Sometimes sportsmanship and caring for others among rivals extends beyond the playing field.
The wild fires raging in Middletown, Calif., north of San Francisco, have claimed the homes of more than 120 students, faculty and staff at Middletown High. Many residents who have been evacuated don’t know the status of their homes or belongings.
Five people have died and four firefighters have been injured thus far in one of the worst wildfires in the state in recent memory.
Sonoma Academy, which plays against Middletown in the Coastal Mountain Conference, has started a GoFundMe account to help raise money for supplies and other basic items.
The page from Sonoma students and staff contains this message:
Athletic competitors form a bond through competition and sportsmanship. Now, our school wants to raise funds to help the students and staff of Middletown High recover from their devastating loss. We know that their spirits will triumph through this difficult time.
Middletown High Principal Bill Roderick sent this message back to Sonoma: “If you know my kids… they will never back down, and never give up…. We love our fellow schools, thanks for thinking about us.”
The GoFundMe page has been up for two days and raised more than $20,000 toward a goal of $10,000.
The booster club for El Molino High also started a GoFundMe site that has raised $16,000 and other $3,000 in gift cards. El Molino was scheduled to play Middletown on Friday night in a homecoming football game.
The fires destroyed the maintenance building and alternative education classrooms on the Middletown campus but the main buildings and athletic complex was spared. The hope is to re-open school Monday.
The soccer coaches, baseball coach and one of the football coaches lost their homes and gear that was stored in their garages. Amazingly, the girls soccer team has its uniforms because they were on the field playing when the fires started to spread.
The Middletown cross country team will compete in the Viking Opener in Santa Rosa on Saturday, the first athletic event since the fires began. School officials say they will accompany any runner who wants to take part.