The high cost of playing games

Professional and college sports teams often use sponsors to pay for their uniforms and equipment, but in high school, the financial situation is different.

Cam High offers students a variety of competitive sports; however, they often come at a price. Some teams, low on money for equipment, tournaments, uniforms, coaching, and other sport requirements employ different methods to raise needed funds.

Some teams simply ask for more donations of either money or accessories– but more commonplace by far is fundraising.

Among the revenue-makers, a popular item is the team spirit-pack, which can be purchased by team members and includes pieces of uniforms, t-shirts, caps, small equipment bags, etc. “One of the least favorite things a coach has to do is fundraising.” said Mr. Mike Prewitt, varsity girls basketball coach. “Asking people for money is no fun; but, in order to run a program, it has to be done.”

Cheer leading at Cam High is a year long commitment that requires many different pieces of equipment. Cheerleaders need to raise $1,000 per person for all their materials. The equipment that isn’t purchased through fundraising or donations is paid by the athlete and their parents. “I think if I had to pay for it, it would be hard, and I’d have to get a job. And it would be hard to do cheer because cheer’s after school, so there’d be no time for the job,” said Jocelyn Lopez, sophomore and junior varsity cheerleader.

Cheer isn’t the only sport on campus to require individual equipment, tennis athletes have to own their own personal tennis shoes and rackets. The average price for a high-quality shoe is around $100. The soles of the shoes wear easily, according to Danielle Kalcic, junior and varsity tennis player, and they need to be replaced often. “Usually, if you are someone [that plays] more regularly, you will need two to three rackets, and good ones are usually $200 [each],” she said.

Volleyball, football, and wrestling offer spirit packs that cost $250, $400, and $300, respectively for athletes to support their own teams. These spirit packs include practice shirts, pants, and sweatshirts, and each sport can have specific, other sport-related accessories in their own version of spirit packs.

According to Mr. Rob Vandermay, girls volleyball coach, the cost to cover the aforementioned list is about $20,000, which is raised through fundraising, donations, etc.  “Nobody is required to buy [spirit packs], and nobody is required to pay any money, not a dime, to play sports […]” said Vandermay. Yet, various kinds of fundraisers (such as selling cookie dough, coupon cards, butter braids and more) do need the physical participation of athletes in order to support the entire team.

From the view of a parent, spirit packs seem to be a necessity. “There was a pretty strong expectation [that] you were gonna buy [the spirit pack],” said Mrs. Linda Braunschweiger, mother of sophomore wrestler Wade Braunschweiger. “[The price] was awfully high so it was hard. We pulled grandma and grandpa in and a few others.”

Even with the expenses the athlete does acquire experience from playing high school sport. “He loved being part of the team, so I was glad to do it […] As a parent, I want him to feel a part of the team,” said Braunschweiger. “I think most parents realize that [money] is a factor that we have to deal with, because the school can’t hold it and sports need to be underwritten.”