PORT COQUITLAM — For Tessa Burton, there was nothing ordinary about getting a chance to don her basketball team’s newest game-day jersey and shorts.
“It’s really bright, bright pink,” the senior guard with Port Coquitlam’s Riverside Rapids told VarsityLetters.ca on Monday afternoon, one day before the opening tip-off of the 15th annual A Tournament For Emily.
“I think it makes a big statement,” continued Burton who like so many, has had cancer touch her family. “I think it will be awesome and empowering because we’re all banding together for the fight against cancer.”
Named in memory of Emily Inglis, who lost her life to the disease at age 12, before she could enrol at Riverside, A Tournament For Emily has raised and donated thousands upon thousands of dollars to B.C. Children’s Hospital, focusing most recently on a partnership with Fishermen Helping Kids With Cancer to ‘distract and generally improve the days’ of those kids on the oncology floor at Children’s.
To that end, Burton and her Rapids teammates will don their pink togs en masse for the first time as a team Thursday evening, and emerge from their locker room in time for the tourney’s Day 1 finale, a 7 p.m. rematch of last Saturday’s TBI championship finale, as they play host to Langley’s Walnut Grove Gators.
“You just want the kids to have awareness,” says Riverside head coach and A Tournament for Emily founder Paul Langford. “You want them to know that they can make a difference. When somebody has a bad stroke of luck, and they have to go into Children’s Hospital, there are things we can do to help them not feel so alone, to let them know that people want to help them, and that they have support.”
Langford came up with the ideal of all-pink jerseys for The Emily last summer.
“I had to get a white set and a green set,” Langford said the program’s home and road togs. “I’d always had an idea for pink, so I asked him ‘What about a third set? Can you do all-pink?’”
Adds Burton: “This is something you don’t see every day, but it’s not just the (colour of the) jersey, it’s the story behind it.”
A TOURNAMENT FOR EMILY
(all games at PoCo’s Riverside Secondary)
3:30 p.m. — Argyle vs. Robert Bateman
5:15 p.m. — Brookswood vs. Langley Christian
7 p.m. — Walnut Grove vs. Riverside
3:30 p.m. — Langley Christian vs McMath
5:15 p.m. — Walnut Grove vs. Brookswood
7 p.m — Argyle vs. Riverside
3:30 p.m. — Argyle vs. Langley Christian
5:15 p.m. — Walnut Grove vs. R.A. Mcmath
7 p.m. — Robert Bateman vs. Riverside
3:30 p.m. — Riverside vs. R.A. McMath
5:15 p.m. — Brookswood vs. Robert Bateman
(note — Junior varsity games tip-off at 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. Thursday and Friday)
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