If you’ve been to any high school or college sports event during the month of October, you’ve likely noticed something different about the games, specifically the attire worn by players.
The color pink can be seen everywhere — socks, shoes, sweatbands, jerseys, hair bands and, if you can believe the ingenuity of some players, even wrapping for casts.
The officiating crew at last Friday’s homecoming game at Mater Dei Catholic High School even used pink penalty flags.
Players on both sides of the line of scrimmage at Saturday’s Southern California Football Association Central Conference/East Division game between the visiting Orange Coast Pirates and host Southwestern College managed to include a pink item of some sort on their game day uniform.
The pink phenomenon, which began several years ago, has spread beyond girls sports to encompass the entire high school and college sports spectrum across the United States. Even professional sports teams are starting to get into the movement.
So why pink?
It is to raise the awareness of breast cancer, and cancer in general.
October is breast cancer awareness month. The color pink has long been designated as the color for the fight against breast cancer.
The pink ribbons decorating bulletin boards and car bumpers have become almost ubiquitous in our society over the past couple decades.
Hilltop High School’s field hockey team hosted its third annual pink game on Tuesday against the visiting Mt. Carmel Sundevils. The Lancers wore special occasion pink jersey tops for the game, used a pink ball and sold concessions with 100 percent of the profits donated to breast cancer research.
Hilltop’s girls volleyball team also hosted a pink game last season. The Lancer spikers were involved in two Dig Pink events this week — Monday against visiting Otay Ranch and Wednesday at Olympian High School.
While girls sports may hit closer to the core of the phenomenon, football games present a larger arena in which to spread the message.
Some teams have painted yard markers on the field pink, cheer- leaders brandish pink pom-poms while pink stickers adorn players’ helmets. Some schools have featured “pink-out” games for fans.
In Texas, where football is a way of life, cancer survivors and patients have been asked to join students on the field during halftime ceremonies.
HHS field hockey coach Rita Delgadillo said the special game carries special meaning to the players and coaching staff.
“We have family members of players and school staff who are breast cancer survivors, so it is an honor to contribute in any way we can to support breast cancer research,” Delgadillo said.
Delgadillo believes that teams that participate get an opportunity to play for a cause while allowing players to keep their good health in perspective.
“They get a chance to really appreciate what they have and how they can use their talents and sportsmanship for a good cause,” the HHS coach said.
“I think that young people need opportunities to be more altruistic and be able to contribute to a cause, not because it is a graduation requirement, but because it has impacted their lives or the lives of their loved ones.”
Hilltop defeated Mt. Carmel, 2-0, on Tuesday.
On Wednesday in Metro Conference action, league leader Bonita Vista remained on top with a 7-0 shutout victory against Chula Vista while Otay Ranch blanked Eastlake 2-0. Mailyn Nishiguchi led BVHS with three goals against the Spartans.
In games last Friday, Otay Ranch edged visiting Hilltop, 3-2, while Bonita Vista shut out Eastlake 2-0. Otay Ranch received singles goals from Audrey Py, Kassandra Becerra and Lauren Cekander in its win against Hilltop, which received goals from April Burnett and Kasey Simonds in the loss.
Metro Conference Standings
(Through Oct. 26)
Bonita Vista 5-0
Otay Ranch 4-1
Chula Vista 1-4
Friday, Oct. 7
Otay Ranch 1, Eastlake 0
Bonita Vista 2, Chula Vista 0
Wednesday, Oct. 12
Otay Ranch 2, Chula Vista 0
Eastlake 0, Hilltop 0 (Eastlake wins in strokes)
Friday, Oct. 14
Bonita Vista 1, Otay Ranch 0
Hilltop 3, Chula Vista 0
Wednesday, Oct. 19
Bonita Vista 2, Hilltop 1 (overtime)
Chula Vista 3, Eastlake 2 (overtime)
Friday, Oct. 21
Bonita Vista 2, Eastlake 0
Otay Ranch 3, Hilltop 2
Wednesday, Oct. 26
Bonita Vista 7, Chula Vista 0
Otay Ranch 2, Eastlake 0