Lady Dragons Play For A Cure
by Amy Moan, former CISD Student- Originally published October 2008
Carroll Dragons have long been known to “Protect the Tradition.” Much is often expected of a Carroll athlete on the field or court. We put our heart and soul into our sports. However, it is not uncommon for our athletes to give as much of that heart and soul to their community as they do to their sport. Over the past few years Lady Dragon athletes have done just that. We have embraced a new heart felt tradition of hosting annual “Pink Out” games that, through ticket sales, raise money to support breast cancer research.
As many of us know it is so often a personal connection that inspires people to action and the concept of our “Pink Out” games is no exception. It was the diagnoses of one of our own volleyball/basketball coach’s mother that inspired the first “Pink Out” games for our respective teams. These nights, with players and spectators dressed in pink, were a great success. Our varsity volleyball coach expresses the spirit of those nights the best when she says, “The best part of “Pink Out” night for me is to see the community support from not only Southlake, but from the opposing team and their fans we all come together for such a great cause.”
It didn’t take long for the idea of “Pink Out” games to take hold with other Lady Dragon sports. Last year volleyball and basketball were joined by our soccer and softball teams. It is my hope that all female dragon sports will be able to find a way to join us. Last year words like malignant, mastectomy, and chemotherapy were not familiar to me or to most of my friends. However, I have now made it my business to know as much as I can. It is my heart felt desire to do what I can along with my friends, teammates and coaches to halt this devastating disease. I hope to never hear a member of my family, a dear friend, or again hear a friends mother, or a great coach say through tears, “I have breast cancer”.
This past year I was personally motivated to take our volleyball “Pink Out” game to the next level when one of my very own coaches, at age 29, was diagnosed with breast cancer. I did this by implementing a season encompassing sponsor type program called “Lady Dragon Volleyball Plays for the Cure.” I cannot begin to express what we as a team felt when Coach Trojacek told us of her diagnosis in June of last year.
How could this young mother with a two year old son be saying all of this?
As Coach Trojacek will tell you, “We decided, in just two days that I would have a double mastectomy and discuss chemotherapy after surgery.”
Coach Trojacek’s own words about that day will best express how our team was moved to do something more and how the idea of Lady Dragon’s Volleyball Plays For the Cure was conceived.
“ That Friday morning, I knew I had to tell the volleyball team what I was about to endure. After practice I sat them down and immediately got choked up. I couldn’t believe that just a year before, one of our player’s moms was sitting in front of the team talking about her breast cancer journey. Now I was about to do the same. I could barely get the words out, but once the word “cancer” came out of my mouth, the tears started flowing. Not only from my eyes, but from Coach Walling’s and a dozen of the players. Most of the players that were present were athletes that I had coached from the 7th grade, so there was a special bond between us. I felt that as a mentor to these young ladies, it was my responsibility to educate them about my journey with breast cancer. Along the way, I have shared my fears, my experiences, my scars and even my wigs, with the girls. I felt the more they knew, the better it would aide them in the future.”
With this experience, and those and of one of my best friend’s mother, Lady Dragon Volleyball Plays For The Cure was born.
Each of us asked family, friends and local businesses to sponsor each game that we won during our district season. Many pledged $1.00 for every game that we won or gave us an amount for the entire season. We asked that checks be made out to Komen Tarrant County directly. It is my great hope that this year we can get more support from other Southlake businesses who will choose to donate to this worthy cause through our volleyball program.
With the help and support of my coaches and fellow players, last year we were able to raise over $8,000 for Komen Tarrent County. Coupled with our “Pink Out” money the donation total rose to over $10,000. We are continuing this tradition of playing for the cure during our 2008 season.
We would also like to thank the Feedstore Barbeque in Southlake for helping us host our fundraising night this past Thursday, September 25th where 10% of sales and all of our tips (Lady Dragon volleyball players served meals and bussed tables) were donated to Komen Tarrent County
As young female athletes, we are all deeply moved and inspired by our new tradition of hosting “Pink Out” games. Replacing our Carroll green with all things pink from shoelaces, hair ribbons and T-shirts to strips of hair dyed pink, Lady Dragon athletes are trying to make a difference. By using our various sports we have found a way to take what we love and use it to further a cause that has impacted most of us all, one way or another. It is never far from our minds that one in seven of us will face the challenge of breast cancer.
On behalf of all Lady Dragon athletes I invite the entire Carroll community to come and be a part of our “Pink Out” tradition. I hope that our volleyball teams can surpass last year’s efforts and be able to present Komen Tarrant County with checks totaling over $10,000. Your presence at these particular games, or donations will not only show your Dragon spirit, but you will also be making a contribution to breast cancer research.
After learning about my own coach’s experience, we decided that if we were to raise money we wanted it to help women in our own back yard. Women who we might pass on the street and never know their name. Komen Tarrant County does just that by serving men and women living in Tarrant County. This group has literally saved lives by providing low-cost mammograms and medical treatment to those who cannot afford it. Services also included surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. This wonderful group also helps with support groups, finding financial resources, and very importantly, they educate the public about this disease.
Dragons know what it means to be a part of a team. Let’s also be a part of the cure.