I'm Going To Climb The Tallest Mountain In Africa
Huddle Up is a daily letter that breaks down the business and money behind sports.
Join more than 52,000 professional athletes, business executives, and casual sports fans that receive it directly in their inbox each morning — it’s free.
I am going to climb the tallest mountain in Africa in an attempt to provide thousands of Tanzanian residents with clean and accessible drinking water.
But I need your help — here’s the story and why you should care.
Let’s run it back to 2013. You guys know Chris Long, right? He played in the NFL for more than a decade, won Super Bowls with the New England Patriots & Philadelphia Eagles, and is the son of Hall of Fame defensive end Howie Long.
The crazy part? Chris made over $100 million during his NFL career and is a 2x world champion, yet I think he will probably end up being remembered more for the work he does off the field.
Here’s what I’m talking about.
Chris Long traveled to Tanzania in 2013 in an attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa. It was a long and grueling trip—even the fittest climbers struggle with 19,000 feet of altitude—but Chris conquered the summit and returned down the mountain with “an immense amount of gratitude toward the region.”
But the real story begins with what happened when Chris got back to his hotel.
Chris Long ran into Hall of Fame announcer Joe Buck and Doug Pitt—the younger brother of Brad Pitt—back at the hotel bar.
The meetup was a total coincidence, but as Goodwill Ambassador for Tanzania, Doug Pitt was in town building a sustainable water well, and Joe Buck had tagged along to help.
The three men sat down, and Pitt walked them through the water problem in Africa.
Roughly 800 million people, or one in nine globally, lack basic drinking water.
One in five child deaths under the age of five is from water-related illness.
Half of the world’s population will live in water-stressed areas by 2025.
But telling them was one thing; showing them was something entirely different.
So Doug Pitt decided to take Chris Long and Joe Buck for a tour around Tanzania, showing them how broken infrastructure was crippling local communities and their plan to fix it — Chris was appalled at what he saw.
"When you see a four-year-old kid drinking water from the same pond where animals defecate — you cannot help but be motivated to do something."
Needless to say, after seeing the lack of clean & drinkable water firsthand, Chris Long was deeply disturbed and decided it was time to get involved.
Over the last several years, Chris Long has made an incredible impact in Africa.
He teamed up with several other NFL players to launch the “Waterboys,” combining the resources of multiple professional athletes that are focused on one simple mission: “To provide clean, accessible drinking water to communities in need."
The NFL Waterboys roster includes guys like A.J. Hawk, Calais Campbell, Chris Harris, Danny Amendola, Delanie Walker, Fred Jackson, Hunter Henry, Joe Thomas, Johnny Hekker, Justin Tuck, Kyle Long, Myles Garrett, Russell Wilson, and others.
But here’s the best part — the Waterboys have since installed more than 32 water wells in Tanzania—one for each NFL team—and with each well costing roughly $50,000, that means they have raised millions of dollars and provided thousands of Tanzanian residents with clean, accessible drinking water.
Here’s a cool picture of Chris Long when the first well was installed.
But using his NFL network was just part of Chris Long’s plan.
He also teamed up with Malcolm Brogdon of the Indiana Pacers to start a similar initiative in the NBA called “Hoops2O,” and now holds an annual trip to Mount Kilimanjaro called “Conquering Kili.”
That’s the program I will be participating in this year.
The general idea is pretty simple — Chris Long wanted to accomplish two main things: alert more people to the problem and raise more money to help fix it.
So he teamed up with former NFL player and Army Green Beret Nate Boyer to organize an annual climb of Mount Kilimanjaro, and the duo started recruiting NFL alumni, retired military personnel, and clean water advocates that were willing to accept the challenge.
The group completed its first climb in 2016, and in the five years since, more than 50 people have traveled to Tanzania, toured the local communities, climbed the mountain, and raised millions of dollars to help support the cause.
As a result, the Waterboys initiative has constructed hundreds of wells in East Africa, impacting nearly 500,000 people and saving countless lives.
But here’s where I need your help.
I believe access to clean water is a fundamental human right, and no one should have to walk miles or threaten the safety of their family and friends to get it.
So I will be embarking on a two-week journey to Eastern Africa in February to summit the 19,000-foot beast that is Mount Kilimanjaro, and I will (hopefully!) raise thousands of dollars to help make a substantial impact on the local community.
I don’t usually ask much of my readers—this newsletter has been free since Day 1 and will continue to be—but I ask that if this story has made an impact on you, that you please consider donating to the cause.
My goal is to raise around $25,000, and to help us get going, I have decided to donate $5,000 personally — here’s the receipt :)
Everyone is in different circumstances, so I hope you don’t feel pressure to donate if you can’t, but if you are interested in helping the cause, you can view my donation page on the Waterboys website below. Anything helps!
This is a new and exciting experience—I’ve probably only been hiking 2-3 times in my life—so I have some training to do and will keep everyone updated as things progress.
I hope everyone has a great day, and we’ll talk tomorrow.
Your feedback helps me improve Huddle Up. How did you like today’s post?
Improve Your Fitness Through Sleep
Eight Sleep is the premier sleep fitness company that powers human performance through optimal sleep.
They use an advanced temperature-controlled system that adjusts throughout the night. It analyzes your personalized sleep stages, biometrics, and bedroom temperature, reacting intelligently to create the optimal sleeping environment.
The result? Since getting my Eight Sleep Pod Pro Cover a few months ago, not only do I fall asleep faster, I actually get high-quality sleep, so I wake up feeling well-rested and energized.
Simply put, it’s been a game-changer.
If you want to join me and thousands of pro athletes, CEOs, and other high performers that are dedicated to improving their sleep fitness, you should get an Eight Sleep Pod Pro Cover too. Trust me; you won’t regret it :)