Arvia: Choosing buzzcut over buzzkills
PHIL ARVIA firstname.lastname@example.org | (708) 633-5949 March 23, 2012 8:42PM
Annie Evans, Shepard soccer, at St. Baldrick's Day fundraiser. | Supplied photo
Updated: April 26, 2012 8:15AM
There’s been a bit of debate over the past few weeks in another part of the paper about this part of the paper.
Some folks think we spend too much time on high school sports. Some other folks like the kid stuff.
Me? I made a living for a lot of years covering the paid players. While I had a good time, “good” frequently had little to do with what I was writing about.
Now, the mission is different. And after a week like the last one, I’m not complaining.
In pro hockey, where fighting is an absolutely necessary part of the game (except in the Olympics, where the play is wonderful, and in the playoffs, where the fists fly about a fifth as often as in the regular season), a Monday game between the Rangers and the Devils featured three fights off the opening faceoff.
In the NFL, Sean Payton was suspended for a year for sanctioning, then denying knowledge of, a system that rewarded his players for injuring opponents.
Then there was the email I got from Bob McParland, the public information director for Community High School District 218, which includes Shepard. McParland shared news of the district’s St. Baldrick’s Day fundraiser — in which kids and faculty shave their heads in exchange for monetary pledges — and its impressive $20,000-plus haul for cancer research.
The truth? Lots of folks do fundraisers these days, for many worthy causes. We can’t cover them all. I’d probably have passed this one up if not for the photos of one Annie Evans.
First, there’s a seated Evans, a stylist behind her using two hands to corral the Rapunzel starter kit sprouting from the Shepard senior’s head. Then there’s Evans laughing — and maybe freaking out a little — as her head’s remaining asymmetrical shrapnel awaits shearing. And last, Evans, buzzed to velour length, smiling weakly while holding a braided hunk of what had been growing out, by her estimation, since the fourth grade.
“It was crazy,” Evans said Thursday, recounting the Monday event. “The first time I walked off the stage, I didn’t want to touch (my head). I was scared.”
Not to oversell it, but think about doing what Evans did, at Evans’ age. Kids are pretty invested in their identities. And Evans, it seems, has an identity pretty clearly staked out.
She’s a four-year member of the varsity soccer team, a captain this year. She’d had those long, curly locks — which reached halfway down her back Monday morning — since last going short eight years earlier. She’s a member of the National Honor Society and the top 10 percent of her class. She’s going to Loras College on an academic scholarship, and will play soccer there.
“I guess walking around as the bald couple is kind of cool,” she said.
Oh, yeah, Evans’ boyfriend, Orlando Contreras, was another Baldrick’s participant. Cancer has taken a recent toll on his family, and has touched Evans’ family as well.
So, they were in it together — even if it’s a little easier for a boy to get a buzzcut, which Contreras has done before.
“Yeah, but never to a zero,” Evans said, noting the absence of a “rake” on the clippers used on Contreras. Evans’ stylist used a No. 1 clipper guard, leaving about an eighth of an inch of hair behind.
Ah, but she’s a senior, right? Looking for a change?
“Not really,” she said. “I did like my hair. I had nice hair.
“But if I have the ability to grow it back, why shouldn’t I do this for people who can’t?”
Well, the counsel of friends would be one reason.
“That was everyone — all my friends, my mom, didn’t want me to cut it off,” she said. “Then I told them why ... ”
The tide turned. The cons became contributors. Evans raised more than $1,000, and had a crowd of soccer teammates cheering her on.
Judging by the pictures, I said, she pulls it off.
“I hope I can,” she said. “People have told me it looks good. Some have told me it looks better short — which is kind of an insult, I think, but I’ll take it.”
She’ll take something else, too. There are cancer survivors in her family.
“They were all really proud of me,” she said. “That’s what I was going for.”