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Tag Archives: basketball

Week 16-March Madness, Day 4-Sweet 16

Bling bling!

There are big games being played during the third round today and tomorrow.  All of the winners will advance to the fourth round, or better known as, the Sweet 16.  I love the fact that little girls think of beautiful dress and lavish presents when they hear sweet 16, and boys think of basketball games and national championships.  Teams dream all year long about making it into the big dance, going to the sweet 16, elite 8, final 4, and of course the national championship game.  The Sweet 16 is really the gateway into securing the national title and having your name known all over the country.  Luckily all a charity needs to do is give back to have their name known.

It's Miley!

Nobody has better Sweet 16 parties than celebrities, and Miley Cyrus provided that once again a few years back.  Luckily, Youth Service America, also received a great present for Miley’s special day.  The admission that 5,000 fans paid to celebrate with the Hannah Montanan star went to support YSA’s mission to increase the number and diversity of young people (5-25) volunteering.  YSA believes that service should be a common expectation and experience for all young people.  Miley also helped launch the Get Ur Good On program which is an online community of youth supporting each other in their mission to do “good” in their own communities.  It’s purty cool.  A girl always needs a gorgeous dress to wear to her Sweet 16. strives hard to make sure all girls have a dress for their special occasion even if they don’t have Miley’s millions to buy one.  During March a couple of years ago DMD had an online auction where the dresses of Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus, Demi Lavato, and Ashley Greene were sold and over $2,000 dollars was raised for the charity.  DMD is the first national campaign designed to encourage young girls to donate their prom and other special occasion dresses to those in need.  DMD has a directory that makes it easy for girls to find a location in their community where they can donate or receive a dress.  One girl’s trash is another girl’s treasure.

Ashley Greene at the DMD event

Youth Service American Donation Donation (You know you need that extra space in your closet!)

So here’s to you Sweet 16!  You are the stuff dreams are made of during this time of year.  What happens this weekend will shape the future of the men’s basketball programs for a lot of schools and universities.  Teams are battling it out to advance to the next round, and get one step closer to fame and glory.  Playing college basketball is definitely hard work but the true national champs are the charities that never get a time-out from their game.

Week 16-March Madness, Day 3-Alantic Coast Conference

Call it playing favorites but I LOVE the ACC Conference.  Yes it’s true that I have a couple of degrees from an ACC school, Scott also a degree from a newly appointed ACC school, and my brother, mother, and numerous other family members went to ACC schools.  So obviously I have a lot to be thankful for when it comes to the Atlantic Coast Conference.  I’m thankful for all great academic programs, the always exciting football games (and tailgating), and the nail biting basketball games between rivals.  I’d like to think that the ACC gives people more than a heart palpitations as the clock winds down.

Basketball program legends like Carolina and Duke are located less than 20 miles apart and have to travel through the research triangle park to face each other.  Also located in RTP is The National Inclusion Project.  NIP works to bridge the gap between youth with special needs and the community that surrounds them.  Founded in 2003 NIP works with communities and all types of inclusion programs to try and educated the public about the possibilities that inclusion can bring.  Their Let’s ALL Play program also gives children with disabilities the chance to participate in recreation activities with children without disabilities.  The program has been so successful that it has been implemented in YMCAs, Boys and Girls Clubs, and community centers around the country.  Inclusion, it’s the right thing for us all to do.

Piedmont Nature Trails

Making sure our children and their children see all the beauty that is NC (and beyond) is also the right thing to do.  The Botanical Garden Foundation is the membership organization that supports The North Carolina Botanical Society in Chapel Hill, NC.  Their mission is to advance a sustainable relationship between people and nature through education, appreciation, and conservation.  The BGF raises almost half of the operating expenses of the garden and also protects over 300 acres of land for conservation purposes.  With over 90,000 visitors each year and 2,500 members of the BGF, the beautiful gardens in the heart of Chapel Hill see a lot of action.  There may not be rides and huge turkey legs like Disney World, but the beauty of the gardens and nature trails are just as magical.

National Inclusion Project Donation

The Botanical Garden Foundation Donation

So here’s to you ACC!  You have given us 12 NCAA men’s basketball championships, 2 NCAA women’s basketball championships, and years of rivalry and tradition to pass down for generations.  Duke, Carolina, NC State, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, the list goes on and on of one great institution after another.  It turns out that men’s basketball is not all this conference has to offer.  ACC stands for the Atlantic Coast Conference, but I think it also stands for Always Caring and Compassionate.

Week 15-March Madness, Day 2-Morehead State

Go Eagles!

Yes it’s true that the number 13 seed Morehead State managed to squeak one out against the heavily favored number 4 seed Louisville today.  And yes it is true that I’m thankful for this upset.  Nothing against Louisville, but to me, this is what sports is all about.  You’re only as good as your last game, your last shot, your last rebound.  Growing up in America we’re told that we can do and be anything that we want.  That’s the American dream, and today’s game proves that.  You can be the underdog in the NCAA basketball tournament, or you can be the underdog in life, but you can always come out on top.

For those of you who don’t know Morehead State is located in Morehead, Kentucky about 88 miles from the capital of Frankfurt, and 140 miles from Louisville.  After today a lot of people will think of Morehead State when they hear Kentucky but most people will still think of horses.  The Kentucky Horse Park Foundation began in 1986 it has been working to expand and enhance The Kentucky Horse Park which now has over one million visitors a year.  In addition to the visitors, 15,000 competition horses visit KHP each year in hundreds of shows.  KHP is pretty much the mecca for all horse lovers.  It is the unquestioned leading equestrian facility of it’s kind in the entire world, and provides the best possible place for anyone to get close to horses.  KHP also works to educate the public about how to ride, care for, and appreciate all types of breeds of horses.  They’re like the Mercedes Benz of horse barns.  What’s the next thing you associate with Kentucky?  Backpacks?  No?  Well you will now. Blessings In A Backpack is a non-profit based out of Louisville that feeds elementary school children on the weekend who qualify for federal Free or Reduced Price Meal program at school.  Every Friday they are sent home with a backpack full of food staples that require little or no preparation, and return Monday morning with full bellies ready to learn.  BIAB feed 37,600 children in 216 school spread throughout 32 U.S. States, Canada, Columbia, and Haiti. Children who have participated in the program have shown great progress in their attendance, grades, behavior, and health.  It only takes $80 to feed a child every weekend for the entire school year.  That may or may not seem like a lot but, seriously think about how grouchy you would be if you hadn’t eaten all weekend.  Pretty cheap huh?

The Kentucky Horse Park Foundation Donation

Blessings In A Backpack Donation

So here’s to you Moreahead State!  You screwed up the brackets of a lot of March Madness fans out there today, but you proved that all it takes is a lot of heart and little luck of the Irish to advance to the next round.  You helped us all remember why we fill out brackets in the first place, watch two (or even three) games at once, and root for the underdog.  So the moral of the story is it doesn’t matter if you’re a horse, a hungry kid at school, or an entire basketball team.  If there’s a will there’s a way, and it starts with helping those around you.

Week 16-March Madness, Day 1-Big 12

That’s right, it’s the time of year again when we all become college basketball fans and professional gamblers.  Everyone from your mom to the president are filling out their brackets and are probably in one pool or another trying to win some money, and the even more valuable pride.  The Big 12 has the most teams of any conference in the big dance this year with a whopping 11, which is 4 more than the next conference.  I’m thankful for all the great basketball that I’m going to be watching in the next few weeks, and the great causes these college and universities work to support.  So lace up your high tops and get ready to score some major karma points.

Even though there are 11 teams from the Big 12 playing in the NCAA tournament, there can only be one winner.  President Obama informed ESPN that Kansas was his top pick to go all the way and be crowned the next national champion.  I’m not sure if I agree with Mr. President or not, but I do think that The University of Kansas Cancer Center is working hard to win the battle against cancer.  Led by a team of 160 world-class scientists, KCC is focused on reducing the burden of cancer through cutting edge research, clinic trials and community cooperation.  KCC is on a mission to become designated as a National Cancer Institute center, which is the best of the best in cancer research and care.  Patients at NCI-designated centers are at the top of list for the newest laboratory discoveries and clinical trials.  A NCI-designated cancer center might be even better than a NCAA Championship.  Well, I guess that depends on who you ask.  With all this march madness going around it might be easy to forget about the true madness that is happening in Japan right now.  While we are counting rebounds and points the people in Japan are counting bodies and days since they’ve seen their loved ones.  There are lots of great, credible organizations out there where you can donate to earthquake and tsunami relief efforts, but Save the Children really spoke to me.  They work all over the United States in over 50 countries to create real and lasting changes for children in need.  It’s pretty obvious but today’s children are tomorrow’s future, and we need all the help we can get.  Over 100,000 children have been displaced from their homes since last Friday when tragedy struck Japan.  STC has been responding to disasters for almost 80 years, and over 90% of their expenditures in 2009 went to program services.  Saving the children of Japan isn’t just an organization, it’s a challenge to us all.

The University of Kentucky Cancer Center Donation

Save the Children-Japan Earthquake Tsunami Children in Emergency Fund Donation

So here’s to you Big 12!  You haven’t been around that long but you’ve proved to the rest of the conferences that you show up to play.  You have accumulated 39 team crowns and 459 individual NCAA Championships over your short fifteen year history.  You are spread out over seven states, have fans all over the country, and have every mascot known to man.  It doesn’t matter if you’re a Jayhawk, Cyclone, Tiger, or a Bear, because we’re all in it to win it when it comes to giving back.

Week 6-Sports, Day 2-Basketball


One of the most prominent landmarks of West Virginia University is the architecturally unique basketball coliseum.  I have driven past it about 10 times in the three days we’ve been here and it hasn’t gotten old yet.  It’s like the crown atop one of the many mountains here in Morgantown.  So today I am thankful for the sport that built my favorite (so far) landmark, basketball.

Coaches Valvano and Yow

One of the greatest and most inspirational basketball coaches of all time, Jimmy Valvano is still changing the world even after his death.  The V Foundation was founded in 1993 to honor Jimmy’s memory and try and eradicate cancer, which caused Jimmy’s untimely death that same year.  Unfortunately I think everyone reading this can say they know someone who has had or still has some type of cancer.  TVF has funded over 400 grants and countless facilities during their ongoing mission to support research to cure cancer.  The Kay Yow Cancer Fund is not only an initiative for The V Foundation but also for the Women’s Basketball Coaching Association.  Founded in 2007 TKYCF  is committed to being a part of finding an answer in the fight against all types of women’s cancers, and has raised over $1.3 million dollars since the Fund’s inception.  Did I mention they both coached basketball at NC State?  Nothing else makes me prouder to be a NCSU alumnus.

The V Foundation Donation

Kay Yow Cancer Fund Donation

So here’s to you basketball!  You make us catch the madness in March and miss you in April when all the tournaments have been won.  You have given us inspirational coaches and players that we continue to look up even after they are gone.  And you and Jimmy V have taught us all one very valuable lesson.  “Don’t give up…don’t ever give up.” 

Week 2-People, Day 4-West Virginia University

West Virginia University is more like thousands of people rather than one person but I am thankful for the whole kit and caboodle.  Why am I thankful for this Big East university in Morgantown, WV you ask?  Well it’s because my husband just got a job as Assistant Professor of Food Animal Production there!  You may not be able to sense the excitement through the computer screen but we are PUMPED!

This process from application to offer letter has aged us about 10 years.  I still remember how excited Scott, my husband, was the very first day he told me about the job posting.  We had previously discussed that WVU would be a great university for us to end up at one day, and viola, here we are!  Now that we know that wild and wonderful West Virginia is going to be our home I want to know how we can make it a better place.  The West Virginia University Foundation has multiple ways that you can give back.  For those of you who are sports fan you can help donate to help build a new basketball practice facility or for those of you who grew up in 4-H clubs you can support the extension program.  Check out the link below for a ton more ways to give.

WVU Foundation

So here’s to you West Virginia University.  With over 140 years of history, 29,300 students, and number 10 on Forbes list of Best Small Places for Business and Careers it has been called the “#1 Small City in America”.  We’re excited to let the country roads take us home to the place where we belong with our mountain momma.