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 #32 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Prolific Author Joe Posnanski Joins the Show – Posnanski is one of America’s best sportswriters and has twice been named the best sports columnist in America by the Associated Press Sports Editors. We chat about his new book, “Why We Love Baseball,” his new Substack newsletter called Joe Blogs, and we cover topics including how baseball treats its fans, MLB’s numerous rule changes this past season, how the sport can become more fan-friendly, the greatness of Negro Leagues champion Buck O’Neil, and much more.
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Episode #31 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Foul Ball Safety Is Still an Important Issue at Ballparks – Our guests are Jordan Skopp, founder of FoulBallSafety.com and Greg Wilkowski, a Chicago based attorney. We discuss the historical problem of foul balls injuring fans and why some teams are still hesitant to put up protective netting in some minor league and college baseball parks.
Episode #30 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The State of College Athletics with Dr. David Ridpath: Problems and Potential Solutions – Ridpath is a sports administration professor at Ohio University and a member of The Drake Group, a college sports reform think tank.
Episode #29 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Honorable Tom McMillen Visits League of Fans’ Sports Forum – McMillen is a former All-American basketball player, Olympian, Rhodes Scholar and U.S. Congressman. We discuss the state of college athletics today.
Episode #28 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Chat With Mano Watsa, a Leading Basketball and Life Educator – Watsa is President of PGC Basketball, the largest education basketball camp in the world. We discuss problems in youth sports today.
Episode #27 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Kids’ Sports: How We Can Take Back the Game and Restore Quality Family Time In the Process – Linda Flanagan is author of “Take Back the Game: How Money and Mania Are Ruining Kids’ Sports and Why It Matters.” We discuss how commercialized and professionalized youth sports are hurting kids and their families.
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.
- Reed Appears on Ralph Nader Radio Hour League of Fans’ sports policy director, Ken Reed, Ralph Nader and the New York Times’ Tyler Kepner discussed a variety of sports issues on Nader’s radio show as well as Reed’s updated book, How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan. Reed's book was released in paperback in February, and has a new introduction and several updated sections.
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.
Vanderbilt Sport & Society - On The Ball with Andrew Maraniss with guest Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director for League of Fans and author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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