My eighth grade son, Noah, is excited to play football at the high school next year so when the coaches announced there would be a meeting at school for those interested in trying out for the team, he was probably one of the first kids in the door.

They gave him the standard information — when practices will begin this summer, a calendar outlining tryouts dates, and a small packet containing exciting fundraising materials.

Fundraising? He has to participate in FUNDRAISING?

My daughter played volleyball for 8 years and occasionally, they held fundraising events. But these were usually benign collaborative efforts with the entire team. Car washes, pancake breakfasts, and ice cream sales at the matches. But Noah actually is expected to traipse door-to-door selling stuff.

When he got home from the meeting that day, he dropped the fundraising paperwork on the table for me to scrutinize.

“Oh nooo…. What are you selling?” I asked as I cautiously strolled over to the table to take a look.

“Lawn fertilizer,” he responded.

Fertilizer? I was certain he had to be mistaken, but when I read through the order form and the attached sheets, he was correct. The football team was selling “quality” lawn fertilizer – and each bag he sold would weigh a hefty 18-20 pounds a piece.

So, in layman’s terms, since he doesn’t have a driver’s license yet, and the bags weigh as much as a small child, he would be required  to enlist the help of his mommy and daddy when it came time to deliver his wares. I mean, he’s a big kid but there is no way Noah will be able to haul lawn fertilizer through the neighborhood on his Schwinn  —  even if I install a handy wicker basket to the handlebars of his bike.

This only reinforced my hatred of fundraisers. It’s one thing when the kids have to peddle stuff around the neighborhood. But the crappiness of it all is magnified about 20 times when parents get reeled in to the affair.  And quite frankly, I’m not wild about stowing hundreds of pounds of cumbersome, stinky, leaking bags in the back of my car for the delivery process. That sort of thing has disaster written all over it.

I mean…if by selling a few dozen 20 pound bags of lawn fertilizer meant Noah’s football registration fee would be drastically slashed, (because I’m selfish) I would probably be all over this thing. But whether he sells 3 bags or 103 bags, his football fee remains the same. All proceeds go towards the purchase of new equipment. And  honestly, I don’t know why they need new equipment. If you ask me, the pre-1930’s leather helmets and hand-quilted football padding the boys on our team have been wearing for the last few decades are just fine.

I want a registration discount…

For the record, the “quality” fertilizer order form is has been sitting on our kitchen counter for a couple of weeks. Noah must be feeling the same distain that I do about the whole thing.  But wait!  I just checked the form and it was supposed to be turned in yesterday. Since Noah missed the deadline, I guess this means he’ll just have to sell double the amount of frozen pizzas or cookie dough  or candles (or whatever…) when the next fundraising event is announced.

I’d better start making room in my freezer now and garage now for that stuff.  Or I may just nix that whole fundraising nightmare and simply write out a check to the booster club. (Sigh). Sounds like a lose-lose situation to me.

How do you feel about team and school fundraisers?  Please comment!

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