It has been one heck of a year! This year we played one softball and one baseball team through fall ball, a short ten game season packed into six weeks of competition. Summer was great, but Fall was a dream; every game was played in the magnificent Curtis Granderson Stadium at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC), courtesy of UIC, Curtis Granderson (NY Mets), and the Chicago Baseball and Education Academy.
As I stop and look back at this year, there are many times that something we did or experienced was a dream; for example, out of 8 teams in the league, our 12U Patriots took 4th place. I can also think of our “play date” with the children of Madonna’s Mission, our visit to the Jewish Community Center, hanging out at camp, and the 12U Fall Boyz team winning for the first time in their final game, played in honor of breast cancer awareness month.
I planned on recapping the year, thanking our supporters and families, and giving you a sneak peek at what 2017 has in store, but instead I’d rather reflect on how I ended the previous paragraph. October had mostly only affected my life for post-season baseball, until this year; my awareness was raised from breast cancer and lung cancer because of two of the most important women in my life.
- About 1 in 8 U.S. women (about 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.
- In 2016, an estimated 246,660 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 61,000 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer.
- About 2,600 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in men in 2016. A man’s lifetime risk of breast cancer is about 1 in 1,000.
- In women under 45, breast cancer is more common in African-American women than white women. Overall, African-American women are more likely to die of breast cancer. For Asian, Hispanic, and Native-American women, the risk of developing and dying from breast cancer is lower.
- In 2016, there are more than 2.8 million women with a history of breast cancer in the U.S. This includes women currently being treated and women who have finished treatment.
- A woman’s risk of breast cancer nearly doubles if she has a first-degree relative (mother, sister, daughter) who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Less than 15% of women who get breast cancer have a family member diagnosed with it.
As I listen to the social discourse regarding women, I can only reject all theories or positions that do not respect and admire the strength of women. Between the two beloved ladies of my life, they have seen me through the darkest and brightest days of my life; the thought of losing either was crushing, but the fight that is in them, the beauty in their faith, the strength in their femininity gave me peace.
As I talked to the boyz heading to their last game, we had an amazing moment together in processing the facts, and me sharing some of my pain. Those little men amazed, pleased, and overwhelmed me for an hour and forty-five minutes; they fought fiercely through five innings, they believed in themselves, and they showed strength in their unity; it was a variation of the character I admire in those two women.
That night we put on the Girlz’ pink jerseys, we prayed, and we cried. We played for women in our families, communities, around the world, and we won our first game of the fall. That night victory was even more sweet because the kids across the field were not the opponent, but breast cancer. That night we “knocked” breast cancer out of the park! Moreover, it was a celebration for me of one of those women being 100% cancer free now. So this month, Lost Boyz recognizes Breast Cancer Awareness, and honors those families affected by it.
Until next time…..