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Black athletes and racism. It's a topic that unfortunately bubbles up to the surface several times a year. And this week was no different.
Wait a minute - this week was VERY different...

Two black athletes, two instances of racism. But the similarities ended there.
Because one was a victim and one a perpetrator.

Detroit Tigers' Delmon Young arrested for hate crime.
Not quite the headline you expect to read in your Saturday morning sports section. According to reports, Young was heavily intoxicated and harassed a pan-handler on the street in New York, yelling anti-semitic remarks

New York police spokesman Joseph Cavitolo told the Detroit Free Press that a confrontation began around 2:30 a.m., after a group of men spoke with a panhandler. Delmon Young, allegedly drunk, exchanged words with the men. According to Cavitolo, Young said, “You bunch of f---ing Jews.” He then pushed one of the men, tackled him to the ground, and then followed the man into the hotel’s lobby. Young was then arrested, and had to be sent to a nearby hospital due to his level of intoxication.

This comes on the heels of the racist "tweets" from Boston Bruins fans directed at Washington Capitals' Joel Ward, after he scored a series ending, game 7 overtime goal in the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs.

Ward handled it in stride, and both the NHL and the Bruins' organization stepped up to denounce the racist comments. The NHL has made big strides with its diversity program Hockey is for Everyone led by ambassador Willie O'Ree - known as the Jackie Robinson of hockey for breaking the color barrier in the 1950's.

I think ESPN's Scoop Jackson summed it up well: "Tweets masked as feelings that weren't about him as much as they were about the society we live in."

Racism in any form is racism. These stories need to get out so we can all recognize that racism and anti-semitism are still issues in the sports community. Whether it be on the field, off the rink, after the game, among players, fans, whomever, whenever, there's no place for it and it needs to stop.

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We salute International Women's Day and encourage everyone in the global sports community to eliminate all forms of gender bias...

International Women's Day

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We just came across two grant opportunities for nonprofit organizations in Arizona and Oregon. Please read through all of the details to see if your organization qualifiies. Details and links to follow...


Support for Outdoor Recreation Projects in Oregon
 via Oregon Parks Foundation Fund

The Oregon Parks Foundation Fund, administered by the Oregon Community Foundation, supports nonprofit organizations and public agencies throughout the state that address outdoor recreational issues. Grants are provided to community, district, county, and regional level organizations for the acquisition, preservation, and improvement of land and other property for public parks and recreational areas. Community outdoor recreation and education programs are also supported. Grants generally range from $1,500 to $5,000. The application deadline is April 15, 2012. Visit the Oregon Community Foundation’s website to find out more about the Fund’s application guidelines.



Phoenix Suns CharitiesArizona Children and Family Programs Funded via Phoenix Suns Charities

The Phoenix Suns Charities supports nonprofit organizations throughout Arizona whose programs focus on helping children and families maximize their potential. Priority is given to organizations that address the special needs of disadvantaged, disabled, minority, and at risk youth; encourage students to succeed in school and to develop quality career interests; develop leadership skills in youth; encourage family activities; promote community pride and cooperation for the improvement of local education and services; and promote health and fitness through recreation and youth sports. Program grants range from $1,000 to $10,000. (One Playmaker Award of $100,000 that can be used for capital or program expenses is also provided annually.) The application deadline is April 2, 2012. Visit the Phoenix Suns’ website to submit an online grant application.


Phoenix Suns Charities

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The February 2012 issue of Outside magazine has a critical assessment of LiveStrong, Lance Armstrong’s anti-cancer foundation and I feel obliged to respond to it.

The first criticism is that LiveStrong no longer donates to cancer research efforts and instead has transitioned itself into a role as kind of information conduit for people fighting cancer. Livestrong is now primarily a cancer awareness-raising charity.

The problem is that some of the charity’s supporters still promote Livestrong as a cancer research charity. That, of course, is wrong and supporters should depict Livestrong's mission honestly and forthrightly.









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Sunday, 12 February 2012 20:09

Featured Organiztion - Chill Foundation

Chill FoundationChill Foundation

CAUSES SERVED: Children and Youth
AGE GROUPS SERVED: Children and Youth, Teens
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As the world’s leading snowboard company, Burton Snowboards has played a vital role in transitioning snowboarding from the backyard hobby it was over three decades ago to the world-class sport it is today. Burton’s focus on creating the best products and getting the sport accepted at resorts has made snowboarding accessible to millions of people around the world.

But making snowboarding accessible to at-risk and underserved kids - many of whom have never been to the mountains - is an even bigger challenge, but one that Burton founder & CEO Jake Burton Carpenter and his wife Donna, Burton's President, chose to take on in 1995. As a result, Burton's Chill Foundation has been a huge part in the lives of over 17,500 kids around the world.

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When professional athletes retire, there are several paths they often choose. Some stay within their sport, finding a role as a coach, a scout, a broadcaster or in a management position. Others venture into the business world and forge a new career. And many still look to use their platform as a way to give back to the communities that supported them along their journey.

Chris Doleman spent 15 years chasing down quarterbacks and running backs for the Vikings, Falcons and 49ers, leaving the game in 2000 with 150 1/2 sacks and is a finalist for the NFL Hall of Fame this year. As a player, he was highly committed to supporting his team's and the league's community programs. So it was a natural transition for him to seek out a way to combine his passion for giving back with his business savvy and entrepreneurial spirit.

Doleman realized that most former pro athletes stay very active with their respective foundations upon leaving their sport. But many find that raising money on a regular basis can be a bigger challenge than a third and long on the road or a 2 strike count in the late innings. What he saw were players repeatedly going to the same sources for funding, and commonly not getting enough funds to effectively distribute through their foundations. So rather than compete for the same dollars by starting his own foundation, Doleman took another route and found a way to help them all.

With the launch of Chris Doleman Pro Auctions and the Celebrity Charitable Network, foundations and sports nonprofits have access to one-of-a-kind experiences that can be used to raise funds and drive awareness. We had a chance to talk with Chris to learn more about his new business ventures and how they're designed to help foundations of all sizes with their fundraising goals...


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Friday, 30 December 2011 12:36

A 2011 Closing Thought from the Coach...

If you've spent some time around this site, you'll notice we're big fans of quotes, especially from the legendary Green Bay Packers head coach Vince Lombardi. Lombardi had a unique ability to inspire and motivate his players, to bond them towards reaching a common goal, and to never quit - on each other or the task at hand. More so than the championships he won, his words have become his legacy and their power extends well beyond the football field.

As 2011 comes to a close, we leave you with these words from the coach...


To all in the global sports community who are doing their part to make this world a better place in which to live, we say THANK YOU and send our wishes for a very happy, healthy and safe NEW YEAR!


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“Not to sound too deep or weird, but I think that the times when you really appreciate surfing are the times you're really sort of becoming one with nature. Surfing's as raw of a sport as it gets.”

~ Kelly Slater

Hard to argue with the 11-time ASP World Surfing Champion on that. Surfing really is a unique sport, channelling the forces of nature and gravity to propel you across the water.

But did you know there's a cost to nature for every surfboard, every wetsuit and every bar of wax that's made? The folks at Envirosurfer do - and they want everyone to be aware of it. They created this cool infographic to show the impact surfer's have on the same nature they rely on. This isn't a scolding; more of a wake-up call to educate and spur new ideas for sustainable practices in the surf community. Check it out...


Surfing Infographic by Envirosurfer
Created by Envirosurfer: Eco-friendly Wetsuits & Surf Clothing.



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United States Power Soccer Association (USPSA)

ASSOCIATED SPORTS: Football (Soccer)
CAUSES SERVED: Athletics, Children and Youth, Disability Issues, Special Needs
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Just minutes prior to the final championship match, players on competing teams are seen hanging around talking, laughing, and having a blast. Blasphemous, right? Nope. This is special. This is the sport of Power Soccer.


Power Soccer is a sport developed specifically for those who use power wheel chairs. According to the United States Power Soccer Association, “Athletes' disabilities include quadriplegia, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, and many others.” The game is similar in format to outdoor soccer, but is played indoors on a basketball court. “Two teams of four players attack defend, and spin-kick a 13-inch soccer ball in a skilled and challenging game similar to able-bodied soccer.”


While relatively new, Power Soccer is played all over the globe, and every four years there’s a world cup - which Team USA won in 2007. The athletes involved have varying levels of physical handicaps; some are 100% dependent on others when out of their wheelchair. And in similar fashion to “the beautiful game,” Power Soccer not only gives these athletes an outlet to express themselves through sport, but also a way to meet people and make new friends.


To learn more, we checked in with Karen Russo, executive vice president of the United States Power Soccer Association (USPSA) about some of the different facets of the sport, these amazing athletes, and the organization…

Q: Could you tell us a little bit about the sport of Power Soccer, and your mission with the USPSA?


A: Power Soccer is specifically designed for the daily power wheelchair users. The reason these athletes are in power wheelchairs is they generally have very limited upper body strength or do not have the ability to maneuver a manual wheelchair. Manual chair sports are prominent in the disabled community, but there really was not a competitive team sport that someone in a power chair could play. Power Soccer uses the power of the wheelchair to spin, pass and kick a 13" soccer ball to their teammates in order to score goals.


Our mission with the USPSA is to reach out to all power wheelchair users to educate them on the opportunities of playing Power Soccer through holding clinics, to validate the game through certified officials, typically USSF certified referees, who are now trained in our sport. The Laws of the Game are aligned with the outdoor running game with a few adaptations.


The USPSA is about opportunity and a celebration of the players’ abilities. The power of Power Soccer is about creating an atmosphere where these athletes learn life skills that allows them to become contributing members of society. Power Soccer removes and pushes back some barriers that are self created or perceived or perhaps imposed by parents of children with disabilities. Many of these athletes through much of their lives have been told, “I’m sorry but you can’t do that” or “I will do that for you or with you.” Power Soccer allows the players to compete totally independent without anyone but themselves and their fellow teammates. This is a great revelation to many that play this sport. Many for the first time leave their parents and siblings on the sidelines and discover this great independence and freedom.

{slimbox images/stories/uspsa_2011teamusa.jpg,images/stories/uspsa_2011teamusa.jpg,USA Power Soccer Team USA 2011;images/stories/uspsa_danny_fast.jpg,images/stories/uspsa_danny_fast.jpg,Team USA member Danny Gorman at training camp;images/stories/uspsa_img_4464.jpg,images/stories/uspsa_img_4464.jpg,Kevin Williams about to make a goal at the national tournament;images/stories/uspsa_jcandmike.jpg,images/stories/uspsa_jcandmike.jpg,Competing at the national tournament;images/stories/uspsa_jc_pete_omar.jpg,images/stories/uspsa_jc_pete_omar.jpg,Three team USA members during training camp;images/stories/uspsa_mike_jordan.jpg,images/stories/uspsa_mike_jordan.jpg,US Power Soccer team members in action}


Q: What sparked the motivation for the creation of the USPSA?


A: A governing body for Power Soccer had been envisioned for a number of years by a group of dedicated people that had been involved with the sport long before us, specifically people from the west coast originally forming NPSA, the National Power Soccer Association. This dedicated group worked together over a year to put together a constitution and a set of bylaws that would ultimately be the governing body of the United States Power Soccer Association, USPSA. At that time, there were 19 teams in the country playing local games and a national tournament but nothing was standardized; guards, speed, interpretation of rules, referee training, and with the growth of the sport on the horizon, it was necessary for a governing body to be established to take the sport to the next level. The United States Power Soccer Association became a 501(c)3 organization in 2006. It was clear by the growth of teams from 2003 to 2006 that there needed to be a central body to generate visibility, communication, and to support the growth of this exciting sport.

Q: These players must face unimaginable daily difficulties; have you seen Power Soccer as a therapeutic way of healing?


A: Oh yes, some of these athletes need 100% assistance when out of their wheelchair, they are totally dependant on someone dressing them, feeding them, rolling over in bed as well as their personal needs. Power Soccer gives them the power to play a sport totally independently, making their own choices on the court and giving them complete control. Power Soccer gets these athletes out of their rooms and away from the computer, TV and game consoles and puts them in an environment where they can thrive. The sport of Power Soccer is not just a game, but teaches many life skills that will benefit them outside the game.

Q: Is Power Soccer something people of all ages can play? Are there different age groups?


A: People 5 years of age to 105 can play as long as they have control of their chair. This game is for physically challenged athletes and not mentally challenged. In some cities, such as Indianapolis, athletes are placed on age appropriate teams as they have 13 active teams. In other cities, there may only be one team so they all play on the same team. However, this is the beauty of the game. All ages and genders can play together. The control of the joystick is the great equalizer. We have a veteran in Orlando who is in his 70’s and loves to play! The first Team USA in 2007 had players as young as 16 and a woman aged 55.


The USPSA travels to cities and states around the country holding clinics. These clinics are the beginning of a whole new world. Funds are limited so we need to be efficient with the funds we have. We have adopted somewhat of a leapfrog approach by hosting clinics in bordering states where Power Soccer currently exists. This furthers the camaraderie that is at the center of this sport. We typically bring two athletes and two able bodied persons to host a clinic. The able bodied persons assist with getting the soccer guards on the new players and the two athletes help with demonstrating drills and help the scrimmage flow so everyone has fun and learns. As with the running game of soccer, it is important to allow the players to touch the ball and understand how to maneuver it. This gives the new player and the parent of the player a comfort level and the confidence Power Soccer is a game they can play.

Q: Is the sport a medium for players to express themselves and let go?


A: I think this is about knowing you are not alone and there are others just like you. Being part of a team regardless of physically ability or being disabled, each person learns from each other. Each person learns they are part of the group moving in the same direction and each player has an important role for the team to be successful. They also find and develop friendships outside of their normal group of friends and in many cases can share their sporting successes on the court with their able-bodied friends just like everyone else. In many cases, their able-bodied friends support them at games and competitions. It gives the Power Soccer player a common bond with others.

Q: Do the players build relationships and camaraderie among each other?


A: I am not sure how other sports are, but I would doubt that you would see athletes that are preparing to play each other in a championship game, hang out with each other on the sidelines prior to the match. As serious as these athletes are about their game, and as intense as they are on the court, off the court they are no longer opponents, they are friends. These athletes have formed relationships all over the world and with wonderful tools like Facebook they are able to stay connected. The Power Soccer community is very strong and it’s not just the athletes that benefit from new friendships - the parents, husbands and wives, grandparents and more find a new support system as well.

Q: Can you tell us about one of your proudest moments while working with the USPSA?"


A: There have been so many; but one of my most personal moments was when my children made Team USA in 2007. We went into the matches as the under dog and managed to shut out every team except for Team France, and allowed only 1 goal prior to the championship game. The final game came down to overtime and then to penalty kicks. Team USA came home with the win. I was so proud of the whole team and what they were able to accomplish. It’s not very often someone can find themselves as the best in the world in something. On that day, this group of athletes was the best in the world and I was extremely proud of them.

Q: In one of your newsletters, a child was quoted as saying "I love it, the experience of power chair soccer. I love my team. My team is awesome." That must be pretty amazing to hear.


A: It is. Power Soccer brings a wonderful element to these athletes’ lives. Many of these athletes have been closed off to sports and the team experience. Words cannot describe the evolution and discovery of what a team sport brings.

Q: What do you think of Team USA's chances in the world cup this year?


A: Team USA has a very good chance of retaining their 2007 championship title. The team has been training for the past 2 years together on a quarterly basis and has been responsible for completing drill assignments’ as an individual for the past 86 weeks. They are ready!

Q: What can our readers do to help out the USPSA?


A: Funding is always challenging. We are launching a new campaign 100 days from the date of the 2011 World Cup, “The ONE Campaign.” The significance of THE ONE Campaign is to provide the team with the support to be THE number ONE team in the world, to achieve THE ONE mission of raising ONE million dollars, and THE ONE goal of winning the 2011 Power Chair Football World Cup. THE ONE will achieve these goals with the support of hundreds and thousands of advocates for the US National Power Soccer Team by using social media as our tool for promoting the sport of Power Soccer. To learn more, please visit


These athletes and staff are proud to represent the US at the World Cup. The team is depending on the success of this campaign. I hope you will help in what ever way you can.

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We just got a note from our good friends at US Power Soccer Association, with some news from the FIPFA World Cup...

After putting on two convincing performances in their first day of competition, Team USA was confident entering Friday's matches against Switzerland and England. After defeating the Swiss 21-0, they prepared for a very strong England squad. It was a hard-fought match, with England scoring the game's only goal in second half. Despite the loss, Team USA were still through to the semi-finals.

At that point, it was a matter of seeing who would be the next test. The opponent ended up being France, setting the stage for a rematch of the final in the inaugural World Cup in Tokyo. The match was intense, as Team USA struck first, with Michael Archer putting away a penalty kick in the first half. In the second half, France had several scoring chances, but a goal by Kendra Scalia-Carrow sealed their fate and Team USA advanced to the FIPFA World Cup final with a 2-0 victory!

The final game will see the United States vs. England in a rematch! Kickoff is Sunday, November 6 at 9am EST. You can watch the game live at Blog Handicap.

Team USA is one win away from being the first US Soccer team to repeat as world champions. Be sure to tune in on Sunday and support our athletes as they fight for the trophy!


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