Oh, there is so much to talk about in sports today. As I thought about what I wanted to talk about this week, I realized that so much of what is on my mind was focusing on the negative. A rant regarding this topic or an annoyance about that. Boy, have I got a lot to say. But as I sat down to write this blog, I decided all of those topics could wait, at least for this week.
As the holiday season is upon us and we are starting to feel the unity and love that overtakes us as we inch closer to the end of the year, I want to celebrate one of the best things about sports in general and its athletes. The way they give back.
This world has experienced an exceptionally high number of tragedies and has endured very difficult events this year. Natural disasters, evil acts and the daily exposure of selfish and egotistical behavior by people, corporations and governments. All of these have impacted each one of us, either directly or indirectly. We have all known someone that has been there for or felt the pain of….fill in the blank. The world is in pain and we are all clearly feeling the “heat” of all that is going on. Luckily for many of us sports provide a welcome distraction from the seemingly never-ending barrage of bad news. But sports and its athletes are doing so much more than merely serving as a means to distract ourselves periodically through our weeks and months.
Athletes are giving back. They are giving their time, reputations, money and in-kind contributions to support local and international charities.
The total amount of money being donated by sports leagues or their athletes is a hard number to pin down. There are bits of information from different sources, but from what I can piece together if you just look at cash donations we are talking hundreds of millions each year. For example, this year sports teams and athletes raised approximately $55 million in aid relief for Hurricane Harvey alone! Every sports franchise, at least in the U.S., has a charitable foundation through which it donates to local charities sometimes giving upward of $5 million per year. Every major sports league takes on numerous giving back campaigns during its season. One of my personal favorites is the NFL’s “My Cause, My Cleats” which even though it doesn’t specifically raise money for different organizations it raises awareness in a big way through promotion and personal stories shared during the week of the campaign. I guarantee the organizations that are supported by each athlete who runs on the field wearing their cleats see an increase in donations as a result.
There are so many charitable initiatives organized each and every year in sports. And so many things to say about sports as a platform for giving back. Mostly good, some maybe not so good. But the bottom line is giving back is one of the best things about sports. At The Distillery Inc., we espouse to our clients that sharing is one of the major foundations to building lasting fulfillment in life in general, not just when one is playing professional sports. The old saying of “the more you give, the more you get” is not just a clever cliché. It is a universal truth, that for some reason is easier said than done.
Which is why I am infinitely proud to be a sports fan. Because no matter the motivation behind the giving, the industry certainly gives and it gives in a big way. Maybe even more than other comparable multi-billion-dollar industries. The leagues and their athletes worldwide set great examples for those that look up to them of what it means to give back. They show us that sharing does pay off. That caring is a crucial element in all we do as a community and a society and that without a doubt, the more you give the more you get. Happy Holidays everyone!
By: Wendy Rosenthal