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Pink Out games hold special meaning to Madill's Brett Vann

Beau Bearden
bbearden@gannett.com

Many Americans have been directly impacted by cancer's harsh effects. Some are able to overcome the disease, while others aren’t as fortunate.

Madill High School softball coach Brett Vann knows the difficult side of that battle as he lost his mother in the late 80s, early 90s. It’s been quite a while since that time when he was in middle school, but he’s always thankful for the opportunity to reminisce of the good old days during the annual “Pink Out” game.

“My mother passed away long enough ago that it still bothers me, but I’m not going to shed tears and stuff like that — I’ve already done all of that,” Vann said. “(Pink Out games) definitely bring back memories.”

Madill softball partipates in a Pink Out game against Ardmore on Sept. 28.

And more importantly, it keeps the cancer discussion at the forefront for each generation who takes the field wearing their pink uniforms and other gear honoring those who have passed away or survived the battle.

“This is an important cause for us,” Vann said. “… It’s just a neat way to honor those who are affected, whether we have anyone personally on our team or someone we know who’s been affected by cancer. Being able to do something like this is pretty amazing to be a part of and represent. I’m just proud that our girls did what they did.”

The Lady Wildcats made their coach happy as they took the field in Ardmore on Sept. 28 wearing pink shirts with the words “Strike out Cancer” printed over a home plate mound alongside a cancer ribbon. While some coaches may talk about the cause, Vann knows his squad is well aware of the significance.

“When we tell the girls it’s a 'Pink Out game,' they like the idea of wearing pink, putting ribbons in their hair and all kinds of stuff,” Vann said. “It’s a fun game for them and they know what it means.”

And that meaning is even more important for Vann, especially with how far medicine has advanced since his mother passed away. There’s no telling if she would still be here today if the same remedies were available 30 years ago.

“The survival rate of cancer now is a lot higher than it was back then,” Vann said. “They were just learning what it was. Cancer is a big deal, but sometimes cancer is a winnable battle. You can win more battles now than you did back then. There’s a better survival rate and better awareness. You just treat it, kind of battle and go get it.”