PCA adds pink jerseys to rotation for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Published 8:00 am Sunday, October 22, 2017

Ever since “Pinktober” became a sports trend around the start of this decade, Porter’s Chapel Academy’s football team has embraced it. Its players have worn pink socks and wristbands throughout October each season to honor friends and family members who had been stricken with breast cancer.

This summer, when the team got new uniforms, they also embraced an opportunity to take it to the next level.

The team’s contract with its supplier allowed it to pick up to four jersey colors. Blue and white were obvious picks, and they added a dark gray to the mix as well. The fourth option was also a no-brainer — pink.

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The team debuted the pink jerseys in its next-to-last home game against Claiborne Christian on Sept. 30. They switched back to gray for Friday’s regular-season finale and senior night against Park Place Christian — their only home game this October — but plan to make the pink jerseys a regular part of the rotation each October moving forward.

“We participated in the pink in October in years past, and had the opportunity when we got new uniforms to get a pink jersey,” PCA coach Blake Purvis said. “It was a different look. It’s rewarding our guys with an alternate uniform to play in, in honor of that occasion.”

The pink jerseys continued PCA’s tradition of wearing pink and made it a bit more standard. In years past, players were able to buy their own pink equipment. That led to a mishmash of shades ranging from light pink to hot pink.

A couple of years ago, PCA boosters Gaylon and Mary Owens donated a number of pink socks to the football team and cheerleaders to get everyone on the same page. This year they made another donation that allowed the school to purchase the jerseys.

“There have been several ladies in the school that have endured breast cancer, and I saw how it affected the children. For them to understand it and how it affects people, that would be a good way to show support,” Mary Owens said. “The jerseys looked fantastic. I think the boys wore them proudly. These kids understand the true meaning behind it. It’s not just for fun. It is for character development from a young age.”

Some of the players grasped that message on a very personal level. Senior running back Glenn Alan Kittrell and senior lineman McKinley Skipper have both had family members stricken with breast cancer. Kittrell’s mother, Kim Kittrell, had the disease when he was younger. Skipper’s stepmother, Sherri Skipper, recently finished radiation treatments.

Both players said the chance to honor their loved ones by wearing the pink jerseys brought joy to their families.
McKinley Skipper said the pink jersey game was the only one his mother was able to attend this year. Glenn Alan Kittrell said his mother loved the jerseys.

“My mama had breast cancer. In 2012 she was five years cancer-free, and it really meant a lot to me, and it meant a lot to her. We took a lot of pictures. She liked those pink jerseys. She wishes we would wear them every week,” Glenn Alan Kittrell said.

Supporting friends and family like that also brought a smile to Mary Owens’ face. She said it’s the reaction she was hoping for when the jerseys were purchased.

“I think they’ve seen what their friends go through as their family members deal with breast cancer. All of them seem to be very supportive of their friends, and that says a lot of them and their character,” Owens said. “It’s just a sense of family.”

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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