April 29, 2013
In less than a week, many of you will be heading back to the happy valley for Alumni weekend (May 3-4). We have all become used to the succession of New England and Atlantic Ten Conference Championships that Russ Yarworth and his young crew at UMass achieve year after year for well over two decades. They achieve these championships on a shoestring encumbered by rising operational costs. As you prepare constitutions (and livers) for the revelry and reunion please consider advancing your financial support for the program.
Recently, I was talking with Russ about the program and why it seems like so much more to run than back in the day. Russ schooled me on the changes that wave set in over the last 20+ years. It turns out that running a collegiate swimming and diving team these days is not cheap.
For instance, in the late eighties and early nineties, goggles were about eight bucks whereas these days they run $15 to $30. When we were frolicking in the phlegm infested waters of Boyden a banana hammock ran about 25 bucks but today the modern versions cost as much as $128! I don’t know, maybe it’s the shark foreskin and elven thread they are sewn from.
When we were in school, we would load up vans, drive to the meet, swim/dive and drive back. Well, today the team competes in more tri and invitational meets that involve multiple days away with hotel and more food expenses. Due to liability risks, the team cannot use vans but instead must travel via buses. Those buses cost much more money to rent. Back in our day, in order to run a swim meet you would need about $200 and a box of donuts. Nowadays meet format changes have expanded costs by an additional $20,000 per year!
The University continues to support Men’s Swimming and Diving with adequate funding because it is a perennial success story in the pool and in the classroom. Budgets that are “adequate” allow programs to subsist but we all know that this team needs and deserves more than what it is currently receiving.
Here’s the deal. We, as a family of alumni, need to increase the percentage of us actively providing financial support to the program. Many of you already contribute annually to the program. Thank You. However, other alums may consider ramping up their commitment. Let’s encourage each other to step up our support across the board. The program ran at a $15,000 deficit this year that we alumni should attempt to alleviate.
To the guys we swam with…It is no secret that many of us would not have made it through UMass without the support of Russ and our involvement with the team. Now it is time to give back, we are both going to donate to get the ball rolling. Please consider what you can do to support Russ and the team.
Here are some avenues to action…
* Scratch out a check and send it to…131 Commonwealth Ave, Amherst, MA 01003
* Go on line to…Donate Now
* Give Russ a call… (413) 545-0093
Your Teammates, John “Chico” Gardner & GT Ladd