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Burros Player Sports Pink Socks, Despite Policy Change

Jamie Turner wore pink apparel for Breast Cancer Awareness Month at his Oct. 6 football game.

Mokena Burros Athletic Director Sal Della Fave’s recent decision to ban pink Breast Cancer Awareness Month gear from tackle games has become a source of conversation in the community in recent weeks.

One mother-and-son team used that conversation as an opportunity for action.

Jamie Turner, a 12-year-old Mokena Junior High School student, plays on Della Fave’s varsity heavyweight team. During the first game in October, he decided to advocate for breast cancer awareness, despite the youth football program’s new policy.

“It’s an illness that, unfortunately, affects a lot of lives,” said Jennifer Gingerelli, who is Turner’s mother. “Even though we’re not raising money, we’re bringing awareness to it, and I think that’s important.”

Gingerelli said that when she found out about the policy change, she was shocked and upset.

In past years, the Burros have been permitted to wear pink tape, shoelaces and socks during October. This year, their options are limited to pink gloves and a small breast cancer awareness sticker that can only be placed on the bottom left corner of their helmets. Any players who do not comply with the new rules will be barred from participation.

Gingerelli used the situation as an opportunity to teach her son about decision-making. She sat down with Turner and told him why people wear pink in October and how breast cancer awareness efforts have brought attention to the disease. Then she explained the Burros’ the new policy on pink equipment, telling Turner that it was up to him to decide whether or not to wear pink on game day, but that no matter what, she would support him.

For the first game of the month, on Oct. 6, Turner came up with a creative compromise. He wore two pairs of socks — black on top and pink underneath.

Before the game, he pulled his black socks down, proudly displaying the pink. Once the game began, he pulled his socks back up, out of respect for his coach. He also wore the team-sanctioned pink gloves.

“I wanted to go with my belief,” said Jamie. “I wanted to appreciate breast cancer awareness.”

There has been no conflict as a result of Jamie’s actions so far. His decision to wear pink socks was reported to Della Fave, but has not resulted in a confrontation.

Gingerelli said the new policy on pink served as an important lesson for Turner about the challenge of balancing respect for authority with honoring one’s beliefs.

Gingerelli also stated that she remains a loyal Burros fan and that she intends for her children to wear Burros uniforms once again next season.

“It’s not that I don’t want my son to be a Burro anymore,” said Gingerelli. “I really, truly believe that they are a great organization.”

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pepper October 15, 2012 at 11:47 AM
slow news day Patch?
Doesn't really matter what my name is.. October 15, 2012 at 01:01 PM
Slow morning pepper? I think it is a great follow up story to last weeks report. Nice follow up Patch !
Burros Mom October 15, 2012 at 02:01 PM
Although I applaud Jamie and his mom for standing up for what they believe in, the issue in question is why the players were not allowed to wear their pink items DURING the game. This is not about who like Sal and who doesnt, or who likes the Burros and who likes any other area teams. The Burros have a Bd. of Directors who should have voted on such a decision, as stated in their handbook, and this was not done. I have talked to several Bd. members to verify this. Sadly to say, there is a Bd. meeting this week, and my guess is it will be swept under the table and not discussed, just as many of the problems the Burros have had this year and in years past.
Chris October 16, 2012 at 12:22 PM
Look out! We got a bad*ss over here!
Richard John Jordan October 24, 2012 at 11:35 AM
Wow! A very great story. This will surely catch the attention of the readers and also the parents so that they can teach their children on how to decide and respect other people's decision. Thanks.

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