FERNDALE -- Two football-loving Ferndale fourth graders now know it takes real boys to play the game in pink.
In fact, Kobe Sandstrom and Carson Peters inspired their Junior Pee-Wee coach, Hank Schwarz, to ask the entire Eagles team, which plays in the Boys & Girls Club league, to wear pink socks and pink wristbands.
"I thought that it would be cool to support breast cancer awareness," said Peters, a Skyline Elementary student who will be 10 years old on Nov. 1. "I have seen NFL and college players in pink on television."
Sandstrom, a 10-year-old Central Elementary student, figures if it's good enough for the big guys, it's good enough for him.
"My feeling is exactly the same as Carson," he said. "My grandmother and my aunt were both diagnosed with breast cancer. They have survived. I love doing this for them."
Peters said he likewise has a grandmother and aunt who had to cope with cancer and is honoring them.
Sandstrom's mom, Erika, is touched by her son's maturity.
"I heard Hank telling the kids and parents about wearing pink," she said. "I thought it was a great way to honor the moms who do so much and drive these kids everywhere."
Schwarz made sure all of his 22 players and their parents were in agreement.
"I told them that we would not wear pink if even one player or one parent objected," said Schwarz, a 49--year-old businessman who has coached junior football for nine years and Cal Ripken League baseball for 11 seasons.
"Nobody objected. I also checked with our sponsor, Grandview Golf Course. This isn't a political thing. I knew October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This is just all about that."
Thus, the Eagles have played their past three games, since Oct. 6, with pink socks and pink wristbands donated by Mount Baker Imaging/Northwest Radiologists.
"My grandmother told me it's a good thing I'm doing, wearing pink," said Peters.
"We'll be doing it again next season," said Sandstrom, whose team went 5-3 last year and split its first six games this fall. Like Peters, Sandstrom has played football since he was 6 and loves playing fullback and linebacker while dreaming of playing for the Ferndale Golden Eagles.
These two guys aren't softies, either. When asked what they like best about football, Sandstrom replied, "I like to tackle people" and Peters answered, "Because I like to hit people."
In fact, Peters, a quarterback and tailback, said he gets a bigger kick out of stopping a touchdown than he does producing a score.
The boys say nobody has taunted them for wearing pink.
"I'm only aware of one other team, the Bellingham Bulldogs, of the 28 in the Junior and Senior Pee-Wees wearing pink," said Schwarz, who would like to see other teams pick up on support for pink and what it signifies.
If anyone does say anything, Peters said he has the perfect retort: "This is how you support breast cancer awareness."
Schwarz, a Western Washington University graduate, announces women's basketball games for the Vikings. He was the starting varsity catcher for two baseball seasons at Issaquah High after moving from Texas, where he played football.
"Baseball is my first love," said Schwarz, who umpired in pro baseball for 10 years and had what he called "a cup of coffee" in the major leagues when he called several games in 1995.
"I'm more of a teacher than a coach. I really enjoy teaching 8, 9, 10-year-olds the love of the game," he said. "This is sports on its purest level."
And he figures his band of enthusiastic football players may not look all that pretty in pink, but they're making a most handsome statement.