The Mineral Wells Athletic Booster Club knows how to keep things in perspective.
“This is a trying time,” club president Jaime McDougal said. “It’s tough to get people out to games, but we are still playing sports, so we are really excited about that.”
Like many other school districts – and booster clubs – around the state, Mineral Wells is trying to make the best of a tough situation. So is the community. A number of the club’s business sponsors have continued their partnerships to help support the district’s athletic programs, but the two club’s two major revenue streams have been severely impacted.
“It’s been kind of a bummer,” she said. “But on the bright side we are playing and there was a point where we didn’t even know if we were going to have a season.”
Along with reduced attendance at home games, the annual Chicken Express All-Star Basketball Classic that the club hosts every spring – couldn’t be held in 2020. The classic, held in late March or early April, features basketball players from Mineral Wells and neighboring communities and draws a large crowd. McDougal said the event had been played for 30 consecutive years.
“That event has been a big deal and we hope we’ll get to do it [in 2021],” she said. “It’s fun for the community and fun for the players. And we’ve had college coaches come watch and seen kids get [scholarship] offers after that game.”
Proceeds from the game make up the foundation of the booster club’s budget. The club supports athletic and spirit teams throughout the district and works to meet teams’ various needs on a case-by-case basis. Last year, McDougal said, the club purchased new uniforms for the high school’s football, basketball and baseball teams. Those purchases, she said, came at the right time as the club works with a reduced budget in 2020-21.
“I’m glad that we did that last year so this year we don’t need to take care of those big-ticket items,” she said.
The club will still support needs that come to its attention, though it may have to be more selective should a number of requests come in.
“We’re just trying to save whatever we can in case we get a really big need that we have to meet,” she said.
McDougal’s been involved with the club for eight years, and her youngest child – an 8th grader – is still a year away from high school. She’s engaged for the long haul and can’t wait for things to pick back up so the club can continue to serve its purpose to support the school’s athletes.
“We need to get creative with how we try to do things,” she said, indicating that the next few booster club meetings may include some brainstorming. Until then, she’ll help the club continue to support the Mineral Wells teams that are taking the fields and courts.
“I’m just glad that [our kids] are getting to play sports,” she said. “Every week we get to play is another blessing, and not just for football. Right now we have volleyball and fall baseball going on, and we’re there for those kids too.”
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