As the Paralympic movement continues to build here in the US - thanks in large part to increased exposure via the web and social media, and the success of team USA athletes at the recent Winter Paralympic games in Sochi - there's a rapidly growing interest in adaptive sports. But for many people with disabilities, finding a sport they can play is the first step and often times the most challenging. If someone is interested in playing wheelchair rugby, just showing up at a local park expecting to find 9 other wheelchair athletes and an open game is not going to happen anywhere.
That was a big part of the goal behind the creation of the DisAbility Sports Festival. Started eight years ago at California State University San Bernardino by Kinesiology Professor Dr. Aaron Moffett, the 2014 event was held on Saturday October 18th, drawing over 700 athletes from 6 different states. The event is designed to introduce a wide range of sports for people with all types of disabilities. What began as a small local event has now grown into the largest cross-disability sports event in the Western US, with over 20 different sports and activities offered in one day, including Swimming, Soccer, Tennis, Sitting Volleyball, Judo, Wheelchair Basketball, Wheelchair Rugby, Archery, Kayaking, Golf, Goalball and many others.
Earlier this year, we presented a great opportunity for Nonprofit Sports Orgs to get a big boost for their Search Engine Marketing through the Google AdWords platform and Ad Grants program. Our friends at Elite SEM - one of the premiere Search Engine Marketing firms in the country - were willing to take on the challenge of guiding a Nonprofit through the AdWords universe, helping to set-up and manage keywords, tracking click-thrus and conversions and offering several "best practices" to keep them on-track. The Google Ad Grants program provides $10,000 per month for Nonprofits to spend on AdWords, which can be a hugely impactful tool for driving traffic, attracting donors and volunteers, or raising awareness around critical issues for Nonprofit Orgs.
After reviewing multiple applicants in the spring, Coaches Across Continents was selected to receive a 5 month pro-bono consulting package. Coaches Across Continents (CAC) uses Soccer as a platform for life skills education, focusing on local social issues such as female empowerment and gender equity; conflict resolution, social inclusion, health and wellness. With programs running in 21 countries around the world CAC reaches more than 170,000 children ever year through their international network of coaches and community partners.
I checked in with both Elite SEM and Coaches Across Continents to get an update on what's transpired over the past few months, and how the work has impacted CAC's AdWords campaigns. Here are some of the highlights and comments...
I was asked by freelance writer Curtis Silver to offer some thoughts on the broader topic of the NFL's handling of domestic abuse by players. Curtis' piece ran on Linkedin with a quote from me, but I thought I'd share all of my thoughts here. There are many issues at hand, including how the league has handled the Ray Rice situation from the start, and I've been looking at the bigger picture here. Maybe you agree, maybe you don't. That's what's great about the forum we have today - the ability to discuss these issues...
It appears there is a larger issue at hand, and a lot of folks are starting to point to it - the NFL way too lenient in disciplining players for off the field incidents, especially around violence. There is a long list of documented domestic violence and abuse cases involving NFL players and women (girlfriends, spouses, even mothers) and the lack of any significant discipline until Rice's indefinite suspension points to an attitude of indifference, hoping the problems will just go away or assuming they'll move past them quick enough that they won't tarnish the league's image. This piece does a great job of summarizing all of the previous incidents around domestic violence: http://sidespin.kinja.com/roger-goodell-is-a-domestic-violence-enabler-who-must-b-1632385955
In many of these cases, there were no formal charges filed, and the league might try to use that as justification for not penalizing the player with fines & suspensions. However those who deal with domestic violence will attest to the fact that charges aren't always filed, and in many situations the issue is never reported in the first place. There are over 50 documented cases involving NFL players since 2006; no one knows how many were never reported. Maybe only a few. Maybe a lot more.
We got a note this past week from the good folks at Athlete Ally - one of the Orgs leading the call for respect, inclusion and acceptance in sports regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity - about a big event they're hosting in New York this October. A lot of progress has been made around this issue recently, but there is still a long road ahead and everyone in the sports community can get involved. Here's the full scoop...
On behalf of Athlete Ally's Board of Directors, I am pleased to invite you to join me at the organization's first annual Athlete Ally Action Awards. The cocktail party will take place on Thursday, October 2 at Cafe Rouge in Manhattan.
The inaugural Athlete Ally Action Awards will recognize individuals and organizations that took pioneering actions in 2014 to help create LGBT inclusive athletic environments and end anti-LGBT prejudice through sport. In 2014, more athletes have come out and more sports organizations have taken a stand for LGBT equality than ever before. LGBT athletes are increasingly being made to feel welcome for who they are and straight allies are leveraging their voices to speak up for LGBT inclusion.
Please celebrate this enormous progress with us on October 2. Help Athlete Ally continue to educate and activate athletic communities to eliminate homophobia and transphobia from sports and to exercise their leadership to champion LGBT respect.
Please purchase your tickets today by clicking HERE