If a fire halfway around the world can get attention from an international golf tournament, can youth and amateur sports events help make a difference as well? Maybe not on the same scale, but yes, they can.
The fires, which started in September 2019 and which have been burning ever since, have taken lives and property on a devastating scale.
Australia has already had its share of sports events cancelled by the fires; The Guardian noted a number of these, from motor sports to triathlons, from harness racing to baseball, and from cricket to rugby and soccer – as well as plenty of others. They’re hardly the country’s main concern right now, however.
The plight of the country, its people and its animals has caught the attention of celebrities and the sports world, leading many to pledge money to help the victims.
Recently, the PGA TOUR noted that in a five-week span in which four 2019 Presidents Cup participants – two from the International Team and two from the U.S. Team – won on the PGA TOUR, the Presidents Cup and partner organizations have combined to generate more than $1.1 million (USD) for Australia bushfire relief efforts.
Other pro athletes, according to SBNation, have been contributing as well:
Athletes are also doing their part in order to raise awareness of the fires in Australia and making donations to help efforts.
- Nick Kyrgios is donating $200 per ace he hits this summer, which Dirk Nowitzki has agreed to match.
- Designer Ryan Simpson is selling special koala basketball shorts and donating the money to charity.
- LaMelo Ball announced he plans to donate one month’s salary to help efforts.
- Patty Mills has turned his Twitter account exclusively into a vehicle for raising awareness and sharing images of what is happening back home.
- Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams and others raised funds through an exhibition match.
And that was just a few. (An even more comprehensive list is found here).
Those who want to set up events to donate should select a legitimate organization whose funds directly benefit those affected by, and those fighting, the fires. The following outlets were suggested:
- Begin Again Foundation
- The Victorian Country Fire Authority
- The Queensland Fire and Rescue team
- The New South Wales Rural Fire Service
- The Australian Red Cross
- WIRES Wildlife Rescue (The largest wildlife rescue and rehabilitation charity in Australia, WIRES is working directly to care for animal injured as a result of the fires)
Rights holders and others who are considering setting up their own charitable events should also know they can buy swag that benefits the efforts, including shirts from companies mentioned here.
The sports planning world has started to kick in, with everything from Yoga for Australia to Spinning for Australia, to cycling and running and other events. Many events are virtual, allowing runners to participate on their own timetable.
And don’t worry if you don’t have it all figured out just yet. BadAss Runners, which offers a virtual series of events, is offering several to benefit the victims of the fires. Unfortunately, they note, the medals for several events, including Cycle For Australia, are delayed in China – but they’re basically urging participants to suck it up and run anyway.