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.
Atlanta Sport & Social Club has a vendetta against boredom. Throughout the year, the club provides its 15,000 annual participants with a seemingly endless list of activities, including recreational sports leagues ranging from soccer and softball to kickball and water polo. More than 70 leagues are packed into every season, and tournaments unfold in support of local and national charities. What's more, the club also organizes fun-filled social events, such as a Red, White, and Booze Fourth of July party and wine tastings at Uncorked Atlanta.
Sports A Rama East Cobb’s multisport facility encompasses 30,000 square feet of batting and pitching cages, a 3,000 square foot indoor turf field, and a half-court basketball gym. Athletes can train with the facility’s coaches to fine-tune sport-specific skills in baseball, basketball, football, softball, and lacrosse, or focus on all-around speed, strength, and endurance for improved cow-tipping techniques.
Two large party rooms, an inflatable moonwalk, and an arcade create a welcoming, family-friendly environment for birthday parties or youth athletic teams.
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.