There’s No Crying In Football”¦

Melissa, Team Blondes

Melissa, Team Blondes

“¦And that’s exactly why I play. Playing for the Blondes Vs. Brunettes for the Alzheimer’s Association is my fundraiser of choice, though I have been involved in numerous events with the Association. Normally you can find me being an advocate on the state or federal level (and crying while trying to hide it), in a support group (and crying normally) or at the Walk to End Alzheimer’s (and straight-up ugly crying). Raising funds playing flag football seemed odd to me at first, but being that I love football, being active and meeting new people, I was all for it.

And I couldn’t have made a better decision. Joining these ladies was empowering. During one of our first practices, we were asked to share stories about our experience with the disease. Having done this to just about anyone who would listen in the past few years (yes, I am that girl who will interrupt you if I hear the word “˜memory’ to tell you facts and figures about Alzheimer’s disease), I figured it was no big deal. And it wasn’t. As I explained that my father was symptomatic by 50, waited a few years for a formal diagnosis (Early Onset Alzheimer’s), subsequently lived another ten years, and that his disease could be familial (that means I have a 75% chance of inheriting it, folks), something odd happened, that has never happened before”¦

“¦I didn’t cry.

Whoa. I don’t know if it was the fact that we soon jumped up and had to run laps (gross, but necessary I suppose), or the setting of 30+ women my age, or the informal nature of the event, but this was literally the first time since my father passed in 2011 that I could tell my story without crying. I listened to others’ moving stories without crying. I listened to those who are dedicated and fundraising without being personally affected and didn’t feel judged. In short, we were, even in those first few practices, already a team. A team that was dedicated to tackling Alzheimer’s, but doing it in a fun, light-hearted way.

Melissa and family, Christmas 2010Since then, friendships have grown and are based on a deeper level than, “Yes, I too enjoy craft beer,” a hard thing to find in the heart of San Francisco. The girls keep it light. The male coaches (who donate their time as well, and are pretty easy on the eyes!) keep us real. The rivalry between blondes and brunettes keeps us improving our actual football skills (I know what a slant is, just sayin’). And the awful disease, our personal stories, and our vision for a cure in our generation keep us moving.

Join us on August 24 at Boxer Stadium, and see how we will tackle Alzheimer’s. Or maybe just show up to see if I will cry.

-Melissa Belgrave

Game Day is right around the corner! CLICK HERE to learn more, donate or get involved!

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1 Response

  1. Never thought I’d get to read about a flag football team that is helping to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s disease. Melissa – this was a great post and it moved me for quite a few reasons. I too have been personally affected by Alzheimer’s and I also have been a lifelong football fan (I have ran a few slant patterns in my day too!). What’s more, I will be moving to San Francisco quite soon so hopefully I’ll get a chance to see your team in action some day. Are you guys still playing during the spring?

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