‘Nets for Nets’ more than the score

By Nick Pitts
January 29, 2009

A lay-up finds it’s way into the hoop and through the net, generally good for two points. On Thursday, Jan. 22, however, the swooshing sound meant so much more.

For each Cavalier basket scored, Catholic Relief Service Ambassadors pledged to donate a Malaria net to West Africa as part of Nets for Nets.

“With every basket scored by the Cabrini team, I was visualizing a child receiving the gift of life and protection from malaria,” Arlene Flaherty, CRS justice and peace partnership liaison, said. “Cabrini not only ‘educates for the heart’ but also ‘plays with a global heart.’ CRS is proud to be partners in global solidarity with Cabrini.”

Malaria is the leading cause of illness and death in The Gambia, an area of West Africa suffering under extreme poverty. The bed nets are the cheapest and most effective way of fighting Malaria. One bed net can last a family up to four years.

“Research has found that every 30 seconds in Africa, a child dies of Malaria,” Brittany Mitchell, CRS migration ambassador and senior English and communication major, said. “I really wanted to bring awareness to such a devastating statistic.”

The idea came to Mitchell in August, during a meeting with the Catholic Relief Services in Radnor, Pa. Arlene Flaherty and Maureen McCullough, CRS Northeast regional director, were discussing the possibility and Mitchell was thrilled to bring this event to Cabrini.

“It was really a team effort, between all of the CRS community, the sponsors and the athletics department. The entire college was really supportive,” Mitchell said.

“This was really a student generated event and that’s what makes us feel thrilled that the spirit of compassion and social justice is not just something that comes from the faculty and the staff, it is lead by the students,” Director of International Partnerships Dr. Mary Laver, said. “Nets for Nets builds on our partnership with CRS and it allows Cabrini’s staff, faculty and students to make a difference along side with our partners.”

A double-header was the stage for the fundraiser as both teams played Immaculata University at the Nerney Field House. Both the men’s and women’s teams were victorious, with the lady Cavs winning 70-51 and the men’s 79-66.

Eighty baskets were scored in all, meaning that 80 nets would be donated at a cost of $560, but since $700 was raised through ticket sales and donations, the ambassadors were able to pledge 100 malaria nets.

The nets cost $7 a piece and were purchased through Catholic Relief Services.

“It was great to be able to do what we love, yet help others out at the same time,” Brittany Mcleod, senior forward, said. “It was great to be a part of a good cause.”

With an all around combined effort from starters and bench players, Cabrini was able to cruise out to a commanding lead and hold their ground.

The team shot at 43.1 percent and leading the way was junior Alyssa Brady who earned 14 points overall. Senior Casey Kyler finished right behind Brady with eight points.

With the win, they remain a perfect 6-0 against Colonial Sports Athletic Conference opponents.

The men took the court shortly after the final buzzer and got right down to business, forcing Immaculata to commit 18 turnovers in the first half alone.

Junior Kevin Misevicius scored 21 points in the win in just 21 minutes played. Sophomore Glenn Washington recorded 14 points and sophomore Dom Farello earned his first double-double of the season with 12 points and 15 rebounds.

The win ended a two-game losing streak for the Cavs, who improved their record to 10-4 overall.

“Though Immaculata is usually a big game anyway, this definitely gave us much more to play for,” Misevicius, business major, said.

Though the mid-season wins were important for both teams, one could sense that the games both had much more significance than points in the standings.

Men’s Assistant Coach Saleem Brown saw the game as an important life lesson for his players.

“It was a great experience because it teaches our players to do something for somebody else,” Brown said. “We preach to our players not to be selfish, both on the court and in real life.”

“I told the players about the event a week before the game,” Jessica Zawrotny, senior psychology major and CRS ambassador-at-large, said. “Everyone was excited and willing to invite friends and family to come out and support the cause. They were also very interested in how the fundraiser came about.”

Zawrotny also noted that even non-Cabrini students and visitors were supportive and excited about the fundraiser.

“It was just so neat to see how many people were excited that weren’t even a part of the event, yet participated and wished us good luck,” Zawrotny said.

“You live the gospel message not only by doing it within your own community, but by sharing it with others,” Laver said.

When asked if the event was a success, Laver said that being able to buy 100 Malaria bed nets is quite a measure of success, but she also saw another positive.

“I think another measure of success is a little harder to pinpoint but equally important is that now there are a number of people on campus who may or may not have been aware of how preventable Malaria halfway around the world is and how much of an impact we can make on that,” Laver said. “That’s not something that we can tally up the same way we can tally up dollars or nets, or baskets, but to me I think that’s just as important and maybe more important because now there are members of this community who have seen and experienced what its like to be involved in a global solidarity issue and that is why we are here. That’s what education of the heart is all about.”

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Nick Pitts

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