BENTON, La (KMSS/KTAL) – For 32 minutes this week, the Airline Vikings and Benton Tigers were opponents on the court. For the remainder of the week, the District rivals worked together on a common goal, helping to raise money for one of their own in need. First-year Benton teacher Ella Hoffman was diagnosed with cancer during the first week of the school year.
“She has been overwhelmed with the Benton community and how they’ve stood up and helped her and supported her through this process,” said Benton Assistant Coach Toni Martinez.
Her husband Todd, the Head Coach of the Tigers, stressed the importance of teaching more than just X’s and O’s.
“If all we do is teach them how to put the ball in the hole, we’ve missed the chance to use our platform for something much larger.”
That chance, not going to waste as the Airline and Benton programs alike helped raise money through t-shirt sales and donations, which will go toward Hoffman’s medical expenses. Coach Martinez credited Oasis Printing and Simple Church for their efforts in making this year’s pink game possible.
But this week’s pink game was not the first. It’s one that through the years has helped not just those affected by cancer, but also bring together some of the state’s biggest rivals.
When the pink game began, the proceeds originally went toward national cancer awareness organizations, but the real progress began when Martinez started helping individuals within the community.
“(Toni) started this when she was coaching at Byrd and she was doing just as part of the Byrd-Shreve game, said Todd. “We saw a big difference from problems that were caused when those two teams would meet. and it became instead of one of animosity one of working together.”
Two teams working together toward one dream, a cure for cancer.
If you would like to donate to the Ella Hoffman fund, you can do so here.