The Rim Country Middle School seventh- and eighth-grade softball teams needed new uniforms this season.
“We were going to do a carwash, but parents asked if they could get donations instead,” said Tamara Hayes, who coaches the teams along with Curtis Johnson.
Hannah Boulanger, whose daughter plays on the seventh-grade team, spread the word via social media.
“I posted on Facebook and the people of Payson answered the call and graciously sent us above our goal of $2,000 within four days of the post,” Boulanger said.
Hayes said the funds allowed them to replace the worn out uniforms.
“We were able to get new jerseys, pants, belts, socks, visors and a practice jersey that the girls get to keep,” Hayes said. “That was about $1,600 and we had some money left over that we’re going to use to buy equipment like balls and things like that.”
The girls wore their new practice shirts with their names on the backs for their first game against Winslow. The new uniforms arrived in time for picture day and their second games.
Hayes said there was no mistaking the difference the new uniforms made in the demeanor of the eighth-graders as they prepared for their first home game against Round Valley on Wednesday afternoon.
“Girls are different than boys,” Hayes said. “When they look good, they feel good and when they feel good they play well.
“So, I think for them the new uniforms were just a big boost all the way around. I can tell now with them just walking around for game day that they are so excited because this is the first game that they get to wear them. Boys, they don’t care what they wear, but girls are different. They like to look good.”
Hayes thanked everyone who made this happen.
“As coaches, we want to thank the parents for going above and beyond,” Hayes said. “And we want to thank everyone who donated because it was amazing. It really is great for the kids and the community when everyone steps up like that, so we’re really appreciative.”
Sariah Stonebrink plays on the eighth-grade team.
“It’s actually very cool because the high schoolers got a new uniform and for school sometimes for our advisory projects we earn money for the sports jerseys and they never pick softball,” she said. “So I’m glad that people would spend money so they could buy us new jerseys.”
Stonebrink said she and her teammates appreciate what people did for them.
“It feels nice because we know that people would take the time and spend the money to buy our new jerseys,” she said. “It makes me want to play harder because I know that people spent money and I want to make sure it doesn’t go to waste.”
Seventh-grader Lauren Chiccino appreciates the new breathable mesh jerseys. She said not even a good washing would take care of part of the problem with the old jerseys.
“They were passed down and super stinky and smelly and sweaty,” she said. “And they were uncomfortable. These have holes that let air in and they are super nice.”
Her teammate, Teagan Dillon, thinks the new duds could make the seventh-graders a better team.
“These are a lot better and yeah, we will definitely play a lot better in these,” she said.