Water polo team sparks controversy at carwash

October 8, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Car wash fundraisers have become a popular way for cash strapped school programs to raise money, but a recent fundraiser by a Walnut Creek water polo team is stirring controversy over the clothing, or lack thereof, worn by those washing the cars.

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Budget cuts mean tough times for school sports and on a recent weekend in Walnut Creek, the Northgate High School boys water polo team held a car wash fundraiser on the busiest street corner in town -- in their Speedos.

"I wouldn't know how to define it, but that's what some of the high school kids think is fun to do," says Jim McClelland, the varsity boys water polo coach.

Fun for the teens, but the sight of the barely clothed swimmers -- some with dollar bills dangling from their suits -- has stirred controversy online and has some wondering about appropriate attire, or lack thereof, for school fundraisers.

"It's totally inappropriate for them to do fundraising in this kind of attire," says Northgate parent Rod Valdepenas.

"It's just fun. They're just boys," says Karin Deas, a parent.

"Well... not very appropriate," says sports referee Dan Hughey.

The fundraising is critical for water polo and every other sports team in Mt. Diablo Unified. The district cut funding for all sports programs and now the teams need to raise money privately by the end of the month or they risk losing all sports programs.

Parents say other local schools also hold fundraisers on the busy corner and students say female cheerleaders held a car wash in bikinis recently and were told by the school to put a stop to it.

The water polo team hasn't received the same warning, but if the controversy persists, coach McClelland says this could be the last swimsuit car wash for the team.

"If it is a serious issue in the eyes of the public, we'll certainly pull back on it," says McClelland.

Others say the fundraising must go on.

"You've got to have fundraisers and that's the bottom line. Because the school district and the state are not going to fund sports," says mike lampkin, a Northgate parent.

Every dollar counts and the car wash earned the water polo team about $1,000.

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