By: Lee Ramsey
It takes money to run a high school athletic program. That is a pretty well known fact. Football brings in the most money and supports itself along with other minor sports.
Schools get allocations from tax money through the central office of the county and other government sources.
All of this isn’t enough however. Sports programs can’t make ends meet on just normal revenue sources.
Besides, who wants to be a program that just makes ends meet? People say times are rough. That is true, but there is never any excuse for not having all the money needed. I know this from firsthand experience.
There is never any reason for a sports program to say they don’t have the money to fund whatever they need, especially in Seymour and Sevier County.
The very valuable resource that is so often overlooked is parent booster clubs.
You start with a handful of people I call ‘doers’. People, who organize, take action and get things done. They don’t just talk and then do nothing. These key people should have valuable contacts that have money and other resources.
A smart coach gets these key people together to start with then lets them run with the ball. After that all the coach has to do is tell them what he or she needs and they provide it.
This is how a program becomes above average as far as facilities and equipment.
I want to give you an example of this. A few years ago, I was president of the Seymour Little League Football Program. We practiced at Bower Field and played games at John Tarleton Field in West Knoxville. The league is still doing well to this day.
When I took over me and some other parents had formed a board made up of 5 people. We were the ‘doers’. Actually, I was the President and everyone else did most of the real work.
We decided that we weren’t going to tolerate what had gone on in the past.
The team’s helmets were unsafe and were different colors. The uniforms were unmatched, cheap and very ugly. The numbers were spray painted on the jerseys. We were laughed at by other teams at games.
When I saw that happen, I vowed to never let it happen again. The kids were between the ages of seven and 11. We decided to outfit the older players first. We raised the existing fee from $25 to $75. If anyone couldn’t afford this, the league would cover it. That was very rare.
We then had fundraiser bowl games on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. I invited programs with money and they weren’t afraid to spend it. That’s just common sense.
That small handful of ‘doers’ organized all the other parents to work shifts. By the end of the year we were shocked at how much money we raised, over $20,000. We had enough to outfit every player in the same top quality uniform and helmet the high school wore – all in just one season.
I don’t ever want to hear any coach say they don’t have the money for anything. If they do they really don’t know how to run an organization.
The resource for unlimited money is there. It’s called parents of athletes who are ‘doers’ and other parents who will follow and work.
You may call it a booster club or whatever you want. I call it a lot of money and an unlimited resource. ‘Ask and ye shall receive’.
Lee Ramsey is a free lance writer and contributor to the Seymour Herald. He has lived in the Seymour Community since 1977. He has coached golf, basketball, football and soccer and taken an active part in Seymour Schools for over twenty years. Ramsey can be reached at email@example.com.
Athletic Booster Clubs
By: Lee Ramsey