Written by Hanna Lee

Robert Herzog arrived at the World Trade Center five minutes later than usual on September 11, 2001. Normally, he was at his insurance brokerage office on the 96th floor of the North Tower by 8:45 a.m., where he worked as a vice president of operations. However, he was running late this infamous morning and arrived moments after a Boeing 767 crashed into his office building.

This “close call”, as Herzog described it, caused him to reevaluate life. In the weeks following 9/11, Herzog saw New Yorkers become incredibly altruistic and very supportive of one another. Understanding this unity likely wouldn’t last forever, Herzog asked himself what he could do to capture this sentiment and help New York City heal.  His answer: sports.

Post 9/11 Herzog became a glass half empty kind of guy. However, he wanted to see his life as half full. “I had to convince myself to look at the good things,” reflects Herzog. “I’d just met my future wife playing co-ed softball in a poorly organized sports league.  I realized I could run something like that more effectively with a purpose.”

Growing up, Herzog wanted to be a doctor and even briefly studied pre-med as an undergraduate student. His motivation stemmed from a desire to help others.  Herzog eventually decided to pursue the business side of healthcare and earned a MBA in Entrepreneurial Management from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He was pursuing entrepreneurial management and healthcare before realizing the two were what he describes as an “oxymoron.”

Revisiting his passion to help others, Herzog launched ZogSports in the spring of 2002 with a 26-team football league. ZogSports organizes co-ed sports leagues for young professionals in there 20s and 30s to bring people together while incorporating social good. “We connect people through what young professionals want to do anyway,” explains Herzog. “They want to meet people, hang out with their friends, and promote charity and social action.”

Every ZogSports team chooses a charity to play for, and the company’s motto is “play for your cause.” The hope is that, at a minimum, ZogSports participants will spark a conversation about the causes that are important to them. ZogSports encourages people to think about the world beyond themselves by donating a tangible profit to charity. “It truly is a social entrepreneurial venture for me because I believe organizing a kickball/dodgeball game and donating some money makes the world a little bit better,” Herzog said.  “People might disagree, but I think the more all of us feel connected to our community, the happier we are.”

ZogSports runs four seasons per year and team sizes vary depending on the sport. ZogSports organizes leagues in touch football, outdoor and indoor soccer, volleyball, kickball, softball, dodgeball, touch rugby, wiffle ball, floor hockey and basketball. The company also organizes trips, social events and volunteer opportunities. You can register as a team, a small group or as an individual. Herzog’s goal is to make it as easy as possible to play and get involved.  You can visit http://zogsports.com/nyc/Home.aspx to register.

Now a proud father of two, Herzog instills his positive values in his children. Specifically, he focuses on the importance of sportsmanship and significance of communicating and interacting with other people. “It’s all about being a part of a team and the combination of teamwork and sportsmanship,” explains Herzog. “It’s a beautiful microcosm of the world. If everyone focused on teamwork instead of just winning, the world would be a great place.”

 

3 Responses to ZogSports: Playing For A Cause

  1. [...] Herzog is another DoGooder Spotlight who exemplifies how sports can unify individuals to build a sense of community. Herzog was a high [...]

  2. [...] Herzog is another DoGooder Spotlight who exemplifies how sports can unify individuals to build a sense of community. Herzog was a high [...]

  3. [...] Herzog is another DoGooder Spotlight who exemplifies how sports can unify individuals to build a sense of community. Herzog was a high [...]

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