VANCOUVER — The power of a high school sports team to impact the power of positivity and togetherness in the province of B.C. and in turn, around the globe, may never be stronger than it is tonight (6:15 p.m.) at the Richmond Olympic Oval.
That’s when the senior boys basketball team from East Vancouver’s Sir Charles Tupper Secondary will take to the court clad completely in pink with the slogan ‘We Are One’ emblazoned across their chests as the Tigers play for the Lower Mainland Triple A championship title against Richmond’s A.R. MacNeill Ravens.
Both teams have already qualified for next week’s B.C. tournament at the Langley Events Centre.
Although they are ranked No. 1 in their tier in the latest B.C. Top 10 poll, the slogan has absolutely nothing to do with basketball, but everything to do with the Tupper players embracing the idea that a committed group of teens has the power to affect positive change on so many levels.
“The bottom line was an alumnus of the program wanted to buy us a new set of uniforms this year but we had just bought a brand-new set of home and away,” said Tupper head coach Jeff Gourley. “He asked us if we wanted a third set.”
Gourley asked his players about it and that’s when the gears started turning.
“We went to the kids and said ‘How would you like to make a statement with your uniforms?’” he continued. “Pink stands for the fight against breast cancer, and there is the Pink Whistle campaign,”Gourley continued of the fund raiser being run by the B.C. Basketball Officials Association. “So all of a sudden, they came up with a list of all the places we could stand with other people and say ‘We are one with you.’”
Inspired by the actions of his kids, Gourley sent the following to VarsityLetters.ca late Thursday evening:
We are one!
We are one against breast cancer!
We are one for pink shirt day!
We are one against bullying!
We are one with Black Lives Matter!
We are one with the Me Too Movement!
We are one against racism!
We are one against homophobia
We are a team!
We are one!
VarsityLetters.ca learned earlier this year that the team had imposed a strict ‘no social media’ policy on their outreach work on the Downtown East Side over the holiday season, unlike many schools who actually promote their charitable work.
They have also made a substantial donation to the Pink Whistle campaign.
Gourley is hopeful that his team will be able to don their pink uniforms tonight against A.R. MacNeill, but because they have arrived right in the middle of the playoffs, he has reached out to Lower Mainland association president Mike Stoneburgh and the MacNeill coaching staff to ensure everything runs smoothly.
Just before Christmas, the senior girls basketball team from Riverside Secondary in Port Coquitlam wore all-pink uniforms during their annual cancer awareness/fund-raiser event called A Tournament For Emily.
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