12 Sports Happenings That Will Restore Your Faith in Humanity

Laura Depta@lauradeptaFeatured ColumnistAugust 3, 2016

12 Sports Happenings That Will Restore Your Faith in Humanity

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    JOHN MACDOUGALL/Getty Images

    The National Basketball Players Association unanimously voted to fund health insurance for retired players. A German football club is offering free tickets to low-income fans. 

    As many silly, mundane or even negative stories spring up across sports every day, it's important to bring attention on the good ones, too. 

    These are lovely stories from the sports world that demonstrate the beauty of the human spirit, one that is often the spirit of generosity and kindness. Some are funny, and others are serious and even sad, but all are uplifting in their own way. 

    Take a moment to remember the joy and goodness in the world, and perhaps, take these stories as inspiration. 

Community Raises Money for Olympic Dad to Go to Brazil

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    Ellis Hill is going to see his son Darrell, a shot putter for Team USA, compete at the Olympics thanks to the generosity of strangers.

    According to Morgan Zalot, Anastasia Weckerly and John Taylor of NBC10, the elder Hill, a driver for Uber, met Liz Willock when he was giving her a ride. The conversation turned to his son, and when Hill told Willock he couldn't afford to go to Rio de Janeiro, she offered to help.  

    Willock set up a GoFundMe page for Hill that surpassed its goal of $7,500 in just two days. One man donated $1,545 to get them over the hump.

    Upon hearing the news, Hill said, "I said, 'What?!' I said, 'Oh my god, thank you so much.' It's a great thing for people to come together like that, and it's a great opportunity," per NBC10.

Donte Moncrief Vows to Help Former Teammate's Daughter

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    Zurlon Tipton played running back for the Indianapolis Colts in 2014 and 2015. In June, he died of an accidental gunshot wound.

    Upon learning of his former teammate's death, Colts wide receiver Donte Moncrief vowed to help support Tipton's young daughter, Zoe.

    Per Mike Wells of ESPN.com, Moncrief said, "Like my dad always says, it's better to give than receive. I look at it as if she's my daughter and I want to make sure she's well taken care of. I know that's something he would do for me."

    According to Wells, Zoe will be in attendance for the Colts' Week 1 matchup against the Detroit Lions. 

Sidney Crosby Shares the Cup

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    The Pittsburgh Penguins won the Stanley Cup in June, and captain Sidney Crosby made the most of his allotted time with the trophy.

    Crosby took the Cup to his hometown of Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, and surprised kids at his hockey camp.

    Chris Peters of CBS Sports wrote, "He wanted to make it as surprising as possible, so he snuck in through the Zamboni doors before bringing out the Cup."

    Crosby also brought the Cup and Conn Smythe Trophy to a local Tim Horton's restaurant. Operations manager Paul MacFarlane said, "We heard this big explosion of applause and heard someone say 'Sidney,'" per the Canadian Press (via the Toronto Sun). He added, "He came behind the counter and ... made sure all the staff got pictures with him."

Channel 4 Paralympics Ad

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    In July, the UK's Channel 4 released a trailer for its coverage of the Paralympic Games titled "We're the Superhumans."

    The advert features 140 people with disabilities—some athletes, some not—displaying their talents. The Guardian's Lucy Catchpole called it a "collective gush of joy" and reported on the video's overall positive reception.

    Dan Brooke, who oversaw the ad for Channel 4, said, "We wanted to say any disabled person can be a superhuman. You have everyday people doing amazing things. There are more disabled people in [this] one advert than in the whole history of British advertising altogether," per Homa Khaleeli of the Guardian.

Ice Bucket Challenge Makes Real Impact

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    Charles Krupa/Associated Press

    Remember the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge? The craze swept the nation in 2014 and inspired millions of people to pour frigid water over their heads.

    In and of itself, the Ice Bucket Challenge was a lovely story, but two years later, the concrete results keep coming.

    According to Katie Rogers of the New York Times, the challenge raised over $115 million for the ALS Association, money that went toward research, patient services and education, among other things.

    In July, the ALSA announced the funds also helped in the discovery of a new gene that contributes to the disease, "providing scientists with another potential target for therapy development," according to the official release.  

    Brian Frederick, executive vice president for communications and development at the ALSA, said, "There is an excitement and an energy in the ALS research community that has not been there before. There's a real sense of hope and optimism among many people living with ALS now," per Rogers.

Little Portuguese Fan Hugs French Fan After Euro 2016

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    Portugal defeated France, 1-0, in a nail-biting Euro 2016 final in July.

    The final was held just outside Paris, and many French fans were understandably upset after the loss.

    One fan in particular was seen crying outside the stadium, and then, something wonderful happened. A young Portugal fan approached the man and hugged him.

    According to David Williams of CNN.com, a video of the encounter had almost nine million views on Facebook a day later.

    Per Williams, one commenter wrote, "I was so angry that Portugal won, but I literally cannot be anymore. Not when there are people like this little boy who love the game and [it seems] love life."

David Backes Visits Animal Shelter

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    Billy Hurst/Associated Press

    Longtime St. Louis Blues center David Backes signed with the Boston Bruins in the offseason.  

    In addition to his day job, Backes founded a charity, Athletes for Animals, that aims to help rescue homeless pets. So upon his arrival in Boston, Backes wasted little time in visiting an area animal shelter.

    Per Joe Haggerty of CSNNE.com, Backes said, "[Taking a tour of the facility] gives you a warm feeling inside, and makes you feel like you're already a part of the city while helping give some attention to the great work that they're doing."

Irish Fans Clean Up Streets

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    Many Irish football fans spent their time in France during Euro 2016 doing random good deeds.

    Ally Hirschlag of Upworthy.com collected some examples, which include Irish fans singing a lullaby to a baby on a train and others cleaning up trash in the streets.

    Hirschlag wrote (for the record), "Were many of them drunk while carrying out these good deeds? Absolutely. But that doesn't make their selfless acts of kindness any less lovely."

    Even the mayor of Bordeaux, Alain Juppe, recognized the acts and tweeted a thank you to visiting fans and his city's police.

NBPA Votes to Provide Health Insurance for Retired Players

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    Randy Belice/Getty Images

    In June, the National Basketball Players Association voted unanimously to fund a program that will pay for health insurance for retired players who played a minimum of three years. According to an official release from the NBA, it's the first program of its kind in North American sports.

    Per the release, NBPA president and Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul said:

    The game has never before been more popular, and all the players in our league today recognize that we're only in this position because of the hard work and dedication of the men who came before us. It's important that we take care of our entire extended NBA family, and I'm proud of my fellow players for taking this unprecedented step to ensure the health and well-being of our predecessors.

    Former Utah Jazz center Mark Eaton called it a "gift that will dramatically change and improve hundreds of lives," according to TNT's David Aldridge (via NBA.com).

    Right on.

Buccaneers Get 'Cuts for a Cure'

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    In June, 20 members of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers—including players and staff—were given haircuts, beard trims and head shaves by pediatric cancer patients and survivors.

    The Cut for a Cure event raised $40,000 for the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation, according to a statement from Buccaneers.com.

    Linebacker Luke Rhodes—whose father is a cancer survivor—said, per the statement, "It wasn't a tough decision; it kind of hits home, the whole cancer thing. It's for a good cause. If I was going to get a haircut, what better way to do it?"

    Quarterback Jameis Winston had his head shaved by a seven-year-old cancer survivor named Josh. "I trust him because he had me last year," Winston said, per Jordan Heck of Sporting News. 

SV Darmstadt 98 to Provide Free Tickets for Low-Income Fans

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    Martin Meissner/Associated Press

    Many sports teams express gratitude to their fans—check out the ultra-low concessions prices the Atlanta Falcons are offering at home games.

    Still, German club SV Darmstadt 98 is going above and beyond to truly give back to its supporters.

    According to Will Magee of Vice Sports, Darmstadt—with help from the league—is launching a program that will help provide free tickets for low-income fans. The only requirement for an application is a social security card. 

    Bundesliga vice president Markus Pfitzner told German magazine Kicker (via Magee), "Social responsibility is an important issue for us, and we want to offer the lower-income residents of Darmstadt the possibility to see Die Lilien in a live setting. That's why we're delighted to be able to provide a number of free tickets for the upcoming Bundesliga season."

ESPYs Tribute to Zaevion Dobson

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    Many Americans had likely heard the story of Zaevion Dobson before he was honored at the ESPYs.

    In December, the 15-year-old high school football player from Tennessee lost his life after diving in front of two friends to protect them from gunfire.

    In July, Dobson's mother and two brothers accepted the Arthur Ashe Courage Award on his behalf at the ESPY Awards.

    His mother gave a powerful and moving speech, and ESPN produced an emotional video about Dobson's life and story. The teenager's sacrifice will absolutely restore your faith in humanity.