A funny thing happened on the way to the Little League World Series for the Chandler, AZ team....apparently no one told their parents that it is not an all-expense paid vacation to Pennsylvania....they actually have to pay if they want to go watch!
Heaven forfend! PAGE ONE on AZCentral.com earlier today ran an article titled "Chandler Team Raises Funds." This was NOT an article on how they did what every other youth team does...work through the offseason having carwashes, bake sales, looking for business sponsors, etc. No, this article was on trying to get public donations so the 60+ FAMILY members (not the team members) could go to Williamsport. They also estimated each individual would cost $5,000 for the 9 day trip.
Don't get me wrong, kids sports build character....I played them and I am fairly certain most of the individuals that visit this page played them. However I can never recall simply asking people for handouts when we were not a charity. Chandler Little League is NOT the United Way or American Red Cross. They are NOT Cancer Research.
Here's a news flash....YOU CAN'T ALWAYS GET WHAT YOU WANT. I want to go to Hawaii every month. The bank account says no, so I stay home. I DO NOT pander on a news site for money. The fact the families are doing this has taken away from the achievement of the team (and many that posted comments to the AZCentral article echoed this) in that it feels a bit tainted in that a team representing our region cannot simply be happy and work with the hand they have been dealt. Apparently the short-sightedness of the fundraising arm of the team is now ALL OF ARIZONA's problem.
I had been in a discussion with two individuals close to the team trying to get them to justify why people should give so 60 people can get a free vacation to Williamsport instead of, say, giving to AIDS research or the March of Dimes. For this I was pretty much told to 'press on' as I was 'ignorant about a once in a lifetime opportunity.'
I would love to agree with them, however the charities I like to give to have many that don't live to the age of 12.