By David Fong
TROY — Building football players will always be an important part of Matt Burgbacher’s job.
It will never take precedence, however, over turning boys into men.
“We want our kids to be able to support other things in this community,” Burgbacher said. “Any time we have an opportunity to give back to this community, we will, because so many people in this community support this team.
“I think sometimes in this society, we take, we take and we take. Any time we can give back is important not just for our team, but for all the kids at Troy High School. We want our kids to give back to their communities.”
Which is why the Troy football coach didn’t hesitate to have his team participate in the “Pink Out” scheduled for this Friday’s game against Xenia at Troy Memorial Stadium.
Fans are asked to wear pink to Friday’s game in support of breast cancer awareness. Commemorative pink T-shirts currently are being sold in the Troy High School student commons this week during lunch hours and in the Troy Athletic Office during normal school hours.
The shirts are $10, with proceeds going to the Pink Ribbon Girls (www.pinkribbongirls.org), a local organization dedicated to fighting breast and other women’s reproductive cancers by providing individuals and families direct services, education and support.
All of Troy’s coaches will be wearing the pink T-shirts on the sidelines during the game, while the Trojan players will be wearing pink socks.
“The kids are excited,” Burgbacher said. “This is a great thing for them to be involved in, especially since it’s a local organization that benefits. We want our young men to be aware of things like this and to be aware of how they can help others.”
In addition to the “Pink Out,” Troy’s youth football players and cheerleaders will be honored before the game. That’s another cause important to Burgbacher.
“Our kids were once that age,” he said. “We want them to be people those little kids can look up to. We want our kids to be role models for those younger kids. A lot of our kids are ‘reading buddies’ at Concord Elementary School — eventually we’d like to expand that to more the elementary schools around Troy.
“They say a picture is worth a thousand words? I’ve seen pictures of the looks on some of those kids’ faces when a Troy football players comes in and reads with them. It’s an amazing thing. We want our players to be a major influence on the youth of Troy.”
Friday’s game will be just the second home game the Trojans have played all season — three of Troy’s first four games were played on the road. The one home game Troy did play was delayed two hours by lightning, which meant the Trojans may not have had a full “home field advantage,” as about half the fans in attendance left during the delay and did not return.
Burgbacher said he’s looking forward to getting in a “real home game” — weather permitting, of course.
“It’s supposed to be beautiful all week,” he said with a smile. “We’re excited to finally get in a home game. It’s been a rough stretch, playing three road games in the first four weeks — but we understand that it’s just the way the schedule worked out. A lot of times those schedules are made years in advance.
“We are looking at this as our true home opener. The kids are excited. We want to get out there and show our fans what we are capable of doing. Plus we’ve got the ‘Pink Out’ and the youth football and cheerleader night activities — it’s going to be a fun night for everyone.”
Contact David Fong at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @thefong