Women’s Basketball teams up with RecSports to raise money, awareness
Courtney Becker | Friday, February 10, 2017
The Notre Dame women’s basketball team is partnering with RecSports to raise money and awareness for breast cancer by hosting the Pink Zone Fitness Party at Rolf’s Sports Center on Friday from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.
The Fitness Party format is an adjustment from the Pink Zone Spin-a-Thon that RecSports has hosted in the past. Fitness and instructional program coordinator for RecSports Tabbitha Ashford said this change came about in response to a desire to make the event more accessible for everyone.
“This year, it’ll be five hours on Friday evening, with each hour being a different fitness class ranging from Zumba to yoga to boot camp — something for everybody, hopefully,” she said. “I think it was just kind of going back to the basics of what we offer through our regular programming, and seeing the numbers and realizing that you can’t have a party without Zumba — that’s the essence of any fitness party.”
Sharla Lewis, special events coordinator for women’s basketball, said the idea was partially inspired by an offer from Beyond Zen Yoga Studio to contribute to the Pink Zone’s cause — something it will do by hosting a “Zenathon” on Saturday.
“They’re going from 8 a.m. and their last class stops at about 5 p.m.,” she said. “They have two classes going on at the same time and [University president Fr. John Jenkins] is going to end it with a prayer service at 6 p.m.”
The Fitness Party will also feature classes suited to various experience levels, including high-intensity training and a boot camp class, in addition to Zumba, RecSports assistant director of fitness and fitness facilities Jennifer Phillips said.
“The whole point of this … is for people to come and have fun,” she said. “You don’t have to be a great Zumba dancer, but if I see people out there having fun with their friends and doing something different on a Friday night, then it’s totally worth everything that we’re doing to bring them out there.”
In addition to the fun the event offers, however, Phillips said she hopes those who attend keep the underlying cause in mind.
“One of the messages we’ve tried to get across in the events in the past is that while you’re out there and you are having fun — you’re out there because your body is working, and it’s working right,” she said. “While you’re out there and you’re doing that, remember that part of why you’re doing that is for people’s bodies that aren’t working right, right now. By you being out there — if you can donate five bucks, great, if you can donate more, great — that’s helping somebody whose body is struggling.”
In addition to paying the $5 per class at the Fitness Party, people can contribute to the cause by bidding in a silent auction at the women’s basketball pink game against Georgia Tech on Sunday, by pledging money for each three-point shot made by the team or simply by volunteering at the event, Lewis said.
“People have their own way that they want to help and support — we just want to have an avenue where there’s different ways that you can do that,” she said. “Even if you don’t have the money, maybe you can volunteer. [We’re] just trying to find ways for people to give back.”
Sophomore guard Arike Ogunbowale said she appreciates the opportunity the pink game offers for her to contribute to “a big cause.”
“I’m glad we do this and a lot of people participate,” she said. “We have great fans who really want to give back, so I’m just really excited that a game of sports can bring awareness and bring money to a cause like this.”
In particular, Ogunbowale said she loves knowing she has not only contributed to her team’s success, but also to this cause when she makes a 3-point shot.
“It’s great that something as easy as shooting a 3-pointer can help this cause,” she said. “We’re a pretty good shooting team, so we’re raising a lot of money, and I’m just really happy that by easily just playing the game I love, I am able to bring money and awareness to this cause.”
Lewis said she encourages community members to attend the pink game on Sunday in addition to the Fitness Party to experience the game’s traditional halftime tribute to breast cancer survivors.
“This year we have members of the football team that will take part in just giving out a little treat to those survivors or those that are affected by cancer,” she said. “They’re going to partner with us this year and help us out. Halftime is always exciting for me. I love it.”