Sports Helps Backfield in Motion Reach Nashville Kids

If you’re looking for a good ten minutes to help you start the day, this video about Nashville-based Backfield in Motion is a must-see. Backfield in Motion CEO Boots Donnelly leads off with a little bit of clarification. Donnelly: “Backfield in Motion, the name is a little bit misleading. We are more academics than we are sports. We use sports more so as a hook.” There are 150 kids going though the program each year, and if you check the video out, you’ll hear what some of them have to say.

News Bytes: Catching Up On the Week’s Stories

The 24 Hours of Booty tops this week’s news bytes. The official 24 hour cycling event of the Lance Armstrong Foundation is getting some help from NASCAR driver and avid cyclist Bobby Labonte. After the jump, we’ve got bytes on LeBron James, Brandon Webb, Diego and others.

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24 Hours of Booty: 24 Hours of Booty, which runs the Official 24-Hour Cycling Event of the Lance Armstrong Foundation and the only 24-hour road cycling charity event in the country, has partnered with NASCAR driver Bobby Labonte’s Breaking Limits marketing agency to help acquire new corporate partnerships. Labonte: “I’m an avid cyclist, and a supporter of the Lance Armstrong Foundation and LIVESTRONG campaign, so the 24 Hours of Booty rides truly align with what I believe in and support” (24 Hours of Booty).

Take the jump to read more of this week’s bytes. [Read more…]

J-Mac’s Coach Gets Speaking Gig for Charity Event

It seems as if Jason “J-Mac” McElwain is renewing his fame thanks in large part to an appearance in a Gatorade spot. The YouTube clip of his amazing shooting performace three years ago is again making its rounds through the social networking sphere.

Now, a Rochester outlet is reporting that J-Mac’s high school coach, Jim Johnson, “will tell the story of J-Mac” at the When Dreams Come True Charity Luncheon on March 1. The event will benefit Two Doors Community Resource Center.

This isn’t Johnson’s first gig. The coach “has done numerous speaking engagements both here and around the nation” (MPNNow, 2/20).

What makes J-Mac’s story great is the fact that the kid is autistic. In his first and only high school varsity game of the season three years ago, the kid scored 20 points on an impressive six 3-pointers. See for yourself. Check out the video.

Run.Swim.Bike: Texas Tough Ultra Relay Captures to Broad Base to Support One Cause

Texas Tough Ultra Relay

In an effort to reach a “broad base of runners, swimmers, cyclists and triathletes,” the three-stage Texas Tough Ultra Relay was created to benefit Children’s Medical Center in Dallas.

The pledge-based fundraising initiative will kick off with a run event to be held March 29. That will be followed by a June swim and September cycling events.

Ken Woltman, a participant in the relay, told the Dallas Morning News that Executive Director Geoff Godsey has “the right concept to get a lot of people to do a little bit to make a big difference. He’s managed to capture all the folks in the mode of staying fit to concentrate on one group effort.”

How It Works: In Dallas, Debbie Fetterman writes, “There is a $45 individual registration fee per stage. There’s also an annual $300 pledge due Nov. 15, 2009, whether you do one, two or all three stages. The relay consists of four 5K legs and three 10K legs. Teams can have four to seven members. A $25,000 prize purse will be divided among the top 20 finishing relay teams that meet their fundraising minimums” (Debbie Fetterman, Dallas Morning News, 2/19).

India Sports Project Hopes to Impact Girls Who Have Never Played Anything

The Girls Who Have Never Played Anything is perhaps an appropriately named project to fund a sports program at Pardada Pardadi Girls Vocational School in India.

This slide presentation assesses the culture this way: “In rural India, life is hard – especially for girls. Considered a burden, girls aren’t sent to school, but do household chores and work in the fields. … All they know is work. They don’t even know how to play” (Pardada Pardadi Girls Vocational School).

Video added to YouTube: February 17, 2009

Canadian Olympic Athletes Supporting Right to Play, Which Was Cut From 2010 Vancouver Games

Jenn Heil with Right to Play

In Toronto, Randy Starkman writes that about 70 Canadian Olympic athletes “sent a message to the officials who booted the charity Right To Play out of the athletes’ village for the 2010 Winter Games: We still believe in doing the right thing, even if you don’t.”

The statement, which was released yesterday, stated in part: “As we, the athletes, have been talking to each other, we found something felt … violated by the IOC’s ruling.”

Rowing Gold Medalist Adam Kreek, a leader in the campaign, said, “We can communicate our sense of outrage and our disappointment and see if the IOC is up to living up to the ideals the athletes have committed to. We see this as something that is intuitively wrong, looks wrong, feels wrong and doesn’t sit right in our stomachs. As athletes, we want to stand up for what’s right.”

How It All Began: Starkman noted that the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC) “made the original decision to bar Right To Play … because the charity’s sponsors conflicted with their own.” The IOC “later cut its ties to the humanitarian group.”

Gold Medal-winning moguls skier Jenn Heil: “It’s an amazing story how this organization was born from the Olympics with so much energy and power. It’s a success story and it’s important to make the organization accessible to athletes. It’s what’s made it successful in the past. It takes the Olympics further as a celebration of sport and what it can teach us all about sharing” (Randy Starkman, Toronto Star, 2/14). Read Starkman’s entire Toronto Star piece

Photo credit: Right to Play

The Krispy Kreme Challenge Charity Race Growing Into Popular Affair at North Carolina State

Charity Race for Doughnuts (1:37)

Can you run two miles, eat 12 Krispy Kreme doughnuts and race back without throwing up?

The Krispy Kreme Challenge, run by students of North Carolina State University, attracted more than 5,000 runners and raised about $35,000 for the North Carolina Children’s Hospital. Accompanying video from Raleigh’s WTVD-ABC.

Video added to YouTube: February 10, 2009

American College of Sports Medicine Foundation Looks Forward to Continuing 20 Years of Success

American College of Sports Medicine Foundation (1:45)

For the past 20 years, the American College of Sports Medicine Foundation has helped ensure that ACSM continues its legacy as a leader in sports medicine and exercise science (American College of Sports Medicine Foundation).

Video added to YouTube: February 9, 2009

Featuring Former Big Leaguers, Arizona Baseball Charities Event Helps Regional Little League Teams

Buddy Schultz

In Phoenix, Mike Sakal wrote that the 17th annual Arizona Baseball Charities Celebrity Game is slated for Sunday, and will “feature about 50 former major leaguers, including” Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry.

This year, Arizona Baseball Charities “is poised to surpass $800,000 in donations to Little League teams over the years.”

Arizona Baseball Charities Executive Director Buddy Schultz, a former big leaguer, said, “What would you do if your team got $5,000? That money could go a long way. Every bit helps.”

Show Me the Money: Sakal noted that “simply by showing up with 50 people or more, 43 teams or leagues will receive $300.” Then “during the seventh inning of the game, a drawing will determine a $5,000 winner.” Two teams “will win $2,500 and 10 teams will win $1,000.”

The money “is aimed at helping to further a team’s ‘field of dreams,’ whether it’s building a field, purchasing new equipment or simply keeping the field’s lights on.”

Showing Appreciation: Mesa’s Red Mountain Little League President Jeff Tush said, “It’s great for the kids and great for the teams. By receiving the money, it helps us pay for some things we wouldn’t be able to get otherwise, and it helps us not to raise registration fees for kids to play” (Mike Sakal, East Valley Tribune, 2/5). Read the entire piece from East Valley Tribune

Photo credit: Buddy Schultz :: Official Web Site

Press Play: Gomes Donates Defibrillators to Providence Group; VASS Challenge Coming Up

Ryan Gomes – Hoops for Heart Health (0:31)

Minnesota Timberwolves F Ryan Gomes, a Providence grad, was featured in this video during a timeout at the Providence College-Villanova University game on February 4. During the game, two Automated External Defibrillators were donated to the John Hope Settlement House in Providence by Gomes’ Hoops for Heart Health Foundation.

Video added to YouTube: February 5, 2009

VASS – Skiing Removes Barriers (0:41)

The second annual VASS Challenge Cup is slated for February 29 in Vancouver. Supporting Vancouver Adaptive Snow Sports, the event pits a team of three skiers/boarders with one athlete with a disability.

Video added to YouTube: February 5, 2009

Three Dot Dash PSA Features Teen Leader’s Sports Equipment Contribution to Uganda

Three Dot Dash PSA (0:30)

Three Dot Dash is a yearlong global initiative of the We Are Family Foundation that supports teen leaders around the world who are doing projects that help promote a more peaceful society by addressing one or more basic human needs: food, water, health, shelter, safety, education and environment.

Every year, Three Dot Dash provides Global Teen Leaders with the tools to expand their impact and learn how to better tell their stories from prominent leaders in order to gain media attention and public support for their projects.

Who Am I? The above PSA features Sebastian Roberts, who, in 2006 under the Bavubuka Foundation, organized fundraising efforts to purchase 300 pounds of sporting equipment and to fund shipment of the equipment to Uganda. In March 2008, he completed another three-month journey to Uganda to distribute over 1000 pounds of sports equipment and to educate the youth in sports and sportsmanship.

He is currently working on an HIV/AIDS prevention campaign called We Got Skillz that included a large-scale event in Uganda the first week of December 2008 that brought together international performers and those involved in music, basketball, dance and fashion to advocate for safe sex (Three Dot Dash).

Video added to YouTube: February 3, 2009

National Study Finds Kids Who Have Recess Behave Better in Class

Kids Playing

The Washington Post’s Amanda Gardner caught up with Dr. Romina M. Barros, who “has now published a study in the February issue of Pediatrics documenting the value of recess: Children who have it during the day behave better in class.”

Barros: “When we restructure our education system, we have to think that recess should be part of the education system, and if we have to get more help, we’ll have to get more help. Even if we don’t have space, if they could have 15 minutes indoors. Unstructured time, that’s all that they need.”

Left Behind? Gardner noted that “although it’s unclear how much recess children in the United States are getting, some studies have documented a dramatic decrease, and this study reported that the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 has resulted in less recess for many children.”

Barros explained, “They started to find out that kids in the U.S. were not doing well compared to other countries and started penalizing schools when kids weren’t passing the state test. That’s when schools [started to cut recess] not only because of space, but also because they wanted to put more in academics.”

Meanwhile, Gardner added that recess “is recommended at least once a day, for 20 or more minutes.” Physical activity “should also be part of this time.”

Barros’ study “looked at a national database of about 11,000 8- and 9-year-olds” (Amanda Gardner, Washington Post, 1/26). Read the entire article from the Washington Post