Sideline Cancer Loses in Second Round of The Tournament, but Fights On

By Patrick Vint on July 10, 2017 at 10:26 am
Team Sideline Cancer

Team Sideline Cancer (


We were supposed to bring back the podcast this week, with a couple of special guests: Former Hawkeye basketball players Jarryd Cole and Anthony Clemmons, who spent the last few weeks with Team Sideline Cancer in The Basketball Tournament.  Unfortunately, as these things sometimes go, we weren't able to connect; Anthony had a conflict come up, and then we had a time zone mix-up on Sunday morning, and before we could talk to Jarryd, Sideline Cancer went cold in the last few minutes and lost to the Kansas Jayhawk-heavy Team FOE.  

And so, at least for the moment, we haven't had a chance to talk to two guys who followed similar paths to Iowa City.  Both Anthony and Jarryd were out-of-state kids who had ample opportunity and incentive to transfer -- Anthony because he was stuck behind Mike Gessel for three seasons; Jarryd because he committed to Steve Alford but played for Todd Lickliter and, in his last year, Fran McCaffery -- but stayed the course and had great senior years.  We haven't relived the Temple Tip-In, or that season-ending win over Purdue in McCaffery's first season, arguably the most improbable Iowa sports win of my lifetime.  Hopefully we'll get that opportunity later.

But I didn't want the logistical hurdles of a podcast get in the way of discussing Team Sideline Cancer's purpose, because it's worth talking about.  The Basketball Tournament's premise is pretty simple: A two million dollar prize, winning team takes all.  There are convoluted rules about how that is split up by the winning team, but Team Sideline Cancer pledged to donate $700,000 of their winning total to the Greg & Cathy Griffith Family Foundation, which is dedicated to finding a cure for pancreatic cancer.

Obviously, cancer is bad, but pancreatic cancer is a particularly terrible form of that badness.  It's very difficult to detect early -- its warning signs are basically nonexistent until it's too late -- and it spreads rapidly once those signs are visible.  Survival rates are low, with only 25 percent of those diagnosed living one year past diagnosis and five percent living five years.  It's awful.  I know it's awful because my grandmother died of it.  She noticed some pain in her back and was diagnosed in mid-December, she was barely able to move by Christmas, and she died on February 1.  And I have since learned that her timeline is in no way uncommon.

We hit you guys up for donations to the UI Children's Hospital every fall, and we probably ask too much from you even then.  This is a sports blog, not a telethon.  But I'm asking today that you hit up the Griffith Family Foundation site and take a look around.  And if you find it in your heart to give them some of your hard-earned money, I'm sure it will be appreciated by them and the thousands of people who will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this year.

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