Blue flags for prostate cancer awareness

Football fans probably will not see a lot of yellow flags this week at high school football games.

Officials will still call penalties. It’s just that most, or all, will be using blue flags.

This is the sixth year that Washington high school football officials will use the blue flags to bring attention to Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

Which means it’s the sixth year that I will say I appreciate the effort, like the idea of bringing more attention to the campaign, but just wish they would find a different way to accomplish the goal.

There is a reason yellow flags are used. They are easy to see.

The blue flags, especially at night, are difficult to see.

In fact, a couple years ago at a game I was covering, the crew switched back to yellow flags after halftime.

It’s no fun for anyone to just complain about something without a solution. So here’s my solution: Wrap the blue flag around a glow stick! Or use a small strobe light. Maybe even a disco ball! How about glitter? Something to announce to the fans that a flag is on the field. Because with some fields, with some lighting, blue flags are not that easy to spot.

Anyway, here is the press release from the Washington Officials Association:


Renton, Wash. – For the sixth year, Washington high school football officials will raise the profile of Prostate Cancer Awareness Month by replacing traditional yellow penalty flags with blue flags during varsity games played on Sept. 26-28, 2013. The campaign is called “Coaches Against Cancer” and is sponsored by Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. This campaign was the recipient of the 2010 Communitas Award.

“In most situations, officials want to avoid attention during games, but for three days we are hoping to attract a little attention with every penalty that is called,” said Todd Stordahl, WOA Executive Director. “By switching to blue flags, it will at least make the fans notice that something is different. This is a great way for the officials to participate in an activity that will help bring awareness to something that has had an impact on many lives including some of those who are out on the field as officials.”

September is National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. According to The American Cancer Society’s most recent estimates for prostate cancer in the United States, about 238,590 new cases of prostate cancer, and about 29,720 deaths from prostate cancer will occur this year.

Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer found in American men, other than skin cancer. Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in men, behind lung cancer. One in every six males will get prostate cancer during his lifetime, and one in 36 will die of this disease. More than 2.5 million men in the United States who have had prostate cancer at some point are still alive today.

Men over the age of 40 should talk to their doctors about prostate cancer screening and lifestyle changes that can reduce their risk of getting the disease.

Fred Hutch has an online guide to healthy living for men that offers advice on diet and screening. It can be found at the following link:



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