HILLARY SMITH: Pink is a fall volleyball color

2013-09-29T19:30:00Z 2013-09-30T02:52:03Z HILLARY SMITH: Pink is a fall volleyball colorHillary Smith Times Columnist nwitimes.com
September 29, 2013 7:30 pm  • 

From college to club, from high school to elementary players, volleyball has embraced October.

The start of the month Tuesday kicks off the beginning of the pink season. 

Teams across the area -- and across the country -- have embraced the Dig Pink, Side Out Cancer and overall volleyball vs. cancer games.

Each game is more than just a day for players to wear pink ribbons in their hair, or don pink jerseys instead of their usual home colors.

They teach players about volunteerism, about backing a cause and raising awareness. 

Whether the games raise $200 or $2,000 there's a community service aspect to the mantra of giving back.

Each team tackles the fundraising a little differently.

Sending players into the community looking for donations of baskets and donations of money teaches communication skills and fundraising.

Soliciting donations from friends and family, neighbors and teachers is an interpersonal skill, one that allows athletes to learn how to use connections toward a common goal.

When the game is more than a score, when it becomes about a different common goal than the one started in August, when one night can bring two sides of volleyball players together, it makes an impact.

Why volleyball has embraced the fundraising aspect of the season more than many other sports is as much coincidence as it is phenomenon.

Volleyball is one of four girls sports in the fall, and one of three that is still holding regular-season contests in October, the official month designated as breast cancer awareness month.

The statistical nature of volleyball -- with digs, kills, bumps, sets, blocks, serves and aces -- allows for the perfection of fundraising. Donors can pledge money per block or per dig and now it's a campaign for "digging out cancer," or "blocking out cancer."

That's not to say that other sports haven't dedicated the same time and energy to fundraising efforts for cancer. For instance, the Coaches vs. Cancer effort found most in basketball and baseball makes the same use of money-raising and awareness techniques.

However, unlike October equals Breast Cancer Awareness Month, not as highly publicized is February as National Cancer Prevention Month, or May as Brain Cancer Awareness Month.

The emotion surrounding pink has helped volleyball set a lasting impression, especially over the last 10 years.

Watch the calendar for the dig pink games, and donate what you can.

Even for those who don't have family members impacted by cancer, we're teaching our children that something else matters. And with that, they are entering the world as better people.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach her at hillary.smith@nwi.com.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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