By Ken Reed
In the latest (December 17-24) issue of Sports Illustrated, the “Sportsperson of the Year” issue, there’s a feature called “A Sportsperson Will … Inspire.” It provides great reading about courage, strength, sportsmanship and the human spirit. The section includes 11 stories/vignettes written by SI staffers.
It starts out with a stirring account of Rachael Denhollander’s fight to bring serial sexual abuser Rachael Denhollander to justice.
Denhollander could have chosen to privately confront her pain from being sexually abused by Nassar. But she chose to go public with her fight against Nassar, USA Gymnastics, Michigan State and others.
“I didn’t want anybody else to go through it,” said Denhollander.
There’s a great piece about Kylian Mbappe`, the young French soccer star who donated all of his tournament earnings after the last World Cup (about $500,000) to a charity that gives free sports instruction to disabled and hospitalized children in France.
“The money doesn’t change my life, but changes theirs,” said Mbappe`.
There’s the story about Justin Gallegos, a 20-year-old distance runner for the University of Oregon running club. Gallegos has cerebral palsy, making distance running very difficult. But he perseveres with determination to be the best he can be.
“We are only limited by our minds and not our bodies,” said Gallegos after a race.
Nike has given Gallegos a professional contract, believed to be the first for an athlete with cerebral palsy.
Stephanie Apstein writes about Ty Koehn, a pitcher for a Minnesota high school team that won the state championship this past year. Koehn struck out the final batter he faced in the title game. But instead of immediately celebrating with his teammates, Koehn sprinted to the plate to hug the boy he had just struck out. The batter was Jack Kocon, Koehn’s lifelong friend.
“I love you,” Koehn told Kocon. “There were seven innings in this game, and one at bat wasn’t the deciding factor. I hope you remember our friendship longer than this game. Don’t hang your head, you’ve done a great job.”
“Thanks,” said Kocon. “Congratulations.”
What his friend Koehn did has become even more important to Kocon in the months that have followed the strikeout.
“In a few years I’m not gonna remember the score of the game,” says Kocon, “but I’ll remember that moment.”
There are seven additional stories of inspiration in the SI feature. They are definitely worth the read, especially during this holiday season.
They are true representations of sport at its best.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #10 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: An Issues Discussion With Paul Dolan – Dolan is the Cleveland Indians Owner and CEO. He discusses the use of Native American names and logos by sports teams and the decisions to drop the Chief Wahoo logo and the upcoming change to the team name. Other baseball topics include health and safety, possible MLB rule changes and youth participation in the sport.
Follow on Facebook: @SportsForumPodcast
Episode #9 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports Issues With Ralph Nader – Nader is a consumer advocate and was named one of the “100 Most Influential Americans of the 20th Century” by Time magazine. He is the founder of League of Fans.
Episode #8 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Save College Sports From Overcommercialization and Professionalization? – The guest is Dr. David Ridpath, a sports business professor and past president of the Drake Group
Episode #7 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Brain Trauma and CTE Risk in Sports With Dr. Ann McKee – Dr. McKee works in the field of neuropathology and has demonstrated that “mild” repetitive head trauma can provoke chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a devastating neurodegenerative disease.
Episode #6 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Need for Quality Physical Education in Our Schools is Greater Than Ever – The guest is Clayton Ellis, one of our nation’s leading advocates for getting our young people to be more physically active.
Episode #5 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Youth Sports with Positive Coaching Alliance Founder Jim Thompson – Thompson started Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) in 1998 to help create a movement to transform the culture of youth sports from “win-at-all-costs” to a positive, character-building experience.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
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