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Fight Like a Ram: CSU women’s basketball celebrates cancer warriors

Colorado+State+University+students+hold+up+purple+Ram+bandanas+in+support+of+the+Fight+Like+a+Ram+womens+basketball+game+Jan.+27.+CSU+beat+San+Jose+State+University+65-49.
Collegian | Ava Puglisi
Colorado State University students hold up purple Ram bandanas in support of the Fight Like a Ram women’s basketball game Jan. 27. CSU beat San Jose State University 65-49.

Cancer is something that no one really anticipates.

Being 1,200 miles away from home was something I knew would be a challenge for me when I decided to attend Colorado State. I only thought about what would happen to me, and I figured I’d be fine if something happened to me.

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Something I didn’t think about, though, was what I would do if something happened to my parents. When I went home over Thanksgiving break, my parents casually mentioned that my dad had been diagnosed with cancer.

Luckily, they caught it early, and my dad only needed to get surgery, but it was still scary being so far away from my family when all I wanted was to be close to them.

“We’re really focusing on the cancer warriors in Northern Colorado and showing them support. Showing them that we’re right behind them here — it was a spectacular day.” -Amy Parsons, Colorado State University president

Cancer is a situation that seems far away, impossible or like something that probably won’t happen to you, so when I heard that the CSU women’s basketball team was hosting a Fight Like a Ram game alongside UCHealth, I knew it was an important event.

Every year, UCHealth puts on the Fight Like a Ram game in partnership with the CSU women’s basketball team, and each player on the team partners up with a cancer warrior at UCHealth.

“(The week) started with our zoom call,” senior guard Sydney Mech said. “We got to meet (the cancer warriors). We listened to their stories, and a couple of us headed over to UCHealth, and that was really something special.”

The entire week was emotional for the team, with some of the warriors attending a practice prior to the game last weekend against San Jose State.

“They came to our practice, where we kind of got to meet them in person and talk to them,” Mech said.

The team is also familiar with the impact of a cancer diagnosis, as one of the players, Taylor Ray, has been battling cancer herself.

“Just having a player on our team who’s gone through these same battles while she’s doing basketball is crazy,” Mech said. “Just getting to honor her alongside other people is something (that’s) so cool.”

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The annual event has been going on for several years now and is something CSU doesn’t plan to stop any time soon.

“To see all the support for our women’s team is amazing,” CSU President Amy Parsons said. “It’s extra special today because it’s Fight Like a Ram day.”

Parsons had a huge influence on increasing attendance at sporting events during her first year as president with her social media videos going viral. Of course, it wasn’t just Parson’s attendance at this game that made it so special.

“Our partnership with UCHealth is something really important, and we’re really focusing on the cancer warriors in Northern Colorado and showing them support,” Parsons said. “Showing them that we’re right behind them here — it was a spectacular day.”

With a sold-out crowd in Moby Arena, Fight Like a Ram day was all the more special. At halftime, the cancer warriors were recognized and celebrated with posters and flags given to fans prior to their entry to the stadium.

“I think (Fight Like a Ram day) creates a tremendous amount of pride in our players,” coach Ryun Williams said. “This is what we represent. And the fact that (Parsons) sets that kind of tone — it’s great for everybody.”

Fight Like a Ram day doesn’t just represent those who are fighting cancer. It also represents the CSU and Fort Collins communities that support those battling cancer and unite everyone for a specific cause.

Reach Emma Askren at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @emma_askren.

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About the Contributor
Emma Askren, Sports Editor
Emma Askren, alongside Damon Cook, is the fall 2023 sports editor for The Collegian. She began working at The Collegian during her first year in the fall of 2022, when she covered the swim and dive team as well as anything sports-related. She is currently a sophomore at Colorado State University, where she is majoring in journalism and media communication and double minoring in Spanish and sports management. During her first year, she joined the rowing team, began working as a reporter for The Collegian and working at the Student Recreation Center. Askren applied to CSU as a journalism major, knowing she wanted to combine her passion for sports and writing to create a fulfilling career. Upon realizing that Rocky Mountain Student Media was hiring for first-years, she jumped at the opportunity to become a writer for The Collegian. While working for the sports desk, Askren has had the opportunity to write about hockey, logging, whitewater rafting and the importance of women in sports. As a woman in a male-dominated industry, she seeks to break the status quo and become a successful sports journalist following graduation. Following a year as a sports reporter, Askren became a co-editor for the sports desk alongside Cook. Together the duo seeks to create a new and improved sports desk that caters to all readers of The Collegian and beyond.

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