The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

King’s Court

In the era of performance enhancers, referee scandals and high-paid, sometimes reckless professional athletes, it’s nice to see a feel good story every now and then.

But this story comes not from the money-generating machines that are professional sports or men’s collegiate athletics, but rather a sometimes overlooked segment of the sporting world: women’s collegiate basketball.

According to the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association web site, 701 universities, including St. John’s, have committed to a week-long breast cancer awareness initiative known as “Think Pink”, to be held from February 8-16.

While other sports have shown efforts to make fans more aware of breast cancer- MLB and the NHL, just to name a couple- the fact that women’s basketball has such a huge involvement is something to commend.

The Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund launched on December 3, 2007 in conjunction with the Jimmy V Foundation, a charity created in honor of former NC State coach Jim Valvano, who succumbed to cancer in 1993. The Kay Yow Fund was put together by NC State women’s coach Kay Yow, who worked along side Valvano and late last year was diagnosed with stage-four breast cancer.

“Cancer is something that touches everyone’s life and it is important to understand that we all can make a difference. Each of you can be a part of finding an answer,” Yow said of her Fund.

Money raised for the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund will be put not only toward scientific research but also to help financially less fortunate cancer victims in their fight.

There’s a reason that Yow is the “poster child”, so to speak, of the fight against breast cancer. While battling cancer since 1987, she is currently in her third bout with the disease. Regardless, Yow has managed to win over 700 NCAA games en route to 20 NCAA Tournaments, gotten to 11 Sweet 16 appearances, and has made a trip to the Elite Eight and Final Four.

“I’m battling an opponent, the greatest opponent, the greatest foe that I’ve battled. The home court of the archrival is nothing in comparison to this.”

Perhaps most importantly for Think Pink is how the week is being executed: NC State, Rutgers, LSU, and Georgia- powerhouses in women’s collegiate basketball- will be sporting pink uniforms during nationally televised games on ESPN.

In addition to specific teams wearing pink uniforms, NCAA players will be permitted to wear pink headbands, wristbands and shoelaces, as well as pink warm up suits, during the “Think Pink” week.

While making the general public more aware of breast cancer, having someone like Yow to lead the way is of equal importance.
“I normally shun the spotlight,” Yow said, “but I don’t mind being the platform.”

It’s easy to get caught up in sports. As a multibillion-dollar industry where fans with no tangible connection to a team live and die by every play, it’s ok to get into it. But sometimes we need to remember that there are more important things than winning and losing.

Breast Cancer Facts:
-Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death among all women.
-In the United States breast cancer is diagnosed approximately every three minutes.
-It has been estimated that in 2007 40,460 women and 450 men died of breast cancer.
-Breast cancer is 100 times more common among women than men.
-Among women breast cancer accounts for nearly one-third of diagnosed cancers.

Tax-deductible donations can be made at jimmyv.org

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