Category Archives: Sports

Fabrice Muamba Receives Honorary Doctorate on Behalf of Those Who Saved His Life

On March 17, 2012, Bolton Wanderers played the Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Cup quarter-finals. In the 43rd minute of the match, Fabrice Muamba, 23, collapsed on the pitch. The central midfielder had gone into cardiac arrest. Players frantically called for the paramedics and fans watched in silence. Five fully trained medical assistants and a St. John ambulance unit rushed to perform CPR on Muamba. Muamba’s heart had stopped for 78 minutes was in the hands of medical professionals and one fan, Dr. Deaner, who is a cardiologist,  rushed onto the pitch.

It was a scary and tragic moment around the soccer world. However, a joint effort from the medical staff on the pitch, Dr. Deaner, paramedics, and doctors, Muamba’s heart began beating again. The medical staff at London Chest Hospital and the medical staff at the match had saved Fabrice Muamba’s life. Muamba’s recovery was nothing short of remarkable as he was able to recognize his fiancee, son, and declared that he was “fine”. Two weeks after his collapse, Muamba posted a picture on Twitter of him smiling to show his fans that he was okay.

On May 02, 2012, Muamba returned to Reebok Stadium to watch his team take on the Tottenham Hotspur once again. Muamba was greeted by the staff and fans in an emotional return to the pitch since March 17. Chants of “Fabrice Muamba” echoed throughout stadium in a show of appreciation and love.

The University of Bolton is awarding Fabrice Muamba an honorary doctorate degree. Muamba’s recovery is an incredible accomplishment that was achieved through an amazing effort from the medical staff at the pitch to the doctors and nurses at London Chest Hospital. Muamba is a recipient of this degree as a way of honouring all those involved in his revival and recovery. The emergency treatment Muamba received saved his life and is an amazing accomplishment by all those involved.

Hopefully we can see Muamba lace up those boots for the 2012/2013 season of the English Premier League. Follow Muamba on Twitter!

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Justin Blackmon and His Inspirational Friendship

Justin Blackmon, of the Oklahoma State University Cowboys, had an incredible performance in the Fiesta Bowl game on January 2nd. Blackmon was named MVP for the 2012 Fiesta Bowl after an overtime win. Blackmon had eight catches which totaled 186 yards and three touchdowns.

There is more to the wide receiver than just his on field performance. Justin Blackmon has an incredible friend who gives him strength. Olivia Hamilton, 9, is dealing with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Olivia is nearing the end of her 108 week treatment process. Nevertheless, it’s a horrible thing for any child to go through.

In a Coaches vs. Cancer at Oklahoma State, Olivia met Justin Blackmon. At first Olivia was shy and Blackmon was unable to receive a high five. A few months later, Blackmon tracked down Olivia and went to visit her hospital where he received a huge hug from Olivia. It doesn’t stop there, Blackmon would go and see Olivia in the hospital a few more times. From there, an amazing friendship was born.

When Olivia, for the first time, went to watch Blackmon play against Tulsa, she left two things for Blackmon in his locker. Olivia had made a sign for Blackmon as well as given him a pink silicon bracelet which read “Liv’s laugh beats ALL”. From that game on, Blackmon has worn the bracelet. Blackmon says that every time he sees the bracelet, he’s inspired. Olivia always cheers on her favourite player and watches to see her bracelet, as he celebrates every touchdown.

The friendship these two have is nothing short of beautiful and incredible. Both draw on the strength and inspiration of one another. Justin and Olivia send text messages back and forth, especially before games. Their story has attracted media attention, especially from ESPN. Watch the video below to hear their story, be sure to have a tissue box with you.

Wherever Blackmon goes in the NFL, the team has received an amazing athlete and an incredible person. I’m sure that wherever Justin goes, he will be bringing Olivia out to watch him play.

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Calgary Hitmen Teddy Bear Toss

The Calgary Hitmen, a Western Hockey League team, were hosting a game against their local rivals the Medicine Hat Tigers. This isn’t your typical hockey game though. On December 4, 2011, it was the 17th annual Petro-Canada Teddy Bear Toss Game!

How does it work? “Fans are encouraged to bring a small or medium sized stuffed toy to the game and toss it on the ice when the Hitmen score their first goal”. 50 different charities including: Salvation Army, Calgary Womens Emergency Shelter, Boys and Girls Club of Airdrie and the Alberta Children’s Hospital are recipients of the stuffed toys.

Pretty awesome idea right? To get into the Christmas and giving spirit, the Hitmen players wear a jersey that is slightly altered. Last year, the Hitmen wore a Christmas-red as opposed to their traditional red. This year, the players had snow on their numbers and their “hitman” wearing a Christmas hat!

Fans were eager to throw their teddy bears onto the ice as the first period passed. With two minutes left in the second period, Calder Brooks (in the picture above, on the right) gave the fans permission to toss the teddies.


The 2011 Teddy Bear Toss saw 25,003 teddies on the ice that night. Unfortunately for the Hitmen, they fell 2-1 to the Tigers. For the fans, they were able to have fun throwing their stuffed toys on the ice for a great cause. The players will go on to donate all the stuffed animals to the 50 different charities.


The Teddy Bear Toss isn’t exclusive to the Calgary Hitmen. Other teams around the league such as the Vancouver Giants and Portland Winterhawks have adopted the Teddy Bear Toss. If your local team hosts a Teddy Bear Toss, I recommend you attend the event! It’s a great cause and great fun!

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Student Shares His Free Throw Winnings

What comes to mind when you hear the words Compton, L.A.? I’m sure it’s not a very positive image. Court Crandall was inspired after watching his son play basketball with some of the Compton students. With a large racial and social divide, Crandall wanted to find a way to unite people. How could this be accomplished? A free throw shooting competition was going to be held in Compton to bring everyone together.

A pre-requisite for the free throw competition was a 3.00 or higher GPA. Crandall received 100 applications and 8 of the students were chosen, at random. The winner of the competition would receive a $40,000 scholarship and the runners-up would receive $1,000. Crandall’s “hope was that what started as a competition would become a collaboration with the kids supporting each other”.  However, it became much more than that. At first, I struggled to see how a free throw competition could foster support of the participants. After watching the clip below, it was the fans supporting the shooters in such a positive way that made me understand.

The winner, Allan Guei, 18, was a point guard on the senior basketball team with a full scholarship to Cal-State Northridge. What Guei did with his winnings is even more incredible. After three months of winning the competition, Guei donated the money to his seven fellow participants. For Guei, he wanted his fellow classmates to have their academic dreams come true. “I’ve already been blessed so much and I know we’re living with a bad economy, so I know this money can really help my classmates”. Guei says, “it was the right decision.”

The goal of Crandall was to create a sense of community and support. I can bet that Crandall did not expect the unity to spread in the way it did. Cal-State Northridge has picked up an amazing basketball player. Better yet, they managed to find an even finer human-being. You give someone the opportunity and it’s amazing what they will do with it.

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A Short Film On Learning

“3 guys, 44 days, 11 countries, 18 flights, 38 thousand miles…” – Rick Mereki, Vimeo.

Rick Mereki, Tim White, and Andrew Lees embarked on that incredible journey which created three amazing short films. My favourite film of theirs has to be “Learn”. I’m sure many of us are guilty of pretending to know more than we actually know. “Learn” made me realize just how little I’ve learnt in my lifetime.

“You can teach a student a lesson for a day; but if you can teach him to learn by creating curiosity, he will continue the learning process as long as he lives.” – Clay P. Bedford

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An Incredible High School Basketball Story

In 2006, Greece Athena High School had one of the greatest basketball stories around the world. Jason McElwain (“J-Mac”) was diagnosed with autism at the age of two. Jason McElwain has always had a passion for sports and never considered himself different from the other kids. Unfortunately for Jason, he did not make the junior varsity basketball team.

Instead, Jason was appointed manager of the team, a role that he maintained even with the senior varsity team. The last game of the season, for the division title, Jason was told by coach Jim Johnson that he could get the opportunity to play. With four minutes remaining and a crowd eager with anticipation, Jason was called from the bench. For the rest of the story, you’ll just have to watch the video below.

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51-Year-Old Recreational League Goalie Signed by the Minnesota Wild

Richard Deutsch, owner of an embroidery store, got a very interesting call on the 23rd of November. While at work, he got a call from Minnesota Wild goalie coach Bob Mason informing Deutsch that they needed a goalie. The plane carrying third string goalie, Matt Hackett, was not going to arrive on time. According to NHL rules, the Wild were not allowed to sign a goalie with professional experience.

The 51-Year-Old raced down to Xcel Energy Center and signed his very first NHL contract! Deutsch was able to sit in on the pre-game meeting by head coach Mike Yeo. Deutsch has practiced on numerous occasions with the Minnesota Wild but this was something beyond his wildest dreams. Deutsch told reporters: “I was actually shaking while I was signing [the contract]”.

Waiting in the locker room, for Deutsch, was his very own goalie jersey with his name printed on the back. He had taken the spot of main goaltender Niklas Backstrom. Unfortunately, Matt Hackett made it just in time and Richard Deutsch was a last minute scratch from the game. However, he was able to join in a bit of the pre-game skate. Best of all, the Minnesota Wild gave him the jersey and a copy of his very first NHL contract!

After the game Mike Yeo told reporters “He handled it great. Guys really enjoyed having him in there.”

Watch the video of Richard’s story here.

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Jonas Hiller supports ‘Movember’ with his mask

Beginning in Melbourne, Australia, Movember has become one of the biggest campaigns around the world. From November 1st to the 30th, men are to grow mustaches in order to raise money and awareness of prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is the leading form of cancer among males and can be preventable through awareness and regular checkups.

Many of you may be growing a mustache to support the cause. For Jonas Hiller of the Anaheim Ducks, growing a mustache wasn’t quite enough. Instead, this goaltender decided that he was going to have a tribute mask for Movember. The mask contains photos of his fellow teammates with cartoon mustaches pulled from the Movember website.

The NHL is lucky to have so many players supporting such an important cause. Jonas Hiller managed to make his contribution original, fun, and sends a clear message of awareness.

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Why Always Me?

Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli is not always in the media for the right reasons. Balotelli, 20, has been criticized for being young and immature. September 5, 2010, Mario Balotelli crashed his Audi R8 and when asked by police why he had £5,000 in his back pocket, he responded, “because I’m rich”. Also, in 2010, Balotelli (now cleared) was investigated for possible links to the Italian Mafia. Recently, the night before a derby match between Manchester City and Manchester United, Balotelli’s house caught fire as he was lighting fireworks from his bathroom window. These are just a few of the antics of the Manchester City striker.

A story that many people did not know, is one that has converted me into a fan of his. Balotelli, after practice, was outside of his training facility when he stopped to sign an autograph for a young fan. As he was signing his autograph, he asked the kid why he wasn’t at school. The boy told Balotelli that he was being bullied. Balotelli told the boy to hop into his Maserati and got the boy’s mom and drove to the school demanding to speak to the headteacher. Mario Balotelli made the boy confess to what has been happening and identified the bully. The boy and his bully shook hands before Balotelli drove off.

You can love him or you can hate him, but you cannot deny that he did the right thing. Mario Balotelli was not obligated to do this for the youngster but his belief in education and anti-bullying has now changed a life for the better.

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A Home Run Worth So Much More

Sara Tucholsky, Western Oregon University, was an American college softball player. Sara had never hit a home run in her entire life. In a game against Central Washington University, that was about to change. In the second inning, Sara had hit a home run. What happened next was tragic and amazing all at the same time. It’s a moment that should be a benchmark for sportsmanship, in competition.

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Don’t let anything stop you

If you could for a second, just imagine having no legs. For Italo Fernandes Romano, that’s a very sad reality. At the age of thirteen, Italo lost his legs in a train accident while playing with friends.

However, at the age of 23, Italo is considered to be on of the best Brazilian skateboarders in the world! If you don’t believe me, watch the video below! Italo, despite losing both his legs, is able to possess passion, skill, and drive to be one of the greatest skateboarders.

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Sportsmanship at its Finest

High school football in the United States is kind of a big deal. Myrtle Beach High Seahawks played Hilton Head High Seahawks in a playoff game. Myrtle Beach High beat Hilton Head High 64 to 16. With such a large deficit, it’s easy to assume that the Hilton Head High students hung their heads in shame.

Instead, the final play of the game is enough to make everyone on the field and in the crowd happy. Chip Mullen, a senior for Hilton Head, has down syndrome and was playing in his last game as a Seahawk. The coach of Myrtle Beach, Mickey Wilson, decided that Chip should score a touchdown. Mickey Wilson told Hilton Head’s coach to give Chip Mullen a handoff for the last play of the game.

For this story, you’ll just have to watch the ESPN coverage that this young man’s play received.

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Thinking Pink

October, for me, is the best time to tune into the NFL as players and teams are decked out in pink equipment. As many know, October is breast cancer awareness month and the NFL and its players do a good job in supporting a good cause.

For Larry Fitzgerald, WR, of the Arizona Cardinals, this cause means a lot to him. Larry Fitzgerald’s mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and was being treated in 2003. Sadly, Carol Fitzgerald past away due to a brain hemorrhage while being treated.

It was announced on twitter in the beginning of October that Larry Fitzgerald was going to donate $1,000 for every catch and $10,000 for every touchdown he made, towards breast cancer research. He didn’t stop there though, Fitzgerald announced that for every new person to follow him on twitter, he would donate $0.10. Larry Fitzgerald had gained an enormous amount of support from new and old fans.

With eleven days left in October, Fitzgerald announced via twitter that he would raise the value from $0.10 to $0.25! As October closed, Larry Fitzgerald had caught 19 passes for $19,000 and raised $15,000 from new twitter followers. Larry also participated in a celebrity waiter event which saw the proceeds go towards breast cancer research as well.

It doesn’t stop there, Larry Fitzgerald will be donating $1,000 to 16 nominate charities by the fans, in November. Enter here to nominate a charity! It’s hard not to love athletes who care about the well-being of others!

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What if you had the same name as a professional athlete?

Kirk Morrison, a student at University of Regina, shares the same name with the Buffalo Bills (now with the Oakland Raiders) linebacker. Kirk Morrison from the Buffalo Bills wanted the twitter handle @kirkmorrison. However, the name was already taken by the Regina student. NFL’s Morrison offered flight, accommodation, two tickets to go see the Buffalo Bills play at any game, an on-field visit during the pre-game warmup, and a meet and greet before or after the game for the Regina student to relinquish the twitter handle. It’s safe to say that he is now a Buffalo Bills fan!

A pretty good trade!

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The Malhotra and Hamhuis families build a playground

Two of the Vancouver Canucks and their families built a playground at Edmonds Community School. This diverse school gets a special gift from two amazing hockey players who give back to their community. Perhaps more athletes should take notes!

Watch here!

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