United for Movember Madness

Jon Kondrath

The moustache has become a symbol just like the pink ribbon for breast cancer awareness.

Hey, readers!

I’m sure you’ve been thinking, “where’s Emily’s latest blog? I haven’t seen one since the beginning of November.” More realistically, you’re probably thinking, “where has the time gone, is it really Thanksgiving?”

I must admit time has flown, but I may have been too busy to notice. There’s been a certain special project I’ve been working on all month that I want to share with you. It’s something called Movember Madness Games!

Movember is a global campaign where men from all around the world grow mustaches to raise awareness and funds for prostate and testicular cancer. The foundation originated in Australia when a group of men decided they wanted to bring back the mustache. The first year, they didn’t raise money for a cause, but they realized growing a mustache created many new conversations. The next year, the Movember foundation was formed and they used the power of the mustache to raise money and awareness for prostate cancer research.

According to Movember’s latest calculations, one mustache can create as many as 2,413 conversations through face-to-face encounters, Facebook posts, e-mails, phone calls and on Twitter. The mustache is becoming a symbol, just like the pink breast cancer awareness ribbon.

USC athletic teams got involved in Movember three years ago. At first, efforts were splintered among individual teams as captains took it upon themselves to create a Movember webpage and rally their teammates to support the cause. This year, as the co-president of our USC Trojan Athletic Senate, I wanted to change things up and unite our athletic and USC communities. After attending the Pac-12 Student-Athlete Advisory Council conference, the idea of a USC Movember Madness basketball game was born.

Behind the support of the athletic administration, USC student-athletes used the Movember Madness Game in our campaign to change the face of men’s health. The event would not have been possible without the help of Senior Associate Athletic Director Donna Heinel, who graciously provided the funds for all the mustaches the Trojan Athletic Senate would need. StacheTats also helped make our mission possible by donating USC tattoo mustaches. This allowed us to provide more than 400 underprivileged kids with a Thanksgiving meal on Monday and a sweet (temporary) mustache tattoo.

We had two Movember Madness games. The first took place at halftime of a men’s basketball game on Nov. 21, and the second happened during a women’s basketball game on Nov. 25. The Trojan Athletic Senate handed out mustaches and made fun posters to raise Movember awareness.

Our USC marketing staff also helped us with a Movember promotional video that was shown on the video board to all the fans in attendance. The Movember Madness Games raised a lot of awareness and was even mentioned by Pac-12 Networks announcers Tammy Blackburn and Ann Schatz. The two broadcasters even went out and bought their own fuzzy mustaches to wear and gave us a shout-out during their broadcast. Totally cool!

At the Movember Madness basketball games, we had mustaches and a lot of fun, but this event didn’t come without challenges. I definitely took away some key lessons from trying to plan an event of this scale. It was a steep curve, but I learned about all the effort that goes largely un-thanked behind the scenes to coordinate some of our volleyball events. So, thank you, friends for all that you do.

As my Movember efforts come to a close, I urge you to let yours begin. You can get more information about Movember at www.Movember.com and can visit our USC Athletics page http://us.movember.com/mospace/network/view/id/32105 to help our USC teams change the face of men's health. Fight On!