On the morning of September 11, 2001, Robert Herzog dropped off his laundry, picked up his mail, and took the local C train to work instead of the express A train. When he arrived for work at the north World Trade Center tower that morning, nearly 300 of his coworkers were dead. Stunned by his inexplicable escape from death, Herzog battled through his trauma by focusing on the good things in his life. Earlier that year, he met his wife-to-be playing coed softball. He had enjoyed the league but felt he could do better. Tempered by the sense of charity and community that was so ubiquitous after September 11, he opened ZogSports—a sports league that donates 10% of its profits to charity—in 2002.
Since then, leagues have spread from New York and the northeast out to Atlanta and the Twin Cities. Casual competitors in their 20s and 30s team up in touch-football leagues and indoor-volleyball leagues, making new friends on the field, at postgame happy hours, and at preseason press conferences.
When teams sign up for ZogSports's leagues, they choose a charity to represent. From there, teams compete to win the league championship, come up with the funniest team name, or order the most drinks at the bar after the game, all of which earn them money for their charity of choice. To date, the company has donated more than $1.5 million to various charities.
D1spects teaches children the values of teamwork and dedication through competitive football and basketball leagues. Although kids try out, each is guaranteed at least one quarter of playing time during each game. Players even get to experience answering questions like the pros do, with on-camera interviews taking place on the sidelines. At the end of the season, kids have a chance to compete for the playoffs and earn medals for their achievements.
Signature service: Athletic, Academic program, NFL training
Staff Size: 25?50 people
Brands Used: Speedworx Sports
Pro Tip: Two-day training camp for young men ages 13-18 years to improve skills on and off the field.
Faster, Smarter, Stronger is a performance training center that's designed to help athletes and non-athletes alike improve their strength, agility, and speed. Founder and head trainer Rahim Abdullah, a former NFL player with the Cleveland Browns, and trainers Anthony Glaud and Eric Black offer football position-specific training, along with boot camps, football I.Q. classes, and strength and conditioning classes in either small group or one-on-one training sessions. With two training facilities and a commitment to helping clients see tangible results, Faster Smarter Stronger serves as a functional place to bring a fitness routine to the next level.
Tim Lester spent eight years as a professional football player. During that time, he bowled over defenders and helped some of the league's best running backs keep an eye out for pot holes as they ran downfield, but his most supportive work happened during his long history of community outreach?a duty he's carried into retirement. That's especially evident in Tim's participation with NFL Play 60, a nationwide movement designed to get kids active for at least an hour everyday.
At NFL Play 60 summer camp, coach Tim leads groups of youngsters through a full schedule of drills and games. Each day begins with roll call and warm-ups, followed by speed and agility exercises and offensive and defensive practice that weave life skills such as sportsmanship and teamwork into the physical activities. At the end of the week-long camp, campers head home with T-shirts and Play 60 certificates to hang next to the PhD from last summer's week of graduate school.