‘Pinkout’ nets $6k for breast cancer research

Pinkout nets $6k for breast cancer research

‘Pinkout’ nets $6k for breast cancer research

Sara Ayres

The color pink is not usually associated with sports or competition.

It’s probably not the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of power, strength, and athleticism. And pink is certainly not the popular choice for a college basketball jersey. However, on Nov. 28 the Missouri Southern’s women’s basketball team traded in their green uniforms for, you guessed it, pink.

The team’s jerseys weren’t the only thing that turned pink that night. Everywhere you looked, the Southern dance team, cheerleaders and even the officials were decked out in pink to show their support for the cause. From the shoelaces of the opposing team to the whistles used by the referees everything on the court was pretty in pink.

The cause for the pink celebration was not pretty at all.

The night was dedicated to kinesiology department head Pat Lipira, who has proved to be an inspirational figure at Missouri Southern after battling and surviving breast cancer.

Worried that the pastel shade would undermine the toughness usually displayed by our women’s team? Not a chance. The Lions defeated the Webster Gorlocks 86-36. All of the sudden pink, an otherwise frilly and girly color was associated with determination and survival.

It’s no secret that Missouri Southern Athletics are not usually the focus of this community’s attention, but for this particular night Southern saw a different side of Joplin. Typically a non-conference women’s game, in the middle of the week wouldn’t exactly fill the stands. Previous attendance totals for this season had barely surpassed a hundred people, but the game against Webster brought in a crowd of 1,100 fans and supporters of breast cancer awareness.

The highlight of the evening was the speech given by Pat Lipira, who, according to head coach, Maryann Mitts, is “the most inspirational of role models.” Lipira is best known for leading the Missouri Southern softball team to national prominence in 1992, when the team won the first national title for a Missouri Southern women’s sport. She is known for being a winner.

After receiving a standing ovation, Lipira began her speech by asking the people who have helped her through her illness to stand and be recognized. These individuals included her doctors, nurses, colleagues, students, family, friends and other women who have been diagnosed with the disease. When she finished the list, half of the people in the gym were standing and receiving applause themselves.

After preparing emotionally for a heartfelt, teary speech, I was surprised to find myself laughing at Lipira’s description of her experiences the past few years.

Everything from trying to keep her wig on during windy days to shopping for fake breasts, Lipira’s confident, comedic approach to the subject left the audience feeling hopeful instead of sorrow for those that have been or someday could be diagnosed with breast cancer.

The “pinkout” netted more than $6,000 to the American Cancer Society and the Hope 4 You Breast Cancer Research Foundation. And that’s proof the Lions truly are “pretty in pink”.