IMS, Pagosa Springs raise nearly $1K
Iris Frye got an extra applause from her young Lady Pirates when introduced prior to the A-team feature Tuesday, Sept. 30, inside Ignacio Middle School Gymnasium.
They perhaps knew something most fans in the house didn’t, which Frye later revealed following IMS’ first-ever “Play for Gold” childhood cancer-awareness/fundraiser volleyball match night:
“It’s very close to my heart, being an adult who beat childhood cancer myself.” Pagosa Springs middle school coach said. “So this is an incredibly special night – I teared up several times.”
Noting she herself had been diagnosed with the targeted disease – September, with gold being the theme color (akin to the familiar pink in October), is the designated month for awareness of the childhood variety as well as others – in seventh grade at age 12, wearing the proverbial shoes of many of her current players, she later starred in volleyball and soccer at PSHS and then in volleyball at Fort Lewis College.
If they didn’t know already, Cindy Valdez’s Lady Bobcats now know exactly the worthiness of their chosen cause. One that Valdez and assistant Kathy Herrera both praised for not only its sudden success on relatively short notice – the night raised $935 for national non-profit foundation CureSearch – but for also having been proposed and pursued by their young ladies in red.
“We took one practice for a little bit and asked all the girls, ‘What do you want to do?’ And we had more suggestions than we knew what to do with.” Valdez recalled. “So we took some of those suggestions and ran with it, had parents get involved … this whole event was positive, what better way to raise awareness, kids raising for kids?”
Frye commented on the success of the event and hopes to do something similiar at her school
“I’m so honored our team was picked to come play at this event, this fundraiser, and I hope we get to do that next year also.”
Pagosa prevailed in the limited-time, running-clock C-1 and C-2 matches, though scores were unavailable. Ignacio turned the tables in the best-of-three ‘B’ and ‘A’ contests, winning the former 25-21 and 25-23, then the latter 25-23 and 25-20.
“What we’ve been working a lot on is coverage, and talking and moving. Just the tiny, itty-bitty skills that make your team just a little bit more on edge than the other team,” Valdez said.“I’m fortunate that I have great bench players, I have great starters, can rotate them and I don’t have to worry about a whole lot because they cover for each other. And they help each other a lot.”
Sharing the gym with the highschool has been a challenge at times this years, Valdez said.
“We’ve talked about blocking and hitting and covering, and it’s nice to have the high-school coach here because he’ll see things…and tells me, ‘Here’s what you need to work on.’ And I’m like, ‘Alright, I’ll do it!’”
IHS head volleyball coach Thad Cano – a mentor for Frye during his years as a PSHS assistant – did take time to absorb the evening’s electricity.
“It was super high-energy … and that was the first time the girls had been exposed to that,” Frye said. “So we learned a lot from this game and we’ll take it with us. I loved the camaraderie; everybody was cheering for everybody out here.”
Both teams made for a positive atmosphere, Cano said.
“We had a lot of … community support here, so everybody was just excited to be playing – on our home court, for childhood cancer.”