We pink we can: Olivet athletes join the fight against breast cancer

The men’s soccer team lifts senior Joel Kline following the breast cancer game on Oct. 15. It was also Kline’s senior night as they defeated Trinity International University (Ill.) 4-1. Photo courtesy of Cassie Brainard

By Rachel Kearney

Pink ribbons and “Save the Boobies” have become the staple of the month of October. Individuals and organizations all over the country come together to support the cause of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

For years, athletic teams and organizations have joined together in bringing awareness, and Olivet athletes are no exception. Sports teams in season use games to support the cause each year, and athletes not in season also help.

The soccer teams had their breast cancer awareness games last weekend. Players wore pink duct tape and prewrap, and the men even had special jerseys with pink lettering. Fans were also encouraged to wear pink to the games in order to show their support. (Both teams went on to defeat Trinity International University, the women 1-0 on a goal with 16 seconds left in the game, and the men 4-1.)

Soccer is not the only fall sport at Olivet to participate in breast cancer awareness. Volleyball will host its annual “Dig Pink” event on Oct. 25 when they face Trinity International. The match typically draws one of the team’s biggest crowds throughout the season.

The stands are decorated in pink, the volleyball court is taped in pink and players have pink towels. There is also a silent auction, whose proceeds go towards breast cancer awareness.

In past years, volleyball has also sold “Dig Pink” shirts, however, the team is not selling shirts this year, according to junior volleyball player Carolyn Goettsch. She said she and her teammates are putting on the event themselves instead of their new assistant coach.

“It’s too much for her to do this year,” Goettsch said.

Other Olivet athletes looked to help with events outside of campus. Senior women’s basketball player Denita Phelps, along with fellow senior classmates Jenny Anderson and Ariella Martin, helped organize an event on Oct. 17, put on by the Kankakee County Soldiers, an area minor league basketball team with which the trio interned over the summer.

The event, called “We Care” Friends of the Soldiers Game, was held at Hidden Cove Sportsplex in Bourbonnais, where the Soldiers play their home basketball games. Phelps said planning for the event began three months ago when the Soldiers began looking for a cause to support. They decided on breast cancer after one of their dancers developed the disease.

Phelps enlisted the help of her ONU teammates and former teammates at Kankakee Community College to participate in a three-point contest with Soldier players and judge a dunk contest between the Soldiers.

“It’s an opportunity for us to give back,” she said.

A group of Olivet students performed a contemporary dance at halftime of the “We Care” Friends of the Soldiers Game.
Phelps said she thought it was important to help spread awareness of the cause, especially as female athletes could potentially face breast cancer.

“A lot of people in our generation aren’t aware, and events like this open their eyes that breast cancer is real,” Phelps said.


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