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The Guilfordian. online resource (None) 1914-current, May 10, 2013, Image 12

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SPORTS 12 WWW.GUILFORDIAN.COM Relay for life: fighting cancer, one step at a time BY KEVIN ENGLE AND SYDNEY HAWKINS Staff Writers The fight against cancer must be taken step by step. This is the message that Relay for Life embodies. On May 3, the second annual Relay for Life brought together Guilford and members of the Triad community to walk for a cause at the Guilford's Armfield Athletic Center. "Relay is a fun event to get the community involved in supporting the fight against cancer," said senior Katie Chapman. "Friends and families come together to enjoy the company of each other, good food and live entertainment, all while supporting and donating to a great cause." Relay for Life kicked off with a survivor's lap, a highlight of the evening, when those who have defeated cancer walked the first lap of the night. Energy was high and spirits were even higher. While it commemorates and honors those who have lost the battle to cancer. Relay for Life is a celebration of life and the human will. "Seeing the emotional impact Relay events have on survivors, caregivers and family or friends of/those who have passed is so inspirational and shows how\important these Relay events are," said senior Autumn Yoder. Yoder and Chapman are both infielders for the softball team that organized the event. For first-year Caitlyn Young, this year's Relay for Life held particular value. Young, a member of the women's soccer team, lost her mother to colon cancer in June 2012. "This event really means a lot to me," said Young. "This is where I honor my mother and all the people who have been lost to cancer, those who are fighting it now, and the caregivers who support them." Young's relay team raised over $1,000 during the event. "Although I never knew Caitlin's mother, I felt as if something like that could happen to anyone, me included," said first-year Cassie Vaughn, Young's close friend and teammate. "Relay was the least I could do to help others that have been affected by such a tragic disease and remember those lives that were lost." This emotional occasion provided the last step in the grieving process, acceptance. All around, bonds were formed and friends were made. Empathy and tranquility emanated from every face and every smile. Relay is a time of remembrance and a time of celebration. One event in particular, the Luminaria Ceremony, was overwhelming in its power. Everyone involved received a glow stick and questions such as, "Flave you lost a loved one to cancer?" are asked. The people who identify with the questions break their glow stick. The glow sticks are then put into luminary bags, which are decorated to commemorate those who have been lost to or are currently battling the disease. "Looking out onto the field and seeing all of the bags surrounding it, it put everything into perspective for me," said Vaughn. "I realized exactly how many people are affected by this disease, whether directly or indirectly." While these bags represent the hardships and heartbreak of battling cancer, with a little light and warmth, they turn into something beautiful. That is what Relay for Life is about; replacing dark with light, anger with acceptance, and fear with hope. And it begins with that first step. 34-year-old NBA player takes leap of faith, comes out INSIDE SPORTS Joe Pearson: Guilford Football’s rising star BY RISHAB REVANKAR Staff Writer Concerns about NBA’s “One and Done” rule BY JOHN KLEUPFEL Staff Writbi BY VICTOR LOPEZ S04IOR Writer At least 27 athletes from Olympians to Little League players have publically declared being gay or lesbian in the past few years. Flowever, none of those have been a part of a major team sport while they were still playing. Now, that has finally changed. NBA center Jason Collins has become the first male Lf.S. athlete in a major professional sport to come out as gay The 34-year-old free agent who played with the Washington Wizards and the Boston Celtics tos past season told Sports Illustrated that he felt compelled to share his story. "I wish I wasn't the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, 'I'm different,"' said Collins. "If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I'm raising my hand." Collins revealed that he tried living the straight life for a while but was chasing the wind. "When I was younger, I dated women," said Collins. "I even got engaged. I thought I had to live a certain way. I thought I needed to marry a woman and raise kids with her. I kept telling myself the sky was red, but I always knew it was blue." Regardless of his reasoning, Collins' move is unprecedented for the NBA according to David Walters, sports information director, who recognized this as a historic moment. "The paucity of players coming out may simply be a reflection of the lack of gays and lesbians in the sports world," said Walters in an email interview. "It may also be a reflection of some kind of barrier that precludes folks from coming out. I don't know how to tell the difference, especially on such an intensely personal matter." Senior Daniel Gaskin, a self-described sports enthusiast, said that while there might be public applause, he is not sure everything was rainbows and butterflies. "I can assuredly say that Collins is catching hell in the locker rooms," said Gaskin. "Who was convinced it would be years before a professional athlete would ever come out as being gay?" Even as the Obamas sung praises for the courage it took to come out, some people like junior Rose McIntyre wondered why the media frenzy was so male-centric. "There are several out professional female athletes," said McIntyre. "But they are not taken into consideration because of male dominance in the media." Male dominance aside, community leaders like State Representative Marcus Brandon, the only openly gay member of the North Carolina General Assembly, told The Guilfordian he is grateful for Collins' honesty regarding his personal life. "I think his courage continues to move the conversation on LGBT equality and acceptance," said Brandon. "Based on the comments from his teammates and other sport professionals, there could not be a better representative to move this conversation forward." Brandon suggested Collins' move was one of the biggest moments in the fight for LGBT equality. While homophobic comments made on blog threads at sites like The Huffington Post and CNN suggest bigotry is alive in the minds of some, Parker Ramey, a former Guilford student and graduating member of a gay fraternity at Ohio State University, senses the tide is shifting. "The changing climate in America has made it more acceptable for athletes to come out and not fear backlash from both other players and from fans," said Ramey. While Collins' story plays out in the court of public opinion, only time will tell what the true implications of his personal story will have.

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