Why Georgia Bulldogs Fans Ditched Black And Red To #WearPinkForWendy

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On Sept. 14, Georgia Bulldogs fans decked out in pink in honor of the late Wendy Anderson. (Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
On Sept. 14, Georgia Bulldogs fans wore pink in honor of the late Wendy Anderson. (Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Earlier this week, a grocery store in Georgia removed all the Irish Spring soap from its shelves ahead of this weekend’s University of Georgia-Notre Dame game. Silly? Yes. Petty? You bet. But that’s college football.

Or at least it usually is. Things were a bit different last Saturday, when UGA hosted Arkansas State.

The game marked Arkansas State head coach Blake Anderson’s second game back since his wife, Wendy, died of breast cancer on Aug. 19.

And when Coach Anderson emerged from the visitors' locker room for the game, he didn't see a crowd full of Georgia Bulldogs black and red.

University of Georgia alum Dwight Standridge was there.

"The way I try to live and approach each day is: you do what's right, not what is easy," Standridge says. "And what would have been easy last Saturday was for 93,000 people to show up in red and black. But what was right on Saturday is what happened."

KG: In some ways, the story of what happened at last Saturday's game begins — at least for you — during your freshman year at UGA. So tell me about your mom.

DS: Well, you started out with a good one. Me and my mom were really close. She battled ovarian cancer for seven years, took a lot of chemo. It went into remission for about four years. And then, when it came back, I was a freshman at UGA. And she passed away the summer after my freshman year.

KG: So you got involved with an organization called, Bulldogs Battling Breast Cancer. Tell me a bit about that. 

DS: Bulldogs Battling Breast Cancer was founded by Jay and Teresa Abbott. She had a son, Chris, that played at UGA. We raise money for St. Mary's hospital here in Athens. My mom was diagnosed at St. Mary's. They treated her very well.

When I went to the first Bulldogs Battling Breast Cancer Golf Tournament that I participated in, that's when I found out that they donated their money locally here to St. Mary's. And after the tournament, I went up to Jay and Teresa and said, "I want to get involved in this."

"My mom and Wendy Anderson probably had their arms wrapped around each other in heaven ... smiling on what was going on."

Dwight Standridge

KG: So tell me how the idea first came about for "Wear Pink For Wendy"?

DS: Tuesday morning, early, I saw the image that was posted by Graham Coffey with Dawg Sports that had the Wear Pink For Wendy hashtag.

Graham is — I think his thing is — every Monday or Tuesday, he puts out an article on why Georgia should hate this week's opponent. And in last week's article about Arkansas State, he basically said, "I can't find a reason to hate Arkansas State. How can you hate or wish bad intentions on a team whose coach just lost his wife to breast cancer?"

I basically stole the image and rebroadcast it under our Twitter account. And I think the words I used were, "Dawg Nation, let's get involved. This is more than a football game." A few hours later, Blake Anderson responded to it simply with the words, "Beyond grateful." And it went viral.

KG: Set the scene for me when you arrived at Saturday's game. What were you wearing, and what did you see when you looked into the stands?

DS: I had on black shorts and one of our very bright pink Bulldogs Battling Breast Cancer Golf Tournament T-shirts, because that was the brightest pink in my closet. Stadium holds 92,746. I think probably 35,000 people joined the #WearPinkForWendy movement, and there was a lot more than that that had pink earrings, pink ribbon, pink necklaces, stuff like that.

KG: And when you looked out at all that pink, how did that make you feel?

DS: It makes me feel great. You know, I said I'd do this to honor my mom. And my mom and Wendy Anderson probably had their arms wrapped around each other in heaven, looking down and smiling on what was going on. The Bulldog fan base is a huge family, and the love there runs deep. And when they're challenged with something like this, they really have a tendency to go above and beyond.

KG: After the game, Coach Anderson spoke to reporters.

This is one of the classiest moves I've ever seen. It's hard to truly prepare for something like that. So I would say "Thank you."

KG: What do you make of that?

DS: Oh, it made me tear up. No doubt.

KG: One Arkansas State player said he'd be a Georgia fan for life. Did last Saturday change how you feel about Arkansas State?

DS: Absolutely. "Wolves up." That's their motto, and I'll be looking at their results and keeping an eye on news out of Arkansas State going forward.

Dwight Standridge and Bulldogs Battling Breast Cancer are planning another “Pink Out” for Breast Cancer Awareness Month on Oct. 19. Bulldogs Battling Breast Cancer raised a little over $10,000 when they hosted a pink out event last October. They’re aiming for $20,000 this year.

This segment aired on September 21, 2019.


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Karen Given Executive Producer/Interim Host, Only A Game
Karen is the executive producer for WBUR's Only A Game.



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