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NFL

Some people are born knowing what they're passionate about. Others, like Philadelphia Eagle Chris Long, stumble into it.

"It wasn't an epiphany moment," he says. "It kind of happened by accident."

In 2013, Long decided to summit Mount Kilimanjaro in the off-season on a whim. He hardly expected to run into anyone he knew across the world in Tanzania, but that's exactly what happened.


Long, his wife Megan, and their son Waylon all love to hike. All photos courtesy of Chris Long, used with permission.

“After we came down the mountain, my buddy and I went to a local bar,” Long says. “I hear someone say my name. I turn around, and it’s Joe Buck.”

Buck, a sports announcer from Long’s then-hometown St. Louis, was working on a water well project with Doug Pitt, the goodwill ambassador to Tanzania (and Brad Pitt's brother). He asked Long if he wanted to come with them on a day trip to one of the villages where they were working, but Long's flight home was already booked.

Long knew he wanted to do something to give back to Tanzanians, and the random meeting with Buck sparked an idea in him.

He went home and started researching the clean water crisis in Tanzania. Before long, he was hooked — he knew that getting clean water to East Africa was something he wanted to do. So he formed Waterboys.

Waterboys brings NFL players and fans together to help fund the construction of wells in villages in East Africa. The original goal was 32 well projects — one for each football team in the NFL. This year, Waterboys funded its 29th project. “Right now we’ve served over 100,000 people,” he says. “Ultimately our goal will be a million.”

Long’s passion stems from his desire to make a clear, demonstrable change. “Water has such a measurable impact,” he says.

Without a well, community members — typically women and young girls — have to dedicate long hours to traveling on foot to find water. But the water is still dirty, so when people drink it, they can fall ill, keeping kids out of school and adults away from work.

“It’s about more than just having clean water for survival,” says Long. Introducing clean, accessible water gives people an opportunity to thrive.

One of the key elements to Waterboys’ cause is they don’t actually build the wells — they pay local construction crews to do it.

“I didn’t want to be the guy who slaps down a well and says ‘hey, good luck,’” Long says. By hiring local crews to work the construction project, Waterboys doesn’t just provide a much-needed source of clean water. It also funnels money into the village’s local economy, creating jobs and increasing the community’s independence and sustainability.

For Long, giving back in this way is one of the best parts of his job and what makes it all worthwhile.

“I love football, but I don’t think I’d love football as much if I weren’t able to have this impact,” he says. He’s made a point to capitalize on the platform that being in the NFL has afforded him to help other people.

Chris and his brother Kyle, who plays for the Chicago Bears and is also a member of Waterboys.

“If I just started the Chris Long Water Foundation, people in Seattle wouldn’t care about that. But if I could get a guy on the Seahawks on board, then I could get people there involved, too,” Long says. He now has 13 other current or former NFL players, including his brother Kyle, working alongside him.

As for the future, Long says Waterboys has no intention of slowing down. In fact, they're expanding.

“I will always love Tanzania and I’ll stay involved there, but it’s is a tough sell. It’s a long trip and it’s hard to get guys to go there in the off-season,” Long says. “So we’re looking to expand, possibly to Central America and to Haiti.”

He’s also expanded his charitable efforts to include the military community. He now runs an annual trip called “Conquering Kili,” where NFL players and combat veterans summit Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money for Waterboys.

Long's aware that his charities benefit from his fame as a football player, so he’s doing his best to fit in as much good work as he can while he’s still playing. "I know I won’t be able to have this impact forever, so I’m kind of in a rush to get stuff done," he says.

And he urges other to use their own influence in the same way — be it through their jobs, networks, or just via social media. A philanthropic spirit doesn't have to develop out of a fortuitous meeting in a foreign country. It can come out of any issue you see in your daily life that you want to improve.

Even the smallest contribution to a cause like Long's can have a huge impact. “We’ve definitely saved lives,” he says. "We've transformed communities."

Chris Long is one of more than 750 NFL players who will lace up for charitable causes as part of the NFL’s My Cause My Cleats initiative. Starting Nov. 28, NFL players will reveal their custom cleats, many of which will be auctioned to raise money for the charitable organizations they support. For more information, visit www.nfl.com/mycausemycleats.

Images provided by Pacifico

Making waves in the best way

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At last, summer is here. And for many people, that means it's time for heading to the beach and maybe even catching some waves. Surfing is a quintessential summertime activity for those who live in coastal communities—it’s not only really fun and challenging, it’s also a great way to celebrate Mother Nature’s beauty. Even after a wipeout, the cool water mixed with warm sunshine offers a certain kind of euphoria. Or, you know, just hanging back on the sand is plenty fun too. Simply being outdoors near the ocean is its own reward.

pacifico quiksilver beach cleanupLet’s protect the places where outdoor adventure happensAll photos provided by Pacifico

However, it's well known that our beautiful beaches are suffering the consequences of overcrowding, pollution and littering. What was once a way of playing in nature is now slowly destroying it. And of course, this affects beachgoers everywhere. The sad truth is—without taking action to preserve all the natural joys the earth provides, we will eventually lose them.

But there is hope. Two popular brands that both have roots in surf culture have teamed up to help make trips to the beach a more sustainable pastime. The best part? You don’t have to know how to hang ten in order to participate.

Pacifico®, a pilsner-style lager originally brought to the U.S. by surfers, and Quiksilver, an iconic apparel company loved by both surfers and beach goers alike, have created a brand-new range of clothing and accessories with sustainability in mind.

Take a look below. These threads are great for all kinds of fun in the sun, without compromising the environment.

pacifico quicksilver beach cleanupsReady to make some waves

The collection launches on July 5 and includes tees and woven shirts, boardshorts, hats, flip-flops and a special beach towel and tote bag. The unique collaboration features the vibrant, colorful designs that are the hallmark of Quiksilver combined with Pacifico elements, created to make a positive impact.

Each item has been thoughtfully curated to minimize an environmental footprint and protect the outdoors. The hats, for example, are made from NetPlus® by Bureo®, a raw material created from South American recycled fishing nets. Additionally, the board shorts are made from recycled plastic bottles, and tees are made with 100% organic cotton. Pretty rad stuff, to put it in surfer lingo.

The prices on these pieces are equally rad, ranging from $28 flip-flops to $60 boardshorts.

In keeping with the sustainable ethos and protecting the places we play, Pacifico and Quiksilver will celebrate the products’ launch by hosting two beach cleanups. The first is on July 5 at Sunset Point in Malibu, California, from 4-5:30pm, and the second is on July 9th at Deerfield Beach in Florida from 8:30 – 10:30am.

pacifico quicksilver clothing lineCleaning up and looking good while doing it

Theses beach cleanups are open to anyone over the age of 21 who’s ready to have some fun while taking care of nature’s playground.

Those who can’t make it to the beach (bummer, dude) don’t have to miss out on all the fun. The new collection will be available on July 5th at www.quiksilver.com/mens-collab-pacifico. And even if you don’t surf, never plan to surf, have no desire to even be near a surfboard, rest assured, the apparel is still cool. Plus sustainable choices are always good fashion.

Our planet provides us with an endless supply of beauty and adventure. But without more mindful actions from humanity, its natural wonders will eventually diminish. Fortunately Pacifico and Quiksilver are making it easier than ever for people to enjoy the great outdoors without jeopardizing it. That’s a wave worth riding.

Paul Rudd in 2016.

Passing around your yearbook to have it signed by friends, teachers and classmates is a fun rite of passage for kids in junior high and high school. But, according to KDVR, for Brody Ridder, a bullied sixth grader at The Academy of Charter Schools in Westminster, Colorado, it was just another day of putting up with rejection.

Poor Brody was only able to get four signatures in his yearbook, two from what appeared to be teachers and one from himself that said, “Hope you make some more friends."

Brody’s mom, Cassandra Ridder has been devastated by the bullying her son has faced over the past two years. "There [are] kids that have pushed him and called him names," she told The Washington Post. It has to be terrible to have your child be bullied and there is nothing you can do.

She posted about the incident on Facebook.

“My poor son. Doesn’t seem like it’s getting any better. 2 teachers and a total of 2 students wrote in his yearbook,” she posted on Facebook. “Despite Brody asking all kinds of kids to sign it. So Brody took it upon himself to write to himself. My heart is shattered. Teach your kids kindness.”

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