5 years ago UCF launched a formal initiative titled “Awareness Through Sport”. I wanted to share a little of the history behind this initiative as it is now my career! As and ex-jock, I am extremely thankful of how sport has played a major part in my life. Sport gives us all a platform to be on a stage in front of many people focusing on that event and the participants taking part in that activity. SO…when I began to volunteer with UCF and was looking for ways in which I could be of value to the organization whose mission was so important to me, I continually gravitated to the sport initiatives. At that time, UCF had a partnership with Iron Girl as a National Beneficiary. They had a small team that allowed participants to raise money and participate in the various Iron Girl events around the country. The first event I saw with UCF was the Iron Girl Triathlon in Columbia, Maryland. The team had about 15 participants in the event and wow were they energetic and passionate. I remember the pre-race dinner where I had the opportunity to talk to many of the women who were racing the next day and was truly inspired. This obviously left a mark as I quickly worked with Kelly Lance in our office to see if there was a way to build a team that could become ambassadors of UCF and raise awareness around our community for the great work that we do.
This was not easy, but we indeed did it! The TEAM has grown to a point where we will have about 500 members this year and above all, we have continued to raise awareness and funds to help support young adults who are battling cancer and their loved ones. Wow have we come a long way Kelly! I can still remember Kelly and I talking through the wall that separated our offices about who needed help fundraising and who needed help riding their bike or getting the right size tri suit.
TEAM FIGHT has never been about a one race, one personal record or even one person. TEAM FIGHT is a support system for over 500 people who lean on each other when they need it. TEAM FIGHT has become a support program where people can share their stories about cancer with like-minded people who just plain CARE! So the title AWARENESS THROUGH SPORT might have just morphed into AWARENESS AND SUPPORT THROUGH SPORT! Now that is cool and powerful.
I have learned so much in the last 5 years about the power of the spirit behind TEAM FIGHT. That spirit continues to be magnetic as each year new people are introduced to the team and welcomed with open arms. We laugh, we cry, we FIGHT …as a TEAM. Strength in numbers…. That is TEAM FIGHT!
TEAM FIGHT’S success has been the foundation and platform that has supported many of the other programs of UCF. By attracting large numbers of people who we could then share our mission with and they could spread the word to our community, our region, our country.
So why sport programs? Not because it is cool, but it IS! Not because people are competitive! Not because you get a cool uniform! Not because you can get entries to closed out races! BUT because sport is one of the few platforms that can put a TEAM in front of thousands of people at a time where they can’t help but get noticed.
So my ex-jock theory/plan is simple, this year 500 people will be wearing the TEAM FIGHT uniform and best yet they will be parading their passionate selves in front of hundreds of thousands of people! There will be a SEA OF YELLOW at over 20 events this year. These generous people are our magnets. People will gravitate towards them and ask, “What is TEAM FIGHT” and these people will share their stories about cancers affect on their lives. THAT IS AWARENESS and this is TEAM FIGHT! Come fight with us www.teamfight.org