Athletics is a big part of the high school experience and students often worry a lot about whether they will make the team.
But for some local students the concern is whether there will even be a team.
"Actually, every year I've had that run past my mind a few times," said Carlton Pinchon, a senior at Stratford High School.
For the past few years, the Spartans baseball team has barely had enough students to fill out their roster.
"We try to make do with what we have," explained Senior Antonio Sneed. "We get all the players that we can and luckily every year, we garner enough players to play a full season."
The Spartans also need basic equipment, such as uniforms and bats, not to mention locker rooms and major field repairs.
"It's kind of embarrassing at first," said Sneed. "But the whole purpose of us going out there is just to play and that's what I like to do, play the game, the game that I love to play."
Metro Public Schools told Nashville's News 2, the district only has a budget for athletics to provide security at games and necessities like baseball bases and bats, for example.
The rest is up to the team, the players' parents and the community to raise.
For the Stratford Spartans, that number begins at $10,000 to begin improvements.
Head coach Jason Barrett, who's just two months into the job, sees this as a big opportunity and a challenge.
"This school was a prominent school, prominent athletic program at one time," said Barrett. "And we fully intend on getting it back to that same position."
Stratford High School was built in 1961 and has not seen any major upgrades since.
This spring, Mayor Dean announced the city would budget $20 million dollars to repair the old school, but that money does not include upgrades or renovations to the athletic facilities.
"There's definitely a lot of room for upgrades, but we fully intend on making this one of the top notch facilities in the area," Barrett told Nashville's News 2, as he walked into the locker room.
What little equipment the baseball team has is outdated or in need of repair.
"I would guess these are probably from the mid-90s, maybe late 80s," said Barrett, holding up a pair of old pants.
The uniforms are mismatched, and the team is also in need of balls, spikes and mitts.
"When it comes to equipment, I'm not a picky person," explained Pinchon. "I work with what I got. The basics would be good, but anything extra, that's not a need, that's probably a want."
The field at Stratford needs help, too.
There's a big hill in the middle of center field; they also need more dirt, sand and fertilizer before the spring season begins.
"We'd like to have a brick backstop with the netting up with the grandstand," said Barrett, pointing toward the back of the field. "We'd like to eventually have our locker rooms underneath our dugouts that are built into the ground."
But Barrett admits those wishes are probably a few years away.
Right now, the priority is getting these players into matching uniforms and shaping the field up enough to safely play games.
After that, the Spartans can concentrate on putting some "W"s in their win column since they have not won a single game in two years.
"A state championship banner in our gym, that's what I hope to see for us," said Sneed, "A better field and us with a whole bunch of wins in our win/loss category, no losses."
"Just hoping, keeping the faith and praying that we may get those items," added Pinchon. "But with or without them, we're going to all we can to stay together as a team."
These are the kinds of attitudes that get Barrett excited for the future.
"I am a parent now and an east Nashville resident," said Barrett. "So this really hits home with me and it's something that I'm going to take a lot of pride in."
"To me, I think we're the best team in Nashville," added Sneed.
Now, Barrett wants their field and facilities to reflect the same.
There is a fundraiser for the Spartans baseball team on Saturday.
The event will be held at 6 p.m. at The Building located at 1008C Woodland Street in east Nashville.
There will be live music, snacks and beverages, as well as a silent auction and door prizes.
Wednesday, May 22 2013 7:21 PM EDT2013-05-22 23:21:11 GMT
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