November 17, 2010

Men's Lacrosse Mustache Madness Achieves Hairraising Results

by Matt DaSilva | Lacrosse Magazine Online Staff

Over $5,000 has been raised by former Playboy centerfold Danelle Folta, captain of the Playboy X-Treme Team, in the second-annual Men's Lacrosse Mustache Madness event.

Men’s Lacrosse Mustache Madness, a fundraiser that started as a sophomoric experiment among college buddies, has evolved into a full-blown, nationwide phenomenon in the lacrosse community in just its second year.

Inspired by former University of Virginia All-American defenseman Ken Clausen’s famous “fingerstache” tattoo -- the permanent marking of a handlebar mustache on the inside of his left index finger -- the event calls on lacrosse teams to sport mustaches and generate funds donated to cancer research.

When UVA trainer Rebecca Vozzo's dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer, she raised $16,000 in one game while at Quinnipiac, the genesis of Mustache Madness. Clausen and fellow defenseman Todd Faiella teamed up with Vozzo in 2009. Seventeen teams participated, raising over $31,000.

Clausen, now living in Denver and playing professionally for the Outlaws (MLL) and Mammoth (NLL), has continued to expand this national event. Midway through November, it has already surpassed last year's numbers. Over 70 teams have registered, Clausen said, with over $41,000 raised for this year’s target charity, the HEADstrong Foundation, which supports blood cancer research in honor of former Hofstra men’s lacrosse player Nick Colleluori, who died in November 2006.

“This year, having a little backbone and having the success we had last year really encouraged people to participate,” said Clausen, who will be a player spokesman for HEADStrong in 2011. “It takes on a life of its own. People have fun with it.”

Virginia led all teams with $6,602 raised as of Wednesday morning. Despite a tumultuous 2010 season marred by the murder of Virginia women’s lacrosse player Yeardley Love allegedly at the hands of their former teammate, George Huguely, the Cavaliers continue to bond behind player-founded fundraisers like this and a flag football tournament in honor of former teammate Will Barrow, who committed suicide two years ago.

“Everything we’ve been through last year and even the year before that, we’re an extremely tight-knit group of guys,” said Clausen, who credited Virginia head coach Dom Starsia. “It starts with Dom, someone who told us every single day we have a lot to be thankful for, who told us he wants us to be better people than lacrosse players. I hope and do believe that resonates with the guys on the team.”

The Playboy X-Treme Team -- an adventure racing squadron consisting of 22 former Playboy centerfolds -- ranks second in the fundraising race with $5,015. Almost all of those funds have been raised in support of Danelle Folta, named the “Coolest Woman in Sports” by Sports Illustrated for Women.

“When I heard about this event, I told all the girls about it and we all agreed we wanted to help,” Folta said on stashmadness.org. “We can’t grow mustaches, but we would if we could! Thanks for supporting our team.”

Sponsors such as Warrior, Inside Lacrosse and Oakley have signed on for the 2010 running of Mustache Madness, which is organized by the Sportsgrants Foundation. Quinnipiac won 20 pairs of Oakley sunglasses in a drawing for teams with at least five registered members. Single-day fundraising champs also get outfitted with shades. Other prizes include Apple iPads, autographed Playboy centerfolds, JetBlue gift cards and event t-shirts.

For his part, Clausen has been a feverish poster on Facebook. He has also individually called participants who have yet to raise the needle from zero.

“We’re trying to get that last push, to call people and get them fired up to see if they can contribute,” he said. “We have over 600 participants. About half of them haven’t done anything yet.”

Mustache Madness ends Nov. 30, but donations can still be made after the deadline -- even after the players have brought their razors out of retirement.


How It Works: Professional, collegiate and high school men's lacrosse teams register at www.stashmadness.org to create their own dedicated team fundraising page. Once created, each member can easily share their page with fans, friends, and family through Facebook, Twitter and email to have them donate money for the cause.

Who It Benefits: Funds raised benefit the HEADStrong Foundation, founded by lacrosse player Nick Colleluori, who died of Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma in 2006, and support its mission of raising awareness, supporting families and generating funds for cancer research.

When: Nov. 1 - Nov. 30

How You Can Help: Go to www.stashmadness.org and sponsor your favorite team.

The Goal: The team raising the most funds will win the coveted Mad Stache Trophy.


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