The news coverage for a sports feel good story follows a familiar path. Typically, a local newspaper covers the story first followed by local TV. If the story is interesting enough, its picked up by sports blogs big and small. If the story still has legs, other national media outlets including well known sports columnists, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, sports radio stations pass the story on to their audiences. Morning news shows and talk shows might interview the people involved in the story. Sometimes, even books and movies are created.
As a result, an inspirational sports story can touch many lives. The ten stories below have.
Here are our Editor’s selections for the “Top 10 Sports Feel Good Stories of the Decade”
10. 12 year-old girl pitches perfect game. In a Bayonne, NJ Little League game, Mackenzie Brown became the first player to throw a perfect game in its 58 year-old history. Mackenzie, one of only 2 girls in the Bayonne league, struck out 18 batters — all boys — in route to her perfect game. Read more/See video
9. One-handed player wins Div. I basketball scholarship. Kevin Laue’s left arm ends at his elbow as the result of his mother’s umbilical cord cutting off the circulation and stunting the arm’s growth. While he could never quite succeed on the monkey bars or with a guitar, he plays basketball at a very high level. He earned a Division I scholarship to Manhattan College. Read more/See video
8. Blake Hoffharber’s shot from the seat of his pants. A high school basketball player’s incredible shot. See video
7. Maurice Cheeks assists 13 year-old National Anthem singer. Natalie Gilbert, a 13 year-old, began singing the National Anthem before a basketball game between the Trail Blazers and the Dallas Mavericks on April 25, 2003. When Gilbert struggled to find the correct words for the song and became flustered, Trail Blazers’ Coach Maurice Cheeks came to her rescue. Read more/See video
6. College basketball coach Don Meyer overcomes car accident and cancer to set all-time NCAA wins mark. Another impressive Don Meyer record: In his 37 years of coaching, one player — only one — hasn’t graduated. Read more/See video
5. Father’s response to daughter tossing souvenir ball back onto field. The crowd cheered Steve Monforto’s catch of a foul ball at a Philadelphia Phillies baseball game on September 16. But the loudest cheer came when Monforto hugged his daughter after she tossed the ball back onto the field after he gave it to her to look at. Read more/See video
4. Michael Oher’s inspirational story: from homeless to top NFL draft pick. If you’ve seen “The Blind Side,” you know the story. Read more/See video
3. Sportsmanship shines at college softball game. Opposing team players Mallory Holtman and Liz Wallace carried Sara Tucholsky around the bases when her injury prevented her from taking a home run trot on her own. Read more/See video
2. Team Hoyt. A father-son team whose picture should be next to “inspirational” in the dictionary. An amazing story. Read more/See video
1. Jason McElwain, diagnosed with autism, scores 20 points in 4 minutes in his first varsity basketball game. His point total included 6 three-pointers. Read more/See video
SportsFeelGoodStories.com showcases inspirational sports stories that focus on good deeds, overcoming obstacles, achievement and sportsmanship.
For high school student Stephanie Lutz to graduate as a 4-year varsity player in tennis and basketball, and a 3-year varsity player in volleyball is a big achievement. Did I mention she made it to the state tournament in tennis each year? What if I told you she’s one of her class of 592 students’ valedictorians with a perfect 4.0 GPA? Oh, by the way, she’s also the student body president.
That’s an impressive list of accomplishments for any student.
What makes this Portland, Oregon resident’s achievements even more inspiring is the circumstances she overcame. You could say that Stephanie faced more challenges than the typical student at David Douglass High School.
Per Lindsay Schnell’s article in The Oregonian, her dad Terry Lutz couldn’t receive a ticket to her graduation because he
“… is serving a 40-year prison sentence in Ontario and has not seen his daughter in 12 years. She should have given one to her brother, T.J., but he has been dead for 10 years, having killed himself when Stephanie was 8.
It’s surprising that Valerie Lutz, Stephanie’s mom, is even able to attend. In Stephanie’s freshman year, her mom was taken away in handcuffs, arrested for selling and using drugs.
“I was walking home from my bus stop when I saw blue and red flashing lights from my house,” Stephanie wrote this school year in a scholarship essay. “Knowing that it was a police car, I raced to see what was going on. As I reached my driveway I saw an officer direct my ragged mother into his car. I began to sob and yell in hysteria. A woman that I had never seen before then approached me. She informed me that she was from DHS and that I would need to pack my belongings and go with her. My worse fear had finally become a reality. … I was put into foster care.”
Eventually, Stephanie settled in at her aunt’s house and later moved in at a friend’s house. But, some of the early years were tough. At a very young age, she was forced to fend for herself without the encouragement of a parent or adult in her life. When she grew fearful of drug dealers who were visiting her house, Stephanie turned to sports and other after-school activities to avoid them. As with her studies, she excelled in these pursuits.
Lutz recently received a $10,000 scholarship from Stand for Children, a national organization dedicated to ensuring excellent public education for everyone. Lutz will use the scholarship and a financial aid package that will cover her educational costs to attend Tufts University in Boston where she hopes her studies will lead to her becoming a veterinarian.
Stephanie’s inspirational story shows that it’s possible to overcome the most difficult of circumstances and excel.
Beating the Odds video:
Stephanie Lutz: From chaos, with honors — The Oregonian
This video is based on the Argentinian Political Advertisement “The Truth” by RECREAR. Make sure to watch from start to finish.
Randy Pausch (Oct. 23, 1960 – July 25, 2008), a professor at Carnegie Mellon, gave his last lecture on September 18, 2007, before at McConomy Auditorium. In his “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams” presentation, Pausch reviewed lessons learned and gave advice to students on how to achieve their goals.
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” True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.” –Arthur Ashe
Arthur Ashe, a star tennis player in the 1960s and 1970s, is now remembered as much for his actions off the tennis court as on. That speaks volumes, as Ashe was a great tennis player. Jack Kramer ranked him as one of the top 21 players of all-time. He was the only African-American to win at Wimbledon, the Australian Open and the U.S. Open.
Off the court, he was a civil rights leader noted for his strong anti-apartheid stance. After contacting AIDs himself from a blood transfusion, he did much to call attention to the deadly disease. He founded the Arthur Ashe Foundation for the Defeat of AIDS. He started the National Junior Tennis League and served as Captain of the U.S. Davie Cup team.
Throughout his tennis career, and after, he was noted for the grace and dignity in which he related to others. The NCAA ranked him #2 on most influential student-athletes (behind only Jackie Robinson). He lived by his own words, “From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life.”
A student put this video on Arthur Ashe together for a history class:
When doctors told Wilma Rudolph’s mother that she’d never walk because of “infantile paralysis” caused by the polio virus, apparently her mother and Wilma never bought into their message. Her mother took her on 50 mile bus rides to receive physical therapy twice a week for several years from their home in Tennessee. As the 20th of 22 Rudolph children, Wilma had many siblings to help her with massaging her legs 4 times daily.
She was fitted with a braces on her legs to help straighten them. “I spent most of my time trying to figure out how to get them off,” she said. “But when you come from a large, wonderful family, there’s always a way to achieve your goals,” said Rudolph. Within a few years, in a Forrest Gump-like fashion, she shed her braces. Her parents found her one day playing basketball barefoot with her brothers.
Following in an older sister’s footsteps, Wilma played basketball with a passion. In high school, she led her team to a state championship and set a state record for scoring in one game — 49 points. A track coach encouraged her to pursue running track. At 5’11″ tall, she had a long, powerful stride. She soon became a track star.
She went to her first Olympic Games in 1956 when she was just 16 years old. She won a bronze medal in the 4×4 relay. But, that was just the beginning. At the 1960 Olympics in Rome, Wilma became the first American woman to win 3 gold medals in Olympic history. She won the 100-meter dash, the 200-meter dash, and ran the anchor leg on the 400-meter relay team.
After being told she’d never being able to walk, she was now recognized as the “fastest woman in the world.” Wilma wrote, “Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. We are all the same in this notion: the potential for greatness lives within each of us.” Wilma Rudolph’s story continues to inspire people today.
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