For just the second time ever, female athletes at John F. Kennedy High School in Bellmore took to the school’s main field for a nighttime game last Thursday, Sept. 26. Like the following night’s Homecoming game between Kennedy and South Side High School’s football teams, relatives and friends of players stood cheering in the stands, music blared from loudspeakers, and the JFK Sports Boosters Club sold school clothing.
But there was one quickly noticeable difference as the Kennedy girls’ soccer team walked onto the pitch for their match against Plainedge. Instead of Kennedy’s usual colors, green and white, they wore pink.
The girls did so in support of their efforts to raise funds to combat breast cancer, which began at the start of the school year and will continue throughout October, which is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Over their white-and-green jerseys, they donned pink warm-up shirts that read “Kennedy Girls Soccer” on front and “Play for a Cause” on back. Sales of the same shirts by team members netted $300 before the start of last Thursday’s game, and sales of the shirts, along with baked goods and raffle tickets, by the girls’ parents and members of Kennedy’s junior-varsity soccer team during the game raised that total to $800, according to Janine Bizelia, the girls’ varsity coach. She said the team will donate the money to the American Cancer Society.
Bizelia, who is now in her fifth year at Kennedy, said the idea for the “Play for a Cause” game, which first took place last year and returned this year with plans to remain an annual tradition, was hers originally.
“The girls never got a chance to play under the lights,” Bizelia said. “October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and I’ve had a few family members who suffered from breast cancer.”
Most involved with the game, from the girls on the varsity team to the JV girls who lent their support, all of their parents, other Sports Boosters parents and Kennedy administrators, also saw the event as a win-win, according to several who spoke to the Herald Life.
“It’s a great opportunity for the girls to show their talent and their passion and raise money for cancer research,” said Kennedy Principal Lorraine Poppe. “I think it’s a great night.”