TEST YOUR SKILLS

Athletics and philanthropy combine at The D10 finale in Houston

Athletes compete in 10 events. Photo courtesy of The D10

This article originally appeared on CultureMap.

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."

"Festival-like atmosphere"
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.

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Houston goes up 1-0 in the series

Altuve, Correa help lift Astros to ALCS Game 1 win over Red Sox

Carlos Correa's go-ahead homer in the seventh inning of ALCS Game 1 helped lift the Astros to a 1-0 series lead. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Despite one rough loss to the White Sox in the ALDS, the Astros looked like the dominant team they are capable of being, taking that series 3-1 to advance and taking ownership of home-field advantage in the ALCS against the Red Sox, who upset the Rays. In Game 1, despite trailing for the middle portions of the game, Houston would get more highlight moments from the faces of the franchise to start the series with a win.

Final Score: Astros 5, Red Sox 4

ALCS Series (Best of Seven): Houston leads 1-0

Winning Pitcher: Ryne Stanek

Losing Pitcher: Hansel Robles

Houston strikes first, but Boston sends Valdez to an early exit

Both starting pitchers worked in and out of trouble in the early goings of ALCS Game 1, starting with Framber Valdez in the top of the first. After erasing a leadoff single by inducing a double play, he went on to load the bases on a single and two walks but would strand all three runners to keep Boston off the board. The Astros jumped in front in the bottom half, with Jose Altuve working a leadoff walk, moving to second on a one-out single by Alex Bregman, advancing to third on a wild pitch, then ultimately scoring on a sac fly by Yordan Alvarez to put Houston ahead 1-0 after one frame.

They had a chance to extend their lead in the bottom of the second, taking advantage of a shaky inning by Chris Sale, who loaded the bases with one out as Houston would get two singles and a hit-by-pitch. That flipped the order over to the top, but a great diving catch by former Astro Kiké Hernández would end the inning. Hernández led off the top of the third against Valdez, and he would tie things up with a solo homer.

Things went downhill from there for Valdez and the Astros, as a one-out walk followed by a single gave the Red Sox the go-ahead run in scoring position. On a groundball that likely should have been a double play to end the inning, it would get through Altuve's legs, scoring a run and keeping the inning alive for Boston. They took advantage, getting an RBI double to extend their new lead to 3-1. Valdez would get one more out before Dusty Baker would give him the early hook, bringing in Yimi Garcia, who finished the frame.

A battle of the bullpens, Altuve ties it up

Like Valdez, Sale would also not make it through three innings, getting two outs while putting two on base before Boston would start their bullpen's night as well. Both sets of relievers settled the game down, with the Red Sox stranding two of Houston's runners in the third as well as the fifth, maintaining their two-run lead. After Garcia finished the third, Cristian Javier entered to eat up a couple of innings, and he would do just that by getting through two frames with just one hit, four strikeouts, and no runs.

Next, Phil Maton took over in the top of the sixth and erased a leadoff walk to keep things in striking distance for the home team. In the bottom of the sixth, Houston put another runner on base, getting a one-out single by Chas McCormick. Two batters later, with two outs, Jose Altuve provided yet another career postseason highlight, tying the game 3-3 with a two-run home to re-energize the Minute Maid Park crowd.

Astros take ALCS Game 1

Now a brand new ballgame in the top of the seventh, Brooks Raley came in to face three batters, getting two strikeouts while allowing a single before Dusty Baker would move on to Ryne Stanek, who would get the third out. With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Carlos Correa continued his march to a monster off-season contract, putting Houston back on top with a solo homer, making it 4-3.

Houston kept the script after Stanek with the new lead in hand, going to Kendall Graveman as the setup man in the top of the eighth. Despite a two-out single, he would get out of the inning with the lead intact, putting Houston three outs away from the victory. After a walk, single, and hit by pitch to start the bottom of the eighth with the bases loaded, Altuve would drive in his third run of the game, getting a sac fly to extend the lead to two runs at 5-3.

That insurance run proved pivotal, as closer Ryan Pressly was met with a leadoff solo home run by Hernandez, his second of the night for Boston, to make it 5-4. Pressly refocused and was able to get the next three batters in order, though, wrapping up the win to start Houston off with a 1-0 series lead and putting them three wins away from advancing to the World Series.

Up Next: The two teams will have a moderately quick turnaround, with ALCS Game 2 scheduled to start at 3:20 PM Central on Saturday ahead of NLCS Game 1 between the Dodgers and Braves getting the night slot. The pitching matchup is expected to be Nathan Eovaldi for Boston, who is 1-0 with a 2.61 ERA in his two starts this postseason, going opposite Luis Garcia, who had a rough outing in the ALDS for Houston, giving up five runs without completing three innings in Chicago.

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