By Jacqueline Liao
Every October, America observes and promotes National Breast Cancer Awareness Month—at South, the idea is no different. Many of our sport teams have started the tradition of designating a game in October as their “pink” game, meaning that this game will help raise funds and awareness for breast cancer. This year, the girls’ varsity field hockey team will be hosting their annual pink game on Oct. 22, a home game against Great Neck North High School.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer for women. It is estimated that about one in eight American women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of their lifetimes; in 2011 alone, 40,931 women and 443 men in the United States died from the disease. Fortunately, death rates have been decreasing ever since 1989, with the largest decreases in women under the age of 50. These decreases are thought to be the result of treatment advances, earlier detection through screening, and increased awareness.
“I think it’s important, especially for girls and women, to understand what breast cancer is and how prevalent it is,” said varsity field hockey coach Tara Rosenthal. “We need to raise money to try to prevent it. I’m glad that field hockey is picking up this cause to raise money to donate to breast cancer.”
All New York high school varsity field hockey teams organize pink games to raise money through various means. For instance, each varsity field hockey player might buy a T-shirt from the local field hockey organization, and the proceeds will go to several different breast cancer organizations. Money is also raised through pink bracelet and bake sales.
According to captain Marilyn La, the pink game is unique because of the special drive and determination the girls have for the game. “All the girls play with passion and dedication knowing that this isn’t just a regular game—it’s the pink game,” said La. “It’s one of our most important games because we play in honor of those affected by breast cancer.”
One such person affected by breast cancer is South’s former girls’ athletic director Jane Maher, who now works at North as the coach of the girls’ varsity field hockey team there. In 2012, the girls’ varsity lacrosse team held a pink game in support of breast cancer and Coach Maher.
La hopes that this year’s game will be as successful as those of years past. “The pink game [last year] was a huge success; we got a lot of people to come support us. Every girl is always filled with excitement to raise awareness. I’m really looking forward to having a great time playing our pink game this year while always supporting a great cause.”