Football Team Holds Emotional ‘Pinkout’ To Honor Rival Coach’s Late Wife
Blake Anderson, the coach of the Arkansas State football team, was dealing with plenty of emotions as his team entered the University of Georgia (UGA) stadium. He was up against a much more successful team, but that was not his only problem. After fighting for two years, his wife, Wendy, lost her battle with breast cancer. His mixed emotions became even harder to control when he noticed that most of the UGA fans were wearing pink instead of their traditional red.
Tragedy Strikes The Anderson Family
Blake Anderson has been coaching the Arkansas State football program for more than four years. During that time, his family has made an impact off the field as much as he has on the field. His wife and children quickly became just as loved by fans as he did. For nearly half of his tenure with Arkansas State, Coach Anderson’s wife, Wendy, has been battling breast cancer.
In August of 2019, she unfortunately succumbed to her illness. News of Wendy Anderson’s untimely death quickly spread among the Arkansas State football family. Soon after her death, the Arkansas State football team had a big game against the University of Georgia, a long-time regional rival. Up until that point in the season, UGA had been having a much better season than Arkansas. The game was slated to be a heated David vs. Goliath style matchup.
UGA Does A Pink Out
Despite the personal tragedy he was dealing with, Coach Anderson still wanted to lead his team to victory. He told reporters that he had some concerns about how his team would standup to Georgia, which was having a much better season. For Arkansas, the game would also be an away game, which only made the difficult task of winning harder. While all parties were concerned about winning, UGA fans were far more concerned about Coach Anderson, who was still grieving over his wife.
They decided to do something to show their support for Coach Anderson and his family. Players, officials, and fans from all walks of life got involved in an effort to spread the word, both in person and on social media, that everyone should wear pink to the big game. Pink is often used to show support and solidarity with breast cancer survivors and those who care for them. When Coach Anderson arrived at the UGA stadium, he was greeted by a sea of people wearing pink. If he had any question as to what they were doing, several UGA fans on the front row had letters painted on their backs spelling out “remember Wendy.”
The Impact Of A Kind Gesture
Coach Anderson has expressed his thanks to the kind UGA fans for focusing on comforting a fellow human rather than maintaining a rivalry. Anderson’s athletes were also moved by the touching display. Rather than crying tears of sorrow, Coach Anderson was moved to cry out of love and gratitude for the strangers who took notice of his pain. It is no wonder that this touching story has gone viral. The Arkansas State vs. UGA football game was televised, and it’s not every day you see the majority of people in a stadium dressed in pink. The commentators of the game mentioned why the pink out was happening, and it received quite a positive response on social media. After the game, Coach Anderson also tweeted about the experience.
OVERWHELMED, HONORED, and BEYOND GRATEFUL ? #NotFightingAlone pic.twitter.com/2xKKz51i8a
— Blake Anderson (@CHbanderson) September 14, 2019
His tweet has received nearly 30,000 likes, and it has been retweeted over 3,500 times. The Arkansas State football team has made the touching decision to dedicate their season to Wendy Anderson. Coach Anderson says that he often reflects on his wife’s fighting spirit when he starts feeling down, and that gives him the motivation he needs to move forward.
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