For all but a select few sports fans, much of the news surrounding teams and players is far from good. Losses, injuries, playoff eliminations, suspensions, last-place fantasy football punishments, you name it.
So, we decided to put together something that can bring a smile to every sports fan’s face: Yahoo Sports’ #FeelGoodFriday Sports News!
Shaquem Griffin and young girl with same condition reunite after meeting at UCF
In his rookie season, Seahawks LB Shaquem Griffin – the first one-handed player ever selected in the NFL Draft – has taken the time to speak with and inspire many young fans dealing with similar obstacles.
Julianna Linton also has amniotic band syndrome, the exact same condition that forced Griffin to have his hand amputated. In Linton’s case, she lost her entire arm.
But their connection goes beyond just the medical similarities. Linton actually received treatment at the University of Central Florida during the time that Griffin played there. The pair met up then, and she instantly became one of his biggest fans.
So when Seattle drafted Griffin, Linton sent her hero a video to wish him good luck in his NFL career — wearing her UCF cheerleading outfit, of course. Shaquem made sure that turned into a reunion, this past Sunday when the Seahawks concluded their regular season with a win over the Cardinals.
Thanks so much @Seahawks and @Shaquemgriffin for hosting us at the game today! From @UCFKnights to the NFL, Julianna was so excited to see her buddy (and inspiration) again!@nflnetwork @richeisen @notthefakeSVP @ESPNAssignDesk @GMA @TonyReali pic.twitter.com/4K6ypAqG4z
— Aggiefanclark (@aggiefanclark) December 31, 2018
“She sees that Shaquem doesn’t let anything get in the way,” her father Clark Linton said. “She sees someone that is a football player, not a one-handed football player.”
Bruins fly Special Olympians from Boston to South Bend for Winter Classic
The Boston Bruins defeated the Chicago Blackhawks at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Ind. for the 2019 Winter Classic, the NHL’s annual tradition of playing a game outdoors. But the victors won off the ice as well.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Special Olympics, the Bruins flew out athletes from Special Olympics Massachusetts so they could watch the game in person.
Another win for the Massachusetts team! Congratulations to the @NHLBruins on the #winterclassic win! And thank you for making an incredible memories for our @SpOlympicsMA & @SO_Illinois athletes, coaches and families. pic.twitter.com/un1nhIm1ZE
— MB (@McmahonMarybeth) January 1, 2019
In addition to watching the contest, the Olympians got to participate in a Winter Classic of their own, taking on fellow Special Olympics participants from Chicago in floor hockey. Joining them in the game were former Bruins players and current analysts Bob Beers and Andy Brickley, along with former Blackhawks players Eddie Olczyk, also a current analyst, and Jack O’Callahan, a member of the gold-medal winning Team USA from the 1980 “Miracle on Ice.”
Damian Lillard wins NBA Cares Community Assist Award
Damian Lillard is as good as there is at helping out on and off the court, and the NBA recognized just that.
The Blazers star received the NBA Cares Community Assist Award for the month of November, awarded this week, for his efforts to support education in Portland.
The November NBA Cares Community Assist Award presented by Kaiser Permanente (@kpshare) has been awarded to @trailblazers @Dame_Lillard in recognition of his efforts to support the education of high school students in Portland.
— NBA Cares (@nbacares) December 28, 2018
Lillard’s RESPECT program aims to increase attendance and graduation rates for high schoolers. He visits schools so he can celebrate students’ achievements with them. As a result, Parkrose and Madison High Schools say they have experienced dramatic improvements, both in students’ marks as well as the general culture and atmosphere.
LeBron James won the same award in the offseason for his work in creating the I PROMISE School in Cleveland. It is given monthly to a player who “best reflects the passion that the league and its players share for giving back to their communities.”
Spurs fan makes 15th trip from Japan to watch them play
To tip off your weekend, check out Taro Kotani, the biggest international Spurs fan there is. He flew in from Japan – for the 15th time – to watch San Antonio’s domination in Kawhi Leonard’s return.
Longtime Spurs fan Taro Kotani is back in San Antonio on his 15th trip from Japan to watch the Silver & Black play! Earlier today, he stopped by Mayor @Ron_Nirenberg’s office to talk about his journey. Thanks for your continuous support, Taro! #SpursFamily | #ThisIsWhyWePlay pic.twitter.com/oU69NpOdyf
— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) January 3, 2019