Sports has an amazing power to influence people, build community and effect change. Time and time again, sports has delivered mass audiences for effective charity efforts, from awareness campaigns to fundraisers. And athletes, in a personal light, can impact a child in a most-memorable way. However, these stories rarely make the headlines, at least above the fold … or above the scroll.
In August 2007 I had a chance meeting with an American Red Cross director in the media center at Pocono Raceway for the Pennsylvania 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race. She was at the track to drum up support for the blood drive that the NASCAR Foundation endorses annually each September 11th. The director, and I regret not remembering her name, excitedly informed me that the two biggest single-day blood drives are driven by NASCAR. The numbers showed that last year Michigan International Speedway and Pocono Raceway hosted the first and second biggest single-day blood drives in the country.
After our conversation, I couldn’t help but think that one of the least covered areas in the media is the connection between community and sports. In a day when a major NFL star is being accused of animal cruelty, an NBA referee has been placing bets on games he officiated, and steroids are the talk of baseball, I thought that this is the perfect time to venture out into a niche site to cover the positive side of sports.
So Progress Avenue was born.
It is my hope that people will be inspired and motivated to get involved in their own community, knowing that their efforts are appreciated.
This is a project that may forever be under construction, but it’s just time to start building.
August 17, 2007