Nov. 28 – Dec. 12, 2021
Welcome to issue three hundred and seventy-eight of the Sports Doing Good newsletter. This week’s 10 stories include:
1. Two Wisconsin High School Cross-Country Runners Just Want to Race Like Everyone Else (Runner’s World)
2. ‘It catches people’s attention’: Student one of few Sikh football players in Santa Rosa (The Press Democrat)
3. A football player couldn’t find a therapist who understood Black, urban trauma. So, he decided to become one. (Washington Post)
4. NBA, Bleacher Report Launch Art Series To Celebrate League’s 75th Anniversary (Forbes)
5. My Cause My Cleats: Jacksonville Jaguars punter Logan Cooke and wife fund water well in Kenya (ESPN)
6. High School Basketball Adds Wrong Number, Facetimes TOM BRADY And The Bucs (Sunny Skyz)
7. ‘We Needed a Deion Sanders’: Jackson State United a City on its Way to a SWAC Title (SI)
8. How Soccer Lost America (Then Got It Back) (The Ringer)
9. The Nation’s Best Punter Is Changing The Game (FiveThirtyEight)
10. As the World Changes, Sports Journalism Needs to Keep Meeting the Moment (NiemanReports)
Every time Sport defeats Inequality, Everyone Wins (Laureus)
FIFA celebrates accessibility and inclusiveness in football on International Day of Disabled People (FIFA)
#TableTennisUnited Fund keeps youth motivated during pandemic (Sport and Dev)
30 Under 30 2022: Meet The Athletes, Founders And Executives Pushing Sports Forward (Forbes)
“Sport can change attitudes, change experiences, and challenge the world” (Laureus)
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. And now we add podcasts!
Original Minds of UNC Asheville: Taylor Durall (YouTube)
When we come across something new or different, we can meet it with excitement, skepticism, or a bit of both. Taken out of our normal routine or comfort zone, we need to be able to give this new person, thing or effort a chance to exist and possibly grow.
Many times over the history of the newsletter, I have featured articles that highlight the experience of that newness, the implication being, of course, that I think it is something “good.”
This week, our first two stories offer up that newness, but do so in a way that shows the not-infrequent hesitation to embrace that newness. Our first story is a wonderful look at two Wisconsin high school siblings who find joy and purpose in running cross country together. What is new or different about these two is that the 15-year old sister Susan Bergemen, pushes her brother Jeffrey, in a modified racing chair as he has cerebral palsy. They have been running together since middle school and also have run short and long races with their parents. The bond between these siblings is beyond admirable. It is inspiring. But that is not what the runners are about. They are about running. And right now, due to their new/different situation of running together, they are not allowed to pass anyone (unless they are walking or injured), have to wait until everyone crosses the finish line before they can do so, and ultimately their place in the race is not captured in the official standings. Those things, they say, really bother them, and they are advocating to have the rules changed. The rule change is not just for them but for others in their state and potentially around the country who also need to “do something different.” I love their commitment to each other, to running and to the greater good.
The second story we present features Anmol Singh, a high school football player in California who stands out due to his skills at football but also his faith as a practicing Sikh. I can tell you from personal experience that years ago when my brother and I played competitive sports, we never saw other practicing Sikhs out on the field with us. Being first-generation South Asian, there was the assumption by those in that community and those outside, that education came first, sometimes to the exclusion of other activities, especially team sports. Thankfully, my parents thought differently. And I’d like to think my brother and I stood out for athletic skills but in reality, more attention was often given to the way we looked as a young practicing Sikh. Due to one of the tenets of the religion, we never cut our hair, and would tie it up in a bun that sat on the top of our head. We looked different, no doubt, and that difference often subjected us to stares, jeers and insults. Tough to deal with as a teenager. When I was 19, I was once given a red card for not allowing a referee to touch my hair before a game. I was enraged and devastated.
Anmol Singh seemingly is not dealing with such behavior, and I think that is great. Part of it may be because his hair is covered by his helmet, but also, I hope, because there are a lot more Sikhs in American society today than there were 35 years ago. Therefore, that newness or difference associated with members of the group are less threatening and cause less discomfort. As is often the case, familiarity breeds acceptance. This translates into Anmol being able to follow his faith and his passion as a football player. And I find that quite good as well.
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So, enjoy. And have a good week.
Two Wisconsin High School Cross-Country Runners Just Want to Race Like Everyone Else (Runner’s World)
‘It catches people’s attention’: Student one of few Sikh football players in Santa Rosa (The Press Democrat)
A football player couldn’t find a therapist who understood Black, urban trauma. So, he decided to become one. (Washington Post)
NBA, Bleacher Report Launch Art Series To Celebrate League’s 75th Anniversary (Forbes)
My Cause My Cleats: Jacksonville Jaguars punter Logan Cooke and wife fund water well in Kenya (ESPN)
High School Basketball Adds Wrong Number, Facetimes TOM BRADY And The Bucs (Sunny Skyz)
‘We Needed a Deion Sanders’: Jackson State United a City on its Way to a SWAC Title (SI)
How Soccer Lost America (Then Got It Back) (The Ringer)
The Nation’s Best Punter Is Changing The Game (FiveThirtyEight)
As the World Changes, Sports Journalism Needs to Keep Meeting the Moment (NiemanReports)
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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Sports Doing Good Newsletter #378
Nov. 28 – Dec. 12, 2021