Names On Their Backs
Albin named Honorary captain at cancer awareness ‘Think Pink’ game on Oct. 9
October 29, 2015
Down the ramp leading onto the field, around the corner where fans shouldn’t be, Jan Albin walks alone onto the turf.
She hears thousands of screams in anticipation of the ‘Think Pink’ game at home on Oct. 9.
Captains Hunter Kyle and TJ Vasher walk up to Albin and ask if she’s ready for the coin toss.
With a nervous laugh, Albin smiles, nods, takes their hands. She is led onto the field.
Each player wears a name on their backs in honor of a loved one who either has or has had cancer. As Kyle, with Albin’s name on his back, and Vasher, with his grandparent’s name on his, take Albin’s hands, they walk together to meet the refs and begin the game with the coin toss.
“I had never been down on the field like that before,” Albin said. “It takes a special heart to do something like what Coach Bindel did. It meant the world to me, and it was a completely humbling experience.”
Cancer has become a household name, and Albin said Rider does “an excellent job” incorporating cancer awareness into everyday life especially in October.
“You got to see who the team knows that was affected by cancer, and what it means to them,” Albin said. “I’ve had cancer and I know that’s what this is all about, but I’m not anymore special than anyone else.”
Because October is breast cancer awareness month, head football coach Marc Bindel dedicated the Oct. 9 football game against Chisholm Trail to be a “Think Pink” game.
Each name on the jersey held a story. Right tackler Collin Partridge wore the name of his late grandfather and said he drew strength from the man who instilled his work ethic into him.
“He was a major influence in my life,” Partridge said. “He was an amazing man, but cancer just got the best of him. There wasn’t a single person who didn’t play for that name on their back.”
Partridge said he was overwhelmed and grounded by the emotion caused by the game and took to heart the impact it left on him.
“It caused such a revelation about everyone you play for,” Partridge said. “Players are so easily consumed with the ‘Friday Night Lights’, everyone is looking at them, watching them, but what Coach Bindel did with this game made it about everyone. It made it about our loved ones.”