Monday, October 1, 2012

Understanding the Pink

Check Yourself.

Check Yourself.

Check Yourself.

Have you been?

I've been delinquent with the reminders. Sorry. But I hope you've been taking care of yourself anyway. I hope you've been giving your girls a little attention and making sure that they (and you) stay healthy. I hope. I hope. I hope.

This weekend I was invited to attend a football game. The invite came from my cousin's 16 year old son, Caleb, it was his football game and the theme was pink.

Caleb is a fantastic guy and he was an adorable kid. He has morphed from a pudgy cheeked infant and a wee blond charmer into a magnificent young man. He is full of humour, kindness and warmth and I love that I get to call him family.

Caleb's entire family is kind of fantastic. His dad is a pastor and writer who often gives me encouragement (or a kick in the pants) to keep writing, keep living the life I was created to live. His mom is one of my closest friends and has walked this past year with me; supporting me, laughing with me and loving me. Caleb also has three unique and wonderful siblings who make me laugh and melt my heart. 

Like I said, this is a fantastic family and I have come to expect compassion and respect from Caleb but what I saw on Saturday blew me away. And it wasn't just Caleb, it was his whole team!

Once a season these boys go pink. They dedicate one game to cancer awareness and they go all out, raising funds and more than a few eyebrows. The funds go to CancerCare Manitoba and the eyebrows are in reaction to the pink tape they cover their helmets, shoes, socks and arms in. Last year Caleb wrapped himself in pink with the rest of his teammates but this year the pink went deeper.

I haven't spoken to Caleb about this too much but his mom and I have had a few chats. I know that hearing that I was diagnosed with breast cancer just a few weeks after the pink game last year had an impact on Caleb. I know that he has been worried about me during treatments and that he was relieved to see me getting stronger. I know that he now understands the pink a little bit better. And I know that it was really important to him that I was in the bleachers this year.

As I sat and watched the game my mind was flooded with random thoughts about Caleb, his team, his coaches, the other team and the fans. I couldn't help but reminisce about the boy Caleb once was and wonder about the man he is maturing into . I was impressed by the respect, discipline and sportsmanship his team exhibited and the dedication and care the coaches had for not just the kind of players the boys are but the kind of people they are, too. I was conversely baffled by the lack of sportsmanship and restraint the opposing team had and what a poor example of self control their coach was, but that's a rant for another day.

I watched this pink zebraed boys and felt as though they were playing just for me. For me and the more than 200,000 women in North America who will be told this year that they have breast cancer. These teenage boys played for strength, for health, for life. For Hope.

They played their hearts out that game but the score wasn't in their favour. After the game I gave Caleb a hug and told him I was proud of him. Hours later his mom texted me to thank me for attending the game and to say that Caleb was sorry that they didn't win. I told her he did.

His team may not have won the game but they raised money, awareness and hope. They stormed the field in a sea of pink. They played a clean game, a respectful game. They finished well. They may not get it now but in some games there is no winning; in some games just making it through with your head held high and the ability to live, to breath, to stand is winning enough.

Here's to the Transcona Nationals. Here's to a game well played. Here's to Hope.

Here's to Caleb!

Once you choose hope, anything's possible.  ~Christopher Reeve

1 comment:

Chris Jordan said...

Thanks for this great post, Nichole... reblogging this one!