Oct. 18, 2012
Liz Mannis, Texas Media Relations
The University of Texas Football program has chosen this Saturday’s contest against the Baylor Bears as its annual cancer awareness game. The game serves as part of the UT Athletics “Horns for Hope” cancer awareness initiative, which promotes cancer awareness and supports those who have been affected by the disease.
As the players run through the tunnel on to the field Saturday night, three players will carry out a pink, a yellow, and a purple flag in honor of cancer awareness. Pink symbolizes support for breast cancer, yellow for testicular cancer, and purple for overall cancer awareness.
Each player will choose a color ribbon – either pink, yellow, or purple – to display on the back of his helmet for the game, and all players will wear pink wristbands for breast cancer awareness.
“It'll be a great game Saturday just to have pink on my helmet and have the little pink on that I have,” said senior wideout Marquise Goodwin. “Just playing for them and all the cancer patients that either had cancer and overcame it - or still have it - I feel honored just to be able to represent them in that game.”
The decision of which color ribbon to wear means a lot to the players, and is not a decision they take lightly.
“I haven't decided which color I'm going to wear,” explained senior punter Alex King. “My mom is a huge breast cancer supporter. The testicular cancer ribbon is another one I am thinking about. That's a very common problem with men. I think they're all good options, so I think it's great that we're all going out there and at least adding that cause to our list of causes.”
“I am going to wear purple just for overall [cancer awareness],” said junior offensive guard Trey Hopkins, explaining that it will be in tribute for one of his mother’s co-workers.
“She has a son who has cancer, so I'm going to wear it for him. I don't know him personally, but I just always talk to my mom about that. We don't have any [cancer patients] in my close family, so I'm just going to wear that in honor of him.”
Coaches will also decide which color lapel pin to wear at the game, and will sport black and pink shoes in honor of breast cancer awareness. Pink towels will be used for the team during the game and on the bench.
If they choose to, players may dedicate Saturday’s game to a family member or friend affected by cancer.
“I know people that have cancer are really in pain, and it changes your life and your lifestyle,” said head coach Mack Brown.
“I've told our guys not to dedicate something to a family member or friend without making sure that you call them. Tell them that you love them, you're praying for them, and that you'll prepare and play for them this weekend.”
Public address announcements throughout the game will remind fans about the initiative, and players and staff with family members affected by cancer will be recognized. Additionally, a number of young Longhorn fans battling cancer will be present to receive game balls as part of the pregame ceremony.
The “Horns for Hope” initiative on Saturday will follow another long-standing tradition of public service by the Texas Longhorn football team when a group of children from Dell Children’s Medical Center will visit the campus to meet with the team on Friday afternoon. Usually a number of players travel to the hospital Friday afternoons prior to home games, but this week the children will get the opportunity to see the football facilities firsthand.
“We’re not just out here to play football. We’re out here to help the kids,” said junior cornerback Adrian Phillips. “We want to give back to everyone out here. Everyone that may not be as fortunate as we are.”
For the players, this game serves as an important reminder of how they can use their roles as student-athletes at the University of Texas to help others. The cancer awareness game also provides players with additional motivation to leave it all out on the field, and play for a purpose bigger than winning a football game.
“I always play for the other 10 guys besides me,” said junior cornerback Carrington Byndom
. “But to be able to dedicate a game to somebody else, especially that's been affected by cancer, is [something] that gets you moving and gets you confident.”