This column comes from my book “Fairly Odd Mother: Musings of a Slightly Off Southern Mom.”
If you are the parent of a child between seventh and twelfth grades who has chosen — due to an excessive amount of school spirit, the desire to wear cute uniforms to attract the opposite sex, or an attraction to sniffing Sharpies — to join a school team of some sort, you may have received a letter like the one below. If you haven’t received yours in the mail yet, here’s my advice: Move. Just kidding. What I meant to say was, move NOW.
Typically, they go something like this:
Dear Parent (by which we mean person who has no clue what you’ve gotten yourself into), Congratulations! Yippee-kay-yay High is thrilled your son/daughter made the cheer/band/basketball/dance/volleyball/soccer/football squad. We, the parents of the cheer/band/basketball/dance/volleyball/soccer/football boosters, want to welcome you to our little cult, er, club.
We want you to know, now that you can’t ask your son/daughter to leave the squad without threat of a nuclear-level tantrum, that it will cost you approximately $25 to have your son/daughter on the team this year, before adding what we like to call “the little incidentals.” We know you’ll agree that we can’t possibly have a cheer/band/basketball/dance/volleyball/soccer/football squad without competing in the Hollywood Classic, and then the Nairobi Invitational.
Sure, people think our mission is to perform/play to represent our school against other local schools, but they are stupid. The indoctrinated, er, experienced parent knows these are just practices. Our mission is to be able to say we kicked the world’s butt. So, when we say “little incidentals,” we mean designer costumes/uniforms — including four pair of $200 shoes — airfare, accommodations, personalized sweat suits, team-logo duffles and spirit bags. These will total approximately $19,746.92. Oh, plus the $25 team-joining fee.
We Boosters realize some of you parents may be unable to afford this amount at one time, so, for a limited time only, we’ll accept payments in four easy installments of $5,000 (we know this totals $20,000, but don’t forget we must add those pesky handling fees!) For those who still have trouble paying, never fear! We Boosters have planned 718 fundraisers (we prefer the term “spirit raisers!”) between the first day of school and Christmas break so you will have the enjoyable team/family building opportunity to raise the funds.
Spirit raisers include, but are not limited to, raffles, donut sales, car washes, beauty walks, cookie dough sales, the back-to school festival, the Labor Day festival, the Columbus Day festival, the Veterans Day festival, the fall festival, the holiday festival and the Potato Growers Month festival. These almost never take more than three weeks of preparation and usually only end up costing you about $290 in minor expenses such as cakes for the cake walk and checks you end up covering for relatives who forgot they ordered 48 rolls of wrapping paper complete with color coordinated bows.
Some of you may be thinking to yourselves: “I’d rather mortgage my house, stop buying groceries or harvest and sell my eggs than do fundraisers.” We Boosters say “pooh on you” but we make every effort to understand each individual family’s, er, limitations.
If you are not a dedicated stay-at-home mom who spins her own yarn to knit into stockings to sell at the holiday festival and spends time thinking of ways to cost parents more money, such as a team Christmas gift exchange or a secret pal program, if you work 40, even 50, hours per week, we will try to work with you. For those parents, we allow exemptions from two spirit raisers, with an employers’ or doctors’ note.
Otherwise, all parents are required to be at these events three hours before start time to set up the cake walk or personalize with rhinestones Santa hats for the team to wear at the holiday festival. We just know you will become a brainwashed, er, valued member of the Boosters and your son/daughter will be a cherished member of the cheer/band/basketball/dance/volleyball/soccer/football team. We know you won’t disappoint any of us, including Booster masters, er, chairs, Lefty and Fingers McCoy.
Once again, welcome to the cheer/band/basketball/dance/volleyball/soccer/football, where we’re the best because we don’t care about anything else! See you at Booster orientation — and don’t forget to bring your happy face!