For those who attended last Friday night's District 2A-6 game at John Carter Field between the homestanding Pocola Indians and the visiting Talihina Golden Tigers, they saw a pretty exciting game — won by Pocola 34-33.
But those fans in attendance, they got to notice something different, not truly related to the game. John Carter Field's football stripes were painted pink in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month — in fact, the “G” at the north end zone's goal line is still pink, albeit a faded pink.
Pocola Assistant Coach Matt Adams had a unique summation when I paid a visit on Wednesday afternoon. “Never give up,” he said, saying not only should those suffering from breast cancer not give up, but the Indians did not, either. Pocola rallied from a 27-13 deficit to down Talihina to get back into the District 2A-6 playoff hunt.
In fact, this is the story Coach Adams wrote about the night:
"What in the world is a pink-out, coach?" With the season in full swing, I had almost completely forgotten October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month even though pink, in multiple forms and splendor, had been showing up everywhere. So, with a somewhat shamed look on my mug, I listened to (Pocola) Coach (Rick Lang) explain his concept and plan for a pink-out in detail. You see, coach had been struggling for the past few weeks with the news that his only little sister had been diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer and the burden of worry for her had sparked a noble idea. It was easy to latch on to his eagerness to spread awareness, so I responded with "Let's do it."
The ensuing game, played on pink lines and numbers, was a metaphor in motion that highlighted every aspect, both trial and triumph, pertaining to personally dealing with breast cancer. The ups and downs, the uncertainty, the pain, but, most importantly, was both teams' refusal to relent. Never during the course of the contest was there any indication that any player on the field or bench, coach in the press box or sideline fan, either clad in maroon and white or black and gold felt the game could not be won. Even though one team had to feel the sting and sorrow of loss, both found victory in the struggle.
Isn't finding victory at the end of the struggle what we all hope for? We all have our own afflictions and when nature deals one with such seriousness as cancer, one looks for and needs inspiration and positive example.
My mother and father made it to the game last Friday. You would never know it by looking at my mother that she is a six-year survivor of breast cancer. Just like coach and his sister, I am thankful for every moment she is still with me. As I hugged my mother's neck, I caught a glimpse of coach embracing his sister. In her eyes, I saw a familiar expression I had seen once before in my mother's eyes when her battle with cancer had just begun that glinted of uncertainty but quickly flashed to comfort. I truly felt at that moment that coach's sister had witnessed an event that had unwittingly provided inspiration and positive example — and it happened on a pink football field.
So, I guess it's safe to say that the Indians “pinked out” the Golden Tigers. Great story, Coach Adams!