COLUMBIA — Over her jacket, Stephens head softball coach Killian Kramer wore a hot pink bra, hand-decorated with gold stars and silver sequins.
She wasn't the only one wearing her undergarments over her clothes at practice Wednesday morning.
The entire Stephens softball team came to practice wearing bras they had decorated in support of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, sporting them over their jackets and T-shirts. Some tied ribbons, added sequins, glitter or feathers or wrote messages on the bras.
Junior outfielder Emily Wagner-Davis, who transferred to Stephens this year from Hesston College in Kansas, decorated her bra in honor of her grandmother who won her battle against breast cancer 11 years ago.
"The bras symbolize fighting for things you want and believe in," Wagner-Davis said.
Her teammate, Katlyn Lee was named the "winner" of the dress-up event. Her sports bra was decorated with ruffles and pink flowers and had the message "feel for lumps" written on the back.
Lee said that when she began decorating her bra for practice, the theme didn't mean much to her. However, as she did research and realized the breadth of the disease, it grew in importance.
"Everyone needs to check and be aware," Lee said.
The themed practice was not the first of its kind.
While the softball season doesn't start for the Stars until late February, the team started holding practices at the beginning of September. Since then, the team has had dress-up days to boost motivation and create a bit of friendly competition. Other themes have been crazy sock day, headband day and medieval Monday.
Kramer, who just began her coaching career at Stephens this season, said she was excited by her players' participation. As a former player at Louisiana State University, where she was a catcher for the Tigers during the 2005-08 seasons, she is used to a different playing tempo and attitude towards the athletics program.
"My job was softball," Kramer said in reference to her time at LSU. "I have so much respect for these girls (at Stephens). They deserve to be given credit for all the hard work they do, especially in the classroom. They're really going places."
Kramer was impressed with how much focus Stephens placed on student athletes' work in the classroom. She said she was glad that the small environment allowed athletes to express themselves in ways such as these dress-up practices.
The bras made by the players and worn during practice were collected and will be hung on a clothesline in Stephens' student center, known as "The Pit," throughout the month.