CHS players to don new jerseys for annual Pink Wave game
NATCHEZ — Pink will stand for courage Friday as the Cathedral High School Green Wave host their second-annual Pink Wave game against Sacred Heart High School in a game that means more than another regional matchup.
The players will sport pink jerseys with green numbers and letters to supports breast cancer awareness, but the uniforms will also give the players a chance to show a loved one how much they mean to them.
Each player will wear a name of a loved one who is fighting cancer or has fought cancer on the back of their jerseys.
Head coach Ron Rushing said the idea came from a football clinic he attended in San Antonio, Texas, and it has only grown since then.
“It was big last year, and we’re hoping this year and years after, it’ll grow and get a lot of community involvement,” Rushing said.
Rushing said more than 1,000 pink T-shirts have been sold to the fans, so he expects a sea of pink Friday night in support of something that affects everybody in some way.
“Cancer doesn’t have any boundaries,” he said. “It affects everybody, and everybody has a story.”
Robert Hargrave’s story is of his grandfather, Samuel Brown III, better known as ‘PawPaw’ on the back of his pink uniform.
Hargrave’s grandfather died this summer from prostate cancer, and Hargrave said his jersey reminds him how he has played every game this season for his grandfather.
“It lets me know I’m playing for him,” Hargrave said. “This whole summer, he told me how he was going to come to all my games, and he passed away right before the season.”
Hargrave said he talks to his grandfather in his heart before every game, and he said he’ll have a different talk with him before Friday’s game.
“This year I’ve played every game for him,” he said. “But I’ve been waiting all season for this game.”
Colter Cauthen said he is fortunate to still have his aunt, Jeanne Dell, in his life.
Dell survived her fight with colon cancer, and Cauthen said he doesn’t know how he and his family would’ve taken it if she hadn’t pulled through.
“It means a lot, because they said we were close to losing her and she was diagnosed two days after my grandmother died,” Cauthen said. “It was pretty close timing, and I don’t think we could’ve handled losing two people that fast.”
Cauthern said he is as close to his aunt as he has ever been, and he is proud to sport her name on the back of his uniform.
“I’m pretty close to her,” he said. “I’m around her almost every weekend.”
Ty Brown may not have been old enough to remember his cousin’s fight with cancer, but he said he admires the fact that he could never tell that Amber Trisler dealt with something so tragic.
“She had a Wilms’ tumor in her kidney, and she had to get her kidney taken out at 5 years old,” Brown said. “It means a lot because of how much struggle she went through and how she’s able to have fun today.”
Brown said Trisler will be at Friday’s game, and he is happy to show everyone how much of a fighter she is.
“I think it’ll mean a lot to her, because it was a tough time in her life, and now she gets to look back and say she made it through,” Brown said.
Assistant coach Brett Hinson will also be sporting a jersey, though he isn’t a current player.
Hinson played under coach Dee Faircloth at Vidalia high School, who coached football at Vidalia for 42 years and battled prostate cancer in his later years. It went into remission but came back in 2010, forcing him to retire. He’s currently in remission again and lives close to the school.
Hinson will be wearing pink with Faircloth’s name on the back, and he said Faircloth is just as much of a relative as any of his family.
“Coach Faircloth was like a grandpa to me,” Hinson said. “They always ran a summer program at the school, and me and my brother would go, and he kept us under his wing. He looked after me and my brother through the summer.”
Hinson said his life is not the only one that Faircloth has touched, and he represents him not only on his pink jersey, but in the way he coaches.
“He’s more like family than a coach to me, and he’s like that to a lot of people,” Hinson said. “He’s a really special person, and I try to coach after him and treat kids like he treated me.”
The stories behind each jersey gives the Green Wave a little extra incentive to play their best Friday night. They’re not just playing for the season, they’re playing for the fight against cancer.
Kickoff is at 7 p.m. Friday at Cathedral.