A color change, a different game: Tonight’s rivalry game take a new meaning


With permission from Covington Catholic High School

TB Strong T-Shirts are being sold in support of Thomas Burns, a CCH student.

A color change, a different game. Though it may seem like the typical rivalry between Highlands and Covington Catholic, this game means a little more.  Thomas Burns, a senior at Covington Catholic High School, has been diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma. Ewing Sarcoma most often occurs in the bones. Highlands and Covington Catholic are coming together to support Burns tonight at Holmes High School. 

Kevin Listerman, HHS basketball coach, said this is bigger than a game.

“Cancer is a terrible disease and this game is more than just a game between two rivals. Both of the communities wanted to show Thomas that he is not alone in his fight. We are all here for him.” 

Tony Bacigalupo, athletic director at CCH, said there is a lot of pride going into this event.

“Watching both communities put such an event together is inspiring. To witness high school students organize, lead and embrace this event is fantastic. We are very appreciative and grateful of the Highlands community for their support.”

Burns graduated from St. Agnes grade school. He is a proud member of the lacrosse team and was state runner-up last spring. There is definitely a great level of interest in this game. Highlands and Covington Catholic are rivals on the field but supporting a great cause. 

Due to the overwhelming amount of support for Burns, the game was moved to Holmes High School to accommodate a bigger crowd. They are generously letting both teams play at the Evans Fieldhouse free of charge. 

For Simon Fieler, a junior student at CCH, the meaning is important. 

“The community wanted to do something special for Thomas and his family while they are going through this rough patch,” said Fieler.

Bacigalupo is optimistic to raise more money than they have already raised.“[We are] hopeful to raise $10,000. With that, 50% of the proceeds will be donated to the Cancer and Blood Disease Institute at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. The other 50% will go towards Thomas’s ongoing expenses,” said Bacigalupo.

They have already raised over $3,500 for the T-shirt sales.

 The “Burns Strong shirt” will grant attendees free admission into the game. The teams are asking for a minimum donation of $5 for anyone who did not purchase a shirt. (No digital sales or passes for this game). 

Bracelets will be available for purchase at the game. The JV game is at 6:00 and the Varsity game will be at 7:30. The freshman game is rescheduled for the following day, January 18, 2023. 

Bacigalupo said, We are very grateful to Highlands and Holmes for their support of Thomas Burns and this event. In addition, we are very proud of our Covington Catholic students who have organized this event in support of their brother Thomas. This is another great example of our wonderful communities coming together for a cause bigger than a game.”