Jonathan Newman came to BORP in 1988 when he was charged with starting a goalball program. As a volunteer, Jon did everything to make goalball one of BORP’s core programs. Continuing to build this program, in 1995 Jon organized and managed the first BORP Goalball Invitational tournament, now an annual event, running for 25 consecutive years until Covid-19 interrupted the streak earlier this year. Thirty-two years after Jon joined us, BORP has one of the strongest goalball programs in the country. (Photo caption: Jon Newman)
In 1998 Jon joined the BORP staff and took charge of the adult sports program. Power Soccer was just starting and, as he did with goalball, Jon developed one of the nation’s most successful programs. But Jon’s impact on the sport didn’t stop in the United States. In 2004, he began to extend his influence beyond our borders when he took his first international trip to Paris as a member of a delegation representing the USA at international meetings. This effort culminated in the founding of the Federacion International de Powerchair Football Associations (FIPFA). Six countries participated in the Federacion’s first tournament including Canada, Denmark, England, France, Japan, Portugal, and the U.S. In 2007 Jon refereed Power Soccer games at the first FIPFA Powerchair Football World Cup in Tokyo, Japan where the USA Team, led by Chris Finn, won GOLD!
But two sports weren’t enough for Jon, and in 2000, he launched BORP’s recreational wheelchair basketball program to supplement the competitive wheelchair basketball program we already had in place.
It’s almost impossible to neatly summarize all of Jon’s contributions to BORP and adaptive sports, but additional highlights from his career include:
1998: Pushed the entire course of the Bay to Breakers as a member of the BORP Wheelchair Centipede.
2000: Event coordinator for National Junior Wheelchair Basketball Tournament, hosted by BORP.
2004: Organized and managed BORP’s first BORP Hoops Classic. The Classic is an annual wheelchair basketball tournament for adult community level teams.
2008: Jon was a Guide Runner with Jessie Lorenz for her leg of the Olympic Torch Run in San Francisco prior to the Beijing Olympics and Paralympic Games. Jessie and the USA Women’s Goalball Team won Gold in Beijing!
2013: Started CAL goalball at UC Berkeley.
2017: The CAL Goalball Team wins the championship of BORP Goalball Invitational XXIII
In 2018: Organized the first Jonathalon, a celebration of his birthday and multiple adaptive sports.
2019: Organized and managed the first Kathryn Black Invitational (KBI), a power soccer tournament for recreational teams and athletes. Later in the year.
Jon traveled to Peru to referee Goalball at the 2019 Parapan Games.
In 2018 the BORP Board of Directors voted to induct Jon into BORP’s Hall of Fame to recognize his 30 years of contributions to BORP’s mission. And now, with 32 years of commitment and accomplishment, Jon leaves an amazing legacy! BORP and the entire adaptive sports community will miss his unshakable enthusiasm and commitment.
Thank you, Jonathan Newman, for everything you have given us.