ESPN's "My Wish" series highlights the life-changing impact sports can have on kids when leveraged for the power of good and the better of others. The series highlights athletes acting with compassion and selflessness to make the wish of a child diagnosed with a life-threatening medical illness come true. "My Wish" is a collaborative effort between ESPN and the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which "believes a wish experience can be a game-changer" in the life of a child whose innocence and youthful exuberance have otherwise been taken away by their daily battles with life-threatening medical conditions.

In its tenth iteration, this year's "My Wish" series ran from July 19th-23rd, and feature the San Francisco 49ers, Michael Phelps, the WWE's John Cena, the Pittsburgh Pirates' Andrew McCutchen, and the Minnesota Lynx' Maya Moore. Try watching any of the segments while keeping a dry eye. I dare you.


Sports are a microcosm for society, and the behaviors of its players — particularly those who are characters and caricatures — are personified by the unique platform provided to professional athletes. For better, and for worse. Professional athletes are people, and people make mistakes. Unfortunately, when professional athletes make mistakes, the strange amalgamation of a dearth of public sympathy, a deluge of public outcry, a damning amount of public scrutiny, and in too many cases, an apparent aura of a lack of accountability, sincerity or regret from the athletes, keeps news outlets like Deadspin in business.

Fortunately for the 49ers (remember Ray MacDonald and Aldon Smith) and the WWE (hello Hulk Hogan), the positive press from athletes doing the right thing can wash away the "sins of the father" of sorts; reinvigorating goodwill and pointing to the good deeds of the good guys as a rallying cry for the teams' and organizations' good work in the community.

As I may have mentioned before, I have friends who have kids fighting life-threatening medical illnesses. (In one of the simplest sentences you'll ever see me write) It sucks. But, it's also why, in a time where the non-profit space has become a bit over-crowded and the starting of non-profits has become a bit cliché, I admire and applaud Make-A-Wish and hope that the "My Wish" platform and ESPN partnership give it the cachet to stand out from and above the fray. "My Wish" helps kids feel like kids again, freeing them from, and letting them forget they are sick for at least a day. And, it doesn't have to just be a sports-based wish. If you want to be moved — really moved — Google "Batkid Make-A-Wish" and just watch the video. Chills. Period. That is, you will have chills.

Athletes can be knuckleheads. But, everyday people can (be knuckleheads) too. Athletes can inspire kids. But, guess what, so can you.

A good friend of mine is a busy guy, running a company with a nation-wide footprint, hanging out with television personalities and presidents, and hob-knobbing with the veritable who's who-s. But, he said something once, at a relatively private dinner party, with a guest list of people whose names nobody would know, that impressed me more than any story he's ever told or name he's ever dropped.

It was New Years Eve, and he had everyone at the table write down two New Years' resolutions — one professional, and one personal. Going last, his personal was that he wanted to try to spend time with his son every day during the upcoming year doing something. Ambitious? Maybe. But, admirable for sure.

If you're more Joe than Pro, you may not have the same swagger or sway with the ladies (Google LeSean McCoy + party + ladies only guest list). But, you'd be surprised how much of a positive and influential impact you can have on a kid.

Mic'ing-up athletes can sometimes invite problems. But, in the case of ESPN and Make-A-Wish's "My Wish," it's as much must-see-TV as the Super Bowl, the Final Four, or the Masters.

Speaking of golf, the recently-controversial Robert Allenby — he of phantom Hawaiian surfer hooligan-beating fame — made headlines again on Friday after firing his caddie mid-round at the Canadian Open. Allenby made headlines earlier this spring for his story of being hit with a few Hawaiian haymakers. Though, as it turns out, Allenby's bruises and injuries may have been somewhat self-inflicted, having taken a fall after a long night taking in naked hula dancing (at a Hawaiian strip club).

Though not officially part of ESPN's "My Wish" programming, Allenby's shenanigans allowed for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a lucky member of the gallery at the Open. In a scene pulled from somewhere between Caddyshack and Ferris Bueller's Day Off, school principal Robert Fraser, who was playing hooky from work (having called in sick) offered to carry Allenby's caddy-less bag (the PGA has a rule disallowing its players from carrying their own clubs), and Allenby said yes.

To hear Fraser tell it, "if you don't ask, you'll never know, right? All they can say is no." (In the words of the Great (One), Wayne Gretzky, "You miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take.") Fraser made his own wish of sorts. To hear him retell the story, it sounds like the 61-year-old Fraser got to be a kid again for a day. Which got me thinking, why not have a "My Wish" for retirees…

I know a 65 year old retired high school principal that would love to carry a bag for a loop or sit with Willie Mays for a day. ESPN and AARP, if you're reading, let's make this happen. (Unfortunately, all the catchy names I've come up with sound more morbid than funny.)