Strokes of pink are sweeping fields and courts this October as Andover sports teams don customized apparel in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Equipped with pink jerseys, various Andover teams have participated in raising awareness for breast cancer in years past. This year, Andover Field Hockey, Girls Soccer and Girls Volleyball are joining the cause.
Field Hockey was the first of the three teams to play in a Breast Cancer Awareness game this year, hosting its third annual “Playing for Pink” game against Middlesex on October 17. During the game, Andover supported the cause by wearing pink jerseys and socks, while Middlesex wore white and pink apparel.
The “Playing for the Pink” tradition began in 2010 when Olivia Achtmeyer, who coached field hockey at Andover for one year after coaching at Middlesex, suggested raising awareness through a game between the two teams.
After losing her mother to breast cancer, Achtmeyer founded Runway for Recovery, a charity that organizes fashion shows to raise money for the families of Breast Cancer victims.
“Olivia [Achtmeyer] no longer works at Andover, but we want to continue what she started as it is important to acknowledge and recognize the courage, strength and love shown by all those affected by breast cancer,” said Kate Dolan, Head Coach of Andover Field Hockey.
Dolan added, “[Playing for Pink] helps the girls to appreciate the mini lessons they learn on the field–that one has to handle tough calls, bad bounces and stinging defeats with poise, resiliency and toughness because life can be hard, unpredictable and it’s important to have the strength to weather the adversity that life will inevitably throw your way.”
“By putting in this extra effort to support a bigger cause, we are motivated to do our best every day because we realize that we are representing so much bigger than ourselves,” said Cara Daly ’13, Captain of Andover Field Hockey.
Dolan added, “We also hope that it helps them to realize they have to support one another through the good, the bad and that they need to be willing to help and be helped in their lives.”
Andover Girls Soccer joined the effort in its own pink game this Wednesday against Thayer. The players sported pink socks and pink headbands, while Thayer wore pink jerseys.
“Since Thayer also wore pink to promote awareness of breast cancer, we played for one shared cause,” said Piper Curtis ’13, Co-Captain of Andover Girls Soccer. “This cause brought us together and bolstered the sportsmanship between our two teams. At the end of the match, everyone from both teams wearing pink posed for a picture and there was a feeling of respect for each other.”
Andover Girls Volleyball will follow suit tomorrow in its similar “Dig Pink” game against Deerfield Academy.
“Wearing pink uniforms is less about how it will impact the team and more about impacting fans. By having our Dig Pink game on the Saturday of Parents Weekend, I think we maximize the effect. We’ll be able to reach people both inside and outside our Andover community and hopefully raise enough awareness to help the cause,” said Alexi Bell ’13, Captain of Andover Girls Volleyball.
“There are some personal connections in that I have family members who have survived breast cancer, and [it is] just as important that we have colleagues in our community who have struggled with it and are struggling with it,” added Clye Beckwith, Head Coach of Andover Girls Volleyball.