My grandmother died of breast cancer in February of this year. She was a kind and compassionate lady. She loved her son. Her son, my dad, loves basketball. He's coached high school girls basketball for the last 15 years and it's a big part of his life. Throughout his coaching career, my grandmother was a proud, supportive parent and fan of his teams. On many occasions, she donated money to help out with extra costs that the school couldn't provide for, like new uniforms, equipment, etc. She attended games, even when she was sick, until she physically couldn't anymore. The girls on the team knew her and loved her. Some even made the three hour drive to attend her funeral.
Because of the special relationship between my Grandma Pat and his team, my father and the girls decided to dedicate the upcoming season to her memory. He bought new uniforms, home and away, that boast a small, pink ribbon on the middle of the collar. This pink ribbon is a tasteful, heartfelt tribute to a wonderful lady as well as to the other countless victims of breast cancer.
When the season tips off tomorrow, however, these pink ribbons may be hidden behind an irreverent piece of white tape.
Between the time the new jerseys were purchased and now, the Georgia High School Association passed a rule stating that pink may not be worn on uniforms unless they are official colors of the school. That's basically every school in the state, including my dad's team, Tallulah Falls. It seems during football season, many high school players took the privilege to wear pink for breast cancer awareness to extremes by decking themselves out in pink socks, cleats, gloves, etc in a gaudy manner. I don't blame them. They're kids and they were just emulating what they saw on TV in the NFL. They just lacked the discernment to keep it tasteful.
But the Tallulah Falls tribute to breast cancer is tasteful; not to mention more poignant and heartfelt than probably almost anything during football season. These are girls. Girls who, God forbid, may have to deal with breast cancer someday themselves. This is a team who is honoring a departed friend. This is a one-and-a-half inch pale pink ribbon. This is a tragedy.
The new rule states than any player who enters the game wearing pink will receive a technical foul. That means if Tallulah Falls doesn't tape over the ribbon, the opposing team will shoot 10 free throws to start the game. They'll also shoot two free throws anytime a sub comes into the game. That's an awful lot of free points.
It seems to me that there should be some sort of grandfather clause to this rule. That a team who already bought their uniforms before the rule should be allowed to wear them. The rule is meant to keep players from wearing bright pink headbands and wristbands, surely they can make an exception in this case. But that's not likely.
Still, there's hope for the pink ribbon tribute. Ultimately, the decision whether or not to enforce the rule is made by the head referee each game. Hopefully, those individuals will display some common sense and compassion and let the ribbon slide. Or maybe the opposing team will miss their free throws on purpose like in some cheesy Lifetime movie. I'm not particularly optimistic.
I'm looking forward to cheering on the Lady Indians tomorrow, and for the sake of the girls, my dad, and my grandmother, I hope I don't see that unholy white tape.