National news shows have had some commentators pondering if all the pink, red, purple and other colors that represent health awareness campaigns are just too overused nowadays. I say absolutely not.
October brings out the pink on every athletic field, including the NFL gridiron. Pink hand towels, mouth guards, whistles, football cleats and uniforms have been a visual reminder that this month is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
On the high school level, volleyball teams, soccer squads and the varying levels of football teams have gotten in on the action, but it’s not just a roll-your-eyes event for the kids. In fact, it’s more of a very large support group as the teens themselves, their family members, and neighbors and in some cases, teachers and coaches are fighting the very battles they are representing by wearing pink.
This is no bummer of a month for these kids, as they proudly wear the names of their aunts, mothers, sisters, neighbors and uncles and grandparents on the backs of their special pink-shaded jerseys and T-shirts. Some go beyond just a name, showing the tender connection the kids have to the heroes in their lives. This is a very real fight against cancer and one that distracts the kids from just being kids. Teenagers often view themselves as invincible, but just hearing the word cancer at the kitchen table, school library or on the neighborhood sidewalk means kids in this special group of survivors and warriors have had to grow up a lot faster than anticipated.
There is a lot of fun, celebrating, teamwork, camaraderie and lots of tears as the Dig Pink, Volley for the Cure and other branded competitions don’t just involve football, volleyball and soccer, but special halftime or post-game ceremonies honoring the cancer victims front and center.
It’s good for the kids to know they are not alone. It’s good for the cancer patients, survivors, and especially in name of those remembered for their courageous battles that fell short. Community service, community involvement, circles of friends and support groups have much more meaning when you know someone suffering or in need. It matters not if it’s about hunger, diseases, awareness or research. It’s the entire scope that hits the nationwide airwaves on the larger scale, and brings the cause close to home in the gymnasiums and stadiums.
So even though it seems like overkill with all the pink soup cans, T-shirts, ketchup bottles, horse feed bags, and more, it’s not just a symbolic media blitz every October like some have implied. These are very personal tributes, reminders, and for some of the families involved, coping mechanisms that if for just those few short hours, they can put their troubles behind them and enjoy what the athletes are
doing for them. So take it personally and take the time to help, donate, or
just support the cause, whatever the color of the month.
And the green….
Something else near and dear to nearly everyone’s heart is wearing other colors in support of their favorite college teams. Spartan Green rules in my house—and the barn for that matter—and to at least about a third of our staff, in this office. Oh, we have our fair share of U-M fans as witnessed by the new “hat” worn by my Spartan gnome last week, as some fun-loving staff members made him a new yellow cone hat with the bright blue M on it. It’s all good, and in good fun. We enjoyed ourselves, our inner office tailgate and wearing of the green—and, okay, even the maize and blue.
I offered Sparty gnome’s “hat” back to them that following Monday after we trounced the maize and blue and suggested it could be a holder for peanuts and popcorn. Awwww, snap!, as the kids say these days. I’m sure I’ll be paid back when I least expect it. I did appreciate that the U-M fans made sure I also had a U-M cupcake to go along with the Sparty one.
For those of us supporting Sparty, we’re having a little more fun right now as we ride the wave of good will and spirit with the undefeated 7-0 Spartans’ season. To my U-M supporting co-workers, we do respect what Denied…uuhh…Denard Robinson is doing. That kid is going places and everyone has to give props for the numbers he has put up this season, UM fan or not.