Since 2013, GreenSportsBlog has told the stories of the great environmental work being done by teams, managers of venues and athletes. But as far as the sports side of the Green-Sports equation was concerned, we really didn’t go there.
Until last September, that is.
It was then that we launched GSB Eco-Scoreboard: Catching Up with Green-Sports Leaders on the Field, an occasional series highlighting recent on-field/court results of the greenest teams and athletes. Why? Because if they do well, their green messages will gain a wider audience.
And if they struggle? Well, those of us engaged in the climate change fight know what struggle is all about. We can relate.
With that in mind, please enjoy our sixth Eco-Scoreboard.
ECO-LINEBACKER CONNOR BARWIN SIGNS WITH NEW YORK GIANTS; LOOKS TO MAKE 53 MAN ROSTER
Connor Barwin, the 31 year-old linebacker, recently joined his fourth NFL team when he signed a two-year contract with the New York Giants.
Barwin, who previously played with the Houston Texans, Philadelphia Eagles and Los Angeles Rams, brings much needed pass rushing prowess to Big Blue’s defense (he’s notched 55.5 sacks over his first nine NFL seasons). And he also brings a passion for the environment that has been sorely lacking from the New York-New Jersey sports scene.
The former second round draft pick out of the University of Cincinnati has been very engaged on the environment — climate change in particular — throughout his career. While in Philadelphia, Barwin rode his bike to work, drove an electric car, and spoke out about climate in the community. And, as part of an endorsement deal with NRG, the Eagles energy sponsor and developer of the 11,000 panel solar system at Lincoln Financial Field, the linebacker helped install solar panels on residential roofs in the Philadelphia area and on missions to Haiti.
New York Giants LB Connor Barwin (r), then with the Philadelphia Eagles, helped install solar panels atop the roof of this couple’s home in Cherry Hill, NJ in 2015. (Photo credit: NRG)
In a 2014 interview with Jared Shelly of Philadelphia Business Journal, Barwin credits his dad with being the inspiration for his environmentalism: “My dad was a city manager who spent two decades pushing public transit in Detroit, the car capital of the world. He had a huge amount of civic pride which carried over to me as a child…It just seemed very instinctual and natural to take care of where you lived.”
With the Giants set to match up against the Jets tonight in their annual preseason battle for New York area bragging rights and the Snoopy Trophy (arguably the most meaningless trophy in sports — the game doesn’t count!), I will be focusing on two players.
As a diehard New York Jets fan, most of my attention and interest will be focused on rookie quarterback Sam Darnold and whether he can take the next step towards earning the starting job for opening night against the Detroit Lions.
And I will also be pulling for Connor Barwin to have a solid performance. He needs to play well since he’s not a lock to be on the Giants opening day roster, although most projections have him making the team. Assuming he does, Barwin will be able to bring his brand of eco-athlete leadership to the Big Apple.
VESTAS 11TH HOUR RACING RALLIES TO FINISH 5TH IN ROUND-THE-WORLD VOLVO OCEAN RACE DESPITE NOT STARTING TWO LEGS AFTER TRAGIC CRASH IN HONG KONG
Vestas 11th Hour Racing, the sailing team with the world class sustainability ethos, got off to a fast start in the ’round-the-world, 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race last fall. Led by a pair of Americans, skipper Charlie Enright and team director Mark Towill, the squad was in a tie for second place in the seven boat field after the race’s first three legs (Alicante, Spain to Lisbon; Lisbon to Cape Town; Cape Town to Melbourne, Australia).
Mark Towill, team director of Vestas 11th Hour Racing (Photo credit: Vestas 11th Hour Racing)
Vestas 11th Hour Racing skipper Charlie Enright (Photo credit: Vestas 11th Hour Racing)
And the team was near the lead towards the end of the Melbourne to Hong Kong leg when disaster struck about 30 miles out from the Hong Kong Harbor finish.
In the wee hours of the morning on January 20, Vestas 11th Hour Racing collided with an unlit fishing vessel. Despite a badly damaged bow, Towill# and the Vestas 11th Hour Racing crew carried out a search and rescue effort. Nine Chinese fishermen were rescued but one fisherman tragically passed away.
There are no words to describe how the loss of the fisherman’s life affected Towill, Enright, and every other member of the Vestas 11th Hour Racing squad.
But despite heavy hearts and the massive repairs resulting from the severe damage to the boat, the team decided to try to rejoin the race. They did so despite missing legs 5 and 6 (Hong Kong to Guangzhou, China, and then to Auckland, New Zealand), which meant there was no chance of winning.
Still, Vestas 11th Hour Racing rebuilt boat was at the start line for the Auckland to Itajai, Brazil leg. They were in second place coming around Cape Horn at the southern tip of South America, and then the mast fell over.
That had to be the end, right?
The team persevered, fashioning a new mast out of a light post.
Somehow Vestas 11th Hour Racing earned a strong third place showing in the Itajai to Newport, RI leg. They backed that up with another third place finish in the transatlantic Newport to Cardiff, Wales leg. The squad eventually ran out of steam, finishing sixth in the Cardiff to Gothenburg, Sweden race and last in the final leg, Gotenburg to The Hague, Netherlands.
Overall, Towill, Enright and Company persevered to earn a tortuous, costly but impressive fifth place finish.
A video review of Vestas 11th Hour’s challenging circumnavigation of the globe in the Volvo Ocean Race, focusing on sustainability and perseverance (9 min 44 sec)
Also impressive was this: At each Volvo Ocean Race stopover, the team met with a local non-profit to learn about their environmental work. Sustainability partner 11th Hour Racing awarded a $10,000 grant to each organization as part of their mission to leave a sustainability legacy beyond the race.
Will Enright and Towill make another run at the ’round the world race in 2021-22 and will they partner with 11th Hour Racing? That is all to be determined. The only thing we know for sure is that 2021-22 race will have new owners, with Atlant Ocean Racing Spain replacing Volvo (although Volvo cars will still be a sponsor).
# Towill substituted for Enright as skipper for Leg 4 because the latter had to sit out due to a family crisis.