Booster Club's Devil's Den
Suits up for Action
The Huntington Booster Club's Devil's Den is in tip-top shape for the fall season, ready to provide equipment and supplies to the young athletes who need it. Located in the basement of J. Taylor Finley Middle School, the 14 x 5 foot caged area is prepared to serve all district student-athletes in grades 7-12.
The Devil's Den is one of the most successful Huntington Booster Club initiatives. Assemblyman James D. Conte helped secure a state grant that was used to purchase start-up materials, including shelving, bins, hooks, posters and related items.
The Booster Club is reaching out to community members and alumni for donations of new or gently used athletic items, such as bats, baseball gloves, golf clubs, shin guards, soccer balls, lacrosse sticks, cleats, sneakers, tennis racquets, sweat suits, etc. New socks and t-shirts are especially in demand.
Coaches are encouraged to contact the Booster Club's Christina Plant (CBPlant@aol.com) to arrange to pick-up gear for athletes in need on their team. The "store" is typically busiest at the start of each sport season. It is attractive in design and neat in appearance. Thanks to generous benefactors, the Devil's Den is well-stocked, but it continues to require a steady flow of additional items, including new mouthpieces.
Mrs. Plant handles all aspects of the facility's operations along with fellow Booster Club officials Barbara Cutrone and Carol Scully, and other club members. Folks able to pitch-in and donate either equipment or clothing to the effort can drop the items off at the Finley Middle School main office or at the athletic director's office during regular school hours.
"The Devil's Den is never closed to our coaches and athletes," Mrs. Plant said. "It's always been a work in progress and we are flexible." For example, one year Mrs. Plant learned that cleats were in particular demand. Requests for specific sizes came in from coaches and the cleats were delivered in short order.
The Booster Club is striving to assist athletes who cannot afford to purchase the items they need to participate and compete with their classmates. "I usually seek out the coaches in the beginning of each season and ask them if they need anything for their players," Mrs. Plant said. "At Finley, it's easy to get the cleats or equipment to them in the building. They haven't needed as much at the high school, but we are available for any request."
Community members are asked to dig through their garages, basements and closets for athletic gear they no longer need and to drop it off or arrange for home pick-up by sending an e-mail to Mrs. Plant.
"Coaches are aware of the facility and are encouraged to contact us if any of their team members are in need of an item," Mrs. Plant said. "We don't want any young athlete failing to participate because of a lack of equipment."
The mission of the Devil's Den is simple: Maximize participation, provide student-athletes with an improved overall experience and contribute to a stronger foundation for the Blue Devil sports program.
"We've been successful with the Devil's Den because it is well-organized," Mrs. Plant said. "We can get any item any coach needs. If there is something the Devil's Den doesn't have, I just ask my friends or send out an e-mail and the items end up on my porch in no time!"