Narbonne High School girls basketball team wore white uniforms with pink numbers and letters in their recent victory in the Los Angeles city championship tournament game. Narbonne was wearing them in tribute of former North Carolina State women’s basketball coach Kay Yow and the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, better known as the Play4Kay Campaign. Kay Yow died of breast cancer in 2009 and she was a well known coach for the Lady Wolfpack.
While it is very brave and noble of the Lady Gauchos of Narbonne to wear pink for Kay, what happened to them is not. The officials of the city league decided that Narbonne should have to forfeit their win because they did not file a request to wear pink in advance. Oh dear. What will we all do? Because wearing pink to honor a woman who lost her life to breast cancer is giving them an advantage over another team?
As someone who works with a cancer support organization this kind of thing is ridiculous. Yes I understand rules are there for a reason and I can understand if they decided to wear a uniform that was gaudy and outlandish, but pink? They weren’t wearing to rub 24k gold in someone’s face. They weren’t rubbing an athletic companies’ products in someone’s face. They were changing their color to support awareness for a disease that more than likely will affect them or someone they love. According to cancer.org, In 2013 39,620 women were expected to die from breast cancer and even 2,240 men were expected to be diagnosed with it. What are we telling our young women when they can’t be exposed to the truth about cancer? Organizations like Relay for Life and Play4Kay are there to educate the public that this disease is there and that early treatment can save lives.
John Aguirre from the Los Angeles City Section says that they are on probation because they illegally used a player who received two technical fouls in a game last season and should have been disallowed. Now that they broke the rule about not submitting the request they have been found to have broken probation and will have to forfeit this game. Aguirre is quoted as saying, “It had nothing to do with the color pink as far as regulation. What it had to do with was that they did not submit a request for wearing uniforms other than school colors. They just did it. And at the same time, they’re on a probationary status for violation of rules for this past year.”
Mr. Aguirre fails to mention the fact that they wore the uniforms earlier in support of the campaign and did not address it with them then. We are at a critical juncture in sports. Young women growing up watching sports and wanting to get involved but having themselves held back by petty rules such as this. You don’t see this happening in boys basketball. It’s a shame for these young women and I think more organizations need to get involved to help them out. They won the game because they were the better team not because their uniform had pink on it. They did it as a symbol of someone who was an inspirational leader in their sport and by being a champion for younger girls they can be inspirational leaders themselves.