Tenth of a point — Coaches rally against cancer

Sometimes all you have to do is lace up your shoes to make a difference.

I didn’t quite realize that until I went to the Arlington boys basketball game at Snohomish Jan. 13.

Just a week after this past Thanksgiving, Arlington boys hoops coach Nick Brown found out that his wife, Caryn, had been diagnosed with breast cancer.

Talking with him just a few days after, it was easy to see how much he was hurting. But instead of keeping it a secret, he told his team the following week.

“It hits close to home because a lot of the guys have had it in their family,” said senior forward Blake Petersen, whose aunt had breast cancer.

Starting this week, Brown’s boys showed their support for their coach and his family on the court, wearing pink shoelaces while junior varsity team members sold shirts on the sidelines. The 205 shirts have since sold out in just two days at $10 a piece. All proceeds are going to the Relay For Life held this spring at the Arlington High School track and field.

Roys said another run of the shirts is planned for production soon.

“It’s really nice,” he said. “The community as a whole has been very supportive and we are just overwhelmed at the generosity of the people. They have really been amazing. I’m just humbled.”

Earlier this season ­— before Caryn was diagnosed — the Wesco North coaches decided to have a Coaches vs. Cancer game scheduled for Jan. 15. The match up was Arlington against Lake Stevens, as the Vikings coach Mark Hein’s family has also recently been affected by cancer.

“It was something that we had already planned, and now, with Caryn, it has really brought it to the forefront,” said athletic director Tom Roys. “When it happens to someone you know, it’s personalized so much more and our whole community is getting involved.”

My family has also been affected by breast cancer, a number of times, and I know how nice it feels to have people rally around you.

Coaches across the Wesco North wore shirts saying “Coaches vs. Cancer” and referees have been using pink whistles.

In the face of such adversity, Brown has his team playing some of its best basketball all season.

“It has helped us come together as a team,” Petersen said. “It’s the kind of thing that teaches us there is more than sports going on in life.”

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