Cost of High School Baseball

I’ve always thought the cost of my child’s sport was tallied in wins, loses, lessons learned, and time.  I never thought so many dollars would add up so quickly for one season of Junior Varsity Baseball.

We received a letter earlier in the year regarding team sports in our county.  All athletes would pay a seventy-five dollar fee, once they made the team cut.  The fee was due before the start of the first game. The Athletic Director spoke at the parent’s meeting.  “No player will be discriminated against for not being able to pay the athletic fee.  If students receive free or reduced lunches, they are eligible for free or reduced athletic fees as well.”

You know, that’s fine for those people who are eligible. I don’t begrudge them the assistance. We however,  are not eligible, and although we don’t fall within the definition of poverty in our county, we do have a child in college, work two full time jobs and take in work on the side to make ends meet.  We do not splurge on new cars, good cuts of meat, the latest fashion, or expensive recreation.  We are thrifty, clip coupons, buy stuff on sale and eat at home.  That night, at the meeting, I wrote a check for seventy-five dollars.

The baseball team parents met in room B-214.  The coach introduced his staff, gave the usual pep talk about appropriate and acceptable behavior from parents, rules, expectations of players, etc.  He asked if there were any questions before he turned the meeting over to the two “team Moms.”

“When do we get a copy of the schedule?” One asked.

“You can go online to the website and follow the instructions to the team schedule,” Coach said.  No more hands went up, so he and the other administration left to get something to eat.  It had been a long day.

Two ‘Moms of Varsity’ took the floor.  They had their own set of rules to deliver.

“Each player has to have a team sweatshirt, sweatpants, mesh shorts, and t-shirt. The sign-up sheet is going around, just put your child’s name and the size he’ll need.  The beanie and fleece are optional.”

The beanie was cheap. The fleece was expensive.  The mandatory items came to Seventy-seven dollars.  I filled out the form and wrote another check.

“Now,” the other team Mom said,  “each family is responsible for feeding the entire team, coaching staff and support staff before one game during the season. These boys are growing, eating machines, and it’s a long time from the end of the school day to the end of the baseball game. ”

I was not the only parent new to this process to have a look of disbelief on my face. My child may be a teenage eating machine, but he leaves school everyday, practices hard until six-thirty in the evening and then comes home for supper. Sure he’s hungry, but he’s survived without having consumed a fourth meal between lunch and supper.

“You can do this in a number of ways. Chic-fil-a, Harris Teeter Grocery, and Subway all give us a discount if you order from them.  You can also buy ingredients and make the dinners at home. The boys really like sub sandwiches, chips, a piece of fruit and a sports drink.  The cost is usually under one hundred and twenty dollars.  The sign-up sheet is on it’s way around the room.  I signed us up for Harris Teeter subs March 18th.  Total cost of twenty-three subs, bags of chips, pieces of fruit and sport drinks added up to ninety-four dollars and twenty-six cents.  I would need to write the check to Harris Teeter on the 18th.

“Parents are also expected to work the concession stand for one half of one home game during the season.  No one is allowed to open a tab at the stand. It’s all cash and carry. We will teach you how to open, prepare the foods, restock the shelves and close up after the game.”  I waited for the announcement of cost. There was none.

“The last thing on our list is the Booster Club.  We encourage all families of players to support the team by purchasing various articles of clothing like the sweats, scarves, hats, and pajamas.  There are also  coffee mugs, sports bottles and stadium seats with the team logo and colors. The sign up sheet is on its way around.”  I imagined myself at the next baseball game in team pj’s.  I passed on the Booster’s sheet. If I needed attire, I’d borrow Ryan’s sweatshirt. The rule is, he’s not allowed to wear it during a game.

The first game of the season and Bruce and I delivered the meal as our team exited the school building. The boys were polite and thanked us for supplying food and drink. They ate like starving animals.

I followed the team bus in my car and pulled into the parking lot at Burley School. Then gathered my generic folding sports chair, non-team color stadium blanket, and clear sport bottle from the back of the mini van and headed to the gate.

“That’ll be five dollars,” the gate keeper said.

I reached into my wallet and pulled out my last five dollar bill. I’m going to the bank tomorrow for a loan.  There are twenty more games in the season.


Cost of High School Baseball © 2011 M Dawn Thacker. Read the first in M Dawn’s baseball series at baseball-2011-mothers-in-spring-training.


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