May 21, 2012
Of all the things the Griz soccer team gave western Montana last fall in its run to the Big Sky Conference tournament title and first NCAA tournament since 2000 -- pride, belief, renewed passion in the program -- none was as important as what the team recently gave a resident of Missoula.
Through the team's Pink Game efforts last fall, the Grizzlies were able to gift $1,000 to Team Up Montana this spring. More specifically they benefited the Cancer Compassion Fund, which distributes monies throughout western Montana to help those in financial need in their fight against cancer.
"The Griz soccer team was able to raise $1,000, and we were honored to be the recipient," Michael Bullard, executive director of the St. Patrick Hospital Foundation, said. "But the team didn't just raise money. They gave someone hope, dignity and most important the will to keep fighting.
"The team sets a shining example of what a small group of dedicated people can accomplish. I am extremely proud of them."
In conjunction with Montana's Big Sky Conference game against Northern Arizona last October, the team accepted donations for Team Up Montana and sold team-designed Kick For A Cure T-shirts. The program later sold -- for the same cause -- the special pink uniforms the players had worn against the Lumberjacks.
The money the team raised through its efforts was later used to directly assist a Missoula resident through her cancer treatments, "treatments she might not have had otherwise," Bullard added.
"As a program we want to make sure we're giving back to a community that does so much to support us," UM coach Mark Plakorus said. "I also thought it was important that the student-athletes on our team understand the impact they can have on other people's lives just because they are Griz athletes.
"They can bring attention to a cause that other people might not be able to just because of their status. There is a big responsibility that comes with that."
Plakorus and the members of the team will never know who they helped. Maybe she was already a Griz soccer fan. Maybe she would be for life if she found out where the funds came from. But in the end, it isn't important and it wasn't the reason for the Pink Game.
What was important was that she was in need ... and that she was someone one of the players might one day pass by in a local grocery store.
"That was something we really liked," Plakorus said about the chance to aid someone close to home. "There are a number of different organizations out there -- all doing great things -- but we know Team Up Montana is about people in Montana.
"We knew the money would go to someone in the community, and that's what we wanted. We were pretty pleased with what we were able to do."
- Online Stores
Northern Arizona and Idaho State advance to...
Northern Arizona and Idaho State won quarterfinal matches Thursday at South Campus Stadium in...
Montana hosting Big Sky soccer tournament this ...
Montana will host the Big Sky Conference soccer tournament this week at South Campus Stadium....
Norman named final Big Sky Conference Player of...
Montana sophomore goalkeeper Kailey Norman, who also Tuesday was voted second-team All-Big Sky...
Griz rack up Big Sky Conference awards
The Montana soccer team, which went unbeaten through its 10-match league schedule, won a pair of ...
Montana completes unbeaten march through Big Sky
The Montana soccer team defeated Eastern Washington 1-0 Friday afternoon at Cheney, Wash., to...
Griz face Eagles Friday in final regular-season...
The Montana soccer team will play Eastern Washington Friday at 3 p.m. (MT) at Cheney, Wash., in...
Griz collect pair of player of the week awards
The Montana soccer team, unbeaten through nine Big Sky Conference matches, continues to collect...
Widner's late goal gives Grizzlies outright title
Freshman Hallie Widner's goal in the 83rd minute was the match's only scoring and gave the...