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Lady Raiders annual pink game about more than basketball

Two women share their stories about breast cancer, Lady Raiders

Posted: February 5, 2013 - 9:44pm  |  Updated: February 6, 2013 - 1:29am
Texas Tech will be wearing special Under Armour pink uniforms on Wednesday when the Lady Raiders face West Virginia. (FILE)  Miranda Grubbs
Miranda Grubbs
Texas Tech will be wearing special Under Armour pink uniforms on Wednesday when the Lady Raiders face West Virginia. (FILE)
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For two hours Wednesday, Sidney Field won’t have to deal with the distractions outside United Spirit Arena.

It will just be Field, her husband and her beloved Lady Raiders when Texas Tech takes on West Virginia at 7 p.m.

Field, 75, hasn’t missed a home game in more than 20 years — an applause-worthy feat.

Even more impressive: She’s made it to every game despite two major surgeries in her bout with cancer in the past five years, and she’s determined to maintain her Cal Ripken-like streak.

“This is my philosophy,” Field said, “I have cancer, but cancer does not have me.”

Field had a lumpectomy in October 2007 and underwent radiation treatment. All was well for five years, but she discovered a problem late in 2012.

On. Dec. 10, Field underwent a double mastectomy. Six days later she was in United Spirit Arena to watch Texas Tech trounce Northern Colorado.

It’s just business as usual for Field.

“It’s just one of those things where you don’t think about it, but you show up,” said Field, who has lived in Lubbock for the past 54 years. “I find it — you may think this strange — but I find it very relaxing because I don’t worry about what’s going on outside the arena.”

Sidney and her husband Ken have been going to Tech basketball games — men and women — for the better part of the past three decades.

While Ken has missed a couple of games because of work, Sidney hasn’t thought of skipping out.

Sidney hasn’t let her cancer affect her desire to keep up her support of Tech basketball.

“Its understood that we go,” Ken Field said with a laugh. “It’s as simple as that.”

The couple have always been basketball fans, but Sidney developed a bigger bond with the team when the Lady Raiders were an up-and-coming program.

In the mid 1980s, when Sidney’s mother was going through a fight with cancer that would eventually claim her life, Sidney found solace in Lubbock Municipal Coliseum.

“This was during basketball season,” Sidney Field said about her mother’s illness, “and I could go in there and not worry for a couple of hours. Everyone needs an outlet.”

Field’s story of fighting breast cancer is one that many know too well. Nationwide, more than 200,000 women were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009, the latest year information was available, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control.

Much of the crowd of Tech’s bout with the Mountaineers will know someone effected by breast cancer.

Wednesday’s game is the annual pink game, where money will be raised for the Kay Yow Cancer fund.

“It’s really special,” Tech guard Casey Morris said. “We just love to play in front of all these people and represent all the people that have been effected by the sickness, and we want to make sure that we win for them and do all we can to make sure that they know we’re appreciative and we stand by them each day that they try to make it through and we just love what it represents.”

The Play4Kay Pink Game isn’t the only way the Lady Raiders raise money for the cause.

Lubbock resident Tomi Calmes, 62, was diagnosed with breast cancer July 26th last year.

Through her work with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the Lady Raiders formed a bond with Calmes and ran for her in October during the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. More than $580,000 was raised by 10,250 participants, according to the race’s website.

Calmes said she was humbled by the Lady Raiders’ participation in the race, and she will be on hand Wednesday to cheer on Tech against West Virginia.

“I’m not a crybaby at all and I just, I wouldn’t even call it crying, I was weeping,” Calmes said when she found out about the Lady Raiders’ involvement in October. “I was so touched, so humbled that they would so something like that for me. I know they were there for me, but I know they supported all those women out there.

“I was encouraged by that, their smiles, their hugs — they whispered in my ear that I’m going to be OK.”

Chemotherapy has kept Calmes away for some games, but she is happy to say she will end her radiation treatment Feb. 15.

Both Field and Calmes expressed deep gratitude for the awareness raised for breast cancer in the recent years and the treatment they have gotten in the Hub City.

Calmes, who the Lady Raiders affectionately call “Ms. Tomi,” said she may cry a little during Wednesday’s game when she is surrounded by women going through her same battle, but she knows that she, and everyone afflicted by breast cancer, needs to stay positive.

“You have to stay positive in this race,” Calmes said, “and it’s a race from the time you are diagnosed to the time they call you cancer free, and I’m determined to run my race,

“I will run my race.”

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thomas.magelssen

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george.watson

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Women’s college basketball

Who: Texas Tech vs. West Virginia

When: 7 p.m. Wednesday

Where: United Spirit Arena

Records: Tech 16-6, 6-4 in Big 12 play; WVU 13-8, 5-5

Last meeting: Tech 77, WVU 73 OT on Jan. 22 in Morgantown, W.Va.

Last time out: Iowa State 67, Tech 52; WVU 82, Oklahoma 63

TV: Fox College Sports

Radio: KLZQ-FM 97.3

Info: Fans are encouraged to wear pink to the game. Fans in pink can purchase tickets for $5 at the gate.

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