The brunettes took Saturday's showdown 48-25 in a game that kicked off at noon at Skip Lee Field at St. John's School.
Every year, the two teams are divided based on the rivalry between the two groups of women, while redheads are free agents, permitted to play for the team of their choice.
Blondes vs. Brunettes was established by the Alzies, a young professionals group of the Alzheimer's Association Houston and Southeast Texas Chapter, to raise awareness and support of Alzheimer's disease in greater Houston. Together, Blondes vs. Brunettes raised more than $140,000 this year.
Proceeds from the game support Alzheimer's Association Houston and Southeast Texas Chapter care, support, advocacy, and research efforts. In Texas alone, there are more than 340,000 people living with Alzheimer's.
The first Blondes vs. Brunettes game was held in Washington D.C. in 2005. Since its inception, Blondes vs. Brunettes has expanded to games in Austin, Buffalo, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City and New York, raising more than $2 million total.
For more information about the Houston game or the organization, you can visit www.bvbhouston.org or call 713-314-1313.
Here are some personal stories from a few of the players:
- Walking into the nursing home was the most frightening and saddening thing I had ever done. Seeing people alone, wandering, searching for themselves, searching for an explanation of who they are, why they were there. It absolutely broke my heart. However, I had to go there to see my loving granddad.
My grandfather was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2002. At first it was just the little things, he would forget what he needed at his favorite store, WalMart, but gradually it turned worse. He got lost in the country when he went to visit the small farm in Kansas that he owned since the 1950s, he would think he was back in Burma, India, during WWII, and the saddest of all, he forgot his family.
My grandfather was the most gentle, loving, and genuine person I knew. I looked up to him, and looked forward to going to family farm during the summer. He once told me I made the best sandwich in the world when I was only 6 years old and had no clue what I was doing. These are the memories I cherish and adore. However, they are not the last memories I had of him. My last memory is going to visit him in the nursing home in 2007. There he was sitting alone, unbathed, hair all a mess, just staring into space, probably trying to make sense of it all. He did not trust anyone to let them touch him to comb his hair or help him shower. Many times he had to be medicated to get these things done. How sad is that?
I do not wish this disease upon anyone, and I truly hope there will be a cure or a treatment. I only remember the good things about my Grandad. His laugh, his ridiculous comb over, his boots, and the lawn mower he let me drive when I was 7 (that I eventually ran into his station wagon).
- When I was nine years old, I flew to Massachusettes with my father and brother to visit my grandmother. I was so excited to see her; she was my last living grandparent. She was smart and so very nice, but I noticed she was often confused and would forget who I was. I felt badly for her when she got confused during conversations and regarding daily activities such as pouring a cup of tea. She would get so upset when she was confused. But, worse, twice she didn't recognize her own son ? my father. It is imperative that we find a way to allow people like my grandmother to remember and to keep their dignity for all the days of their life.
- In Honor of my Grandmommy, Natalie O. Fox.
I am participating in the Blondes vs. Brunettes game for the second time in honor of my grandmother currently living with Alzheimer's. I spent more time with my grandparents than anyone I know growing up. My parents grew up down the street from each other, so when I was young my grandparents lived only about a block from one another. My Grandmommy, Natalie O. Fox, was not particularly fond of early mornings, so I would spend the early mornings with my paternal grandmother before heading over to Grandmommy and Papa's house. My grandfather had been in the Air Force, meaning that my Grandmommy stayed home (in whatever country home was at the time) with my mom and her two sisters. Early for Grandmommy was 10 A.M. She was my mom's best friend, emergency clinic, and the equivalent to our GOOGLE search engine. She and my grandfather owned volumes upon volumes of the Encyclopedia Brittanica, so while most children my age went to the local library to research for school, all I had to do was head over to Grandmommy and Papa's house. Later in life my Grandmommy would drive and get lost on streets she had been down millions of times, so it was clear that something was wrong. Alzheimer's robs you of your loved ones in a way that words cannot describe. She slowly went from a walking, talking encyclopedia, to a woman who could not remember the address she had lived at for 45+ years. Today she needs round-the-clock care, and fortunately we are lucky to have the means to take care of her in the way that she needs. I am playing this year and for many years in the future in honor of my Grandmommy, in hopes that with our efforts and fundraising we are able to cure this heart breaking condition.
- Over 9 years ago, I was notified by my parents that my Granny Jean (paternal grandmother) had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. I was at college at the time and truly did not understand what my parents meant telling me when they said, "she would be fine for years to come, they would just have to monitor her regularly to ensure she was still leading a healthy lifestyle." I do not think I will ever forget that conversation. Growing up in a small town I was raised only a few minutes away from my grandmother, I was a little shocked in how to handle the news; not because I did not know how to handle grief but purely because I was uneducated on the side effects of the disease. I had already lost my Papa Lee (paternal grandfather) when I was only an innocent child to pancreatic cancer, and the summer before my grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's my maternal grandmother died after a long fight with both breast and brain cancer. I knew cancer, but I did not know Alzheimer's.
Since I was raised in the same town that my Granny lived in, I have many memories from my childhood spent hanging out at Granny's waiting for mom or dad to pick up my crazy brothers and I to go about our busy schedules of dance and athletics. My Granny more often than not was the one dropping me off at dance practice to help out my parents since my first studio was in her neighborhood. My Granny raised three boys, so having a granddaughter was something that she considered very special and she wanted to share many of her life lessons with me as often as she could. Granny taught me how to sew, how to enjoy many varieties of fresh vegetables due to her love for gardening, the joy of fresh flowers, and I not only learned that I, like any good southern woman, love chicken fried steak, but I also learned how to make it.
Over the years, I have learned more about Alzheimer's and how it not only effects those who are diagnosed with the disease, but also the impact it can have on the caregivers. Since the original diagnosis we have slowly had to watch my grandmother loose her spark, her love for life and her recollection of those around her. The side effects have been gradual and not noticeable to everyone around her; however, our family misses the smell of fresh baked bread coming from her kitchen and a full table set with many delicious treats with her handmade linens on the sideboard. I am blessed to still have my Granny in my life, but she is the reason that this will be my third year to put on a jersey for the Brunette team to participate in the annual Blondes vs. Brunettes game to raise funds for Alzheimer's awareness and assist in finding a cure of this disease.
I play for my Granny Jean!