Jacket: $60, banquet $20, team acceptance: priceless?


The cost of being on a team can be quite expensive.

By Fiona Asbury, Advertising Manager

The list is up. You move your trembling finger down the alphabetically ordered names until, finally, it reaches your own. Congratulations! You are a member of a 2013-2014 CHS varsity athletic team. If making the team is not a shock for you, perhaps what comes next is. Making the team required hard work and determination, but staying on the team might require more; namely, money. The focus of athletics at CHS seems to have become more on money and less on the sports.

Compared to the costs that come later, the MCPS Extracurricular Activity (ECA) fee is relatively cheap. A $30 check paid once a year at the beginning of the season, and it’s all taken care of. MCPS even offers reduced prices based on need. After all, the ECA fees are vital to the competitive athletic environment provided by MCPS by covering costs for things such as field upkeep and coaches’ salaries. It is a reasonable price to pay for a sensible cause.

The sports equipment and uniforms, while expensive, are also very important. However, depending on the sport, uniforms are either bought or passed down. Equipment can also be used year after year, and the CHS Booster Club supports the purchase of most team equipment not retained by students which can also cut down the cost.

However, then there are the many costs students may not expect, like the clothing. Somehow, $5 puffy-painted shirts, $30 sweatpants and $80 boathouse jackets signify more than just team spirit and school-wide awareness of a big game. Now, they are starting to become a symbol of belonging. Through matching clothes, teams are able to create unity. This is a good idea in theory, but some teams take it a bit overboard. Athletes are not required to wear the clothes, but feel obligated to if they want to truly be a part of the team. Perhaps a limit could be placed on the amount of clothing per season. After the season is over, athletes rarely wear their team attire.

A banquet is a great way for the team to rehash the memorable season and draw a successful year to close. However, a team can have the same sentimental experience whether it be over a box of pizza or a nice catered meal. While finally seeing your teammates minus the sweat and mud is great, all of the fancy things that go into making the end-of-season celebration “perfect” end up just costing more money. A team will still be a team with or without all the glam.

Next, there are senior gifts. Yes, the seniors have been devoted to the team for four long years. Yes, every freshman will eventually reach senior year and expect some token of dedication too, but no, some expensive mug emblazoned with “Churchill Bulldogs” is not exactly a crucial cost when it comes down to it. The seniors do deserve something to remember their high school athletic experience, but by the time they graduate college, the CHS spirit wear is not going to be a prominent shelf decoration. In fact, it will most likely be tucked away in a box and forgotten. It saves a lot of trouble and money to do something small and meaningful rather than gaudy and extravagant.

Undoubtedly, with any sport, the team becomes your social circle for one season. Bonding during practices and competitions is accompanied by team dinners and after practice hangouts. However, just $3 every Friday night for pizza starts to add up. While the concept of team bonding is a good one, perhaps there is a way to lower the costs without lowering the enjoyment, such as a parent potluck.

If athletes are unable to pay for the additional costs, the team can get together to fund and support the athlete. However, this should not even be necessary as the fees themselves are unneeded. The unity that supposedly comes from sharing clothes is threatened when the costs become unattainable for some athletes.

It is time for the attention to be taken away from all of the extra things, and bring it back on the athletics itself. Otherwise, the seemingly insignificant costs will continue to pile up and put a price on the concept of a team.