When a personal crisis strikes, the outcome of a game or a player’s individual performance loses a lot of its significance. But when some of those same teams or athletes pitch in to help those affected by such hardships, fans see them in a whole new light.
Each of this week’s moments reflect this idea. There’s the NFL team who helped keep the Friday night lights moments alive for a local high school team who lost everything, a NBA superstar who helped a golfer’s wife in her battle with cancer and a soccer executive who took the time to reach out to a fan in need.
Here’s a look at how sports have been making a difference recently.
NFL Team Donates New Field to High School Team
When Hurricane Harvey slammed into the Texas coast a year ago, the football team at C.E. King High School in Houston lost just about everything, including its field. But thanks to the generosity of one NFL team, the school will have a new field this season.
The Houston Texans announced they will donate the turf they played on at NRG Stadium last season to the school.
“It means a lot to me to play on a field the Texans played on,” C.E. King senior linebacker Rodrick Crumedy told ESPN.com. “I’ve never even stepped on an NFL field, so stepping on one every day will mean a lot to me.”
Some of the high school players also got to watch the Texans’ training camp practices, pose for photos, and get signed autographs from J.J. Watt and other Texans players. While that was a short-term thrill for the players, the turf will allow C.E. King an opportunity to play that will last for years to come.
NBA Superstar Lends Support to Golfer’s Wife
Scott Harrington has dreamed of playing on the PGA Tour for quite some time. But that dream has taken a back seat to a different, more serious challenge.
In August of 2017, Harrington’s wife, Jenn, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Things seemed to be looking up for her when she received a clean bill of health last December. But doctors recently discovered the cancer had come back.
Golden State Warriors star guard Stephen Curry learned of Harrington’s wife’s situation when he played in the Web.com Ellie Mae Classic in mid-August. After speaking with Harrington at the tournament, Curry made a $25,000 donation to the golfer’s Go FundMe account.
“I can’t put into words the thoughts and feelings around what their family is going through,” Curry told reporters at the tournament. “We encourage anybody who’s a fan of the game, who appreciate what these guys do every day to go to his Go FundMe page and donate what you can to get him through this tough time.”
Soccer Club Writes Letter to Fan Battling Depression
One soccer fan in England recently discovered the power of social media. Chris Ryder is a loyal follower of Barnsley, a football club in South Yorkshire, England. Ryder has openly admitted on social media to battling depression.
When Barnsley’s chief executive, Gauthier Ganaye, noticed some particularly troubling tweets from Ryder, he took the time to write a letter to the fan. In it, Gauthier told Ryder his office door was always open, and he wanted to help in any way he could to return Ryder’s loyalty as a fan.
“I’ve been known to be a little bit cheeky, all in good fun, to the guys who run the social media page (at Barnsley), so reading (the letter), I was really shocked,” Ryder told the BBC.
After receiving the letter, Ryder tweeted it out on his Twitter feed, and thanked those who had gotten in touch with him to offer their support. This is just another step in the right direction of destigmatizing mental health.
From GameChanger and Stephen Kerr
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