The day Austen Matthews played his first game for the Toronto Maple Leafs was the day I realized I kind of like sports. Matthews gave so many disappointed Leaf fans reason to hope that the team might finally be headed in a positive direction, and it only took that one game to prove that there was good reason to be optimistic. I watched my husband cheer when Matthews scored the first goal; the second goal had him up on his feet; I believe there was some jumping up and down after the third goal, and there may have been a couple tears of joy shed as we watched the young forward score for the fourth time. That game pulled me in, held my attention, and gave me a better understanding of why my husband appreciates sports like he does. I do not have the same love of competition and athleticism that my husband does, but recently I have noticed myself feeling moved not just by games, but by generous athletes and sports related moments like these:
1. TJ Oshie dedicates Stanley Cup win to his family: It is hard to watch this clip without getting emotional. Oshie tears up as he describes his father’s struggle with Alzheimers and the importance of winning the cup while his dad is able to remember it.
2. The Humboldt Broncos bring out the good in us: It seemed the whole country mourned when this young hockey team lost 16 of its members in a fatal bus crash on April 6. As #sticksoutforhumboldt gained recognition, people all around the world placed hockey sticks outside of their homes as a tribute to the victims. Donations also poured in to a Humboldt GoFundMe as well as the Humboldt Strong Community Foundation, both of which have raised millions for families affected by the tragedy.
3. Lebron James’ super school: The IPromise school was opened in the L.A Lakers star’s hometown of Akron, Ohio to give students there real opportunity and quality education. Students who attend will be offered free tuition, free bicycles and helmets, free breakfast, lunch, and snacks, and much more.
4. JJ Watt’s many charities: I first heard about Watt when my husband told me that the Houston Texan helped families after the Santa Fe school shooting by offering to pay for the funerals of those who lost their lives. He is also known for creating the Justin J Watt Foundation and for raising over 37 million dollars to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey.
5. The Japanese soccer team tidies up after World Cup loss: This story made me smile… after their loss to Belgium in the Fifa World Cup, these athletes gained internet fame when they took time after the game to ensure that their dressing room was left spotless.
6. These very charitable athletes: This Sports Illustrated article lists some of the most selfless athletes in sports today. I am so happy to know that people I admire, like Serena Williams and Henrik Lundqvist, are working to make the world a little better!
7. Our Little family’s first NHL opening game: The beginning of the NHL season brought excitement to millions of homes including ours. We put on our jerseys, dressed our baby in his Leafs onesie and hat, and snuggled up in the living room to watch the game as a family. I love these cosy nights and am so looking forward to enjoying lots of happy hockey seasons together!