‘Money is not a reason to not play tennis’: West Seattle High School coach hopes you’ll help her swing at a budget better than -$15

(Photo courtesy Cathy Thom)
Did you know there’s an extra charge to play a high-school sport – and some sports still have no budget? West Seattle High School second-year head tennis coach Cathy Thom she’s been told she has a budget of -$15. So she is trying to creatively raise some money to cover costs as the season approaches, and she’s launched a crowdfunding page as part of the plan. In an e-mail exchange, we asked Coach Cathy if she might want to illustrate with a photo of “sorry-looking equipment you need to replace,” and she replied:

Well, I need squeegees for the courts, and I’d love to take a picture of them, but some people stole them from the courts, and well, we need tennis balls and racquets — the essentials to running the season, and sorry I don’t have any pictures of items we don’t even have!.. But I’m also hoping to raise money to help kids with the sports fee(s). I can’t believe it costs $100 to play a sport. No wonder kids are opting out and playing video games! So I want to have extra funds available for those who can’t afford the sports fee or who can’t afford the uniforms.

Despite the challenges, two of Cathy’s players made it to state competition last year, and she’s hoping to get more there this year, “with proper equipment, and being able to focus on the kids more than focusing on my budget … My ultimate goal is to get this team to be top of the line. I’ve played college tennis (division 1) and know I’ve got the knowledge to get these kids in line to get tennis scholarships if desired. … I’d like to open up doors for these kids … So far it looks like I need uniforms for incoming players (jackets and shirts), tennis balls, squeegees for the courts when it rains, and some scorecards.” Just go here and use the PayPal “donate” button (if you don’t have a PP account, you can use a credit card).

21 Replies to "'Money is not a reason to not play tennis': West Seattle High School coach hopes you'll help her swing at a budget better than -$15"

  • coffee February 22, 2014 (3:11 pm)

    I find it horribly sad that the government finds and funds millions of dollars for professional sports stadiums and the local youth cannot have sports because of no budgets. There is something horribly wrong with this picture…..

  • dsa February 22, 2014 (3:36 pm)

    coffee is correct, and now we have to step up to the plate and help with even more than taxes. I hope the community comes up with enough.

  • Charlie February 22, 2014 (4:43 pm)

    I donated 10 bucks. Hope you will too.

  • Stephen M February 22, 2014 (4:44 pm)

    I’m inclined to help but I have to say that this crowd funding page that Ms. Thom as set up looks a little sketchy (no offense intended). May I respectfully suggest that the coach set up a campaign at Donorschoose.org. Donors Choose has been vetted and rated highly by Charity Navigator as well as having been written about by major media outlets (CNN, NPR, WSJ) which gives it a degree of legitimacy. http://www.donorschoose.org/

    I like to be sure that my donations are going to their intended recipient and for the intended purpose. Even though WSB published this article, I don’t know Cathy and am not familiar with donating through an adhoc Google site.

    • WSB February 22, 2014 (8:12 pm)

      Stephen M – DonorsChoose automatically (unless you opt out) adds a 15 percent fee to donations. Its format can be confusing and it’s easy to get lost in there. Nonetheless, we have published stories about a couple past campaigns by local educators. PayPal, meantime, takes a three percent cut. Also, don’t know if you were trying to say WSB is not a legitimate news source, but – WSB is owned and operated by journalists, myself (35-year veteran) included. We are national- (in a category in which we beat projects by worldwide news organizations including CNN) and regional-award-winning, credentialed locally since months after we became a business in fall of 2007, and tend to have higher ethics and quality standards than many legacy media operations, including the ones for which I worked. We work with and are recognized by governments, organizations, businesses, schools, and individual readers in an area wider than West Seattle. This IS a request from a coach and I would not have published it if I had any doubt of its legitimacy; I actually have another request in queue from a different WSHS athletic program, via a crowdfunding site rather than a page with PayPal, not yet published because it came from a student rather than a coach/teacher/administrator, and I am waiting to confirm with one of the latter, for that last verification step. Nonetheless, donating or not donating is the choice of the reader so if you think it’s sketchy, don’t donate. We’re simply presenting the request. – Tracy

      • WSB February 22, 2014 (8:34 pm)

        P.S. (and then I’ll shut up) – I am thankful that dozens of people took chances on donating to us (NOT a nonprofit or educational concern) through a PayPal account back in summer 2007, when we were still anonymous … the nearly $2,000 we received enabled us to launch WSB as a business, though at the time we weren’t even sure we were going to do that, we just wanted to afford better equipment to do a better job of covering West Seattle news in our then-“spare time.” This was before crowdfunding was even a word, let alone a galaxy of websites! (Thanks yet again to anyone reading this who was among the donors.) And we also do our best to give back to the community, as do many businesses small and large, donating thousands annually to local nonprofits and schools, usually, but not exclusively, by sponsoring events, projects, etc.

  • kg February 22, 2014 (4:44 pm)

    When life gives you lemons, squirt that guy in the eye.

    Car wash.
    Community spaghetti dinner.
    Silent auction.
    Rent-a-player (to do yard work).
    Local business sponsorship? (think NASCAR).

  • JanS February 22, 2014 (4:53 pm)

    so…the school district charges $100 per kid to play and gives them all of 15 bucks? Unconscionable…they should be ashamed…

  • AEP February 22, 2014 (6:22 pm)

    JanS, the team had a “budget” of negative $15. They were in the hole (perhaps because they bought tennis balls last year?). Oh, SPS, your spending choices are such a mystery.

  • CJ February 22, 2014 (6:24 pm)

    Obviously $15 won’t go far but at the same time, playing tennis doesn’t need to come with so many expenses. When I played at Chief Sealth years ago, kids were expected to provide their own rackets (mine was $10 at Big 5) and we didn’t bother with uniforms, that was an expense most families could do without. We wore whatever we owned. Kids provided their own transportation. I understand helping out a financially strapped kid and seeking funding for more tennis balls than $15 can buy but some of these expenses are just unnecessary for the school or public to bear and feel more like a desire to keep up with the Joneses. The $100 sport fee does seem steep- Where does it go?

  • WestSide45 February 22, 2014 (8:15 pm)

    I’ll go buy a few boxes of balls and donate them directly to coach next time I can get to a practice.
    Does it look like the girl serving in the picture has thrown the ball way too high? Just my perspective.

  • Junction Neighbor February 23, 2014 (12:14 am)

    I donated $25 for the tennis group earlier today and would go back in time, if I could, to give to the WSBlog! You guys are top-notch!!

  • Just wondering February 23, 2014 (5:59 am)

    Curious there’s no mention of West Seattle Booster Club: http://www.westseattleboosterclub.org. I’m sure they’d help.

  • silverback February 23, 2014 (6:20 am)

    What do the athletic director and activity coordinator at West Seattle High School have to say about their failure to fund tennis from their ASB funds?

  • IXOBPP February 23, 2014 (8:37 am)

    @Tracy – and that is why we love all y’all the West a Seattle Blog!

  • West Seattle Booster Club February 23, 2014 (10:23 am)

    The West Seattle Booster Club voted to give the Tennis Team $200 at our last meeting!

    If you have not heard about us yet – we are a group of parents, alumni, and faculty that are working to upgrade the West Seattle Booster Club to a membership-based organization for the first time. The Club’s goal is to assist all of athletic programs at the high school with uniforms, equipment, and needs the school budget cannot cover, and we would love to have you join us! We are very new, and have already been able to help the girls’ soccer team and swim team, in addition to the tennis team.

    Check us out at http://www.westseattleboosterclub.org and please share with everyone you know! Membership and participation are keys to our success, so the more people that know about us and get involved, the more we can help. You can donate to the Booster Club on our web site – and 50% of your annual membership goes towards the sport of your choice.

    We also have “West Seattle Athletic Department” t-shirts and sweatshirts for sale (please email us for more info) and a fan gear web site, http://teamstore.gtmsportswear.com/westseattleboosterclub. All proceeds benefit the students at West Seattle High School!

    Please join us at our next meeting, Tuesday, March 4th, 7pm, in the West Seattle High School Library. You can also contact us with any questions or ideas at westseattleboosterclub@gmail.com.

    • WSB February 23, 2014 (10:29 am)

      Hi, Booster Club. If you send us announcements of your meetings – editor@westseattleblog.com – we’d be happy to include them in our calendar, and also mention them in the daily “what’s up around West Seattle today/tonight” reminder list on the WSB home page on the day they happen. – Tracy

  • Coach Cathy February 23, 2014 (12:34 pm)

    Thank you so much to everyone who donated to our team! We’ve been able to order some squeegees for the courts, and had tennis balls and scorecards donated to the team!! I look forward to helping kids that need financial assistance this year, and am definitely getting excited for a well-prepped season! I will have to follow up with the West Seattle Booster Club re:$200, but hope that money will go to fill our quota of 8 cases of balls! I am in awe and am extremely appreciative and grateful that the community wants to keep my team active and kids involved in sports!

  • Martin Lee February 23, 2014 (1:44 pm)

    Thanks for informing. I will be donating a case of balls each month of the season. Good luck to the team!

  • Stuart Thompson February 23, 2014 (2:24 pm)

    Thank you all for considering helping out the WSHS Tennis Team. We have made West Seattle tennis a no-cut sport, so anyone who would like to be on the team, no matter of skill level, has the opportunity to learn and enjoy the sport for a lifetime. In past years there have been as many as 45 students on the tennis team. We practice and play our matches (3 – 6 PM) at Lincoln “Solstice” park.
    We have received some donated rackets to give to those who cannot afford to buy a racket. I collect as many used balls as I can from my Boeing Employee Tennis Club friends where I play. These balls can be used for practice, but once they get wet, even dogs don’t want them. We do need to supply new balls for our 11 Home Varsity and JV Tennis matches. We appreciate the support of the Booster Club. Tennis is a cheap sport but not free, please help if you can.
    Stuart Thompson Assistant Coach WSHS 1969
    Scott Gunderson Assistant Coach WSHS 1969

  • cakeitseasy March 4, 2014 (12:29 pm)

    So, again, why only $15 if there is a $100 fee per student and ASB funds? Why didn’t anyone address that? Just wondering how the finances work. Or maybe I missed the explanation? Insurance?

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