Iris Frye got a little extra applause from her young Lady Pirates when introduced prior to Tuesday night's A-team feature inside Ignacio Middle School Gymnasium.
They perhaps knew something most fans in the house may not have, which Frye later revealed following "It's very close to my heart, being an adult who beat childhood cancer myself!" said Pagosa Springs Middle's coach. "So this is an incredibly special night-I teared up several times tonight!"
It was the IMS first-ever "Play for Gold" childhood cancer-awareness fundraiser match night.
Noting she herself had been diagnosed with the targeted disease-September, with gold being the theme color (akin to the familiar pink in October), is the designated month for awareness of the childhood variety as well as others-in seventh grade at age 12, wearing the proverbial shoes of many of her current players, she later starred in volleyball and soccer at PSHS and then played volleyball at Fort Lewis College.
If they didn't know already, Cindy Valdez's Lady Bobcats now know exactly the worthiness of their chosen cause. The girls raised raised $935 for national non-profit foundation CureSearch.
"We took one practice for a little bit and asked all the girls, 'What do you want to do?' And we had more suggestions than we knew what to do with!" recalled Valdez.
"So we took some of those suggestions and ran with it, had parents get involved-had baked goods here.this whole event was positive. The girls did it all with the help of their parents, and I hope it raises awareness because.what better way to raise awareness, kids raising for kids?"
Pagosa prevailed in the limited-time, running-clock C-1 and C-2 matches, though scores were unavailable. Ignacio, however, turned the tables in the best-of-three 'B' and 'A' contests, winning the former 25-21 and 25-23, then the latter 25-23 and 25-20.
"What we've been working a lot on is coverage, and talking and moving. Just the tiny, itty-bitty skills that make your team just a little bit more on edge than the other team," said Valdez, jokingly alluding to the scores' narrow margins. IMS 'A' still has just one loss this season.
"The atmosphere tonight was just so positive-for both teams, Pagosa and Ignacio. And I think it's because we were playing for such a good cause," concurred Valdez. "We had a lot of.community support here, so everybody was just excited to be playing-on our home court, for childhood cancer."
"With that positivity, what can you do wrong? It was awesome."