April 22, 2010
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The hair was pulled tightly down. It was quickly but precisely measured, and then the scissors went to work: snip, snip, snip.
The long ribbon of hair was then raised high, like some ancient warrior holding up a trophy, and the surrounding crowd whooped in celebration of the cut.
Really, it wasn't as primitive as it might sound.
The victims of the snips were there voluntarily and what they lost is headed toward Locks Of Love, a non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to kids suffering from long-term, medical hair loss.
One of the first victims of Thursday's snipping was Maria Bargas, a walk-up customer who wanted to support the cause and the event held by the University of New Mexico women's soccer team.
"I like it," Bargas said after rising up from the nifty scissors held by Traci Lynn of the Lord & Lynn Salon. "It's a lot different. Lighter. It's a little shorter than I thought it would be."
Said Lobo player Melanie Ward, while waiting her turn on the barber's chair: "There will be some nerves when they start cutting, but I'll get over it. I haven't cut my hair a lot since the eighth grade. I'll miss it, but it will grow fast and it's a very good cause."
The event was to be staged outdoors, just across from Popejoy Hall on the UNM campus. Then the rains hit and the Lobo women had to move the cutting inside Johnson Center.
The makeshift salon was still as crowded as Supercuts or Great Clips on a Saturday afternoon in the mall. And there might have been more hair cut away. The Lobos gathered up 383 inches of hair off 30 heads. Of the 30, 14 were Lobo women's soccer players including head coach Kit Vela assistant coach Shannon Cross and undergraduate assistant Krista Peterson.
The cutting began at 4 p.m. and ended at 9 p.m. With one of the two scheduled stylists unable to show up at the last minute, the Hook You Up Barbershop in UNM's Student Union Building gladly opened its doors to help move the event along.
"It's a great charity for us to be involved with," said Lobo soccer coach Kit Vela. "Some of these girls have done it since high school and we are adding our name to it here at UNM to try and promote it and get as much hair as possible."
Senior Liz Lambert spearheaded the event for the Lobo soccer team.
"I've cut my hair for Locks of Love previously," said Lambert. "My sisters and my mom have, too, so I have some passion for the cause. It's just a great thing to do for kids who don't have hair. It's such a confidence thing for little girls."
Lambert was one of several Lobo women soccer players who sat down for the cut and the giving. "It's always a little sad to see that much hair go so quickly," she said. "But my only nerves are hoping I can pull off the short hair thing; hoping it looks good."
Said Rachel Fields: "This is my first time doing this. I've been growing my hair out since we decided to do this. My hair hasn't been this long since the third grade. I'll miss it and I might cry a little bit when I cut it off, but it will be nice to get it off for the summer. It won't be as heavy."
The Lobo women said their efforts - and loss of hair - are evenly divided between giving to the Locks Of Love charity and giving back to the local community.
"We care about the community we play in and play for," said Fields. "They support us all season and this is our chance to support them."