While we're well over a year away from the 2020 Olympic Games, Houstonians have an opportunity to feel that same inspiring buzz that comes from watching a professional live sporting competition.
On Saturday, November 3, the grand finale of The D10 national tour is taking place at Rice University. At the all-day event, amateur athletes compete in events that are common at the NFL Scouting Combine, in Olympic track and field, and on the playground, from a 400-meter run to pull-ups to a 20-yard shuttle.
All for a good cause
The best part? These athletes aren't just competing for pride, although there's certainly plenty of that. They are making a huge philanthropic impact. The D10 aligns with the premier pediatric cancer institutions in North America — in Houston, funds raised benefit The University of Texas MD Anderson Children's Cancer Hospital — and D10 registrants earn their spot on the playing field by meeting The D10's fundraising requirements.
Since its inception, The D10 has raised nearly $12 million for pediatric cancer research. About half the donations D10 athletes collect come in the form of "performance-based pledges," which can double or decrease depending on how well an athlete performs in a given event.
"Performance-based pledges rewrite the contract between the athlete and their donors," says D10 founder Dave Maloney. "It's a pledge by the competitor that he or she is training purposefully toward a specific goal. When you have an extra $1,000 for MD Anderson riding on each rep of the bench press, you can feel the electricity of that performance throughout the stadium."
The D10's philanthropic component does more than check a box, according to Maloney. It creates the sense of common purpose that characterizes amateur team athletics. That unique blend of camaraderie and athleticism makes for a pretty special competition, a day that's full of a festival-like atmosphere. The D10's Game Day experience features a fully stocked beer garden by Saint Arnold Brewing Company, a kids play pavilion furnished by event sponsor Cheniere Energy, and complimentary fruit, snacks, and juices for all spectators.
"Our athletes represent many of Houston's leading firms in energy and legal and financial services," Maloney says. "As professionals, they expect the highest level of execution, and we hold ourselves to that standard in our production. As athletes, we want them to regard The D10 as their Super Bowl."
Cheer on the big day
For those who can't make the event on November 3, don't worry — the entire event will be broadcast on The D10's own streaming platform, called NORMA.
"We built NORMA because our athletes have supporters and donors all over the world," says Maloney. "It's a way for those people to be engaged with what's going on on the field."
On the day of the event, the software allows viewers to search and follow the athletes they want to watch, and receive phone notifications when it's each athlete's turn to compete. Viewers can also browse among more than a dozen camera angles to direct their own viewing experience, or make real-time donations to any athlete on the field.
For details on competing or attending, head to The D10's Houston website.
The D10's livestream picks up the morning of the event on November 3.