Spend time talking with Payson High School football coach Jake Swartwood and it becomes painfully obvious how much of the financial burden of fielding a team is now taken on by the players and coaches.
It wasn’t that long ago, that the district paid for many of the expenses that the team now must incur.
For example, football helmets must be shipped out at the end of each season to be reconditioned and recertified.
Coaches refer to the process as being “NOCSAE’d” which is a type of jock slang for the performance standards set by the National Operation Committee for Sports Equipment.
Those helmets that don’t pass have to be replaced with new ones.
Years ago, the district paid for the reconditioning and any new helmets that needed to be purchased.
But now, Swartwood must dip into his football club fund to pay for the helmets.
The list of other expenses the team must shoulder goes on and on and on. It even includes paying for toilet paper.
Which means, fund-raising — the bane of most all prep coaches — has become almost as important as mastering Xs and Os.
Couple that burden with the fact that after the 2013-2014 school year, players will probably have to return to fund-raising for coaching salaries as they had to do for several years in the past.
This school year, coaching salaries will come from forest fees, but those funds will not again be available.
There are those who argue that the Payson district’s inability to properly fund coaching salaries and sports programs is due to drastic cuts in school budgets. They blame Arizona lawmakers.
There are those, however, who agree the Legislature has failed school districts, but point out that other state schools the same size as PHS better fund their sports programs.
So, they contend, adequate funding is a matter of priorities and maybe extracurricular sports activities are not a priority among Payson Unified School District bigwigs.
Youth soccer program
Town Recreation Coordinator Mary Wolf has been busy the past week drumming up support for the local youth soccer program.
She explains the recreation offering: “Our fall soccer program starts at age 4 and ends with sixth-graders.
“This program gives those kids who love soccer a second opportunity to play during the fall. We will play on some Friday evenings and Saturday mornings. If the kids enjoyed spring soccer, they will enjoy the fall season even more.
“The games that are played on Friday evening will not interfere with Friday night home football games.”
The registration fee is $25 and includes a game shirt.
Also, volunteer coaches are needed.
Call Wolf at (928) 474-5242, ext. 7 for more information, or stop by the parks office in Green Valley Park.
Golf Academy in Payson
Rim Country golfers will have an opportunity to learn from the best when Sue Wieger brings her Golf Academy to Payson July 27 and 28. Sessions will be held 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day and lunch will be provided.
Wieger bills her golf academy as “a learning and performance institute that has been and continues to be recognized as the premier provider of golf instruction and education programs.” She also says her academy “promotes enjoyment and fulfillment to all levels while operating with the highest standards of integrity and professionalism.”
During the program, Wieger says she will focus on teaching players how to reach their peak performance through golf biomechanics, club fitting, and physical and mental golf fitness.
Playing lessons will also be included in the program.
Wieger is an 18-year LPGA Class golf professional and has a master’s degree in psychology and a bachelor’s degree in education. She is a certified Titlist performance Institute Golf Trainer and has been a featured guest on various golf shows.
The registration fee is $295 for both days. For more information, or to register, call Wieger at (480) 392-6563.
Punt, Pass, Kick event
The Town of Payson Parks and Recreation Department will host the NFL Punt, Pass and Kick competition at 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 28 at Rumsey Park north multi-purpose field. The event is free.
The competition allows boys and girls, ages 6 to 15 years, to showcase their football skills in punting, passing and placekicking. Scores are based on distance and accuracy. Entrants may register onsite the day of the competition or online at www.paysonparks.com.
Finalists in both boys and girls divisions will advance to regional competitions, and regional winners may advance to the state championship to be held during an Arizona Cardinals football game.
The PP&K program is free — both to organizers, like the Payson Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department, and to every youngster who wants to participate.
Call Mary Wolf at (928) 474-5242, ext. 7 for more information, or visit the parks office in Green Valley Park.
Established in 1961, it is the oldest NFL Youth Football program.