Sept. 18 – Oct. 1, 2022
Welcome to issue three hundred and ninety-eight of the Sports Doing Good newsletter. This week’s 10 stories include:
1. A’ja Wilson and Becky Hammon Found Each Other at Just the Right Moment (SI)
2. Building Wealth: Shaquille O’Neal Pays For 15 Friends To Earn Master’s Degrees (Black Enterprise)
3. Trayce Thompson, brother of NBA star Klay Thompson, has finally arrived (USA Today)
4. From using broken boards to chasing Paris 2024: Meet Senegal’s top surfer Cherif Fall (Olympics.com)
5. Stephen Curry Is Putting It All on the Line (Rolling Stone)
6. For Shasta Averyhardt, Golf Has Become a Sanctuary Again (SI)
7. The Value of Long Tail In Sports (Adam Grossman/LinkedIn)
8. Looking for More Frances Tiafoes (New York Times)
9. This Pacer player has turned into a ‘gnarly’ pro beach volleyball star (IndyStar)
10. A life of remarkable resolve: The story of Shaul Ladany, survivor of the Holocaust and Munich massacre (ESPN)
I’m Still Here (by John Wall) (The Players’ Tribune)
MLB & USA Baseball Launch ‘Fun At Bat’ After School Program (Beyond Sport)
The Blazers’ Damian Lillard reflects on building generational wealth (Andscape/ESPN)
THE SPORTS CREATIVE’S COACH JENNIFER/Hispanic Heritage Month Spotlight (Beyond Sport)
Resource mobilization for sport for refugees: policy context, funding trends and key actors (webinar) (Sport and Dev)
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!
Roger Federer goodbye at Laver Cup
The judge who coaches girls to run full speed on the track and in life (CNN)
NextUp: The Youth Sports Management Conference, Oct. 6-7, NYC (LeagueApps)
Up2Us Sports Gala, Oct. 11, NYC
Unlike Tom Hanks’ classic line in “A League of Their Own,” ‘There’s no crying in baseball!” there is crying, or at least tearing up, when it comes to the Sports Doing Good newsletter. I certainly have gotten choked up numerous times reading stories over the years that for one reason or another, moved me to such a degree. This week we have two such stories (feel free to have your tissues ready).
The first story, captured in our video section, deals with the final event in Roger Federer’s brilliant tennis career. The Laver Cup was not just Federer’s last match, but a chance for many of his fellow tennis players and of course, fans, to celebrate him. Between the pictures of him and Rafael Nadal holding hands and crying, to Roger’s final speech to the crowd, I failed in trying not to get emotional. It wasn’t just an athlete retiring. Federer seems to have represented so much more than tennis. A great humanitarian, he is also seen as a symbol of excellence, class and grace, playing his tennis much like an artist or musician might display their expertise. There are those athletes who make us forget the incredible efforts they must go through in training in making the game so beautiful. Whether it is a Leo Messi, Wayne Gretzky, Muhammad Ali, or Kim Yu-Na, we feel better as human beings watching these athletes at their best.
I was talking to someone this week and they asked why I thought Nadal was crying. First, I said, he’s probably just a really nice guy. ? But, I had another thought after reading Nadal’s statement.
“With Roger leaving the tour, yeah, an important part of my life is leaving too because all the moments that he has been next or in front of me,” Nadal said following the match. “So [it’s] been emotional to see the family, to see all the people.”
I think I understand part of what Nadal is feeling. An important part of his life is ending. Sounds harsh, but it is true. More than half of his life has involved battling a great rival. Even when not playing each other, Roger and Rafa were thinking about the other one. To have that part of your professional life end is certainly difficult for it also lets Rafa know that his life as an elite tennis player won’t last forever either. That is something many people who are so connected to their profession have to face when it comes to the end of a career, whatever that career is. So to see two of the greatest sitting together, holding hands, and tearing up, well, you can understand why I did as well.
The second story I want to highlight involves an athlete I never heard of before, Shaul Ladany. I thank Jeremy Schaap and ESPN for publishing such an amazing story of pain, passion, and resilience. Dr. Ladany’s story is not an easy one to tell but Schaap gives us a comprehensive view of a man who had to deal with two horrible situations (humanity at its worst), in the first half of his life, but persevered and found comfort and solace in that most basic of activities, walking. Of course, Shaul Ladany’s walking was different from the common persons. Ladany was an elite race walker, a world champion and two-time Olympian.
As has been said about the Holocaust, and more recently with September 11th, “Never Forget.” That is absolutely true, for as we have also heard many times, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Many stories that I have highlighted over the past 10 years involved individuals, organizations, and communities coming together to fight wrongs, injustices, and larger scale tragedies. For some, the reach of sports into these spheres makes them feel uncomfortable. Some even denounce it. But sports is part of human society, and these difficulties we see are not solely political, rather, they are human at their core. And while it may seem unlikely, we are all connected in ways not so distant. In reading about Dr. Ladany, I learned he went to Columbia University (I live 1 mile away) and has been a longtime professor. My wife is a Columbia alumna, I taught at Columbia last semester, and I, too, am a professor. Dr. Ladany’s story is our story and in our own ways, we must do our best to make those stories good ones and to be there for each other when they are not so good.
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So, enjoy. And have a good week.
A’ja Wilson and Becky Hammon Found Each Other at Just the Right Moment (SI)
Building Wealth: Shaquille O’Neal Pays For 15 Friends To Earn Master’s Degrees (Black Enterprise)
Trayce Thompson, brother of NBA star Klay Thompson, has finally arrived (USA Today)
From using broken boards to chasing Paris 2024: Meet Senegal’s top surfer Cherif Fall (Olympics.com)
Stephen Curry Is Putting It All on the Line (Rolling Stone)
For Shasta Averyhardt, Golf Has Become a Sanctuary Again (SI)
The Value of Long Tail In Sports (Adam Grossman/LinkedIn)
Looking for More Frances Tiafoes (New York Times)
This Pacer player has turned into a ‘gnarly’ pro beach volleyball star (IndyStar)
A life of remarkable resolve: The story of Shaul Ladany, survivor of the Holocaust and Munich massacre (ESPN)
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 #398
Sept. 18 – Oct. 1, 2022