There really are athletes doing good in the world, and Brandon Sneed’s here to tell you about them.
Welcome to the new GoodCall column, where I write about people who are better than me.
No, seriously, sometimes I really suck. I went to the grocery store the other day to get cookie dough, so my wife and I could make cookies. Then I swiped my debit card at the checkout counter and was suddenly and against my will thrust into this huge moral quandary: The debit card machine screen asked me if I wanted to donate to some heart-melting cause like the SmileMakers Foundation for Blind and Toothless Kittens.
I go to click the “No, Thanks” option. I am assaulted by shame. It’s like I’m saying I don’t want to help blind, toothless kittens—but I DO! I’m stingy, yeah, but I’m nice. I mean, if I found a blind toothless kitten I would totally carry it places and keep it warm and feed it milk.
I get all flustered and maybe even a little angry because now I feel guilty and I don’t want to feel guilty—I JUST WANT MY COOKIES! So I just hit the “No, Thanks” button and leave with my cookies and shame.
I am the worst.
Anyway, this is called GoodCall because GoodCall is a blog at my website, the goal of which is just to fuel a fun conversation about sports based around this showcase of athletes, coaches, and teams making the world better.
This is basically a condensed version of that. So far, it’s covered good stuff like Operation Veteran Appreciation and teenagers flipping a truck to save a pregnant lady and a Harlem Globetrotter dancing to Michael Jackson. Shirtless. It’s fun times.
One day, GoodCall will one day become a website all its own, probably sometime in the next month or two. In the meantime, you can keep up on Twitter and Facebook. I’m always looking for new ideas and stories and hey, even contributors, so if you’ve got something, feel free to email it to email@example.com.
Basically, this column, in theory, will be a weekly installment here at The Good Men Project. Good Men Project editor Ryan O’Hanlon and I have been talking about the idea for a while now, so I’m stoked to finally get it started.
And so, all that said, on with the goodness …
ESPN The Mag Editor and Improv Everywhere Contributor Neil Janowitz on IE’s Horse Carousel Race … and More [Interview] | Neil Janowitz used to work for ESPN The Magazine. He also contributes occasionally to Improv Everywhere. Improv Everywhere, a few weeks ago, did a sketch in a theme park, called Carousel Horse Race. Neil kindly answered questions about all of that, and then a lot of other stuff. We unpacked the creative process behind pulling off one of those live improv sketches, what it’s like doing improv in general, how it makes the world more fun, and along the way we learn important things about life and journalism. Of course, that depends on your definition of “important.” And “learn.” Read here.
Carmelo Anthony Made Some People in Puerto Rico Very Happy | Last week was a busy one for Anthony. As you’ll see below, he hosted a charity basketball game in Baltimore … but before that, he went to Puerto Rico and hooped it up with fans living in the Lomas housing project. And then he helped build them their very own sports and recreation center. It was all part of his Courts 4 Kids program, which runs as a partnership between Anthony and his old Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim and Boeheim’s wife, Juli. The whole point is to help kids in disadvantaged socioeconomic areas, mostly around Syracuse. This was the second time they’ve gone into Puerto Rico; Anthony went there in June 2010. For the full story and for more information about Courts 4 Kids, go here.
Cole Hamels and Ryan Howard Are Runway Models Too, Apparently | Last Thursday, Hamels and Howard got all dressed up and walked up and down a runway for a couple hours in the second annual Shane Victorino Foundation All-Star Celebrity Fashion Show. They looked very pretty … and they weren’t the only ones. Joining them were Shane and his wife, Melissa, Jimmy and Johari Rollins, John Mayberry, Jr., Hunter Pence, Chase Utley, Jamie and Karen Moyer, and more. Being wimps, apparently, Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay were in attendance but did not participate. Victorino’s foundation benefits underprivileged kids in Philadelphia and Hawaii, Victorino’s home state. For the full story and further details, go here.
Here Are Some Reasons Why Stuart Scott Was Given The Jimmy V Foundation’s “Spirit of Jimmy V” Award | ESPN anchor Stuart Scott is also one hell of an inspirational kicker of cancer’s ass. He was given the 2011 “Spirit of Jimmy V” award at the 18th annual Jimmy V Celebrity Golf Classic on Sunday, Aug. 28 in Raleigh, N.C. This is Scott’s second bout with cancer: In 2008, doctors discovered a malignancy during an emergency appendectomy. On a related note, FoxSports.com columnist and MMAthletics founder/trainer Jay Glazer donated an afternoon of free MMA training at the award event’s fundraising auction. We’re highlighting Scott because he regularly posts updates to Twitter about his fight, and we think Jay-Z should put some of those tweets to beats, or something. Among them: “We fight together…we fight strong,” and, “MAN UP, SCOTT!” For more, click here.
In Honor of Michael Jackson’s Birthday, Here’s the Harlem Globetrotters’ Ant Atkinson Dancing To His Music | Michael Jackson was known as many things, but most-unnoticed among them was his philanthropic work. He’s in the 2000 Guinness Book of World Records for “Most Charities Supported by a Pop Star” with 39. He worked with USA for Africa, Make-a-Wish, and the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation. Of course, there were plenty of questions about Jackson, and his life was one laden with controversy, but Pace University social entrepreneurship professor Jeff Trexler perhaps summed up the King of Pop best as anyone, writing on his blog, in wake of Jackson’s death, “Like so many of us, [he] gave as much as he felt that he could.”
And the King lives on, and so in honor of what would have been his 53rd birthday, we presented you with Harlem Globetrotter Ant Atkinson’s Michael Jackson “Thriller” dance routine, which he performs mid-game, as shown here. Also awesome: Ant dancing to Jackson’s “They Don’t Care About Us” as a college freshman, shirtless, also available at that link.
A Coach-and-Reporter Interaction That Will Surely Warm the Cockles of Your Heart | Allen Wilson is the Buffalo Bills beat writer for the Buffalo News. He’s been incapacitated lately in the midst of a fight against leukemia. In town the other day for a preseason game against the Bills, Jacksonville Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio, having been told of Wilson’s condition by a mutual friend, took the time to stop by and wish Wilson well. They talked rookie Jags QB Blaine Gabbert and former Bill-turned-Jaguar linebacker Paul Poslusny. Full story here.
Go SCUBA Diving With First Man on the Moon Buzz Aldrin | Yeah, that title’s pretty self-explanatory, so if you’ve always hoped and dreamed to go under the sea with the man who went to the moon, here’s your chance. Problem is, you need money, and you need to go, like, now: The trip, which would be in Mexico, is up for auction until 10 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 3, at astronautscholarship.org. For more details click here.
So, This F-16 Pilot Dan Rooney Came Up With a Great Way to Help Families of Fallen and Wounded Veterans | Here’s the best sentence you’ll read in this whole thing: You can do a lot of good this weekend … and all you have to do is go play golf. Over the past four years, golfers have raised more than $8.9 million for more than 2,100 families of military veterans and their families in one simple way: Adding $1 to their green fees every Labor Day weekend. The movement is called Patriot Golf Day and it began through the Folds of Honor Foundation, a national nonprofit organization that provides scholarships and educational assistance to the families of fallen and disabled veterans. Patriot Golf Day runs this year from Sept. 2-5, with more than 5,000 golf courses participating nationwide. More details, including an address from former president George W. Bush, here.
Kevin Durant and LeBron James Are Pretty Good at Basketball | At least there’s some good coming from this NBA lockout. Kevin Durant scored 59 points for the Goodman League, but it wasn’t enough to beat LeBron James, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony on the Melo League team in last night’s charity basketball exhibition in Anthony’s hometown of Baltimore. The game benefitted Anthony’s charity foundation and was organized all within the last week. More than 4,500 fans overflowed the Edward P. Hurt Gymnasium at Morgan State. General admission tickets were sold for $40 and floor seats for $100. Click here to watch video from the game.
Tiger Woods DID Play Golf Again This Summer | In the Notah Begay III Foundation Challenge. He did not win. He and teammate Suzann Pettersen came in third out of four. The winners were Hunter Mahan and Cristie Kerr, plus the foundation: More than $500,000 was raised. Full story here.
High School Football Players Channel The Hulk to Flip Truck, Save Pregnant Lady | They were 16-year-olds Austin Kempf and Ethan Knust and 17-year-old Anthony Fischer, three linemen for Forest Park (Ind.) High. A guy flipped a truck. It caught fire. They flipped it over in time to save his pregnant wife. Their reaction? “It was just a midsize truck.” Full story.
So This Guy’s Going to Swim the Thames Just to Help People | Some British guy named David Walliams is swimming 140 miles in eight days to raise money for a United Kingdom charity called Sport Relief, which partners with charity Comic Relief, which exists “to help people living incredibly tough lives,” according to its website. Ambiguous, but awesome. And apparently, this is just something Walliams does on the regular:
In 2006, at age 34, he swam 21 miles across the English Channel to France, something his trainer, former Olympic modern pentathlete Greg Whyte, called “one of the toughest physical challenges on the planet.”
Walliams raised 1 million pounds.
Between the Liberty Cup and the NB3 Challenge, Cristie Kerr Has Been Killing It on the Charity Circuit This Week | Not only did Kerr beat Tiger Woods to win the NB3 Challenge; she hosted her own golf tournament earlier this week, and raised another $500,000 at that. Her tournament, played at Liberty National and called the Liberty Cup, benefitted charities around Jersey City, including the Cristie Kerr Women’s Health Center at Jersey City Medical Center. Kerr has been a breast cancer activity ever since her mother was diagnosed in 2003, when she started Birdies for Breast Cancer. Since then, she’s raised more than $1.25 million. For more about all that, click here.