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Athletes make their mark for the greater good


Stacy Lewis won the LPGA event yesterday in Portland and I know of her because I think she played in a Sunday group of leaders with Brooke Henderson at a major not too long ago.

JJ Watt is, apparently, a very good NFL player and I think we all know where I stand on the NFL and how little I care about it so I cannot speak to his athletic bonafides.

Today, thought, they are among my favourite athletes around the world and they will get a lifetime pass from me.

And I’ve had a bit of a lifetime and the only other guy to get the coveted lifetime pass, by the way, is Sam Dalembert. He flew from Sacramento to Philadelphia and ended up missing an NBA game so he could attend the funeral of the great Phil Jasner so you can see I don’t give out lifetime passes willy-nilly.

Anyway, Lewis gets hers for donating every cent she won Sunday to Harvey rescue efforts and Watt? Well, there’s video of him helping unload a handful of 18-wheelers full of donated supplies and his social media presence is such that he raised – get this!!! – somewhere in the neighbourhood of $ 17 million for those same recovery efforts from the devastating storm.

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Of course, they weren’t the only two athletes to step up and help. Jamal Crawford solicited donations of hygiene products that are much needed, University of Houston basketball coach Kelvin Sampson – who spent time assisting with the Canadian men’s team – put out a call for shirts and shoes and gears to all coaches he knows and the response was overwhelming.

I am sure there are others, too.

But Lewis and Watt were, to me, amazing; I know they have Houston connections and the devastation really hit home but, still.

Lewis put all kinds of pressure on herself at the start of the tournament by telling everyone she’d give what she won and she handled it unbelievably.

Watt originally wanted to raise about $ 500,000 and could have stopped when he got to that level and he didn’t; his social media presence and request went on and on and on and on and on. More than $ 17 million is astonishing.

I have believed forever that it is incumbent upon star athletes  — hell, any athlete or coach or executive or whatever – to do whatever they can do when dire circumstances arise and the need to reach a greater audience is acute.

And I’m not talking about some expressions of concern or support on The Magical Tweeter Machine; we all feel badly, it sucks and we all want to help. To simply say “thoughts are with you” or “prayers up to Houston or wherever” means little.

These kinds of tangible actions not only speak the character of the women and men who make them, I think they can urge others into action and they speak to a significant level of accepting responsibility for who you and what you can do that is tremendous.

Being socially responsible and leading are very much a part of being a professional athlete, I think; these women and men have stood out. And I hope others follow when the need arises.

So the trek back to take Super Son to school involves the kind loan of an SUV by Baseball Steve for schlepping little freezers and microwaves (it came back because the roomies are on the ball!) and clothes and stuff.

It also allows me to listen to satellite radio and because I’m afraid of technology I have no clue how to change the channel. Gathering the kid back in the spring let me get a couple of hours of the Springsteen channel, which was outstanding, and yesterday because BS (oops, that probably doesn’t work as an abbreviation, does it?) was listening to the Beatles channel the day before, so did I.

Two things: They were really, really, really, really good and I got the countdown of the top 100 songs, as voted by listeners.

I was a bit surprised that Let It Be finished out of the top three but who’s to argue with No. 3, Hey Jude; No. 2 In My Life and this at the top of the list. I might have put it there myself

This, I think, was somewhere in the 30s but, man, I’d forgotten how good it is

In case you were wondering, the USA rallied from 20 down in the second half to beat Argentina in Argentina last night in the gold medal game of the AmeriCup tournament that Canada was in about a month ago.

Yeah, we’ve probably got at least a couple of weeks of the Summer Of Doug (Not George, although that is my middle name) left so we’ll be here Wednesday and Friday . And on the heels of an outstanding weekend mailbag, let’s start the plea for next week early. It’s askdoug@thestar.ca, as you well know.

Do it.

Speaking of Super Son and The Pursuit Of Higher Education (or at least a profession), more kudos than you can imagine to the folks at Brock for a seamless move-in.

I haven’t been involved in previous drop-offs for whatever reason – basically my laziness – but, man, did it work. Bright students greeting you at the driveway with all the right information on parking, the room key dispensers were on the top of their game, they had volunteers happy to help tote stuff into the residence and they couldn’t have been nicer or more accommodating. In and out in a flash and totally easy.

Go Badgers!

Now, don’t labour too much today. I know what it’s called but it’s still a holiday and you should loaf like I hope to.

And make sure you wear your white because

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