This story is the first of a three-part series, with the second part “What are the most expensive sports at Sunny Hills” being published on print March 6 and the third part “Sunny Hills athletes with custom gear” being published on print April 3.
As students who plan to return to Sunny Hills decide which classes to take for the 2020-2021 school year, some will consider signing up for a sport for the first time.
But when it comes down to concerns over having to buy a racket for tennis or a bat for baseball, athletics director Jon Caffrey wants to ensure all students that anything needed to play a sport, Sunny Hills will provide free of cost.
“We don’t ever want anyone to feel that they cannot be a part of sports at Sunny Hills because it’s too expensive, so if anyone says they can’t play because they can’t afford it, I’d say that’s not an issue,” Caffrey said. “If you want to play baseball, let’s play baseball.”
Caffrey said he will even reach out to friends to donate funds to cover gear and uniform expenses so students can play.
“Athletics is wide open, and we want you to be a part of it,” he said. “With some programs, you’re going to have to fundraise to help us support the whole vision of this, but not having the finances can never be the reason not to do it.”
Caffrey’s philosophy is based on an American Civil Liberties Union settlement with California public schools which states that staff cannot legally charge students to participate in educational activities, and many believe this benefits all students, no matter their background.
“I feel like it’s great for the school to aid other students who are less fortunate, and it’s great that they support them and let them do what they love,” freshman Chloe Lee said.
But what if students want to buy the same tennis racket as Serena Williams or pay $200 for Nike Vaporfly shoes? Which sport on campus would cost them the least amount of money?
Of all the SH sports available on campus from football to tennis to swim, cross country is reportedly the most affordable out of the given options.
However, most runners don’t even take into account the cost of their sport — they’re more interested in the race.
“I just love racing and competing because this is the type of sport where you can really push yourself to the limit and have others to compete against who do the same,” sophomore Zachary Gomez said.
Lee agrees with Gomez, saying the price is often not considered by most of the runners when choosing a sport.
“People join track and cross country because they have a passion, just like any other sport, and I feel like most of the students don’t pay attention to the cost of them,” she said.
Though many runners don’t think of their sport’s price, most understand why it is one of the least expensive sports. Unlike other sports like baseball and tennis, cross country only requires a uniform and shoes to race, making it cheaper.
Track and field can also compete for the title of most affordable sport on campus, but track events can vary in price depending on what events a student participates in whereas cross country costs stay consistent.
Overall, students believe it is beneficial for some sports to be more affordable for families who take funds into consideration, so more students can participate.
“Sometimes sports can be really expensive, so it’s nice to find one that’s cheaper,” junior Peyton Rushing said. “It’d be a good sport for others to join who can’t afford some of the more expensive sports.”