Anyone who has played a sport knows the time, energy and sacrifices needed to become an exceptional athlete. But another aspect has become even more important: expenses. Equipment, training, coaches, travel, uniforms and facilities rack up a heavy dollar over time. Although Marian has a budget for all sports and their needs, sometimes the price can exceed the allotted amount.
This is where Marian’s Booster Club comes in. The club is a group of parents interested in supporting Marian athletes and the costs that come with sports. Two parents represent each of the nine NSAA sports and take into account the teams wants, needs and extra expenses that may need to be covered. “The head coaches fill out a wish list form at the end of each school year for items that are above and beyond their allotted sport budget. Those lists along with facility needs are considered when determining where Booster Club dollars are spent,” Assistant Principal and Athletic Director Ms. Rochelle Rohlfs said.
The group of 14-20 parents then meets as a whole with the club’s Executive Team to figure out budgets and how much money needs to be raised. The primary way they raise money is from club memberships, in which supporters purchase a yearly membership. There are two levels of membership; the Blue Club Level, which is $150 and gives owners admission to all Marian home games and the Gold Club Level which is $300 and gives admission to all Marian games along with a Marian polo and an optional $125 donation to a specific sport.
The money used to acquire a membership is used to support Marian’s NSAA sports and provide them with extra funds for their teams. While the school covers the uniforms, officials and umpires, equipment and clinics, there are many behind-the-scenes items that the Booster Club covers. The club takes care of smaller things, such as when indoor soccer fields are needed when it snows, gas money for long bus trips and the enlarged team photos on the east gym walls. Banners cost about $100 but other expenses, like facility improvements, can cost in the thousands.
Dr. Chris Shaffer is the President of the Booster Club. His daughters both play for Marian sport teams, with freshman Sophie Shaffer on the basketball team and senior Hannah Shaffer on the soccer team as well as being the basketball team manager.
With many sports at Marian and certain teams having more athletes than others, it can seem hard to acquire enough money to fund each team’s needs. Some athletes feel as if their sport isn’t receiving as much money as they need. “Probably one of the best things that can help with that is all of the sports participate in [raising money] in one way or the other.” “For example, basketball, volleyball and soccer provide junior high tournaments that help to raise money. But there’s also other ways to raise money. At every volleyball and basketball game, the concession booth is staffed by different sport’s teams. The money that they make from that goes towards their respective sports,” Shaffer said.
The club also hosts events to raise money. English teacher Ms. Susie Sisson serves as the host for the Booster Club trivia night in the spring, with around 200 participants. A three vs. three fundraiser soccer game was planned for the fall, but was rescheduled for the spring due to weather. They also sell car stickers and yard signs to support each team.
The group plans to place more focus on the student body this year. “Our students do a fantastic job of supporting our student athletes at events. How can we continue to improve upon that in regular season games, and what is it we can do to make it fun? Because everyone likes support from their friends,” Shaffer said. ”We’re always looking at ways to help the students and help the student athletes.”