Editor's Note: Below is an unedited Letter to the Editor sent by a concerned resident named John Doe.
This letter is written by a very concerned parent. My family has been involved with the PAL Football program since the 70’s as players, coaches and administrators and spanning over multiple towns and counties. I was excited to get my sons involved with the Comsewogue PAL program. From the beginning I felt that the registration fee was a bit steep as compared to other towns. When I asked why I was giving some very legitimate and reasonable answers. i.e. We are a new district and pay a little more for insurance but eventually that fee will drop over a few seasons. Also, we had to purchase start-up equipment but after the first year that cost should also be significantly lower. With those answers I had no problem shelling out more money to help the league start up.
Flash forward 4 years. The registration fee is the same. Still no break on the insurance. The cost for buying start up equipment should be well behind us since we are reusing equipment year to year. Enrollment seems to be on the rise with the addition of the flag football team and the fact we had so many kids register for the 10 year old team we had to split them into two teams. So I ask the question again. Why is the registration fee still so high and why don’t you look for lower rates on insurance?
Do you have the best interest of the parents in mind?
Year to year the parents are ask (forced) to sell (buy) $80 worth of raffle tickets. The raffle is to help pay for the trophies and the trophy dinner for the players. The parents are made to pay an additional fee to go the trophy dinner. Have you been to any of the football dinners? The food and the venues are getting cheaper and cheaper. Not worthy of the price we are paying.
Fundraisers have been organized to help raise money. For what; Off-set the cost to parents for registration fees? Or get us a better quality meal and venue for the already over-priced dinner? Help pay for fields and referees? (Which should already be figured into the registration fee). This year we had a car wash and a bake sale. We were told we did very well at both of these events. The car wash was packed all day. How did this money benefit the teams? Where did the money go? Heck, we didn’t even get trophies or a subpar meal. We even used the left over bake sale food to restock the concession stand. Did you know the parents purchased the items that were sold at the bake sale? When those items were then sold at the game there was no cost to the league. Should we be responsible for food sold at the concession? What does my son playing football have to do with sales at the concession?
This year when uniforms were handed out I noticed my son had no socks included. This seems like no big deal but when you think about the financial and time commitment made to play in this league it really starts to make you wonder. Then to add insult to injury I was required to purchase pink socks for breast cancer month. I am all for showing support but are we not getting uniform socks anymore? Where is our money going?
I walk around Comsewogue and see Shirts, shorts, towels, blankets and all kinds of apparel. What is the profit margin on these items and where is the money going? You would think with the sales of apparel, the fundraising, the volunteers and the cutting costs our registration should be next to nothing.
Don’t get me started on the requirement for parents to work the concession stand. With the $225 registration (not to mention those of us who have multiple kids in the program), the mandatory $80 raffle sales the purchasing of other equipment not supplied by the league and purchasing items to be sold at the fundraisers. Why do I have to then miss any of my kids’ game by standing in the concession stand? I have paid a lot of money and committed a lot of time so I can watch my kids play football, not to make even more money for the league.
Now I see registration for next season is starting. The Registration fee is still the same. We still have no trophies from last season. No dinner we sold raffle tickets for. No raffle prizes have been given away or announced for the people we did sell tickets to. It seems we didn’t finish last season and we are being asked to shell out for the next season.
I hope this email gets people asking questions. I hope there are reasonable answers to all these questions. I would like a response to these questions. I think we all deserve to know what is going on. If we don’t get satisfactory answers we should ask the PAL to help answer some of them. We are a football family. We love the sport. We support Comsewogue Sports. Why should we feel we are taken advantage of?
I would like to conclude by thanking the efforts of all the coaches and the parents who dedicate so much time to our children. Many coaches throw pizza and ice cream party’s using their own money. They open their homes and make the teams feel like a family. The parents of Comsewogue truly deserve real answers.
Show me the money!
A Concerned Comsewogue Parent
In response to the above letter, Christopher Ventura, one of the board members of the CYFA, has setup a meeting for parents to come discuss their grievances and get any questions answered. Ventura said "To all those that are questioning C.Y.F.A. and more specifically myself, my wife and the other members of the board let me say this for the last time. We have an open door meeting scheduled for this Thursday at 7:00 pm at JFK Middle School where we will address any and all concerns. We will not be dragged into this back and forth nonsense. You have dragged our names through the mud and we have taken and will continue to take the high road until Thursdays meeting where hopefully we can put your minds at ease. Thank you."