Every football coach has a list of challenges to deal with as the season approaches, but Jimmy Nolan's list seems longer and more daunting than most.
Nolan is the former head coach at Laguna Beach who was hired a few months ago to take over the Centennial of Compton program.
While he has the energy and enthusiasm to give the Apaches a fighting chance on the field this season, he is coming up short in areas that require a different kind of resource - money.
Nolan sent out an e-mail Wednesday asking for donations of money and equipment for his team. The letter, which details many of the hardships his players face on a daily basis, is shown below.
There is a link at the bottom of the letter to donate money, and Nolan's phone number and e-mail address are included for those who want to offer other forms of support.
To: "Anyone that would like to help a good cause"
First and foremost: Thank you to everyone for all the great donations .... really helped get through spring/summer. Many of you sent money, new socks/underwear, food, water, and a lot of old cleats. We cannot thank you enough. It really has helped. I don't know what we would have done all summer without cleats.
Our boys are faced with many daily struggles they shouldn't have to worry about. Walking to and from school is dangerous. Just last Friday one of my best players was shot at while walking home from school. He's a great student/athlete who stays out of trouble and away from the poisons. Thank God he was not hit. His mom moved him to a new school already. We'll miss him. That's an everyday reality for our boys.
Another recent occurrence was someone lit our stadium on fire. About a third of our bleachers were burned. I don't know how we'll get this fixed, so we're not too worried about it. That will be a future fund-raiser after this season.
The biggest problem I see on a daily basis, aside from the obvious threat of violence to and from school, is HUNGER. My boys are hungry. Many of them do not have much food at home. They are tough kids and do not like to volunteer this info, but it needs to be addressed. No one wants to feel like they're a "charity case." I know it hurts my guys to ask for anything. They're great kids and deserve a healthy chance at success.
The other obstacle we're facing is equipment. This team needs more shoulder pads. I do not have the money and our district's athletic budget has been more than cut in half. We'll be in pads very soon. It's an emergency to get some shoulder pads as soon as possible.
It's my dream to get my kids in some new cleats. We truly appreciate the used ones that were donated. I would love for everyone to have a new pair that 1) fit them properly, and 2) they could really call their own. I'm working these guys very hard...getting them into some new cleats for the season would be pretty darn great.
This letter is to ask for a very small donation. I am asking you to give our team ONE DOLLAR. Asking for money is hard to do. I believe there's enough people out there that can give a buck. In this economy, I don't expect anyone to have extra money to give, so $1.00 is all I'm asking.
Please forward this email to anyone else you think might be able to help. If enough people can throw in a buck, we'll be fine. I know you're all busy...we are extremely grateful for your time and your dollar.
We start "Hell-week" this next Monday (2 practices every day). It's my job to feed the boys in between each practice. I'm the solo-booster-club and my credit card is ready (wife might kill me ) ... it sure would help to get some help.
Compton Centennial Football is special. My boys have come together and we're really starting to develop a good thing ~ becoming young men: understanding the importance of integrity, discipline, health, education, and camaraderie amongst teammates. I've seen some great changes in our character.
I can't thank you enough for allowing my boys to have a fair shot at success.