Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Alabama sports teams rally around breast cancer survivors with Power of Pink games

CW / Jennifer Stroud
Alabama gymnastics team celebrating against Auburn in Coleman Coliseum on Feb. 3, 2023.

Former Alabama gymnastics head coach Sarah Patterson never battled breast cancer, but she felt strongly for those who were affected and didn’t have the means to treat themselves. 

As a consistent helping hand in the Tuscaloosa community, Patterson inspired her athletes and fellow colleagues to give back to those less fortunate as well.  

“I feel that if we can instill that quality, that characteristic of giving in our athletes when they are 18 to 22, and they have the sense of accomplishment that working in the community gives,” Patterson said in an interview with the Medalist Club, the booster organization for Alabama gymnastics. “Then when they graduate and go out into the world, they will have gained so much from that experience that they will always be giving people.”  

 So, the Power of Pink initiative was born.  

Every year, several Alabama athletic programs, such as soccer, volleyball, gymnastics and women’s basketball, host Power of Pink games and meets to show support for breast cancer victims and survivors. 

Power of Pink history 

Patterson hosted the first Power of Pink meet in February 2005 against Auburn. She dedicated the meet to breast cancer awareness while asking attendees to “Think Pink, Wear Pink.”  

The stands of Coleman Coliseum were blushed as fans showed up and showed out to the meet in their various shades of pink. That season, many of the top gymnastics programs in the nation followed Alabama’s lead and hosted events of their own. 

Then, in 2007, the cause spread outside of gymnastics to include women’s basketball. The “Think Pink” week was introduced by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association in February to support breast cancer research on campuses and in communities.  

Other sports, such as soccer and volleyball, have also begun hosting Power of Pink games during the month of October. Some schools even have special pink jerseys for the athletes to wear, including Alabama.  

2023-24 Power of Pink preview 

This year, Alabama soccer hosted its annual Power of Pink game on Thursday, Oct. 4, against Auburn. The Crimson Tide is approaching even more competitive play with the progressing season, but head coach Wes Hart said this game meant a lot, not only for the in-state rivalry, but the cause it supports as well. 

“The fact that there’s a trophy on the line, the Iron Bowl of soccer, makes for some energy,” Hart said before the game. “And Power of Pink, our team always gets really excited about that game, it’s a special game raising awareness for breast cancer. It’s a fun opportunity to play a great opponent, a great rival on a special day. We’re excited.”  

 Coaches, athletes and fans alike look forward to the games every season, with each one holding a different aspect of the game as their favorite. For midfielder Macy Clem, her favorite part of the Power of Pink games is the famous pink jerseys. 

 “I love October and the pink games and being able to celebrate anyone who has breast cancer, had breast cancer, and pink is my favorite color,” Clem said. 

 At last year’s Power of Pink match for Alabama volleyball, the Crimson Tide faced LSU and walked away with a three-set win. Although any SEC matchup is guaranteed to draw attention, libero Victoria Schmer touched on the game’s alternate importance. 

 “It’s a great opportunity to represent something bigger than ourselves,” Schmer said. “It’s a great way to bring awareness to the subject and play for something bigger than ourselves for one game out of the year.” 

 This year, volleyball’s Power of Pink match will be played against Mississippi State on Oct. 27 at 6 p.m. CT.  

 The other Power of Pink events this 2023-24 season will be Alabama gymnastics against Georgia on Feb. 23, and women’s basketball, but the program has not announced its date yet.  

 The Pink impression 

An idea that was born almost 20 years ago still impacts countless women today, and athletes across the board recognize the deeper meaning of the games that honor them.  

“It’s valuable to recognize breast cancer survivors and people battling breast cancer right now, and so I think just knowing there’s something more to play for beyond just the game is also powerful,” Alabama soccer defender Marianna Annest said.  

Patterson’s impact has helped raise over $2.1 million for the DCH Breast Cancer Fund, which has changed the lives of countless women in the West Tuscaloosa community who are fighting breast cancer. 

If you would like to donate to the Power of Pink cause, a check can be mailed to: 

DCH Foundation, 809 University Blvd. E., Tuscaloosa, AL 35401 

The DCH Breast Cancer Fund should be noted on the memo line of the check.  

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