By Michael Costello, coordinator of the “Stick it to Cancer” fundraiser and lacrosse coach at Greenhills School in Ann Arbor
Lacrosse is more than a game – it’s a tradition.
It’s a warm spring afternoon.
It’s trying to hit corners.
It’s moving the ball quickly and crisply.
It’s a ground ball that leads to a transition opportunity.
It’s a dodge – then a dish.
It’s an amazing reaction save.
It’s saying to a friend, “Did I just see that???” when you’ve witnessed yet another unbelievable play.
The game is beautiful, graceful, powerful, fast and aggressive.
Those of us who love lacrosse share these feelings – it’s a common bond. We have a fantastic lacrosse community in Michigan. Unfortunately, cancer intrudes on that community. Figuratively, it extends its bony, skeletal finger and touches someone that we know…that we love. It can even touch us — literally.
Cancer doesn’t care if we are an 18-year-old attackman with a bright future or a 52-year-old coach with lessons on life that he wants to share.
Cancer doesn’t care if you are a parent or an official or an athletic director or a friend of a friend of a friend.
I started “Stick it to Cancer” because I was angry, to be honest. I was angry at cancer for taking the lives of friends, for making them go through the sometimes torturous rounds of chemo, for putting patients through the roller coaster of getting a clean bill of health only to hear the words, “your cancer is back.”
What can you do when you are angry? After I cried, after I shouted, I decided to do something.
I was familiar with the “Movember” activities to promote prostate cancer awareness and the breast cancer awareness program through the National Football League – those are great efforts on a national level. But I wanted to do something here in Michigan.
The Karmanos Cancer Institute seemed like a good fit. They are well known, they do good work and they are based in Michigan. A friend of mine had treatment there. I thought it would be a way to give back – to say thanks for all that they have done and continue to do. The people at Karmanos have been very supportive as we, the community, try to get this initiative up and running. The lacrosse community is a tight-knit family. It’s my prayer that what we do during this “Stick it to Cancer” program will make a difference.
We have to take it day by day. If what we donate helps us get closer to finding a cure for any one of the many types of cancer, we will all celebrate. But, if we can bring a smile to a patient by donating a poster or a get well card, or even some hair for a wig – that’s a major milestone too.
I truly believe that the lacrosse community in Michigan will make a difference – and will “Stick it to Cancer.”
To make donations to the “Stick it to Cancer” campaign, click: https://www.karmanos.org/donations/?fund=lacrosse. If you need pledge sheets, a Special Event Form or Proposal Form, or to just get information about donating to Karmanos, please click http://www.karmanos.org/friendsraisingfunds
About our blogger:
Mike Costello lives in Plymouth with his wife Gail and 10-year-old daughter Rachel. He’s a three-season coach, coaching tennis, basketball and of course, lacrosse. He was introduced to the game in summer camp back in 1977. Mike played at Michigan State for two years when they were a Division I school. The siren song of lax brought him back in 2002 when he began coaching the Canton Warriors High School Club team. From there he coached the Plymouth-Canton-Salem unified team and then the Plymouth Wildcats until 2009. He moved to Greenhills School in Ann Arbor in 2010 and is beginning his fourth year there. Mike also writes for the Ann Arbor Lacrosse Examiner.