BY PERRY HUNTER
The National Association of Basketball Coaches many years ago started a campaign against cancer.
The college basketball coaches helped to raise money and the NCAA picked one game per year where coaches would wear sneakers with their suits. That odd look helped bring attention to a disease that has or will affect every single one of us directly or indirectly.
Then a few years ago, the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association got involved asking for high school basketball to get involved in fighting cancer by raising money and picking one game to raise awareness.
What followed is that many other high school sports have their own cancer awareness games in which names are read, different colors are worn, and money is raised to help fight this horrible disease.
It has been a great success, in my opinion, in raising funds for not only cancer research, but for other things like awareness for shoeless children in third world countries (Samaritan’s feet, coaches in college will coach one game without shoes and, yep, bare-footed).
Can there be too many games like this?
I recently read online where someone posted (anonymously of course) that there were too many of these types of games. They were being worn out and that they had to attend another one of these types of games, three potentially.
Their school had been involved in two games on the road and still had their own to do yet, plus one other type of game to raise awareness on heart disease.
At first read, I agreed with the person because that’s what we do, right?
We are inconvenienced when we are asked to do more than we want or feel comfortable with. Then as I thought about it, I just don’t think we can have too many of these types of games. We rarely do enough and cannot do enough to help, not just in cancer awareness or any type of awareness for diseases or negative effects in today’s world.
Imagine what we are teaching our kids. We are teaching them to take responsibility to fight something that needs to be fought. We are providing fans and relatives the opportunity to give money to help fight cancer and other diseases.
When I coached, we had a cancer awareness game the last few years. But we also did a game for juvenile diabetes awareness one year because one of our players combats it.
At Henryville High School, they are doing a Red Out game to raise money/awareness for the American Heart Association because former HHS teacher Jeff Leister passed away from a heart attack right before the school year, motivating students to do something in his memory.
I do understand that we are often asked, called, pressured into giving money for many, many things. (I teach at a high school and fundraising is part of the job for every school’s teams, clubs and groups.)
Does it say something about us when we complain about it? Doing something is better than doing nothing. Giving something is better than giving nothing. And how often do we wish we could help, but just don’t know how to go about doing it?
The high schools are bringing it to you, often, and good for them. I pray that when you attend these events that you give with an open and loving heart (for me, too). But if not, then do it because it’s the right thing to do, even if it is a small amount.
Perry Hunter is a Henryville High School teacher and a former coach of the school’s boys’ basketball team. You can visit his blog at coachperryhunter.blogspot.com.