By Michele J. Kuhn
RUMSON – Hot pink is not exactly a color that comes to mind when talking about a boys’ lacrosse team but the Rumson Fair Haven Regional players wear the color well.
The team, which is sponsored by Rumson-Fair Haven Youth Lacrosse, is now in its second season of wearing what coach Reid Jackson described as “florescent pink” pinnies during practices and game warm-ups. “I think you can see them from space,” Jackson said.
The idea for the pinnies came from breast cancer survivor Lora Campbell, who is the Paint the Town Pink chairwoman for the borough – aka Pink Haven – her husband and her son Ryan, a member of the team. They approached Jackson and Dale Oehler from the youth lacrosse league with the idea and the support for it was immediate.
“She came to us and asked, ‘Are you guys open to this?’ and I said, ‘Absolutely.’ I thought it would be a great idea… No problem,” Jackson said.
“I have three sisters, a mother and a wife and a daughter. I see how (breast cancer) has affected other people. At the time, my best friend’s wife was going though a severe battle with breast cancer at 33… her mother had passed away from it and so I saw the affects it was having on his family … and it was significant,” he said. “She’s won the battle. Her life has changed. His life has changed and I thought this was a great way for the boys to bring awareness to it.”
When Jackson talked to his team about the idea of wearing pink pinnies, “they didn’t even bat an eye. They were like, ‘Sure, no problem.’ I was impressed with the maturity they took on with this whole project.”
Jackson said Lora Campbell had come to talk to the team about breast cancer.
“That night most of the guys went home and talked to their moms about it. Some even got their moms to go get mammograms,” he said.
The goal of fostering awareness “definitely worked,” he said.
The reaction from opposing teams is usually “What’s up with the pink pinnies?” Jackson said. “We tell them and we get an ‘oh…’ but some of them are really for it.”
Because the pinnies really stand out, Jackson has found them to be “a great conversation starter. They have been well received.”
The show of pink did cause a bit of a problem last year with members of the girls’ team being very upset that they didn’t get their own pink pinnies. “Even our stat girls last year were begging me for extra ones. I think we only had one extra,” he said. “They have become kind of a hot commodity. It’s kind of funny to me but I think it’s what it represents. It helps people stand out. It attracts attention.”