Team fundraisers stuck in neutral
The Fenton softball team had its eyes on a pitching machine.
Not just any pitching machine. This one could also be taken from the batting cage outdoors and used to help outfielders track flyballs to the fence, lofting the ball to the same spot each time.
But because of the COVID-19 pandemic, school is on hold. The spring sports season is on hold. And the Fenton softball team fundraiser, raffle tickets, is on hold.
The Bison already had reached their goal of selling 500 tickets when everything stopped cold. After ticket printing costs and payouts, the Bison would have had money for the pitching machine and then some.
Funds raised beyond their goal might go to hotel rooms in Champaign before a Saturday morning downstate doubleheader in May the day after a home doubleheader. Lower-level jerseys and spirit wear such as T-shirts or sweatshirts also were on the wish list.
"I know the varsity girls were hard at work selling more than their required 10 to one, pay for the bus, and two, pay for the hotel for that part," Bison coach Dave Mello said.
The fundraiser will go on, though the Bison have largely had to hit the pause button.
"We're not scrapping it because we've already sold enough. We'll do the drawing whenever that time is that we can get back together," Mello said. " ... There's no pressure on them now, obviously, to sell. I told them all, I said, the No. 1 thing now is to stay healthy, stay up on their schoolwork."
Likewise, the teams at Waubonsie Valley don't rely on fundraisers to operate, said athletic director Chris Neibch. For them the money pays for additional items such as sweatshirts or maybe fixing up the scoreboard.
"Our booster club supports us really well," Neibch said.
That's a good thing, because among the spring sports at Waubonsie Valley, only the baseball team finished its fundraiser before everything came to a sudden halt. Waubonsie Valley baseball players got their one-day coupon card sale in the first Saturday of the season.
The money raised by the fundraiser was to pay for hotel rooms and meals on a team trip to Jacksonville, Ill., for a tournament the weekend of March 20-22, coach Bryan Acevedo said.
Now the team has flexibility to find another use, possibly a new net on the freshman field batting cage, Acevedo said.
It's a much different situation at Glenbard South, where the boys volleyball program was in its first year of existence. As a Glenbard District 87 requirement for getting started, the boys volleyball program is parent-funded the first three seasons, so that money is needed to offset fees that still are higher than normal.
"It's not like we're fundraising for extra money," coach Chad Grant said. "We're fundraising to run the program."
The Raiders had just started a fundraiser selling Mrs. Field's products the day before the IHSA suspended the season, putting the fundraiser in limbo also.
"We have to decide where we're going with this because we're not going to be able to pick up the product at school if they ship it," Grant said. "I'm just kind of waiting for more information before we move forward. It's probably going to have an impact on things if we have to cancel it."