Saturday, March 19, 2016

Spirit Wear Coordinator

I am the spirit wear coordinator for my sons' high school soccer team.
My husband volunteered me for the position. He said he did it because he knew I had experience. I have coordinated spirit wear in the past for my younger son's middle school lacrosse team. I'm pretty sure he volunteered me as spirit wear coordinator because I did not go with him to the meeting when parent volunteers were signing up; and the expectation was that at least one parent of each player was expected to step up in a big way. He stepped me a big way.
Hundreds of sweat shirts, t-shirts, shorts, caps, and boonie hats later, I am still coordinating spirit wear. It's a very difficult position to abandon. Can I quit a volunteer job?
In order to coordinate spirit wear, I am required to work with a screen printing company to come up with new designs each year for the players and the fans. It's not as easy as it sounds.
I am now working with my third (!?!) screen printing company. I try to buy locally; so I forged an early loyalty to a fairly large company in the neighboring county. Then, after two years of providing the company with more than $5,000 in business, they charged me a $13 shipping charge for a $35 golf shirt. I thought it was a billing error. It wasn't. At first I was surprised; then I was offended. Then, after a few email correspondences, I decided not to do business with them anymore. I had been loyal; but they were not. It really hurt my feelings.
"Are you in a fight with the t-shirt guy?" my husband asked, obviously worried. Heaven forbid I step down from spirit wear coordinator. My husband might have to take my place. I knew what he was thinking.
"I'm not in a fight," I explained. "The fight's over. I'm moving on."
Next, I turned to a screen printing company located on our state university campus...just down the road from our high school. The manager was a college student. He had a laid back approach to business. He was very "chill." I'm not very chill. Spirit wear coordinators have deadlines, you know.
I hoped his calm demeanor would rub off on me. When 68 shirts were delivered for the end-of-the-year banquet with "record to appear here" printed on the back of the shirt where THE RECORD was supposed to appear, I realized his chill approach had not rubbed off. Fortunately, the too-cool manager simply put in an overnight order to redo the shirts. I now have 68 messed up long-sleeved tees in a storage box in my garage. We parted ways on good terms at least. He asked me, in a casual way, what I planned to do with the ruined shirts. I told him I was going to buy a t-shirt cannon and blast them at the fans to encourage school spirit. Maybe kids would be too hyped up over the cannon to notice the mistake on the back of the shirts.
"Yeah...," he said. "That's a plan."
So far, my current screen printer has successfully filled an order of t-shirts for my middle school student council members; and he is working on a shirt for my middle school book club. The text says, "I'd rather be reading," and features an open book with a heart on the page. I'm pretty excited about this new partnership; but I dare not get too excited.
Coordinating spirit wear is not for the faint of heart...nor is it for the pushover. Nor is it, apparently, for any other parent but me...
I will be coordinating spirit wear for at least three more years. My younger son is a freshman. While he plays JV soccer, he also plays lacrosse. A senior's parent coordinates spirit wear for high school lacrosse. I have a feeling I might be filling her shoes after this year...especially if my husband goes to the volunteer sign up meeting.


  1. I sure hope you will be able to attend that meeting, so you will get the job you want. Although there is something to be said for experience. I had to laugh at "record to go here" error. Is there some kind of a shelter who could use a supply of T-shirts?

  2. OMG! I have no idea what they call the clothing person at the high school where I've taught 25 years. Our bursar handles most of this, and she gets paid.

    I can tell you from a teacher's point of view all the drama that goes into sports is something that bothers me. I do t see the same level of attention given to academics, and that's nationwide.

    And there is no way my husband would volunteer me for anything. BTW, the kids will notice the shirt error.

  3. You may find my sometime am runs impressive but I am impressed by your commitment to your son's Spirit Wear-dealing with that endeavor takes some serious fortitude.

  4. Isn't it nice to be volunteered? I know that I would not have the patience to orchestrate something like this.

  5. Oh to be absent when volunteered for something - and then once you're in - they want you forever! Great post!

  6. How you started with your husband signing you up made me laugh!
    You are a trooper!
    Working hard with a great sense of humor!
    Blessed school!