YMCA coach uses pink uniforms to show support for breast cancer

Published 11:50 pm Saturday, October 10, 2015

For the past two years, Deonta Selvy has dressed his youth football teams in a custom pink uniform during the month of October for breast cancer awareness. He coaches a kindergarten through second-grade team and a fifth- though sixth-grade team at the Purks YMCA.

Selvy started the uniforms because he wanted to show his players and the community what it’s like to support a cause. The disease hasn’t personally affected him, but he has known a woman who won her battle.

He also participates in the breast cancer awareness trend by wearing pink sleeves and a skullcap on the sidelines.

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“I’m all about supporting a cause. To let people know we understand and support them throughout the journey of survivors and the ones who didn’t survive,” Selvy said.

The Bowmar Bears are the only team wearing the breast cancer uniforms at the YMCA. Parents were on board with the pink uniforms when Selvy first mentioned the idea.

“Anything I do they know it’s for a good cause,” Selvy said. “When I brought it to them, they thought it was a cool idea. Not only by us being the only ones who wear them, but also showing the people we care.”

When the Bears first started wearing pink, players asked — as most boys ages 5 through 10 would — “Why do we have to wear pink?”

Selvy explained to them that it’s about supporting the survivors and the ones who lost their lives to the illness.

“Why not support?” Selvy said. “Nobody else is doing it so let me take a stand for the Y and let people know I do care and we support breast cancer awareness.”

This year, Hobie’s Sports and Outdoors designed the uniforms for the Bears. Just Do It Sports made them last year.

Jason Martin-Nez, owner of Hobie’s, said the process to design the neon pink uniforms is fairly easy.

“It can affect you at any time and it’s great people are providing awareness to it. Anything that can shine more light on it is a good thing,” Martin-Nez said.

Hobie’s does the regular youth football uniforms for the YMCA and has dabbled with pink uniform accessories before by selling pink gloves, socks and anything else that can be worn on a football field.

Among the local high school teams, Porters Chapel Academy and Vicksburg High have sported pink socks, towels, wristbands and other accessories in games this month.

Selvy has no intention of ending his visual support of breast cancer.

“We’re going to support breast cancer year round until otherwise. It shows people I care as an individual. You don’t have to go through this struggle by yourself you got somebody supporting you,” he said.

It’s important for him to teach his players to stand up for a cause, since he looks at himself as a role model. When he walks into the building his players’ faces light up and he gets joy from it.

“Some kids are less fortunate and need somebody to look up to. I love to see a kid go from this person of madness and frustration to happy and enjoying life,” Selvy said. “You deal with a lot of kids and their attitudes. It’s an adjustment for me but at the end I can go to sleep at night knowing that I affected somebody’s child in a good way.”