The Ryan football team, like many teams across the nation, will be raising awareness of breast cancer.
But for the Raiders, the disease’s impact was felt this week when it affected the family of one of its players.
Ryan will wear pink decals on the back of its helmets in tonight’s game against Flower Mound Marcus. The decals honor the mother of senior defensive back Paul Hunter. Hunter’s mother, Susan Wallace, died Sunday from breast cancer.
Along with honoring Hunter and Wallace, Ryan coach Joey Florence said the decal represents those who have been affected by the cancer and raises awareness.
As for the array of pink items that football teams from high school to the pros have worn this month, it’s not something Ryan will be doing.
“We’re not into the pink deal,” Florence said. “We think there’s some exploitation with the pink. We think companies are making money on the deal and not giving it to breast cancer research. We’re real serious about it within our family.
“We certainly are all about awareness. We talk to the kids and think there are other ways to do it. We think a lot of the athletes are wearing it because they think it’s cool, not because they’re sincere. We talked to our kids about it. We think it’s a very serious thing. We understand the whole concept of getting people to be aware so they can get early detection.”
Hunter was at practice the day after his mother died. Florence said the entire team was happy to see its starting safety rejoin the group.
“That’s what the team concept is about,” Florence said. “We were hurting and we knew he was hurting, so it was good that he was here. We don’t care about the football game. We’re just glad that he was here and he could get his mind off it for a couple of hours.”
The Ryan student section is expected to wear pink in honor of Wallace and those who have been affected by the cancer.
BEN BABY can be reached at 940-566-6869 and via Twitter at @Ben_Baby.