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Burros Mom on Breast Cancer Controversy: "We Have Severely Lost Focus"

One parent offers her perspective on the youth football program's recent decision to ban pink equipment.

This letter was emailed to Mokena Patch staff by the Patch commenter "Momof4" as a response to the article "Burros Athletic Director Bans Pink Uniform Accents." It is published with the author's permission.

First, let me say that I have been a Burro parent since 1994, a medical professional that has provided care, held hands, hugged patients and their family members and watched them die.

I have also had my immediate family impacted by Breast Cancer, Colon Cancer, Ovarian Cancer and Lung Cancer. I have lost parents, friends and other family members to this terrible disease and have a close family friend losing her battle as we speak. You won't find a bigger patient advocate than me.

But with that said, I think we have severely lost focus here.

The Mokena Burros is a youth football program. It is not a platform for our personal causes and beliefs. We have gotten so caught up in the commercialism that is sometimes in the name of support that we have failed to look at the bigger picture.

I am thrilled beyond words that the athletic community has decided to use their platform to draw attention and spend money on something this devastating, but we have to remember that all of the money spent on spikes, socks, Under Armour, wrist bands etc. is not going directly to the Cancer funds.

We could actually make a bigger impact if we took the money spent on those items and made direct donations in the name of friends and family that have been affected. Wouldn’t that be a great lesson to teach our children?

If we want to teach our children about cancer awareness, introduce them to someone fighting for their life, have them mow their lawn, clean their house, shovel a sidewalk, cook a meal, walk their dog. Have them donate half of their allowance to a charity of their choice.

Some of you mention that your child is being held back from expressing his feelings on Breast Cancer Awareness, I would have to say that if you lined up 10 kids from each team and asked them if they wanted to buy and wear the pink gear and why, most would say because it’s cool.

Also, remember that there are kids on your child’s own team that may not be able to afford any of the flashy pink gear. How will it impact them if they feel left out?

Sal is the A.D. He holds an un-paid, elected position. Believe me when I say that there was plenty of discussion with coaches in the beginning of the season regarding this matter. I met Sal a few years ago when my son played for him. My husband and I have both been coached youth sports, my husband for the last 22 years. My husband has coached many of your kids. Sal is in this for the right reason, he truly cares about the kids.

Those of us that still have old-school beliefs are becoming the minority in the sea of “Daddy-Ballers”. It is a shame to see parents and coaches that don’t get their way then leave the program or quit being board members and making this about them. Sal and the other members of the board don’t put all of this personal time in for ego or pay. They all have thankless jobs, but they do it for OUR kids.

Please remember there are other lessons to teach our children here. We live in this world with other people, with other ideas, beliefs and values. We aren’t always going to agree. But as adults we also know that we can’t stomp our feet, quit our jobs or cry every time we have rules, bosses, co-workers that we don’t like.

Please, please, please, try to remember what youth sport are supposed to be about. Remember that the kids are supposed to be learning to be part of a team, to be proud and united, to have fun with their friends. We need to stop making all of this about the adults.

Let the kids be kids, they will have plenty of time to learn about the trials and tragedies of adulthood later on.

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Anna Schier October 15, 2012 at 06:04 PM
momoftwo: Your comment on this story contained a personal attack, which is against Patch's commenting policy. You are welcome to re-post your comment, with the final sentence removed. Thanks, Anna
Christine Potter October 15, 2012 at 06:46 PM
What does your comment have to do with breast cancer awareness? Youth sports should be about teaching self confidence, building camaraderie with your teammates, and learning life lessons which will allow them to interact with society when they become adults. Your post reflects your displeasure toward a man, not the program, nor a cause. As you know, donating your time for a non-profit organization is a challenge in its self. Based on the comments posted by a few, why would anyone want to step up and donate their time? The amount of criticism and the unwarranted attacks on volunteers in moronic. People donate their time to better the community and our children. There is no compensation for these people. They do the job for the sake of the children. Look Lady, uneducated and inebriated is no way to go through life. Quit using a youth program to promote your hidden agenda. You are rotten to the core.
momoftwo October 16, 2012 at 01:02 AM
This has more to do with one person wanting complete control over the organization. People have left the board because of this. Their opinions get shot down or ignored. This was one man's decision and not a board decision. It would be more acceptable if Sal followed the handbook like he expects everyone else to follow. Why is it that he is the only coach and board member who refuses to wear his coach's shirt or board member shirt. He needs to practice what he preaches.
mary anderson October 17, 2012 at 07:38 PM
I do not know the political environment in mokena sports but as a mom fighting ovarian cancer it is tough for me to outfit extra money for separate uniforms for my high school daughters that play volleyball and run cross country that are pink. All cancers are not pick and you are right donate time or money to the cause, As a divorced mom battling a horrible disease like ovarian cancer what I would do for a little yard work - my girls of course help but there is so much that is needed when I am in chemotherapy (this is the second time fighting) and they already have so much on their plates already.
Kelly October 19, 2012 at 05:37 PM
Mary Anderson - God bless you and your family for what you're going through right now. I'm not sure where you live but I know that in our area there are many kids (grade school & HS) that have to obtain community service hours that can be of assistance to you. Also, have yo given your township a call or asked for help at your house of worship? There are good people still left in this World that I'm confident would be able to help you, if asked. I hope you are able to reach out to someone.

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