Basketball: Patriot girls sell masks as fundraiser
In the midst of the current health crisis, some individuals have sought new and different ways to express themselves and show off certain aspects of their personalities, including their school spirit.
For those looking to represent their school district in a different way, the Pequot Lakes girls basketball team has you - and your face - covered.
In a fundraising effort, the Patriots are selling Pequot Lakes-branded face masks and gaiters. Both face coverings are black with the familiar Patriots eagle logo sublimated onto the fabric - just once on the traditional masks but several times on the gaiters - and are being sold directly by the team’s athletes in grades 7-12.
The idea to sell the face coverings came from one of the athlete’s parents, who brought up the idea to the team after a summer basketball practice.
“Very quickly - I would say within 24 hours - we had all of our paperwork submitted to the school district to have this as a fundraiser, and it was approved,” head coach Brian Lempola said. “We got all the signatures that we needed in one day, and that parent reached out to Teehive down in Baxter, so it was kind of nice to support a local entity with these orders.”
Like many other spur-of-the-moment fundraisers, selling the masks was done somewhat slowly at first, with the team ordering just a few coverings to gauge interest. Since then, they have been selling well.
“It basically started as a sort of pre-order thing,” Lempola said. “Then we saw what we had sold, so we placed another order. I think we have placed two other orders since then.”
To help with the sales, the athletes themselves took two-hours shifts Friday, Sept. 4, selling the face coverings outside of Supervalu in Pequot Lakes. According to their coach, the girls sold “quite a few.”
“They seem to be really popular, and the gaiters now seem to be more popular,” Lempola said. “I think it’s just something different … I think these are some of the nicer and more comfortable ones that I have found, personally.”
Proceeds from the sale of face coverings will cover expenses the team accrues this season.
“We have a lot of long trips in our section,” Lempola said. “Our section extends all the way to places like Two Harbors. We have a yearly overnight trip that we will use those funds for. Some years, that trip is up to Roseau or Thief River Falls. This year, it is up to the Duluth area to play Mesabi East and Moose Lake-Willow River."
Expenses the team hopes to cover with this fundraiser include hotel stays and charter buses for some of the longer trips the team will have to make, along with the ever-growing need for more equipment.
“I’m shocked by what a new basketball costs now,” Lempola said.
Masks are $8 and come in youth and adult sizes, while gaiters only come in adult sizes and cost $10. The team intends to sell the masks “until the need is gone.”
“I’m enjoying seeing them out in the community,” Lempola said. “It kind of builds a little sense of community pride with everything going on.”
Those interested in purchasing a face covering can call Lempola at 218-568-9256, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the “Pequot Lakes Patriots Girls’ Basketball” page on Facebook.
Dan Determan may be reached at 218-855-5879 or email@example.com. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@PEJ_Dan.