Six years ago yesterday, Sports Feel Good Stories.com was founded. The first story covered the late game heroics of Jason McElwain, the autistic student manager from upstate New York, who with about 4 minutes left in a high school basketball game scored 6 three-pointers and a 2-pointer for 20 points. That story continues to amaze me even after 6 years of covering other great stories.
The concept for www.sportsfeelgoodstories.com was to focus on inspirational sports stories that showcase good deeds, overcoming obstacles and sportsmanship. That continues to be our mission, while we look to add other content of interest for our readers. Along the way we’ve added sports slogans, sports quotes, coaching reference material and more.
As anniversaries tend to be a good time for reflection and celebration, I thought it would be interesting to look back at the site, and review some key learnings and some of my favorite stories. So, here goes.
The “Why Isn’t this a Disney Movie?” Story
Cliff Young is one of the best inspirational stories of all time. A 61 year-old Australian farmer wins a 500 mile ultra-marathon and then divides up his $10,000 prize amongst the 5 runners still trying to finish the race. Movie studios: If you cast the right Cliff Young, you might have a blockbuster on your hands.
Favorite contributing writer story
When maverick baseball promoter Mike Veeck agreed to write a story about his dad – maverick baseball promoter and hall of famer, Bill Veeck – I knew it would be interesting. For Father’s Day last year, Mike wrote a touching tribute to his dad centered on his favorite Father’s Day experience.
Favorite team to write about
The Green Bay Packers. The Pack have so many great story lines including: smallest town to field an NFL team, more NFL championships than any team, historic Lambeau Field, great traditions, colorful personalities and the most loyal fan base in the country. Every true football fan should find a way to cross off that bucket list item and experience a Packers’ game at Lambeau. It doesn’t get any better.
Story that took me the longest time to write
To help folks considering whether to start a sports blog, I tried to piece together a reasonable way to get a sports blog up and running, and ended up with this story, “How to Start a Sports Blog.” What took me many days to learn regarding starting a blog is now condensed down to a couple of hours. I tried to make the start-up as easy as possible by showing lots of graphics and screen shots. If you know anyone looking to start a blog, please share it with them.
Basketball. March Madness is the tie-breaker for why I like Spring more than Fall. The NCAA Basketball Tournament along with local high school tournaments make for some of the best sports viewing in the course of a year.
My favorite interview
Fresh off of leading his upstart Butler Bulldogs to within a couple points of winning the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship, I had the opportunity to interview Butler’s coach Brad Stevens (now Boston Celtics coach). Smart, humble and with a love of basketball, Stevens addresses his unflappable coaching style, which made him more nervous – singing “Taking me out to the Ball Game” at Wrigley or appearing on Letterman, and his recommended reading for coaches.
Story seen by the most people
With the generous help of an excellent sports editor, Eric Adelson, my article on Thomas Bowlin was selected as the cover story for The PostGame, and ultimately, made the homepage of Yahoo.com. Yahoo’s homepage is seen by half the world (or so I’m told), and so it was good to know that Thomas’ story got out to so many people. Thomas survived 70+ surgeries and yet went on to excel in sports earning him St. Paul Athlete of the Year.
Best video coverage of inspirational stories
Favorite travel experience
Any sports fan visit to Kansas City should include a stop at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum for some great inspirational stories. While you’re there, check out the legendary Arthur Bryants BBQ restaurant. And, if you like BBQ, don’t stop there. Two must stops include: Oklahoma Joe’s (now Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que) – the BBQ restaurant in a gas station, and JackStack Barbecue.
Best inspirational sports stories trend
Young athletes are learning from positive role models. In college softball, Florida Southern players were influenced by players from Central Washington in a high-profile game that happened 6 years earlier. The Florida Southern players had watched news coverage of the Central Washington players’ display of sportsmanship – carrying an injured player around the bases to complete a home run – and did the same in their game 6 years later. Hmm, makes you think. Would more positive sports coverage result in a better sports environment?
From readers submitting story ideas to authors agreeing to allow me to publish excerpts of their work, this site depends on the help and support of others. Thanks to everyone for helping make this happen.