COLUMBIA — Madison Jones stood beside her teammates with a bouquet of pink flowers in her hands. After her name was announced as the last of the non-starters, she ran off the court and up the bleacher stairs placing the bouquet in the hands of her mother, Sara.
Monday night was the annual Pink Out volleyball game at Rock Bridge High School — a rivalry game between the Bruins and visiting Hickman. Pink could be seen all over the gymnasium: The players’ T-shirts, socks, ribbons and even the ball were pink. Many of the fans wore pink clothing as well.
The Bruins defeated the Kewpies 25-17, 25-22 after an exciting second game that featured numerous tying moments. It was clear, however, that the real opponent of the night was breast cancer.
As Sara Jones, a survivor of breast cancer, received the flowers, she smiled at her daughter and pulled a card out of the bouquet. “I love you mom. Love, Madi” was written inside.
It was a subtle reminder of what the meaning of all the pink really was, and an honor to her mother in a way that didn’t make her uncomfortable. Sara Jones, 47, said she wished not to have her name announced at the game.
"I’m very private," Sara Jones said. "I’m not an attention-seeking sort of person."
Madison Jones, normally a member of the Bruins' junior varsity squad, then returned to the court where she joined the other players. She was given the opportunity to dress out with the varsity team in honor of her mother.
Sara Jones was diagnosed seven months ago. The cancer was detected at her yearly mammogram and came as a shock because there isn't a history of the disease in her family.
"That was a very tough point for my family," Madison Jones said. "All of my teammates were my friends before volleyball so everyone knew the situation and helped out with my family bringing in meals and stuff like that.
"Everyone was just really supportive and had my back."
Since the diagnosis, Sara Jones has undergone surgery and radiation. She is currently taking medication to remain healthy.
Madison Jones said she appreciates the awareness spread by the Pink Out game that Rock Bridge holds not only for volleyball, but for numerous other sports as well.
"It feels great," Madison Jones said after the match. "To have everyone's support is really helpful."