If you tend to pick your favorite teams by the color of their uniforms, you're going to be in trouble this weekend. Women's basketball -- from the college players in the Ivy League to high school ballers in small town America -- is entering the Pink Zone. Every woman on the court at the games played at some 1,800 schools this weekend will be wearing pink uniforms or pink shoelaces in an effort to fight breast cancer.
They'll be raising money through donations, raffles, and ticket sales, money that will go the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, a project of the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA), named for one of women's basketball's biggest fighters. The ladies are going to show America how to fight like a girl -- by kicking breast cancer's butt through fundraising and awareness.
Yow was the head coach of the women's basketball program at North Carolina State University from 1975 to 2009, and the woman who led the 1998 USA Women's Olympic Team to gold. She boasted four ACC tournament championships with the Wolfpack, earned 20 NCAA tournament bids, and reached the Final Four in 1998.
And in the years between 1987 and 2009, Yow battled breast cancer not once, not twice, but three times, losing the war on January 24, 2009, at 66 years old. The Pink Zone efforts of the WBCA have continued her fight for her in the four years since it got off the ground, raising more than $3.3 million, with one weekend of games every year.
So why am I supporting this after I spent last week telling women that Go Red for Women was a waste of time if they didn't talk to their doctor about heart disease? Simple. Pinkwashing projects are not the disaster that it's been made out to be in the media. When The Stir interviewed Susan G. Komen founder Nancy Brinker last year, she revealed all those pink-ribboned products Americans buy put $55 million in the Komen arsenal. And with this program too, there's actual money being made that will go to an actual cause. In the case of the Kay Yow fund, the monies raised on Pink Zone weekend go to research and grants, valid and important means of fighting breast cancer. It's quantifiable how this will help the cause.
But even more, I embrace the Pink Zone because of the almost unsettling juxtaposition of a female athlete and a woman battling breast cancer. America's women's basketball players are the definition of vitality. Young, fresh, strong, able to bound up and down the court in a game that requires endurance and strength. They are a reminder that women can do anything ... even beat breast cancer.
Are you ready to enter the Pink Zone? Donate online or by sending a check to:
Kay Yow Cancer Fund
Attn: Megan Smith
PO Box 3369
Cary, NC 27519-3369
Image via StuSeeger/Flickr