Think strategy. Think victory. Think Pink!
Most nights Corban College’s women’s basketball team focuses only on their opponents wearing the other uniforms. Last week, the Warriors zeroed in on a deadly foe as well. In cooperation with the American Cancer Society and joining the nation-wide forces of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association’s “Think Pink” initiative, Corban’s hoop squads centered their basketball games in the midst of a special event promoting breast cancer awareness.
Breast cancer kills almost 41,000 women and men each year and estimates projected nearly 180,000 new cases of the disease in 2007, according to the American Cancer Society.
Corban decided to join the WBCA effort back in the fall when women’s coach Terry Williams approached the Corban Athletic Department about sponsoring a “Think Pink” night.
“When the idea first came up, I knew that it was something that had already impacted a lot of our people and families, and that it was truly a worthy cause,” said Williams. “When women’s basketball nationally took it on, we were eager to jump on board.”
More than 1,100 female collegiate and secondary basketball programs across the nation have joined the “Think Pink” initiative. Corban was one of four Cascade Collegiate Conference teams among the 17 total throughout the Northwest who sponsored a “Think Pink” event. The national campaign week was scheduled for Feb. 8 through 17.
“I was really impressed with our team’s willingness to embrace this opportunity,” said Corban senior captain Mandy Peterson. “We were very excited to help with this effort.”
During the Warriors’ Feb. 15th women’s and men’s home games against Warner Pacific College attended by over 1,000 fans, the color pink dominated. Both women’s teams wore “Think Pink” shooting shirts. Corban added pink shoe laces, and sport socks. Coaches added pink ties, dress shirts and ribbons. The Warrior men’s team warmed up with pink bracelets, and the officials showed their support, using pink whistles to referee the games.
Corban event staff also wore “Think Pink” shirts, and faithful fans were provided specially designed pink t-shirts as a complimentary gift from the Corban College Associated Student Body. Fans were also given pink bracelets and lapel pins from the ACS, as well as pink breast cancer awareness flyers attached to pink Tootsie Roll Pops. Pink peppermint ice cream provided by Corban Dining Services gave the fans one more reminder that the evening was about more than just basketball.
“Our hope was that we could turn our campus pink for the night,” said Corban Director of Athletics, John Nelson. “Breast cancer – and cancer in general -- is a very serious matter that has touched us directly at Corban. Though we don’t have a lot of resources, we really wanted to do something that communicated that as a college community we are aware, we are not indifferent, and we want to share in helping fight this dreaded disease.”
Besides the color theme, through a variety of donations and activities, Corban’s “Think Pink” event raised over $2,300.00 for the American Cancer Society. The Athletics department donated a portion of gate receipts for the night, while the Warrior Athletic Association – Corban’s sports booster organization – promised to give $10.00 for every three-point shot and free throw made during the games. Corban’s student body was even more generous, giving a pair of $500.00 gifts in honor of the male and female “Heart of Corban” student award winners who were crowned that same evening.
“ASB decided to get involved because we share common goals with Athletics: we want to unite the Corban community and serve in as many areas as possible,” said ASB Activities Coordinator Ashley Hayes. “With the “Heart of Corban” activity being the same time as “Think Pink”, we realized it was a great opportunity to join forces and make both events successful. What better way to celebrate Christ’s character in Corban students than to serve and give of our resources.”
The college’s student body organization also provided matching funds for all spectator donations collected through the night, and ASB sponsored a fan free throw contest that awarded monies to the American Cancer Society for every free throw made by contestants. Representatives from the ACS were also on hand to talk with people about cancer awareness and ways to help at the local level.
“I felt the “Think Pink” event was a great success,” added Hayes. “I was amazed at everyone’s generosity and willingness to participate.”
Peterson, who is also Corban’s student body president, agreed, and saw the ripple effect take place. “I think it was a great event,” said Peterson. “It was really neat to see people who weren’t even a part of the teams get excited about it. I heard people from the other team say that they wished their school would do something like this.”
“It was a great night and a really fun event,” added Williams. “Any time you can do something that’s for a great cause, and you can make it fun, then you have the formula for a win-win situation.”
Perhaps Peterson summed it up best: “You can never go wrong with pink.”