On February 3, there were a pair of varsity basketball games in town for the annual Coaches vs. Cancer games. The girls played Luverne first at 6:00 p.m. and put up a good fight before losing by 16. Before the boys game got underway, head coach Alex Hein took the floor to talk about the idea of fighting cancer in any way possible.
Before tip off of the boys game, the captians from St. James boys and girls basketball teams presented a check with the amount of $5,739.36. There has still been money flowing in and is currently over $7,000. Last year they raised $8,187, and 2015 $11,600 was raised.
Coaches vs Cancer actually started from former head coach of the University of Missouri’s men’s basketball program and cancer survivor Norm Stewart. He started the program by challenging fans to pledge a dollar amount for every three points made by his team during the season.
In 1993 the American Cancer Society and the NABC adopted the program and transformed it into a nationwide effort to unite coaches across the country in the mission to irradiate the deadly disease of cancer.
In 1998 the Coaches vs. Cancer Council was formed. This was done to explore new and innovative ways to raise money, recruit prominent coaches, enhance the program, and send the message that we can win the fight against cancer.
A few of the fundraising events that ran throughout the community was the high school players do a Free-Throw-a-Thon where the plaers ask for pledges for free throws made out of 100. They also sell paper basketballs for $1 dollar that are hung up in the hall outside the gym. Northside Elementary always carries its weight, and then some. Northside has won the competition between the two schools as to who will raise the most money for a number of years in a row. This year the Relay For Life committee had a raffle table outside the gym, as well as a bake sale at the game. Lastly they did a 76 Second Challenge at half time of each game this year. “We put 76 seconds on the clock, and players went through the crowd collecting donations for 76 seconds,” said Tami Mickelson. The reason for 76 seconds is because in Minnesota alone, every 76 seconds someone is diagnosed with cancer.
Coaches vs. Cancer has helped further cancer research over the years. The program will continue serving the country and will continue to search for a cure to this terrible illness.