The University of Alabama

Power of Pink Glows Brighter This Year

Pink shakers, pink shirts, even the occasional pink boa – once a season, everyone puts on their best pink outfits, grabs their favorite pink accessories and heads to Coleman Coliseum for a gymnastics meet. The pink isn’t as much a fashion statement, but a show of support for Sarah Patterson’s Power of Pink initiative, now in its eighth year.

It started with a simple idea. Patterson, now in her 34th season as head coach of Alabama’s five-time NCAA Champion gymnastics team, wanted to help raise awareness for the fight against breast cancer, a disease that has touched the lives of so many women around the world.

This year’s Power of Pink “Drive 4 the Cause” meet, sponsored by Tuscaloosa Toyota, will be on Friday, Feb. 17 at 7:30 p.m. with the defending national champion Crimson Tide taking on Arkansas. Both teams will be wearing their pink leotards. Prior to the meet, a check for $200,000 will be presented to the DCH Breast Cancer Fund, which was started in the fall of 2004 to support Patterson’s Power of Pink initiative. This gift will bring the overall total raised since the fund’s inception to $1.25 million.

Coleman Coliseum will also be bathed in pink for the Feb. 17 meet, both inside and out. It marks the third year in a row that the outside of the Coliseum has been lit in pink. This year the plan is also to light Denny Chimes in pink to honor the Tide’s Power of Pink efforts.

Over the last eight years, the Power of Pink has grown from a gymnastics event to a campus event to a national event. Schools across the country have pink events and the NFL and Major League Baseball both have pink-highlighted efforts in the fall and spring respectively.

For Patterson the local efforts are still nearest to her heart.

“While it is extremely gratifying to see the growth of the Power of Pink on a national basis, I am most excited about the difference this initiative continues to make within the University of Alabama and West Alabama community,” Patterson said.

The Alabama Athletics Power of Pink slate, sponsored by Tuscaloosa Toyota, features nine women’s athletics events during the 2011-12 academic year, including volleyball, cross country, soccer and swimming and diving in the fall and basketball, gymnastics, softball, tennis and rowing in the winter and spring.

Besides the Feb. 17 gymnastics meet, upcoming Power of Pink events include the following:

• Basketball – against LSU on Sunday, Feb. 12 at 1 p.m.

• Softball – versus Ole Miss on Saturday, March 17 at 1:30 p.m.

• Tennis – against TCU on Sunday, March 18 at noon.

• Rowing – versus Iowa on Saturday, April 21, time to be announced.