A woman living in the United States has a 1 in 8 risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime, according to the American Cancer Society. The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation reports that 39,840 women will die from this disease in 2010.
These are the distressing statistics that have led the Davis High girls field hockey team to do its part on Monday by participating in a Play4thecure game on Susan Beaton Field.
The Blue Devils will wear pink jerseys and charge admission to watch both the varsity and junior varsity teams face Bella Vista (JV at 3:30 and varsity at 4:30 p.m.) with all proceeds going to the Komen Foundation.
With the DHS varsity team being made up of 20 girls Ñ and 19 more playing on the JV squad Ñ the team members were shocked to learn that sometime in their lives, the statistics say that four or five of them will be diagnosed with breast cancer.
Longtime Devil head coach Katy Loge feels that it is important for the girls to understand and learn about other people and places outside of themselves, especially this type of serious issue.
ÒWhen I step back and look at the statistics of breast cancer and how many girls I have coached over the years, it is striking to think how many could be affected by this disease,Ó Loge said. ÒI almost feel a sense of obligation to at least bring them some sort of awareness and let them be a part of contributing to the cure.Ó
And the DHS squad will do just that on Monday.
The contest has informally adopted the title Òpink gameÓ because that color has come to represent the struggle against breast cancer, but the official name of the game is Play4thecure, which was created by Pennsylvania field hockey coach Tina Reinprecht a few years ago. Since then, more and more middle school, high school, college, club and university field hockey teams have played an annual Play4thecure game in October to support the cause.
The purpose of the game is not only to raise money for research, but to raise awareness of breast cancer and its statistics to young women everywhere.
This year, the Davis players and their moms will get the chance to meet with documentary filmmaker and breast cancer survivor Ann Murray Paige, watch her film, and then ask questions about her experience.
ÒFor the pink game there is more to it than just pink ribbons and shirts,Ó Blue DevilsÕ co-captain Emily Brown said. ÒWe have taken this opportunity to learn about the effects of breast cancer, both on victims, friends and family members. We understand the seriousness of the disease and we are pumped to raise money for research.Ó
At MondayÕs game, fans will be asked to pay a $3 admission fee and will be given pink ribbons to wear. Survivors will be offered a different color for recognition. The first 15 fans at each game will receive free pink DHS field hockey T-shirts.
Pink treats Ñ like lemonade and cookies Ñ and the pink DHS T-shirts will also be sold with all of the money earned being donated to the Komen Foundation. Ink Monkey has also donated pink jerseys for the girls to wear instead of their normal white home jerseys.
Not only will this home game be helping the team raise money for a good cause, but it is also bringing them one step closer to setting a record. With 64 goals in 17 games, the Blue Devils are just 12 shy of the school record for goals in a season (76) set in 1993.
All those goals have translated into a DHS team that is 15-1-1 and leading the Eastern Athletic League at 8-0. The Devils are well on their way to one of the best seasons in program history.
ÒOut of the four years I have played, this team plays and connects the best,Ó senior Sarah Finley said. ÒYou see teams with one or two players that control everything but on this team, we all play and communicate together. ItÕs how we win.Ó
Practicing three times a week for two hours and then playing two games a week, the girls have to be dedicated to their team. The practice drills that Loge runs forces the players to interact with each other rather than doing line drills, and one day a week they focus exclusively on endurance.
ÒWe come to practice every day with drive and determination to win,Ó Brown said.
Brown and Finley are part of a large group of seniors that have been playing together for numerous years. The girls have bonded for at least the last four years, getting to know each otherÕs strengths and weaknesses, which has helped them come together as a team.
ÒThey have the right
physical training and mental toughness, but in the end I think what makes them so successful is their desire to play the game well and their love of the sport.Ó Loge said. ÒI think it shows in the way they play.Ó
While they concentrate on winning and have one eye on the goals record, the Blue Devils are happy for MondayÕs opportunity to give back to their community and focus, for at least one day, on the bigger picture.
ÒWe hope the community will join us in an effort to raise money for the Komen Foundation, while at the same time supporting a wonderful group of girls who have been having a tremendous season so far,Ó Loge said.