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Just Preps : Getting a Boost : Support by Clubs Can Spell the Difference Between a School Being a 'Have' or a 'Have-Not'


There is also the danger of boosters throwing full support behind one sport--say football--and ignoring the lesser-light sports, such as tennis, cross country or water polo.

"That can be as detrimental as a booster club that tries to get too involved," Goodman said. "You can't have people willing to raise money for the big sports and have the others with nothing."

But even with the drawbacks, coaches and administrators know shunning boosters could be suicide.

They could end up in the same situation as Manual Arts.

"We have no booster club and we don't even have enough funds, despite trying to have fund-raisers all season long," Bell said. "There are things I wish I could do for the kids but can't, like keeping them on campus before games.

"All kids handle pressure differently, and because I have to let my kids go on game days, they may go out and drink or do drugs. The kids that come back for the games are not the same as when I let them go at the end of classes."

The school allocated $2,000 at the start of the season for football equipment, but the cost of helmets alone was $1,600.

The situation is the same at many city schools.

At Jordan, players are asked to bring in 10 aluminum cans each game to help with costs.

"We are right on the minimum," Jordan Athletic Director Ed Kamiyama said. "It is almost impossible in the inner city to have a booster program, and the athletic teams are less because of that."

Along with the financial loss, there is also a psychological vacancy.

"I think it is important for the athletes to see that people care about the effort they are putting in," Bell said. "And to have the little extra--maybe to eat a pregame dinner together--that makes all the difference."

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