A Game with Heart

Pink & White Game raises highest single game proceeds ever

Story by Randy Whetstone Jr.

Photos courtesy of Tim Porco

Team members presented the check for $50,000 to Norton Cancer Institute’s Breast Health Program. Photo courtesy of Sacred Heart Academy and Assumption High School.

The 11th annual Pink and White game between Assumption High School and Sacred Heart Academy raised the most proceeds in the event’s history, which recently resulted in a five-digit donation to Norton Cancer Institute Breast Health Program on May 24.

The April 27 game featured a number of talented seniors, some of whom will go on to play Division I athletics in their respective sports. The athletes traded in their normal uniforms and played their hearts out for a purpose.

“It’s one of the greatest experiences I’ve had in high school, and although it’s a short two month season, the practices and the game are something that is truly special,” says Sacred Heart player Kiley Polk. “Being able to come together with other athletes from different sports and become as close if not closer than any other team at Sacred Heart Academy was incredible. The time commitment is tough, but everything revolves around who and what we’re playing for.”

After the latest installment of the rivalry, Sacred Heart has the right to do a bit of trash talking after a 27-12 win over Assumption. But regardless of the score, everyone comes out a winner in this game.

Around 5,000 tickets sold out in less than 24 hours. Sacred Heart, Assumption, Trinity and St. X all filled the stands of Trinity’s Marshall Stadium in a momentous Friday night game.

Sacred Heart claimed a victory over Assumption with a score of 27-12.

The proceeds from the evening support the Norton Cancer Institute Breast Health Program and this year, the game raised $50,000, its highest amount ever. The total donation amount over the course of 11 years is $273,000.

“The players for Assumption and Sacred Heart are very aware of the underlying cause that exists with the Pink & White Game – the widespread battle against breast cancer,” says Sacred Heart head coach Marc Breit. “The game has evolved with the combined efforts and support of Assumption, Sacred Heart, Trinity and St. X. That has created a ‘Four Schools, Two Rivalries, One Cause, Everyone Wins’ mantra. So a big community pull exists, but there is an even bigger picture – raising money for the local Norton Cancer Institute Breast Health Program and awareness to the real heroes that have either defeated it or are battling it.”

“In six years that I have coached, multiple girls have played Division I athletics and have been part of state champion teams, and all of them say this is the most fun sporting event they have ever participated in,” says Assumption head coach Wayne West. “The fact that the money is raised and goes toward breast cancer is the true cause, and the bonus is that the girls have an absolute blast. It is something they really, really enjoy.”

The Pink & White game gets bigger and bigger each year. Athletic directors, coaches and players all work for a cause they realize is bigger than football.

The event wouldn’t be complete without halftime entertainment from the boys of St. X and Trinity. After learning choreography taught by Assumption and Sacred Heart dance coaches, a host of Shamrock and Tiger boys dressed in pink delighted the crowd with an array of dance moves that were hilarious yet impressive.

“It becomes such a big event,” West adds. “The number of boys that participate on the dance team has increased. Typically during halftime in football, you make adjustments and you’re working on things. Not in this game. The girls want to watch the boys dance and I’ll be honest, as a coach, I kind of want to watch them, too.”

As these four schools continue to work collectively for a cause, the city can look forward to seeing the Pink & White game grow. Sacred Heart player Kia Sivils certainly believes in its potential.

“It’s an amazing event that is ready for the next level,” she says. “I can see this growing with the main event being the SHA versus Assumption game. This could bring in additional money for such a worthy cause and gain local or national attention. I can see it growing big enough to fill Papa John Stadium.” VT