Digging pink to fight breast cancer

Hundreds of student-athletes unite for giant volleyball tournament


It was an evening of organized chaos in the East Meadow High School gymnasium last Friday, as some 30 sports teams united for a volleyball fundraiser to raise thousands of dollars for breast cancer research.

The first-of-its-kind event involved a round-robin tournament of boys and girls. Nearly all of East Meadow High’s fall sports teams formed their own volleyball squad to take part in the games.

The fundraiser, which has been organized annually by the school’s volleyball program for the last 10 years, extended this year to incorporate the entire school. The support was evident as students of all grades donned pink clothing and packed the gym to cheer on their peers.

The event benefited Dig Pink, an initiative of the Side Out Foundation, which encourages school volleyball teams nationwide to unite to benefit breast cancer research. The volleyball program raised a record $3,500 this year, according to boys’ coach Rachel Barry.

The tournaments were divided into five-minute games. In the end, the final match was between the East Meadow High and W.T. Clarke High girls’ varsity volleyball teams, in which Clarke ultimately prevailed.

Cardboard cut-outs of volleyballs pasted around the gym allowed the athletes to write who they were playing for.

“It was totally different,” said Barry, who said it was entertaining to watch different athletes try to play volleyball for the first time. Though, she noted that many players on other teams were former volleyball players. “There was a lot of positive energy.”