Girls find the power of pink
The color pink is everywhere these days in observance of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which traditionally now comes in October. Pink ribbons dot the landscape: There are pink banners in store windows, the word "Pink" is emblazoned on the back of shorts girls are wearing on track teams racing along Pleasanton streets, and posters throughout town promote the Susan G. Komen for the Cure cancer research effort. That name, by the way, was given to the fundraising group by founder Nancy G. Brinker, who promised her dying sister, Susan G. Komen, that she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer. Today, Susan G. Komen for the Cure works to end breast cancer in the U.S. and throughout the world through ground-breaking research and community health outreach.
Pink, by itself, is more than just a word; it has become a powerful term that is used as a noun, adjective, verb and adverb almost as if it wields great power unto itself. Kathleen Hart-Hinek, who with four others coaches the RAGE soccer team Breakaways, believes the word pink in whatever form has an almost mystical way of helping individuals to overcome major obstacles, whether breast cancer or some other form of the disease or any life-changing problems. The Breakaways have dedicated their games to cancer research, even more so after one young player's grandmother, Diane Brown, quit coming to their games. She had been a regular at her granddaughter Caitlin's games since the girl was in the fourth grade, even at practice. When Hart-Hinek saw that Brown was missing, she learned from Caitlin that the grandmother was battling breast cancer. The team started wearing the NFL pink sweatbands at every game, then signed a soccer ball and gave it to Brown. She's recovered and is now back watching every game, reinforcing Hart-Hinek's and the girls' view that pink wields precious powers.
Tonight, the 12 girls will meet at Hart-Hinek's home in Kottinger Ranch for a "pink power party." With their coaches, they'll make lists of obstacles they're facing that they can "pink" to overcome, much like breast cancer survivors hope to do. One girl wants to help a friend who's being bullied at middle school, so she plans to pink the problem into remission. Another finds algebra too tough to comprehend. She'll apply a bit of pink on her homework schedule to do more and overcome the difficulty. The pink party will last until everyone is done. Then the written objectives will be secured and read allowed at a rally with parents after the Breakaway's game with the RAGE Blasters on Saturday. The names of the writers won't be revealed but it's likely to be a lively meeting about obstacles the girls -- using pink power -- hope to overcome.
Hart-Hinek said the girls and their games will continue to support Susan G. Komen for the Cure and other cancer research efforts. Cancer in various forms has affected almost all of the girls' families. Hart-Hinek's mother-in-law was suffering from lung cancer last year; another coach's mother died of ovarian cancer this year. The 12 Breakaways understand the risks of cancer; they also find their chosen color pink suitable for solving problems affecting their age group, too.
I'll be back next week with a report on the kinds of problems these girls plan to "pink" tonight.
Clarification: Scott Emmert, director of media relations for the San Jose Sharks, took issue with the wording in last week's column ("Senior housing, but no Sharks on Staples Ranch," Oct. 7, p. 3) that San Jose Arena Management's "financial difficulties" were a reason for SJAM to put off plans to build an ice arena on Staples Ranch in Pleasanton. Emmert said SJAM and the Sharks have no financial difficulties.