Don't ever give up in fight against cancer

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Bearcats taking on toughest of all foes Saturday night

By John Herndon

A long basketball season is winding down and it hasn't been one like Anderson County fans have been accustomed to.

The passion for high school basketball is deep in these parts. Even with a team that has struggled to find wins this season, crowds at Anderson County games are better than most places. No, they aren't what they have been in the past, but they are still better than most.

A long history of strong teams has fueled that tradition. Even in a year when the Bearcats' record is not very good, those who have been around the high school game for a long time have come to appreciate the team's tenacity, drive and desire. You might beat them but most likely, you will earn it.

If you really understand high school sports and the cyclical highs and lows that are part of the deal, you can love a team like the current Anderson team that just refuses to quit.

Saturday night, the Bearcats take on the toughest foe of the year, but we aren't talking about Grant County.


The Big C is tougher to beat than anyone that has ever suited up for Shelby County, Oldham County or any of their other rivals over the years. It is a foe that is more relentless than a Scott County press.

But nothing is unbeatable.

Cancer included.

That is why high school and college basketball teams across the country have been holding Coaches vs. Cancer games as a way to raise awareness in the fight against the dreaded disease. Over the years, many college and high school coaches have fought courageous fights against cancer. Some, like UConn's Jim Calhoun, have been fortunate to win.

But the battle that former North Carolina State coach Jim Valvano fought after being diagnosed with bone cancer in 1992 has lived on through the efforts of The Jimmy V Foundation and Coaches vs. Cancer. Valvano died a year later.

One of his quotes during his fight was, “Don't give up. Don't ever give up!”

The current Bearcats aren't giving up on the basketball court, but in the grand scheme of things, who wins basketball games isn't a matter of life and death.

Cancer is. Don't give up the fight against it.

A year ago, Anderson County raised more money for the American Cancer Society through Coaches vs. Cancer than any high school or small college in the state.

The challenge has been taken again and you can help turn a tough season into one with a lasting victory. No one expects the Bearcats to advance to the Sweet 16 and have a following of about 7,000 strong in Rupp Arena like two years ago.

But doing a small part to beat cancer will last much longer.

I hope you will be at Saturday's game and give what you can to help defeat a rugged, but beatable foe.

How you can help
Proceeds from the Coaches vs. Cancer game on Saturday night will go to the American Cancer Society. T-shirts, costing $11 each will be available at the game, along with a chance to purchase cutouts to be posted on the “Wall of Honor” at Anderson County High School and left up through the end of the basketball season. Coaches vs. Cancer bracelets will also be available at the game.