Roy’s Ramble, May 5, 2019

Here are some of my favorite images, humor and motivation from this past week, ending May 5, 2019

  • BBYO Dinner—It was so nice to see both kids enjoy themselves at the year-end BBYO dinner.  The energy in the room was tremendous and seeing the leadership from these high school kids was impressive.  They put together so many speeches and presentations and really learned a lot about themselves, their leadership abilities and their passions.  For those that were leaving the board it was an emotional moment.  For those that are coming on to the Regional Board for the first time, it was a tremendously proud moment, one which will lead to a lot of work, responsibility and excitement over the next year.
  • Joliet Slammers—It struck me somewhat incongruous to see a minor league baseball team naming itself after a prison.  Well, not exactly.  But the mascot J.L. Bird is pronounced as “Jailbird” and is depicted wearing prison stripes in the logo and images.  But the image itself notwithstanding, the Joliet Slammers are doing some terrific work in the community, engaging kids in schools and bringing other organizations out to the park to raise money.   You can listen to the podcast that we recorded with Lauren Rhodes and all of the details that she shared. Unfortunately, the weather was horrendous so we couldn’t get any great shots of the stadium, but we still found some interesting places.
  • Dare2Tri—I had the opportunity to sit down with Michelle Stroud, the Director of Development for Dare2Tri.  Fantastic to hear about the work that they do helping physically disabled athletes (many of them war veterans), learn to compete in a triathlon.  What struck me a lot from the conversations with Michelle was how many people they help and that the importance of selecting the triathlon model was to give each of these athletes the ability to exercise alongside their family members and friends.  This is a huge benefit to these athletes and their families.  Look for our upcoming feature on www.SportsPhlanthropyNetwork/blog.
  • Northwestern development.  Sitting down with Collin Sexton was an interesting experience.  As we discussed the progression of the Northwestern Athletic Department, it was apparent that Jim Phillips’ leadership as Athletic Director has been an enormous benefit for the whole university.  It will be interesting to follow whether Jim gets serious consideration for replacing Jim Delaney as the Big Ten Commissioner.  Jim Phillips has everything you could want in that role: class, vision, energy, passion and foresight.  The main question will be whether his lack of experience negotiating broadcast rights agreements will be a hindrance to his candidacy.
  • University of Wisconsin School of Business School—A foggy evening in the Sears Tower couldn’t stop the crowd of alums from the UW Business School from gathering to hear terrific speakers.   It is always interesting to see what direction people take after they complete their degrees and the breadth of the business school really gives people a lot of opportunity.
  • Sports Philanthropy World Congress—The excitement for the Sports Philanthropy World Congress on August 9, 2019 continues to build.  Each week we confirm more speakers and we are now about 60% complete with our speaker lineup.  We will continue to keep you updated as we finalize the speaker list and get more sponsors on-board with our vision and educational mission.
  • Podcast recordings—One of the things that I love working with the Sports Philanthropy Network is the ability to have in-depth conversations with people that are doing so much good in the world through non-profits, most of them sports related.  This week I had the opportunity to record podcasts with Amy Schiffman, Co-founder and Principal of Giving Tree Associates and Deon Thomas, Community Relations Coordinator for the University of Illinois System.  Amy shared so much insight into setting up and running a non-profit organization that I cannot wait for you to hear her podcast when it drops on May 15, 2019.  Deon provided tremendous insight into the work that he does as well as sharing with the audience the progress of his career from highly rated recruit, to all-time leading scorer for the University of Illinois to two European Championships with Maccabi Tel Aviv.  His podcast drops on May 8, 2019.  I think you will really enjoy both of them.
  • Calabash Gifts website—We are proud to finally announce the launch of the Calabash Gifts website at   It was too long in the making but will now be able to let people outside of Madison see the beautiful array of items that are displayed in the store.  You can also follow our social media accounts at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
  • Dream On—Seeing a former student succeed is always terrific.  Seeing one like Kelli Haywood create a meaningful and impactful education focused non-profit from scratch is awe inducing.  Her energy is phenomenal and what she has been able to accomplish over her first five years has been remarkable.  It was an exciting week for Kelli as she celebrated her birthday, received a big award for her Foundation and hosted her Dream On Soiree which was a fantastic event.  You can see the full write up on the event here.
  • Soloff Tribute—Rabbi David Soloff was the leader of Camp Ramah in Wisconsin for  many years. He probably doesn’t want us to count how many!! . His energy and passion for the Ramah movement were unparalleled.  So it was fitting to see over 500 people show up to pay tribute  to him at a special event on May 5, 2019 at Beth El in Highland Park. The speeches were absolutely amazing and the energy and tributes to him illustrated the enormous impact he made on generations of young Jews around the country.
  • Kentucky Derby—There was lots of screaming and crying over the decision to disqualify Maximum Impact after he had won the Kentucky Derby.  What impressed me the most about the commentary and the reaction was that it was VERY different from what you see in the five major U.S. team sports.  Virtually everyone interviewed agreed that it was a foul and that in any other race, the horse would have been disqualified.  The only question was whether the stewards would have the guts to disqualify the winner.   For purposes of horse racing’s integrity, it is good that they did.  I have never understood or subscribed to the belief that the rules should be applied differently in the last few minutes or a competition, in overtime or in big games.  It is worse for every sport if the officials refused to make the calls that need to be made because then they are truly “deciding” the game. 
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