I love the Super Bowl. Yes, football has its problems, but what’s more indulgent, more American, than vegetating on the couch for four hours, gorging on queso and analyzing beer commercials with a bunch of your favorite people? There truly is something for everyone. To all of you Kansas City Chiefs fans and San Francisco 49ers fans out there, here’s hoping everyone has fun and the game doesn’t go into overtime. We all have things to do Monday.
Our favorites this week
Get going with some of our most popular good news stories of the week
A super soul
Speaking of the big game, social media personality Meir Kalmanson has taken the traditional Super Bowl party to a whole new level. Three years ago, a chance encounter led Kalmanson, also known as Meir Kay, to host a Super Bowl get-together for a group of homeless people in New York City. He shared his experience online, and messages started pouring in from people interested in pitching in or hosting their own. This year, Kalmanson and a group of volunteers and donors will throw 20 such parties around the country. These Super Soul Parties, as he calls them, are a chance for people to get together, get to know each other and celebrate. In past years, Kalmanson has paired some parties with other opportunities for homeless attendees, like clothing drives, free hygiene kits, haircuts, manicures and on-site therapists. The most important part, he says, is making sure people know they’re not alone.
Slick new kicks
Of all of the “surprise” video sub-genres (you know what I’m talking about; surprise gifts, surprise arrivals, etc.), “students surprising teachers” has to be one of the best (Surprise military homecomings are way up there, too). Two weeks ago, middle school teacher Trey Payne’s basketball shoes were stolen from his classroom in Bellevue, Nebraska. His students felt so bad about the unfortunate incident that they pitched in money and surprised him with a new pair of shoes. The video is just wonderful. A whole classroom of young people showing such empathy, care and generosity, well, it’s enough to make anyone tear up. And how often do students make teachers cry, in a good way? “It’s more than a pair of shoes, it’s about doing things to build everyone up around you,” Payne said.
Inspired by a legend
People around the world are sharing the joys of fatherhood in honor of NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna, who passed away last week in a helicopter crash. Bryant had four daughters, and constantly talked about how proud he was of their accomplishments and how excited he was to help them realize their potential. “I would have five more girls if I could,” Bryant once said. “I’m a girl dad.” Men started using the hashtag #girldad to share all of the precious moments, the silly moments, the triumphant, quiet, everyday, once-in-a-lifetime moments that make them proud to be fathers. It’s a beautiful tribute, not only to Bryant and Gianna, but to the special bond between dads and daughters that endures through everything.
Raise a glass to…
The Salam Stars, an all-Muslim girls varsity basketball team from an Islamic high school in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The whole squad wears hijabs and modest sportswear, which they say sometimes inspires snide comments from onlookers. But any haters can take it up with the Stars’ record: Last year, the team went 14-4. To motivate themselves, the girls have adopted a team motto—more than the score. “It’s how you work together, the hard work you put in, the commitment you give to the team and the way you play on the court,” the team’s captain, senior Jumana Badwan says. “No matter how good, or bad the team is, you play your hardest.” Learn more about this remarkable group from our friends at Great Big Story.
A bright idea
Mattel has expanded their Barbie Fashionista line to include a doll with vitiligo and another with no hair, so more little girls and boys can look at them and say, “Hey, it’s me!” The line already includes dolls with various body types, and others with prosthetics and mobility devices. But wait, there’s more! Mattel has worked with the meditation app Headspace to create a line of dolls that celebrate self care. While some of the playsets do contain fun things like pedicure chairs and yoga mats, each set also contains useful tips for how to use self care to improve mental and physical well-being.
You gotta see this
It’s OK to do a double take! Former Roma football (aka soccer) star Daniele de Rossi wanted to enjoy the Rome derby, a match between Roma and its archrival Lazio, without being mobbed by fans. So, he employed a makeup artist to give him a disguise. According to Rossi’s wife, watching the derby with the ultras, or hardcore fans, was one of Rossi’s dreams, so if it meant doing so in a long gray wig and a prosthetic nose, so be it!
Wanna get away?
The year is young, but CNN Travel has already started compiling the very best travel photos of 2020. Drink in the ochre mists floating around a railway viaduct across the Ruhr Valley in northern Germany. It certainly gives a new meaning to the golden hour.
Rabbit rabbit! It’s the first of the month, and saying this simple, silly phrase is supposed to bring good luck for the days to come. Experts think the practice probably started in the UK, where it’s still common to say “white rabbit” on the first of the month. All you rabbit rabbiters are in good company: Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a fan of the practice and was known to carry a rabbit’s foot.
Impact your world
Though bumblebees be but little, they are fierce. It’s no secret they’re important to the environment, too. Researchers have actually figured out which plant species bumble bees prefer to include in their diets, which can serve as a good cheat sheet for those wishing to help with bee conservation efforts. The top choice among bumblebees tested in the study? A. urticifolia, a flowering plant in the mint family. (Cannabis was up there too, just FYI.)
Shameless animal video
There’s always time for cute animal videos. That time is now.
Fiona, Cincinnati Zoo’s most famous hippo, just turned 3! Here’s a look at her young, yet incredibly influential life so far. (Click here to view)