Community service has always been an important part of the women’s athletic program at Davidson, but recently, two teams have increased their service by becoming involved in the fight against breast cancer. In 2007, the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association introduced Think Pink – a national fundraising effort held to raise breast cancer awareness. Kay Yow, North Carolina State University coach, initiated the event after suffering from breast cancer herself and losing her mother to the disease (WBCA Pink Zone History).
For Davidson coach at the time, Annette Watts (2001-2010), the decision to participate in Think Pink was easy. “I coached with Coach Yow at NC State, and I played for her little sister, Susan Yow, at East Tennessee State University,” said Watts. “It was while I was in college playing for the younger Yow that I witnessed the Yow family lose their mother to breast cancer. At that time, the idea formed in Kay’s mind to find a fund raising initiative for research into the disease that took her mom.”
Davidson held its first Think Pink game on February, 15, 2008, against UNC Greensboro. The coaching staff wore pink suits and the players wore pink shoelaces and pink ribbons in their hair. Pink balloons were hung throughout Belk Arena, and breast cancer survivors were honored at halftime. Additionally, Think Pink t-shirts were sold, and all food sales proceeds during the game went to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. At the beginning of the 2008-09 season, the WBCA decided to change the name of the fundraiser from Think Pink to Pink Zone, and Davidson once again decided to participate in the event. The 2009 Pink Zone game, held on February 14 against Chattanooga, was extremely personal for Coach Watts because Kay Yow succumbed to her fight with breast cancer on January, 24, 2009. The Pink Zone has become an annual event for the Davidson women’s basketball team and will continue to be an important part of their schedule in the future.
Following women’s basketball’s lead, in the fall of 2008 Davidson volleyball joined the fight against breast cancer by participating in the national fundraiser Dig for the Cure. Once again, Davidson had a strong connection to the event because Lisa Marston, head Davidson volleyball coach from 1995-99, initiated the cause in 2003 while she was coaching at UNC Charlotte. Marston started the program for personal reasons because her mother was a breast cancer survivor. She also wanted to provide student athletes with an opportunity to give back to their community. “Athletes are continuously highlighted for bad decisions,” said Marston. “It is about time the public sees the good that athletes do so much of” (USF Volleyball Dig for the Cure).
Similarly to the Pink Zone, Dig for the Cure is a regular season game that is donated to raising breast cancer awareness. Davidson volleyball quickly took to the cause, raising pledges per dig, accepting donations, selling t-shirts, and organizing a silent auction that would take place at half-time. All proceeds from the event would benefit the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation. Jennifer Chamblee ’11, was particularly passionate about the event because her mother was a breast cancer survivor. “I support ‘Dig for the Cure’ because I want to help raise funds for an organization whose mission is to find a cure to prevent women from experiencing the same struggles my mother experienced during her life-threatening battle,” said Chamblee, in a personal testament she wrote for Davidson’s Athletic website. (Insert Photo 2) The team came through for Jennifer and the cause by leading the Southern Conference in fund raising by raising $5,400 during the November 7th game against the College of Charleston (Volleyball Raises over $5,000).
In 2009, the Southern Conference decided to sponsor the Dig Pink campaign benefitting the Side-Out Foundation, and Davidson followed suit. The first Dig Pink game was held on October, 23, against Western Carolina, and Davidson upheld their reputation in the Southern Conference by once again raising the most money, a strong $4,210 (Davidson Raises SoCon Best). The 2010 Dig Pink game was also a huge success as an overwhelming number of Davidson friends, fans, and family turned out to show their support and raise money for a good cause. “Dig Pink is a special event for us because it allowed our team to become united and get excited for an event outside of volleyball,” said Anna Bradbury ’11, who was team representative for the event in 2009 and 2010. “Because of Jennifer’s mom and because we did well raising money each year we took a great sense of pride in the event.”
The success of Dig Pink and the Pink Zone has inspired other women’s athletic teams at Davidson to become involved with community service. In the 2010 season, the Davidson’s women’s field hockey team introduced the Stick It to Cancer game, raising money for the National Foundation for Cancer Research. Additionally, the women’s lacrosse and women’s soccer teams have participated in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. Women’s and men’s athletic teams at Davidson and across the nation will look to build on the momentum of this kind of success and continue the connection between athletics and community service in the future.
“WBCA Pink Zone History.” Women’s Basketball Coaches Association. WBCA National Headquaters. Web. 4 April 2011. <www.wbca.org>.
Watts, Annette. Personal Interview. 5 April 2011.
Morris, Sam. “Davidson Hosts ‘Think Pink’ for Breast Cancer Awareness day.” Davidson Athletics. Davidson College. 05 Feb. 2008. Web. 4 Apr. 2011.
McFarlin, Gavin. “Women’s Basketball to Host WBCA Pink Zone Day.” Davidson Athletics. Davidson College. 09 Feb. 2009. Web. 3 Mar. 2011.
McFarlin, Gavin. “’Cats Start Final Three-Game Homestand vs. CofC on Saturday.” Davidson Athletics. Davidson College. 18 Feb. 2010. Web. 6 Apr. 2011.
Carter, Andy. “Davidson Women’s Basketball to Host WBCA PinkZone Day.” Davidson Athletics. Davidson College. 31 Jan. 2011. Web. 23 Mar. 2011.
McFarlin, Gavin. “Davidson Welcomes Western Carolina to Belk Arena on Saturday for PinkZone Game.” Davidson Athletics. Davidson College. 3 Feb. 2011. Web. 23 Mar. 2011.
Blackwell, Jennifer. “SoCon Volleyball Teams to Participate in Dig Pink.” Southern Conference Volleyball. Southern Conference Athletics. 29 Oct. 2009. Web. 6 Apr. 2011.
Chamblee, Jennifer. Personal Interview. 31 Mar. 2011.
Bradbury, Anna. Personal Interview. 31. Mar. 2011.
Biggers, Lauren. “Wildcats to Host Dig for the Cure, Nov. 7.” Davidson Athletics. Davidson College. 29 Oct. 2008. Web. 6 Apr. 2011.
Biggers, Lauren. “Wildcats Host Pair of SoCon Matches, Participate in Dig for the Cure Friday.” Davidson Athletics. Davidson College. 6 Nov. 2008. Web. 6 Apr. 2011.
Chamblee, Jennifer. “For Chamblees, Dig for the Cure is Personal.” Davidson Athletics. Davidson College. 6 Nov. 2008. Web. 6 Apr. 2011.
Biggers, Lauren. “Volleyball Rasies over $5,000 in Dig for the Cure for Susan G. Komen Foundation.” Davidson Athletics. Davidson College. 8 Dec. 2008. Web. 23 Mar. 2011.
Biggers, Lauren. “Wildcats to Host Dig Pink Against Western Carolina Friday Night.” Davidson Athletics. Davidson College. 19 Oct. 2009. Web. 6 Apr. 2011.
Biggers, Lauren. “Silent Auction at Tonight’s Dig Pink Event as Volleyball Hosts Western Carolina.” Davidson Athletics. Davidson College. 21 Oct. 2009. Web. 6 Apr. 2011.
Biggers, Lauren. “Davidson Raises SoCon-Best $4,210 for Side-Out Foundation.” Davidson Athletics. Davidson College. 24 Oct. 2009. Web. 23 Mar. 2011.
Biggers, Lauren. “Volleyball Hosts Furman Saturday in Dig Pink Event, Wofford Sunday.” Davidson Athletics. Davidson College. 27 Oct. 2010. Web. 6 Apr. 2011.
“Dig for the Cure.” USF Volleyball. Oct. 2008. Web. 6 Apr. 2011.
Brumbaugh, Mark. “Wildcats Supporting ‘Stick it to Cancer,’ Hosting Longwood Saturday. Davidson Athletics. Davidson College. 30 Sept. 2011. Web. 23 Mar. 2011.
Author: Courtney Tobe
Date: 21 April 2011
Cite as: Tobe, Courtney. “Women’s Athletics and Service,” Davidson Encyclopedia, 21 April 2011 <http://libraries.davidson.edu/archives/uncategorized/womens-athletics-and-service>