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Events tend to be most successful when they 1) have a strong local following and 2) use the area’s resources effectively. If you’re fishing in Florida and have an affinity for tarpon, then the place to be is the gulf area of Boca Grande, where they stage the not-so-humbly titled “World’s Richest Tarpon Tournament.”
First, a little information about the tarpon: Tarpons might be the big-game prey of the fishing world. They are big, growing between four and eight feet, and when they’re hooked, they jump like a seven-foot forward in the NBA finals, which makes the fishing even more exciting. The Boca Grande/Punta Gorda/Fort Myers area of Florida’s Gulf Coast is the home to some of the best tarpon fishing around, hence the tarpon tournament, which will be held this year on June 4-6.
Organized now by the Boca Grande Chamber of Commerce, the “World’s Richest” Tarpon Tournament was originally called the Boca Grande Club Invitational when it was started in 1983 and was sponsored and run by the private Boca Grande Club located on the north end of Gasparilla Island.
In 1991, the Boca Grande Area Chamber of Commerce took it over renaming it the “World’s Richest” Tarpon Tournament and opening entries to the general public. Its mission is conservation and it’s a catch-and-release tournament.
At its height, the total purse of the “World’s Richest” exceeded $175,000 and anglers from all over the world traveled to Boca Grande to enter for a chance to win it. The “World’s Richest” perpetual trophy is on display at the Boca Grande Area Chamber of Commerce office and features the names of the winning team leaders for each year the tournament has been in existence.
The Boca Grande Fishing Guides Association took over the tournament and renamed it the Boca Grande Fishing Guides Association Tarpon Tournament which ran until 2011 until the Chamber took it over again.
And, of course, like most events, it’s grown to include music, kids’ events and more. In fact, it’s a central park of the big fishing business in southwest Florida, a business that it’s estimated to bring in more than $100 million annually from amateur anglers.
For an area that depends on the transient nature of tourism for its livelihood, the “World’s Richest Tarpon Tournament” is a way for the greater Boca Grande area to show off its resources while engaging the community in an event whose resources uniquely fit southwest Florida.
(photo courtesy www.lowetidecharters.com)
The NASC will hold its 2015 Fall Meetings in Colorado Springs, the home of most of our National Governing Bodies in Olympic and Pan American sports, along with many other event rights holders.
All functions will take place September 28-30 at the Antlers Hilton Colorado Springs, located in the heart of downtown. Our board will meet the afternoon of September 28. Our Fall 2015 CSEE Module will take place the morning of the 29th. Market segment meetings, Rapid RFP Review, and a reception with event owners will take place the afternoon of the 29th, and market segment meetings will conclude on the 30th. View the preliminary schedule.
This new event replaces our partnership with the USOC’s Olympic SportsLink conference, the rights to which were transferred to another event. In fact, our room block at the Antlers Hilton is part of the room block previously held by the USOC.
We offer all area event owners and NGBs a way to meet with interested cities in a cost-effective manner: all they will need do is come to the hotel the afternoon of the 29th, present their event opportunities in the Rapid RFP Review, attend a reception, and be home for dinner!
NASC Active members will also have the option to arrange private meetings with local event owners while in Colorado Springs.
Preliminary plans are to rotate this new event between Colorado Springs and Indianapolis. These cities are home to almost all of our NGBs plus the NCAA and many other prospects.
We will open registration later this spring.
Watching Tiger Woods’ struggles on the golf course so far in 2015 reminds us that Tiger’s heyday, in the early to mid-2000s, was the PGA Tour’s heyday as well.
As rights fees came up for television broadcasts, sponsor renewals and the like, the Tour was smart enough to cash in on the amazing popularity of watching Tiger play golf to bring in record rights fees and sponsorship deals.
Today, watching Tiger play golf is more an exercise in watching an accident—we know we shouldn’t look, but we do anyway. Not having a signature player dominating the PGA Tour, the Tour will say, is more interesting because many players have a chance to win.
But do we know these players the way we do Tiger?
Which brings us to the discussion of what’s the “hot” sport to sponsor, to get rights fees for, to bring to your city? Ten years ago, it may have been golf, whether professional or amateur. Over the last decade we’ve seen the explosion of youth lacrosse, fishing tournaments, even bowling (which is becoming bigger than ever on the high school level).
All this follows soccer’s foothold on youth activities, and youth baseball and softball will never go away. So what’s the right sport for you?
It’s tempting to go after the “hot” sport of the moment, but look at what your area can support and what’s popular as a recreational sport in your area. That will help you determine if your facilities are right, and whether you can entice enough volunteers to help during the event.
Because as the PGA Tour is learning, what was must-see TV 10 years ago, is becoming can’t-look-away TV.
Going to talk today about some trends that we see in the industry in the coming year. And I think one of the most interesting trends for those of us that have been in the sports commission, and visitor and convention bureau industries, is the fact that park and recreation departments are becoming increasingly interested in membership in the NASC. I find that particularly interesting, personally because we’re discovering that many park and recreation department actually create, promote, and run their own events, which makes them in the final analysis perhaps even more similar to a sports commission in many cases than a convention and visitors bureau where in the latter case there may be a focus on room nights, which is something we are going to talk about in just a minute or two. But we welcome additional park and recreation departments to our membership. We are at something in the range of 20 departments now, and we will be taking some steps during the year to increase that number, because they bring a lot to the table in terms of the dialogue and they’re truly qualified as active members of our association, because they’re so involved with the production of their own events. So that would be a first trend.
The second trend starts with a question; I wonder how many of us think, what would be the case in terms of room rebates if we didn’t have a focus on room nights? I wonder if there isn’t a direct tie in between the emphasis that a destination places and the importance that a destination places on developing room nights through sports above and beyond all other considerations. And if by doing that, that doesn’t encourage event owners to feel that not only can there be room rebates, but the room rebates that could perhaps overtime and with a change in destinations continue to go up. I remember being surprised when rebates were in the five to ten dollar range; I am shocked that we have managed to get in the 30+ dollar range in some cases around the country. So I think a one of the cost on a focus on room nights could very well be increasing room rebates. And from that stand point I think it’s good to look back 20 years ago, when sports commissions were the primary way to bid on events. These was a tremendous focus on quality of life. Destinations were looking for events that were going to make something exciting happen in their communities, and yes television exposure was very important. But in the final analysis doing things like having the USA Volleyball National Women’s Team come to your destination and play another international squad with no visitor spending, was a real focus of a sports commission. And that kind of focus does not encourage event owners to pursue room rebates, let alone commissions. Now one the major event owners in the United States, the NCAA, moved to a commission on all room nights for all NCAA National Championships, across all divisions in 2014. That was a seismic shift and we’ll see how that works out for the NCAA and for the destinations. And importantly for the very people that are attending these championships, which in the final analysis are the people, all of us are supposed to be more concerned about.
And then I think finally, there is a trend in our industry that has come up at the latter part of 2014, there is a shrinkage and or consolidation of some of the events that take place every year in the sports travel industry. The United States Olympic Committee recently made a decision to assign the rights to the SportsLink congress to the Connect Sports people, and we’re have to see how that works out. That is a not-for-profit transfer of rights to a for profit, I rather suspect that that’ll be reflected in the cost of attending that conference, but it’s a market driven economy and we’ll see what happens.
So for the coming year, we see more park and recreation departments getting engaged in the industry, we see this puzzle about room rebates and commissions continual need to be something that we all have to focus on, and finally there some shifts and changes in industry conferences. I can tell you that the NASC has decided to keep its independence, but we are also going to attend each of the industry conferences this year. Thanks for your attention.
We’re all used to buying a ticket to a sports event, whether it’s basketball, football or even our kids’ high school games. But what about the every-day events with which you are involved? How many of them require tickets to enter? And why or why not? The genesis of this issue came from a discussion with colleagues who are involved in college sports. They are in the middle of deciding whether to stop requiring tickets for the women’s basketball games, as well as some of the “Olympic” sports like soccer, lacrosse, etc.
You’ve heard the arguments before: By making it a ticketed event, you are putting a “value” on the game. This event is worth something and if you have to pay to attend, then you have invested in actually attending the event. Once you show up, you’re likely to buy concessions, pay for parking and spend money that wouldn’t be spent if you stayed home.
Conversely, while it’s tempting to hand out free tickets to try to get bodies in the seats, the prospective attendees don’t have an investment in the event. If someone gives me a free ticket and I decide not to go, I don’t have a financial loss because I haven’t plunked down my $5. No concessions, no parking, no souvenir shopping.
Does your gymnastics event require a ticket? How about your weekend high school basketball shootout or your cheer competition? Of course, you’re always going to get family and close friends to attend, but does having a ticket (or not having a ticket) affect your walk-in attendance numbers?
Let us know about your ticketing policies and why or why not you require admission. Best practices help all of us put on better events. Post your comments on the NASC Facebook page.
Hecquet has overseen the growth of the NASC Sports Events Symposium from its tenth anniversary in 2002 through completion of the preparations for this year’s event in Milwaukee. “Beth Hecquet has been a valued employee and we wish her only the best as she pursues a new opportunity,” Schumacher concluded.
While we are heading into Super Bowl weekend, we should be talking about the game—instead, we’re talking about under inflated footballs, and who’s to blame.
We’re acting as if playing fast and loose with the rules is something new in sports. The old saying, “if you ain’t cheatin’ you ain’t tryin’” is said mostly in jest, but for some it’s too often a stain on their sports record.
In 2001 Danny Almonte was probably the most famous Little League pitcher in the country, throwing a solid 76 miles an hour and tossing a no-hitter in the Regional Finals to send his team from the Bronx to the Little League World Series. He then threw a perfect game during the Series and ended the series striking out 62 of the 72 batters he faced. Problem was, he was found to be 14-years-old during the Series, not the 12-years-old he was supposed to be.
Youth football isn’t immune to cheating allegations. A Tennessee youth football team was suspended, along with five coaches, for misreporting player’s weight before games. A certain weight means the player can’t run the ball or play certain positions so he doesn’t hurt smaller players. Once home video showed the coaches, still on the sidelines, the team was suspended from the league.
In fact, type in the name of just about any youth sport and add “cheating” to the search and you’re bound to find examples of bad behavior among players and/or coaches.
This controversy will be resolved, one way or the other, and the game will be played. But it shows you that no matter what the age or the sport, teams are always walking the edge, trying to get an advantage in the biggest games of the season.
Will it spoil your Super Bowl viewing? Let us know what you think on the NASC Facebook page.
The Milwaukee Brewers are making available to fans a deal they call the “Timeless Ticket.” In engraved brass, the over sized one-pound ticket will allow the ticket holder to attend any single game, anytime in the future.
So, you may ask, what’s the savings in that? A thousand dollars for one ticket?
Well, let’s say the Brewers make it to the World Series (remember, it’s a “Timeless Ticket” good for anytime in the future). Face value tickets are expensive enough to the postseason, and secondary market tickets can be outrageous. So, if you happen to have one of these Timeless Tickets, you can give the team a bit of notice and tell the front office you want to redeem your Timeless Ticket for a World Series game. Now, the cost doesn’t seem so out of line.
But wait! There’s more!
The team also says the package now includes ticket vouchers to attend nine additional Brewers regular season home games of the owner’s choice, excluding Opening Day and Postseason.
As of last week, the team had sold 240 Timeless Tickets. Multiply that by a thousand, and yes, you get $240,000 in the bank.
The tickets may become treasured heirlooms to be passed down among Brewer fans, or indeed they may be cashed in for a postseason game. Either way, the Brewers have cash up front for a game that may not be played for decades, and fans get a personalized memento from their favorite team.
And oh yes, they get lots of publicity for the team.
In a time where every sports entity is looking for creative ways to sell tickets to their events, the Brewers have come up with one that can pay off now for them, and later for their fans.
What do you think? Would something like this work in your organization? Give your opinion on the NASC Facebook page and let us know how you feel.
In the wake of the social unrest we’ve seen in Ferguson, Cleveland and New York, athletes have used their national platforms to express their opinions on the incidents—see the St. Louis Rams’ players coming out for team introductions with the “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” pose.
This expression has reached basketball, where professional and college players alike have worn “I Can’t Breathe” shirts, signifying the last words of Eric Gardner, the New York man who died after an officer put him in a chokehold.
And now, a high school basketball tournament in Northern California has been included in the conversation, after a school scheduled to play in the tournament was disinvited because of concerns its players would wear “I Can’t Breathe” shirts during warm-ups.
The athletic director at Mendocino High School was told that neither the boy’s nor the girl’s team would be allowed to participate in the tournament if they wore the shirts.
The boys were reinstated after all but one player agreed not to wear the shirt. Too few girl players agreed to not wear the shirts and were not allowed to play.
No surprise here: The parent of the one boy who decided to sit out the holiday tournament has taken the issue to the American Civil Liberties Union. In a written statement, the principal of the host school, Fort Bragg High School, said the school administrators respected the Mendocino teams “for paying attention to what is going on in the world around them” and that the shirts were being banned as a security precaution.
This isn’t the first, and won’t be the last, time where the world of amateur and youth sports will collide with First Amendment rights and the desire of young athletes to express themselves.
Have you run into similar issues with your events or teams? If so how did you handle the issue and what advice would you have other rights holders or event planners on how to deal with the issue? Give us your thoughts on our NASC Facebook page. We always welcome comments on best practices.
Last week, the U.S. Olympic Committee selected Boston as the city to represent the American bid for the 2024 Olympic Summer Games. Since there hasn’t been a Summer Games staged in the United States since Atlanta in 1996 and no Olympics since 2002 Salt Lake City, much is riding on this bid.
After the Chicago bid—and almost immediate rejection of that bid by the International Olympic Committee—the United States is looking to make this bid count. The Boston bid seems to be more of a cost-efficient proposal, rather than major spending on new venues as has been the norm in the last few bids.
The 2024 Olympics could include field hockey events at Harvard Stadium, archery at MIT and beach volleyball on the Boston Common, among other venues, taking advantage of the region’s many universities and public spaces.
In choosing Boston, the USOC bypassed Washington D.C. and two other cities, including
San Francisco and Los Angeles. L.A. is the host of the next US. Olympic Marathon Trials, and the awarding of that bid was seen as a move to bolster its Summer Olympics bid effort.
The Washington D.C. bid, which was led by local businessman Russ Ramsey and co-chaired by Wizards and Capitals owner Ted Leonsis, included many of the area’s most prominent business and political leaders. It focused on constructing a new stadium on the site of RFK Stadium and an Olympic Village and tennis center along the Anacostia River that organizers hoped would help revitalize some of the city’s poorest neighborhoods.
The IOC will make its final decision on a host city in September 2017. Other candidates could include Rome, Paris, the German cities of Hamburg or Berlin, and Durban or Johannesburg from South Africa.
A Durban or Johannesburg bid could lead to the first Olympics in Africa. A Paris Olympics would have the advantage of commemorating the 100th anniversary of the 1924 Games. Like Boston, Hamburg has never staged a Summer Games and Rome hasn’t hosted since 1960.
But unlike the failed Chicago bid, the U.S. bid seems to have a better chance of having its representative city be chosen for the Olympics. The USOC has worked hard to mend hard feelings and relationships between its group and the IOC, and sticky issues like money (isn’t it always about money?) and rights fees over broadcasts have been smoothed out.
Congratulations to Boston—now let’s figure out how traffic will be moving during the games on those narrow streets!
Join Jennifer Miles, Senior Sports Manager, as she discusses the Amateur Athletic Union of the United States and what it takes to land their events. There will be time at the end of the presentation for questions. If you are unable to join us on the 22nd, remember you can download the webinar recording from the webinar archives page on www.sportscommissions.org.
Click here to reserve your space.
If you’ve missed any of our recent webinars or would like to view them again, visit our webinar archives.
Please direct any questions, comments or topic suggestions regarding NASC Webinars to info@SportsCommissions.org.
The week between Christmas and New Year’s Day is crammed with all kinds of sporting events, not the least of which is the New Year’s traditional 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, featuring hockey (Chicago and Washington) playing outdoors, this time at the Washington Nationals stadium.
The outdoor series started as a made-for-TV New Year’s tradition in 2008, and since then has become one of the most popular and most-watched NHL games of the season. It’s spurred a similar Canadian series, the NHL Heritage Classic, and has NHL teams asking to either host, or take part in the series.
These so-called “gimmick games” aren’t anything new, but they do emphasize the point that sometimes a change of venue can give new life, and bring new fans, to any sport. Basketball has been played on aircraft carriers and on the stage at Radio City Music Hall, even outside in the desert in the dead of winter. Collegiate hockey (as well as the NHL) has been played at the “Big House” of Michigan Stadium.
Golf balls have been hit off decks and docks and tennis has been played on the top of skyscrapers (as promotional stunts); Wrigley Field and Fenway Park have been the hosts for college football games in recent years and Yankee Stadium holds the annual Pinstripe Bowl.
Don’t have a beach to host the pro volleyball tour? No problem. For the AVP stop in Cincinnati two years ago, sand was trucked into the middle of the street and bleachers were set up on the sidewalks and voila, sand volleyball!
All this is to say, don’t hesitate to look at your facilities in different ways for different uses. Several years ago when the organizers of the Las Vegas Bowl weren’t able to use the stadium’s suites for hospitality, they took the end-zone space, put up a tent, brought in lounge chairs and big-screen televisions and created their own field-level exclusive hospitality area which became even more popular than the traditional suite box.
By looking at venues with a new, creative eye, sometimes you can make an event an even more exciting experience and bring in new fans at the same time. Make 2015 the year of maximizing your venues for the best experience possible.
This is the time of the year that we pause to show our appreciation for those who work with us, who help us out and who are our partners in the sports industry. I’m sure you have your list of co-workers, sponsors and event partners, and we’d like to add a few of our own to present holiday gifts:
First, a nice bouquet of flowers to those in the service industry who make sure that sporting events go on smoothly. From the people who set up the venue to those who work the concessions, we know that our events couldn’t happen without you. You often work behind the scenes and we appreciate everything you do.
Second, to our friends in youth sports: gasoline gift cards to the parents and coaches who drive their teams to practice and to holiday tournaments, sometimes hundreds of miles, to make sure their kids get great instruction and good competition. Youth sports are the lifeblood of what so many of us do, and your dedication cannot be measured in dollars and cents. Thanks for giving your kids a chance to live their dreams.
Third, some extra caffeine goes to those who volunteer for our events. Hundreds, sometimes thousands of volunteers are needed to get these events up and running, giving thousands of hours of their time in the process. Whether it’s for the love of the sport or your dedication of giving back, you keep events up and running. We appreciate everything you do.
And finally, fireworks and confetti go to you, our partners and members here at NASC. Your feedback, ideas and participation in what we do keep our organization the best in the sports events business. We are so grateful to have you as part of the NASC and we are excited for the opportunities ahead in 2015.
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays from all of us at NASC!
CINCINNATI (December 17, 2014) – The National Association of Sports Commissions (NASC) today announced the Host Cities for its 2018 and 2019 Symposium. The 2018 NASC Symposium will be held in Minneapolis and the 2019 Symposium will be in San Diego.
“We are thrilled to bring the Symposium to cities that are longtime members and supporters of the association,” said Beth Hecquet, CMP, CMM, Director of Meetings and Events, National Association of Sports Commissions. “Both Minneapolis and San Diego will be fantastic hosts for our annual meeting and we are excited to begin the planning process. The site selection committee would like to thank all cities that submitted bids to host and encourages all members to consider hosting in the future.”
The 26th Annual NASC Symposium will be held April 22-26, 2018 in Minneapolis and the 27th Annual NASC Symposium will be April 14-18, 2019 in San Diego.
“Sports Minneapolis and our statewide coalition of experts at Minnesota Sports could not be more honored and excited to welcome the 2018 NASC Sports Event Symposium to Minneapolis,” said Matt Meunier, National Sports Account Executive of Sports Minneapolis, powered by Meet Minneapolis.
“Coming on the heels of Super Bowl LII, 2018 is shaping up to be one of our best years ever for sports. Moreover, we are committed to making the Symposium a huge success for everyone involved.”
“As a vibrant city and extraordinary destination we are delighted to welcome the National Association of Sports Commissions to San Diego in 2019 for their 27th Annual Sports Event Symposium. We will endeavor to make this the most memorable NASC Sports Event Symposium,” said Mike McDowell, President of the San Diego Sports Commission.
Both FedEx and UPS announced their annual small package rate increases. The UPS rate increases will take effect on December 29, 2014, while the FedEx rate increases will take effect on January 5, 2015. As always, how much more expensive your particular small package shipments will be in the New Year largely depends on many factors, including shipment volumes, sizes, weights, and modes.
Here are some quick facts:
The small package shipping experts at PartnerShip have dug into the details and analyzed the new rate tables to assess the true impact to shippers and help you make sense of these increases. Click here to download the Small Package Rate Increases ePaper.
Now is the time to take full advantage of the benefits available to you through the NASC Shipping Program. When you visit PartnerShip.com/09NASC and enroll in this free program, you receive significant discounts on select FedEx® services – helping to offset these new rate increases.
This tip is brought to you by PartnerShip®, the company that manages the NASC Shipping Program. For more information or to enroll, email sales@PartnerShip.com or call 800-599-2902.
No, not the kind of courts you play on. A Phoenix youth baseball player is learning the hard way about the American legal system, and how youth sports works.
Greg Bozinovich is a 12-year-old baseball player whose father was hurt at a ball park. His dad filed a personal injury lawsuit against the United States Specialty Sports Association in connection with his injury. Because of that filing, Greg is no longer able to play baseball.
Some background: Two years ago, Daniel Bozinovich said he fell off the bleachers, which he said did not have safety railings, during a USSSA-sanctioned event at a Phoenix-area sports park. In the fall, he suffered a spine injury that has kept him from working.
To recover damages, Daniel Bozinovich filed suit November 13. At the end of November, USSSA state directors sent an email to the family, saying they had been suspended from USSSA activities for a year for what the organization called “unsportsmanlike behavior for actions on November 13.”
The email also said the family would be banned for life, if the case moved forward.
That means 12-year-old Greg cannot participate in USSSA activities, and since the USSSA organization underwrites insurance for many leagues and tournaments, that keeps Greg on the sidelines for many tournaments.
A USSSA document does state that any participant “who threatens in writing a legal action against USSSA … shall be automatically suspended from all USSSA activities until such threatened legal actions or legal disagreements are resolved to the satisfaction of the USSSA Board of Directors.”
So what are your thoughts? The organization is looking to protect itself, but at what cost? You can read the full article here: http://www.kpho.com/story/27532845/phoenix-dad-files-personal-injury-lawsuit-youth-baseball-club-suspends-his-son?autostart=true
‘Tis the season for end-of-year awards and honors, and Sports Illustrated Kids is no exception, last week honoring Little League superstar Mo’ne Davis as its Sports Kid of the Year. None other than the First Lady tweeted her congratulations, along with Mo’ne’s hometown Philadelphia Phillies.
You will remember that Davis, a 13-year-old honor roll student from Philadelphia, became a national talking point in August after leading her team, the Taney Dragons, to victory over a team from Nashville, Tennessee, pitching her team to a 4-0 win behind a 70 mile an hour fastball. She is the first girl ever to get the win in a Little League World Series game.
Since then she has appeared on the cover of the regular Sports Illustrated, has starred in a Spike Lee-directed car commercial and has her jersey displayed in baseball’s Hall of Fame.
Sports Illustrated Kids editors said Davis shows that everyone has the ability to make an impact and inspire, no matter their age, gender or race.
For anyone who works in the business of youth sports, whether it’s on the facilities side or the event side, you already know what sports can mean to a youngster, now and in the future. To have Mo’ne Davis become part of the sports dialogue and, more importantly, raise the awareness of youth sports to more girls and boys, well, that brings the message home.
Game Day Communications
The annual NASC Member Awards recognize the outstanding achievements of our members and are presented at the NASC Sports Event Symposium each year. Member Awards are the highest honor an organization or individual in the sports tourism industry can receive as they are created and awarded by industry peers.
For the 2015 Member Awards, activities, events, marketing campaigns, web strategies, etc. must have occurred between January 1 and December 31, 2014.
Submitting an Entry:
Entries are due by Friday, February 6, 2015 at 11:59pm ET.
Contact Elizabeth Young, Director of Membership and Marketing, with any questions about Member Awards.
Organizational Awards: Each judging panel will be comprised of three individuals (one Awards committee member and two NASC members at-large). Judges may not submit an entry for the category which they are judging.
Individual Awards: Each Awards Committee member will serve as a judge for individual awards. Committee members may not submit an entry for individual awards
Not often will an NFL backup defensive lineman and a freshman forward on a Division III women’s basketball team make national news and touch countless lives. But in the last month we have seen the power of sports touch emotions and raise millions of dollars.
The story of Bengals defensive tackle Devon Still’s daughter, Leah, and her fight against pediatric cancer reached far beyond the NFL. More than $1.3 million was raised through the sale of Still’s number 75 jersey for Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and its pediatric cancer research.
Just as dramatic, is the story of Lauren Hill, the Mt. St. Joseph basketball player who was diagnosed her senior year of high school with an inoperable brain tumor and whose only wish was to play a college basketball game. The NCAA allowed the school to move up the date of its season opener to assure Lauren would be well enough to play in at least that one game.
But her #layups4Lauren campaign, similar to this summer’s ice bucket challenge, continues, as she challenges celebrities and pro athletes to make a donation to The Cure Starts Now, dedicated to raising funds for pediatric cancer research. Her efforts, too, are raising hundreds of thousands of dollars.
“I never thought I would play on a college court, put my feet on the floor and feel the vibration of the crowd,” she said after that first game against Hiram College. That is a quote from someone who truly loves her sport and is grateful for the opportunity to play.
Every once in a while, the games that student-athletes and professionals play transcend sports and remind us what is really important. A 4-year-old who is undergoing chemotherapy and a 19-year-old grateful to take the court before the inevitable occurs remind us that sports can touch us all and can make a difference long after the final buzzer sounds.