Booster clubs tackling uncertainty head on


Shravya Mahesh

With school closed and all UIL events indefinitely postponed, many athletics booster clubs have been forced to use apps such as Zoom for meetings. Transitioning to virtual means of communication is one of many ways booster clubs have remained active in conducting business and supporting their players.

Karen Lu, Daily News/Assignment Editor

Behind the effortlessly planned tournaments, celebratory team dinners and end-of-the-year banquets, every sport at Coppell High School has a team of parents working as a booster club to ensure everything runs smoothly.

Normally, booster clubs run the behind-the-scenes operations such as fundraising, contacting business sponsors and organizing team events.

“Our focus as a board is all about supporting the players and coaches through the season,” Coppell softball vice president and field operations officer Chris Reed said. “It’s Senior Night, Teacher Appreciation Night, Coppell Cowgirls Association Night. During the season, we’re doing all the announcing and walk-up music during home games. The board really makes sure all the games go well.”

However, in light of recent circumstances regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) and school closures, all UIL events are also indefinitely postponed, interrupting many sports seasons. Subsequently, some booster clubs have adjusted to the new situation, adapting from face-to-face meetings to virtual means of communication.

“We still have a lot of business that needs to be discussed, so I elected to use our conference calls online at my office,” Coppell tennis booster president Kelley Parlier said. “Everybody called in, and my intent is to continue with conference calls or Zoom calls to maintain some order and decorum to what needs to be done. We need to keep the lines of communication open because there’s still business that needs to be taken care of.”

While some clubs have transitioned to online, others have come to a halt in their operations. Depending on the sport, the spring season may either consist of supporting the team during tournaments and games, maintaining operations on the business front or a combination of both.

“Everything the board’s doing has really come to a standstill,” Reed said. “We haven’t had any board meetings at all. All the planning we used to do as a board for events like Senior Night with the curriculum and announcing hasn’t happened. We did all our fundraising back in the fall, so we haven’t had to do any of that either.”

For other sports, fundraising events have been canceled altogether, such as the spring flower sales for tennis. Booster clubs have shifted their attention from supporting their players at games to focusing on the business side of operations.

“Our purpose of supporting things associated with players: going to tournaments, having equipment requirements has shifted,” Parlier said. “It’s become a business mitigation type of service. We need to get out of contractual things and commitments we got ourselves into. We’re figuring out how to close out the season when it hasn’t really been finished.”

With all of the end-of-the-year events canceled, such as award banquets and senior nights, some booster clubs have also been trying to find an alternative way of hosting these events while maintaining social distancing.

“We recently announced we would be canceling our banquet,” Parlier said. “But the question was thrown out if the players and families would be interested in a virtual awards ceremony. We’re just trying to think outside the box a little bit of what we would typically be doing in April with year end things.”

The Coppell girls soccer booster club did exactly that, organizing a video on social media in place of the traditional senior night.

“We’ve tried to come together and make some things happen virtually,” Coppell girls soccer booster club vice president Monica Scrivner said. “We were supposed to have Senior Night on March 17 for the girls, and of course, that didn’t happen. So we actually put together a virtual Senior Night on our Facebook and Twitter page. All of the senior girls and moms got together and put together a video so we could have a virtual Senior Night for them.”

Follow Karen (@_karenlu_) and @SidekickSports on Twitter.