Pink’d pride unites fans


photo by Jake Burton

Fans gather to cheer on their football team against University High School at Orange City, as well as support the fight against breast cancer.

While the band fell silent and retreated indoors in response to the heavy rain that bombarded the Pink’d game against University High School on Friday, Sept 27, the hundreds of students sporting their pink paraphernalia pride held strong and remained to cheer the varsity football team on to a 24-21 victory. However, coach Phil Ziglar put the team’s first win in perspective after the game

“But in reality, the warriors are not the football players, it’s the people fighting cancer. So we honor the survivors, we honor those fighting cancer each day and know how important it is to give back to the community,” Ziglar said.

The victory, Ziglar’s first as the new head football coach, helped the leadership program to sell bracelets, glow-sticks and all the Pink’d T-shirts, hopefully propelling them to beat the $4000 goal which was met last year.

“We don’t know how much we’ve made yet, but we will soon. And to all those who want to make a difference in the world, Pink’d is the place to go because every donation brings us one step closing to find a cure,” junior Alexa Serino, head of the Pink’d committee, said.

The hard work of the Pink’d committee proved successful. In fact, anyone stopping by the campus this week probably thought the school’s colors were black, blue, and pink.

“I feel like the decorations and the hype this year made for the win,” sophomore Jessica Davis said. “There was just so much excitement in the air.”

And while the moment of silence for those who lost their lives to breast cancer was reflective, and emotional for some fans as they broke into tears, the hope and faith the support of the community and the football team brought to the fields Friday night rang louder than any drum cadence.

“It’s very exciting,” principal Mary Williams said. “My grandmother died after fighting breast cancer for 17 years and it is amazing to see the community come together for a cause as close to me as this one. It’s emotional for sure.”

Even parents and spectators from University High School were moved by the outpour of support, unity and love exerted from the hundreds of students packed in pink among the bleachers.

“I am a breast survivor myself,” Sonya Cohen, mother of one of the University player, said. “I love this idea so much. It’s just beautiful to see how Hagerty has come together to support each other.”

Claudia Gabel, whose mother fought breast cancer, also helped to unify the school under the pink out the stadium spirit. Gabel said her inspiration to choose the Pink’d committee was because she wanted to support breast cancer.

“[Survivors] need someone to support them, keep them company in chemotherapy treatments and change their bandages when they’re down. And Pink’d is all about that. It’s not for football, it’s for breast cancer,” Gabel said.

And while the vuvuzelas and paint-splattered fans of the student section might beg to differ, the unity of the student body, which was the real goal for the Pink’d game, really showed its strength when junior Joe Simone was down on the field. After nearly 10 minutes of injury time, Simone was carefully lifted onto a gurney, sporting what looked to be a neck injury, and was rolled into a waiting ambulance. Right before he was wheeled inside the doors, he raised his right hand and gave a thumb up to the crowd, which was responded with deafening applause and howls of appreciation for the team from parents, students and staff.

As October rolls in, students are urged to continue participating in breast cancer awareness month events, such as the volleyball team’s Pink’d game on Oct. 16 against Oviedo at home, and to continue their support of each other, be it cancer, classes, or catching a touchdown.

“I’m currently trying to get together with another team and do the pink game in the spring and make it an annual thing to donate money to MD Anderson cancer clinic for breast cancer, like I did at Boone,” Ziglar said. “And while the team really rose to the occasion and did some unbelievable things, it’s the support of the students that keep us together.