Tuesday, August 14, 2007

'Canes Plan 2nd Annual 5k Fun Run

From the Carolina Hurricanes official website:

In what is becoming the traditional way to kick off the new hockey season, Hurricanes Head Trainer and Strength and Conditioning Coach Pete Friesen will hold his Friesen's 5K Fun Run on Sunday, September 9th.

Last year's inaugural run was a huge success as over 2,000 people, including Hurricanes players and coaches, participated in the event, which raised over $21,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Eastern North Carolina.

"We were only expecting about 500 people, so last year's event was beyond our wildest dreams," said Friesen. "We were just trying to celebrate the Stanley Cup and show our fans some appreciation for all they did, and they turned around and showed us a lot.”

Click here to read how the event got started and who will participate.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Chicago Bears Win Prestigious Humanitarian Award

From the Chicago Bears' official website:

The Bears were named the 2006 recipient of the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame Pro Team Community Award, which is presented annually to a pro sports organization “for extraordinary contributions to their respective community.”

The Bears are the 12th winner of the award and just the second NFL team to be recognized for community service. Honored from a pool of applicants from organizations in Major League Baseball and the NFL, NBA, WNBA, MLS and NASCAR, the Bears have implemented and supported programs in the areas of education, children and families, health and wellness, youth football, volunteerism and civic initiatives.

Roberto Garza often visits schools and is very involved in the Hispanic community.“I think it just speaks to the fact that there are a lot of guys on the team that do stuff in the community,” said veteran left tackle John Tait. “You’ve got guys on the team with big hearts and they’re willing to help out.”

During 2006, Bears players and staff members made 261 community appearances primarily at schools, hospitals, health organizations and youth agencies. Many of the appearances occurred on Tuesdays during the football season, which is the designated off day for all NFL players.

Click here to read more about the work the Bears' organization did to earn this award.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Blake Carves Niche in NBA With Character

Steve Blake has a special place in my heart. He was the point guard at my school, the University of Maryland, when they won the 2002 National Championship. It was expected that he would make much of an impact in the NBA, but low expectations is nothing new for Blake. Neither is exceeding them.

Blake recently signed a 3-year, $12 million contract with the Portland Trail Blazers. From the Baltimore Sun:

This is the story of how Blake did it - how he overcame initial jitters ("I was so nervous my legs got weak"), how his family helped him keep faith despite playing for four teams the past three seasons (this will be his second stint with the Blazers), and how he waited for the right situation with a team that appreciates him.

Blake created his NBA niche largely on character. The Blazers, trying to reconnect with fans after a spate of player misconduct in recent years, said they wanted Blake because he's grounded. Although Blake's career scoring average is only 6.4 points, the team's front office saw him as a prototype for the unselfish, blue-collar culture it is trying to create. He's proof that today's NBA teams - out of necessity - evaluate players on more than just statistics.

Click here to read how Blake, with the strong support of his family, has made it this far.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

NCAA Division II SAAC Does Top Rated Work Rasing Funds

From the NCAA's official website:

From car washes to change drives to bake sales and even kickball tournaments, members of the NCAA Division II Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and their respective communities rallied together to raise $208,022 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation during the 2006-07 academic year. The final total more than doubled the group’s fundraising goal for the year and represented 100 percent participation from all Division II conferences.

“One of the many initiatives that make Division II unique is the commitment from SAAC to represent service through the Make-A-Wish Foundation,” said Mike Racy, Division II Vice President. “Our student-athletes have taken great pride and ownership of this issue and have built upon its success year after year. They are an illustration of why the attribute of service is so important to our division.”

The Division II SAAC has a longstanding commitment to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, an organization that grants the heartfelt wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions. The student-athlete group has raised almost $500,000 since the launch of its fundraising initiative for the charity, with the most recent efforts marking the largest amount raised by the group in any single academic year.

Click here to read more about this effort and those who it will benefit.

Friday, August 10, 2007

49er's Alex Smith Has a Hands-On Foundation

When Alex Smith became the number one pick in the 2005 NFL draft, he knew he would have the resources to help his community in a significant way. He didn't just want to write checks, however. He wanted to directly affective lives.

From AOL.com:

After he was the top pick in the 2005 NFL draft, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith knew what he did and did not want to do with his foundation.

Smith wanted to start one, and he wanted to involve his family.

Smith did not want a foundation that organized one lavish event, barely raising any money, and he did not want to be clueless about the cause he would support.

“There were a lot of athletes who were happy to say they had a foundation,” Smith said. “They didn’t know where the money was going or what they were doing. They just wanted to have a golf tournament.”

Smith quickly found his foundation’s calling. Shortly after the draft, Smith visited with some foster youth around his age, and he marveled at how much their stories contrasted to his.

Click here to read how Alex Smith and his foundation are making a difference in the lives of youth who needed a strong positive influence.

Click here to learn more about the Alex Smith foundation.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Going Out of Her Way to Make a Difference

From the NCAA's official website:

Brianna O’Donnell not only talks about making a difference -- she is actually doing it.

The sophomore field hockey goalkeeper from the University of North Carolina has gone on two lengthy trips to Kenya over the past year, volunteering at an orphanage in Kibera -- the world’s second-largest slum -- in the capital city of Nairobi. Her main objective was improving the children’s quality of life.

O’Donnell made her first trek to Kenya last December, staying for three weeks as a participant in the Global Volunteer Network program. She immediately fell in love with the children, and knew this was a cause she could not just walk away from.

In May, O’Donnell went back to help the same orphanage where she had worked during winter break. She wrote her family and close friends a letter, asking for donations that would directly make marked improvements at the orphanage. The native of Collegeville, Pa., raised $7,500 in four weeks, a sum she knew could really help.

Click here to read how much difference one field hockey goalie made overseas.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Teammates Show Hickerson Love on His Special Day

Former Cleveland Browns guard Gene Hickerson waited for 29 years to gain election into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Sadly, by the time the honor came, he was well into a battle with Alzheimer's disease and could not truly appreciate or enjoy it.

That did not stop a large contingent of his former teammates from sharing the day with him;

From the Cleveland Browns' official website:

Bobby Franklin, who played for the Browns from 1960-66, gave a stirring presentation speech for his dear friend with whom he lived when they were young players in Cleveland. Afraid all along that he would become too emotional during the speech, his worse fears were realized.

But it was all good. Very good and very poignant.

"I love Gene Hickerson as if he were my brother, and I would like you all to love him, too," Franklin said.

"Normally, Gene would come out here and crack a joke or two and tell you how thrilled he is, but unfortunately, he will not be able to do that," Franklin said.

But a number of Hickerson's former teammates came from all parts of the country to personally show their respect and admiration for No. 66's grand, long-awaited accomplishment. Although he probably doesn't have much grasp of the moment, they knew they had to be there for him.

And for Bob Hickerson, whose voice quivered a number of times as he gave the acceptance speech on behalf of his father.

And for Franklin, to help get him through the night. The man they have long called Wavy couldn't be allowed to waver.

Join hands and help one another. Make sure everyone got to where they needed to go.

Click here to read more about this moving story, including a special escort Hickerson received from some of the greatest running backs in NFL history.