Years ago, school district athletic coffers sported enough funds to purchase burgers, fries and drinks for team members following away games. On occasions, the district could pay for motel rooms during multi-day tournament stays in far away towns.
But due to strapped-tight athletic department budgets, today's athletes don't have those advantages.
Now, athletes, coaches and parents hit the streets to raise funds to pay for most of their basic athletic needs.
The Lady Longhorn basketball team's most recent effort to fund their program -- which includes a tournament trip to near Laughlin Dec. 2 through 4 --was a benefit Mexican fiesta dinner held Wednesday at Payson Elementary School.
The meal turned out to be a success, generating more than $1,000, which will benefit the girls' basketball team.
Coach Jerry Daniels and dinner chairman Mary Gutierrez say they are grateful to the many locals who turned out to support the benefit.
They also thank Safeway, Bashas' and Pepsi Cola bottling company for their support as well as the "super moms, dads and all the girls who worked so hard to make the dinner a success."
It's not the greatest scenario on the prep sports scene, but the hard, cold prep facts are that to have a successful sports program, fund-raising is a necessity.
Coaching headaches once included X's, O's and motivating players.
Today the migraines include finding enough money for your kids.
If any prep football fans exist who wondered if the East division was really the kingpin of Class 3A state football play, that doubt was erased last week when Blue Ridge and Show Low earned their ticket to the state championship game. The contest will be played at 7 p.m. at Mesa College.
Blue Ridge finished as the undefeated (12-0) East division champion. The Cougars (11-1) were the East runners-up, losing only to BR 49-0 early in the campaign.
The Beasts of the East have once again flexed their collective gridiron muscle, rendering the remainder of the state divisions only pretenders.
An old friend
Payson High School senior football players remember the days when Matt Porr was a teammate in local youth football leagues.
Matt's parents moved from Payson to Mesa four years ago and the youngster now plays for Mesa Red Mountain where he's a prized wide receiver.
In the Mountain Lion's first-ever playoff win Friday evening, 21-14 over Scottsdale Horizon, Matt played a pivotal role catching a second half 59-yard scoring pass that upped Red Mountain's lead to 21-7.
Matt and his teammates now have the unenviable task of taking on top-ranked, undefeated and defending 5A state champion Tempe Desert Vista next Friday.