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 #22 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Rethinking Sports Fandom with Author Craig Calcaterra – We discuss Calcaterra’s new book “Rethinking Fandom: How to Beat the Sports-Industrial Complex at Its Own Game” and explore new ways to be a fan in the year 2022.
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Episode #21 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Chatting About a Broken Game With Baseball Writer Pedro Moura – Moura is a national baseball writer for Fox Sports. We discuss how and why the game of baseball is broken, what factors caused it, and offer a few thoughts on how to “fix” a great game.
Episode #20 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Coaching Youth and High School Sports Based On What’s Best for the Athlete’s Holistic Development – We chat with long-time youth, high school and college basketball coach Jim Huber.
Episode #19 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Capturing the Spirit of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League with Anika Orrock – We discuss the hoops AAGPFL women had to jump through to play the game they loved as well as the long-term impact and legacy they have in advancing sports opportunities for girls and women.
Episode #18 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking about the 50th Anniversary of Title IX and the Lia Thomas Controversy with Nancy Hogshead-Makar – Hogshead-Makar is a triple gold medalist in swimming, a civil rights attorney and CEO of Champion Women.
Episode #17 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports With Legendary New York Times Sports Columnist Robert Lipsyte – We chat about Lipsyte’s amazing career and some of the athletes he covered.
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.
- League of Fans Sports Policy Director Ken Reed quoted in Washington Post column titled "What happened to P.E.? It’s losing ground in our push for academic improvement," by Jay Mathews
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.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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