In an effort to raise some much-needed cash, the Mariner basketball teams resorted to a tried-and-true combination at Saturday’s Meet the Mariners fundraising event: public humiliation and sugar.
“This thing is heavy,” said senior Paul Trowbridge, a large carrot cake teetering precariously in his right hand.
“Look at it. This is the moistest carrot cake in the state.”
Trowbridge, along with the rest of the boys and girls C, JV, and varsity teams addressed the HHS bleachers full of parents with bidding numbers. In addition to running drills and being introduced individually by team, each athlete was in charge of auctioning off a homemade dessert to the crowd.
The decadence of the desserts was as diverse as the personalities of the auctioneers. Some convincing salesmen sold pies and cakes for $100, while others left the crowd unsure that they would eat their own assigned confection.
“This is a chocolate zucchini cake… It doesn’t taste like zucchini,” said one C-team girl in a skeptical tone.
While the mood in the gym was humorous, the fundraising task the Mariners face each year is daunting.
“It costs between $30,000-$40,000 a year to run both (the boys’ and girls’) programs with only $6,000 split between the two teams coming from the borough,” Lady Mariners Head Coach Chad Felice told the crowd of support from the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District.
Felice said the large price tag for the season comes mainly from the high cost of travel, with roughly 90 percent of funds allocated to pay for bus, plane and hotel fees.
The majority of the Mariners’ funding comes from local business sponsors and the Booster Club. The entrance fees charged at home games barely cover the officials’ fees for the games, which cost around $300 a night. This year, the Mariners have started offering soup dinners before home games to bring in more funds. So far, they have raised $5,600 this season, with Saturday’s event contributing a welcome $4,400.
The Mariners are counting on Regions being at home this year to bring in a final push of cash by selling advertisement space in the official event programs to business sponsors. Jessi Felice is in charge of the Mariners’ fundraising efforts, and encourages all interested sponsors to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Mariners travel to Seward on Friday to take on the Seahawks. The girls face off at 6 p.m., and the boys start at 7:30 p.m.
Lindsay Olsen is a freelance writer who lives in Homer.