Bellevue’s Action Athletics cheers for a cause

Breast Cancer Awareness month ended with the dawn of November, and the coaches at Bellevue’s Action Athletics are feeling relief – at least in their arms and tummies.

Instructors, students jump to fight breast cancer

Breast Cancer Awareness month ended with the dawn of November, and the coaches at Bellevue’s Action Athletics are feeling relief – at least in their arms and tummies.

All three competitive cheer instructors pledged to do 10 push ups or sit ups apiece for every pink article of clothing their students wore during October practices.

Humans can only handle so much. There had to be limits.

The rule was that each athlete could wear only 10 items, but that still left room for some of the larger classes to demand 3,000 reps.

No group had reached the maximum at the Reporter deadline, but it wasn’t from lack of trying.

The athletes dug deep in their closets and dresser drawers to find socks, wrist bands, tutus, stocking caps, anything with a rosy swatch.

Maddy Pearson, 14, is one of several cheerleaders who brought extra gear to help her teammates reach the limit at every practice.

“If someone doesn’t own a lot of pink, we’re here,” she said. “I fill up an extra bag.”

Coach Candy Tobin claimed she was doing at least 500 reps at most practices.

“They love to torture us,” she said.

There was more at stake for the athletes than seeing their coaches in agony. The team that wore the highest percentage of pink was entitled to a pizza-and-ice-cream party.

Action Athletics owner and coach Brian Antich pitched the competition to get his athletes thinking about breast cancer at an early age.

“It’s a fun-spirited event that’s raising awareness,” he said.

Action Athletics trains cheerleaders between the ages of 3 and 18.

Part of the club’s mission is to teach life skills, and Tobin suggests that raising awareness about breast cancer is in line with that work.

“The sooner these girls learn about this and learn to protect themselves the better,” she said. “It’s especially important for this age group since they’re our future.

“Our hope is that they hear about this here and bring it home to have conversations with a mom or grandma.”

Katherine Norris, 14, already has been through those talks. She lost her aunt to breast cancer this year.

“It really made me want to raise awareness about how serious this is,” Norris said. “A lot of the younger people didn’t realize how serious it is, and they’ve been asking us older teammates questions about it.”

Antich claims Norris was enthusiastic about the competition from its start. She became one of the primary motivators at practice, getting decked out from head to toe with pink for every session.

“I’m pretty spirited person in general,” Norris said.

Antich supports other causes, like juvenile diabetes research. He has participated in Nordstrom’s Beat the Bridge event, which benefits the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Active Athletics has trained at least one juvenile diabetic every year, according to Antich.

Claire Zyfers, a 9-year-old from Newcastle, is one of those athletes. She says most of her teammates and several cheerleaders from older groups joined her at the Beat the Bridge event in May.

“I think it was awesome that they did that,” she said. “They’re really nice and supportive here.”

Joshua Adam Hicks can be reached at jhicks@bellevuenews.us or 425-453-4290.

Instructors, students jump to fight breast cancer

Breast Cancer Awareness month ended with the dawn of November, and the coaches at Bellevue’s Action Athletics are feeling relief – at least in their arms and tummies.

All three competitive cheer instructors pledged to do 10 push ups or sit ups apiece for every pink article of clothing their students wore during October practices.

Humans can only handle so much. There had to be limits.

The rule was that each athlete could wear only 10 items, but that still left room for some of the larger classes to demand 3,000 reps.

No group had reached the maximum at the Reporter deadline, but it wasn’t from lack of trying.

The athletes dug deep in their closets and dresser drawers to find socks, wrist bands, tutus, stocking caps, anything with a rosy swatch.

Maddy Pearson, 14, is one of several cheerleaders who brought extra gear to help her teammates reach the limit at every practice.

“If someone doesn’t own a lot of pink, we’re here,” she said. “I fill up an extra bag.”

Coach Candy Tobin claimed she was doing at least 500 reps at most practices.

“They love to torture us,” she said.

There was more at stake for the athletes than seeing their coaches in agony. The team that wore the highest percentage of pink was entitled to a pizza-and-ice-cream party.

Action Athletics owner and coach Brian Antich pitched the competition to get his athletes thinking about breast cancer at an early age.

“It’s a fun-spirited event that’s raising awareness,” he said.

Action Athletics trains cheerleaders between the ages of 3 and 18.

Part of the club’s mission is to teach life skills, and Tobin suggests that raising awareness about breast cancer is in line with that work.

“The sooner these girls learn about this and learn to protect themselves the better,” she said. “It’s especially important for this age group since they’re our future.

“Our hope is that they hear about this here and bring it home to have conversations with a mom or grandma.”

Katherine Norris, 14, already has been through those talks. She lost her aunt to breast cancer this year.

“It really made me want to raise awareness about how serious this is,” Norris said. “A lot of the younger people didn’t realize how serious it is, and they’ve been asking us older teammates questions about it.”

Antich claims Norris was enthusiastic about the competition from its start. She became one of the primary motivators at practice, getting decked out from head to toe with pink for every session.

“I’m pretty spirited person in general,” Norris said.

Antich supports other causes, like juvenile diabetes research. He has participated in Nordstrom’s Beat the Bridge event, which benefits the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Active Athletics has trained at least one juvenile diabetic every year, according to Antich.

Claire Zyfers, a 9-year-old from Newcastle, is one of those athletes. She says most of her teammates and several cheerleaders from older groups joined her at the Beat the Bridge event in May.

“I think it was awesome that they did that,” she said. “They’re really nice and supportive here.”