The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

October 19, 2012

Harold Raker's column on high school football: Color them pink


Daily Item

---- — Over the years, it has been considered on occasion to hang a sign where this column appears. It would read, "This space for rent."

Anyone who does this for a living has had those moments where you just want to tell a critic that they are welcome to write the next column.

Luckily it happens rarely.

This week, I sort of did rent out the space. For a great cause -- at no charge.

Despite the fact that the subject has been discussed here in the past, it is important enough for a repeat performance.

Anyone has seen a Valley football game or watched the NFL has seen players wearing pink as part of their uniforms. For those who somehow missed it, the pink is in observance of the annual Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Thanks to long-time friend Mike Ferlazzo, the former Susquehanna University sports information director, for bringing the details to may attention. Ferlazzo has recently taken a position with Geisinger Health System, after working out of the area for several years.

According to Ferlazzo, Geisinger, for a second year in a row, has brought the breast cancer awareness campaign to central Pennsylvania by teaming up with 17 area high schools to sponsor football "pink games" throughout the month.

Participating schools receive a "pink game" banner for the stadium and pink apparel and accessories for players and cheerleaders to wear during the game.

There are also "pink" giveaways, including miniature footballs and American Cancer Society breast cancer awareness bookmarks.

The participating schools are Bloomsburg, Central Columbia, Danville, Hughesville, Jersey Shore, Lewisburg, Loyalsock, Mifflinburg, Milton, Montoursville, Mount Carmel, Selinsgrove, Shamokin, Shikellamy, Southern Columbia, Warrior Run and Williamsport.

I noticed that some teams got an early start with their pink accessories last week, but, officially, here are the scheduled "pink" games remaining: tonight, Bloomsburg at Mifflinburg, Danville at Shikellamy, Montoursville at Milton and Hughesville at Mount Carmel; next week, Danville at Bloomsburg, Central Columbia at Southern Columbia, Lewisburg at Loyalsock, Milton at Jersey Shore and Wyalusing at Warrior Run.

If you can take in one of these games, please do your part for the cause.

At Mount Carmel tonight, Anne Barwicki, a Mount Carmel football mother, who is currently fighting a winning battle with breast cancer, will raise the American flag during the playing of the National Anthem in honor of all those battling the disease and in memory of those who passed away fighting against it, according to Mount Carmel athletic director Greg Sacavage.

If you happen to see one of the aforementioned games on TV, remember the old warning, "Do not adjust your sets."

And, if you have a problem with football players donned in pink, please adjust your attitude.

Some things are more important than the game.

NOWHERE TO HIDE: Last week, probably in the span of 15 minutes, two Valley high school football players each had one of those embarrassing moments that might make them think about running right out of the stadium.

You did not read about them in this newspaper and you will not read about them here today. These days, it's bad enough that, in addition to those who saw the game in person, their mistakes often show up on internet message boards. If you already know who they are, fine. If not, that's even better.

The two players helped their teams snatch defeat from the jaws of victory with dropped passes in the end zone. It has happened before, and it will happen again.

Milton coach George Goodwin, whose team was on the losing end of one of those games, refused to blame the loss on that play and said there was no finger pointing among the players.

That's the way it should be.

n Assistant sports editor Harold Raker covers high school football for The Daily Item. Email comments to hraker@dailyitem.com.