Kevin Love is no summer slouch.

He's waking up early these days to hit the beach volleyball court (and playing in the Manhattan Beach Open that began Thursday and runs through the weekend).

After mornings on the beach, he rinses the sand from between his toes and knocks out some rigorous yoga, followed by a workout with the local Los Angeles trainer to the stars, Gunnar Peterson (who also happens to train Kim Kardashian).

And if Kevin still has anything left, he might hit UCLA’s Student Activity Center hoop court for afternoon pickup games against the likes of Paul Pierce, old Bruin buddy Russell Westbrook, and others. (Remember when they used to play in that NBA thing?)

Anyway, Love found time to hold a basketball camp last week at Canyon Creek Sports Camp about an hour north of Los Angeles. After a kid fell down and nobody helped him up, Kevin made it clear that that doesn’t fly. The kids did pushups and the message was heard.

See what happens after Kevin hits the deck:

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You're 11 years old, you're playing in the Little League World Series and your team is down 20-0 ... in the top of the fourth inning.

What do you do?

This is the situation Team Aruba found itself in Saturday against Asia-Pacific. The kids from Chinese Taipei (a.k.a. Taiwan) scored four runs in the first inning, five in the second and seven in the third to take a 16-0 lead. As they walked into the dugout in the middle of the third inning, many of the Aruban players were crying.

They'd already lost once. Another defeat -- by then a sure thing -- meant elimination for the kids from this tiny island nation (population 103,000) located 17 miles off the coast of Venezuela.

One of those in tears was 11-year-old Vaughn Bergen, who was due up to the plate that inning. As tears poured down his face, Vaughn's father approached. Luigi Bergen, a coach on the Aruban team, told his son, "You're coming up [to bat] here. Do you want to do it crying or do you want to do it happily?"

Vaughn chose to do it happily. He stepped to the plate and grounded out to third.

Then, in the top of the fourth inning, as Asia-Pacific padded its lead with four more runs, ESPN's cameras panned to left field and caught Vaughn Bergen doing ... this:

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Vaughn calls his spin move -- the one where he puts his right leg behind his left knee, dips to the ground and twirls -- "The SpongeBob."

"[My teammates] told me I was crazy," Vaughn told on Monday. "I was dancing in the dugout, too."

As he did, his team scored three runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to make the final score a more respectable 20-3.

"The dancing thing got everyone smiling, and they started hitting the ball in that last inning," Luigi Bergen said.

And they kept hitting. In Monday's consolation game, Aruba beat South Dakota, 5-0. Vaughn knocked in the first run in that one.

"I was mad because we were not going to make it to the final," Vaughn said when asked why he started dancing in the middle of Saturday's game.

"My dad told me to enjoy myself, and I did."

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It was 'Game Off' for 32 middle schools in Charlotte, N.C. when budget cuts forced the administration to slash athletics programs. But when the news reached a local automotive sales exec, heartstrings were tugged and wallets were opened.

Rick Hendrick, chairman of Charlotte-based Hendrick Automotive Group and championship owner of Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt, Jr.'s NASCAR teams, is the district's knight in shining chrome. is now the official sponsor of Charlotte-Mecklenberg Schools athletics, helping to cover coach, referee and transportation costs.

While Hendrick's signs will be prominently displayed around playing fields, there's a more personal reason for his philanthropy: He and his own children played sports growing up in the area.

So a little nostalgia has gone a long way to keep it 'Game on' for Charlotte kids.

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This was a name-dropper's paradise. There were Hall of Fame athletes like Jim Brown, Magic Johnson, Jerry Rice and Jerry West. There were show-biz stars like Jeremy Piven, Cedric The Entertainer and Ali (The Bachelorette) Fedotowsky. There was even a former head of state, Vicente Fox, the ex-president of Mexico, and another guy who has probably interviewed just about everyone else on the guest list, Larry King.

That's the way it is at the annual Harold Pump Foundation gala. The Pump brothers, Dana and David, line up the biggest stars for a bash to honor their late father Harold and raise money to fight cancer, and this year's event, the 11th annual, was no different as movers and shakers from sports and beyond gathered last week in Century City.

The superstar wattage was stunning, but one of the reasons why the Pumps have been so successful in raising money with their foundation -- nearly $5 million with the lion's share going to Northridge Hospital -- is that they've found a way to personalize the message: Cancer affects everyone. As the brothers made this point in their opening remarks, I found myself visibly nodding in agreement.

Both of my parents are cancer survivors.

Now I've known this, obviously, but this was the first time I'd ever uttered that particular sentence, albeit in silence. Not to inappropriately mix metaphors, but I imagine it is similar to when a substance abuser stands up at the group meeting and introduces himself as an addict. The first time you say it has memorable impact.

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My dad has been fighting cancer for the past year. The outlook is promising after a major operation in the spring, but grim images from the hospital are still fresh and flashed through my mind as Dana and David spoke. Then Magic Johnson said that if he died now, his fondest wish would be for his sons to honor him in the same meaningful way the Pump brothers have honored the memory of their dad with this foundation.

That forced me to ask myself an uncomfortable question: What would I do in memory of my dad, if it came to that?

I don't mean to kill the mood here, because the resounding message from the gala was positive, all about fighting the good fight, prevailing against this vicious disease, and I hope I am in some way conveying how this event was overflowing with spirit and optimism.

Rule No. 1 in sports journalism is that there's no cheering from the press box. But perhaps there ought be a corollary that says it is more than OK to root for an organization that converts celebrity star power into donations that help real people.

Click here for more information on The Harold Pump Foundation.


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The first short walk 6-year-old Luke Akerstrom took in public since a rare form of encephalitis unexpectedly struck him last New Year's Eve consisted of a few slow steps into the waiting arms of Jacksonville Jaguars center Brad Meester. As the rest of the Jags players and coaches watched, Akerstrom took five steps on the team's training field, the first he had taken alone since a 35-minute seizure last Dec. 31 confined him to a wheelchair.

Luke had to walk again. He had to. "Mommy," he said to his mother a few weeks ago, "I have to walk because Jaguars don't roll, they run."

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Meester, his wife Jamie and Jaguars communications director Ryan Robinson met Luke while he was at Brooks Rehabilitation Hospital earlier this year and immediately developed a rapport with the youngster.

"One of my daughters is the same age, exact same age as he is," Brad Meester told Tania Ganguli of The Florida Times-Union, who chronicled this inspirational story for the newspaper. "We kept going back every week to see him. Every week we kept working harder to see him."

The Meesters watched him go through physical therapy, sat with the family while Luke received a painful spinal tap and, along with Robinson, helped take care of Luke and his younger brother one night so Luke's parents could get a night alone to celebrate their wedding anniversary.

And when it's time to take the Meester's daughters to visit Luke, they argue about who gets to go.

Luke took his first few tentative steps at home last week with his parents hovering. But on Thursday, when he walked all by himself into Brad's waiting arms, Jamie watched in the background, crying.

"I hope that my kids learn from him, to strive for things," Jamie Meester told the newspaper. "And if you work hard at it, it'll come true. I think that's great that he's been able to show us that."

Chris Chase writes for Yahoo! Sports' NFL blog, Shutdown Corner.

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