worst N.B.A. Player Is (Probably) Still Better Than You (NY Times)
2. Meet the NFL draft’s most extraordinary prospect, Kwity Paye (ESPN)
3. At this gym, ‘There’s no such thing as an autism-specific exercise’ (Boston Globe)
4. Shohei Ohtani wins for Los Angeles Angels in 2-way season start unseen since Babe Ruth (USA Today)
5. 2021 TIME100 Most Influential Companies – NBA (Time)
6. Alex Smith Healed Enough to Walk Away (SI)
7. Willie Mays at 90 — He was Steph Curry, Michael Jordan, Simone Biles and Mikhail Baryshnikov (ESPN)
8. Building a Lacrosse Powerhouse Out of Overlooked Recruits (New York Times)
9. Aaron Judge: How the Yankees Slugger Is Changing Baseball Forever (Rolling Stone)
10. The Year of Speaking Up – Celebrating Athlete Advocacy at the 2021 Laureus World Sports Awards (Laureus)
Good Sports to Provide $1.2 Million in Sports Equipment to Programs in Southeastern Michigan and Western New York (Good Sports)
The #CLIMBERSFORPEACE Initiative Successfully Mobilised the Climbing Community to Raise Funds for the “live Together” Program (Peace and Sport)
I Have Some Things I’d Like to Say (by Ilkay Gündo?an) (The Players’ Tribune)
Youth Leadership in Focus: Slum Soccer’s Coach Pankaj (Beyond Sport)
Mission Moments: Coach Shay (Up2Us Sports)
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.
Hoops 4 Hope: Education through basketball in Zimbabwe (BBC)
Inside the world’s greenest sports team (Vice)
Ice Boat Racers: Meet the Frozen Lake Warriors (Rolling Stone)
Since I come across hundreds of articles each time I am putting together the Sports Doing Good newsletter, it certainly helps to be able to get a sense of an article by its title. I can then narrow down possibilities rather quickly for the newsletter and for posting on our social media accounts. I saw a title a few weeks ago but that really piqued my interest. The title had me hoping the article would cover something that I have long found humorous and quite educational. I was right.
The article is our first entry this week, and is from the New York Times, entitled “Why the Worst N.B.A. Player Is (Probably) Still Better Than You.” The article covers the phenomenon of the “everyman,” and let’s be honest, it is mostly guys who look dumb doing this. They challenge the skills of a former college or even worse, a professional athlete, an athlete they saw on TV and said, “I’m definitely better than that guy.” So, years later, when they see that player, it is time to prove themselves right. Wrong.
I guess it is hard for people to understand the essence of greatness. Just because you are not the best does not mean you cannot be great at something. One of my favorite stories was told to me by a friend from business school. Guys from the consumer goods company he worked for had a basketball team that played in a corporate league. My friend, an athletic 5’8” Jewish kid from Long Island, was a good player but was very clear about what he stood in the hierarchy on his team. He told me that one of the guys on his team was a Division 1 player from the Pac-10 conference. He was 6’1” and played some in college, but was not a starter on the team. My friend could not help but laugh when he would regale of stories of this guy. “Sab,” he would say, “this guy just DESTROYED people.” The team gave the player the nickname, The Franchise.
My friend and I would joke about the phenomenon of people downplaying his teammate’s skills because he did not start or was not a big-time recruit. My friend’s teammate was ridiculously good and frankly, that should not be a surprise. These top-level players, even if not a starter or 5-star recruit, are playing everyday in college and if they make the pros, against the world’s best, folks who have put in more than their 10,000 hours and are, as we say, “BALLERS.” So that is who Brian Scalabrine, Michael Sweetney, Cheyenne Parker play against every day. Their “pickup” games are certainly not our “pickup” games.
For me, there is a larger takeaway with the idea expressed in the article than just in sports. While we live in a wonderfully free society that allows us for the most part, to say and do what we want, that does not mean we should always “say or do what we want.” Respect is owed to the best doctors, lawyers, architects, IT professionals, mechanics, chefs, etc. You are absolutely allowed to have an opinion about what might be physically ailing you and what medicine to take but you are best off listening to your doctor. The same way you are free to shoot a basketball and play in a pickup game, but you are best off not challenging a former pro player. And you absolutely should not talk trash to that person.
To summarize that thought, I’d like to quote the famous Samoan/Nova Scotian philosopher, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who would famously say, “Know your role, and shut, your, mouth.” ?
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So, enjoy. And have a good week.
Why the Worst N.B.A. Player Is (Probably) Still Better Than You (New York Times)
Meet the NFL draft’s most extraordinary prospect, Kwity Paye (ESPN)
At this gym, ‘There’s no such thing as an autism-specific exercise’ (Boston Globe)
Shohei Ohtani wins for Los Angeles Angels in 2-way season start unseen since Babe Ruth (USA Today)
2021 TIME100 Most Influential Companies – NBA (Time)
Alex Smith Healed Enough to Walk Away (SI)
Willie Mays at 90 — He was Steph Curry, Michael Jordan, Simone Biles and Mikhail Baryshnikov (ESPN)
Building a Lacrosse Powerhouse Out of Overlooked Recruits (New York Times)
Aaron Judge: How the Yankees Slugger Is Changing Baseball Forever (Rolling Stone)
The Year of Speaking Up – Celebrating Athlete Advocacy at the 2021 Laureus World Sports Awards (Laureus)
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.
Sarbjit “Sab” Singh
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SportsDoing Good Newsletter #363
April 25 – May 8, 2021