One of the few awards show I like to watch is the ESPY Awards on ESPN. Although I have written before in this blog about how America needs better role models than highly paid, bad boy athletes, the world of sports does provide some amazing moments. Sports offers some important benefits to society. First, it pushes people to work hard to improve their own skills and performance. That goes for not only the best athletes in the world, but also for amateur golfers, tennis players, runners and others in every single community. Second, it brings people together. Friends and neighbors can disagree on many subjects, but when they're both fans of the same sport, ot even better, the same team, nothing else seems to matter.
This years ESPY Awards found a story that combined both of these things. It's a story of a father and son that will leave you speechless. First, get the background on Dick Hoyt and his son, Rick. Then watch their brief speech as they accepted the Jimmy V Award at the ESPYs, noticing the response from the crowd and the looks on athletes faces as they realize that their multi-million contracts and their world of privilege and perks don't mean a thing compared to what the Hoyts have faced.
At age 17, in the spring of my senior year in high
school, my thoughts rarely stretched past what I would do on the next weekend. The young man I am about to introduce you to is thinking about how the
program he started two years ago to help autistic kids will continue when he
goes away to college.
You heard that right. Jason Lerner is 17 and has been
running a program to introduce children with autism to tennis with the idea
that sports and exercise helps them concentrate and gives them a sense of
belonging. He and his high school classmates appear to be
His tennis program has already brought good news into a
lot of lives. It’s bonus good news that Jason will continue to study autism in
college. Just take a look at this video and notice the way he talks about
program and the kids it serves. I have a feeling we might hear his name again
in the future.
I was at the Nebraska/Virginia Tech game in Blacksburg in
2009. It was the most exciting finish I have ever witnessed. I was sitting in
the end zone where all the last minute action happened, on my feet with 60,000
I remember that a surprising number of Nebraska fans made
the journey to Virginia to watch their team. They left the stadium disappointed but were
always respectful of VT fans. I high-fived several as we chatted on a shuttle bus ride
back to the car. I haven’t thought much about it since then, but today I am a
Nebraska fan. You will be, too, when you take a look at this article and watch the video. Believe me, you don't want to miss the video that is on page 2 of the article.
Today’s Good News needs very few words. Inspiring stories always emerge from the Olympic Games. One of the best story lines from the current Olympics is South African runner Oscar Pistorius, who just happens to be a double amputee. Apparently, he has been inspiring others for a long time. This photo from 2009 emerged recently on Twitter. I dare you to not be moved.
Tennis is a great sport. Among the world’s elite players are some very classy athletes. The past two weeks at Wimbledon are a great example of guts, perseverance and raw talent. In my opinion, two great stories emerged.
First, one of the most incredible talents ever to pick up a racket was rewarded with a seventh Wimbledon championship. It didn’t come easy – as is the case lately as Roger Federer recently turned 30. He’s a great player and a true gentlemen and I enjoy seeing him win.
Second, Andy Murray has played at Wimbledon for several years now. This year he finally made it to the finals. Andy is from Scotland. That means he had a real chance at becoming the first British man to win Wimbledon since 1936, and he had an entire nation cheering for him. It got more exciting for British fans with each victory during the fortnight tournament. Through the quarter-finals and then semi-finals until finally a shot at the championship. The love and support clearly meant a lot to Murray as this video shows. In true British (and tennis) style, he handled it with humor and grace. A terrific example of sportsmanship.
Today’s good news is not about professional wrestling, although a wrestler is a key to the story. Although professional wrestling is made for TV and everything about it is over-the-top, rowdy, boisterous and violent, some of the star personalities are down-to-earth, including John Cena.
Last week, Cena granted his 300th Make-a-Wish request, more than any other sports celebrity. On average he grants 2 — 3 wishes a week. Just think about the language for a moment. It’s almost magical. He grants wishes. And he plans to continue doing so for a long time. That's very good news to a lot of kids out there.