In today’s economy, the phrase “pay to play” has taken on a serious meaning. No matter what sport you play—baseball, soccer, lacrosse, hockey—the price of sports equipment has risen dramatically. Families spend an average of $700 each year on sports equipment, and more than $1,000 once league fees and travel costs are factored in. That’s why SidelineSwap, an online marketplace where athletes buy and sell gear, wants to make sports more affordable.
Keeping in line with the company’s mission, SidelineSwap recently awarded six athletes with $500 of gear while running the 2nd Annual #GearForAYear Scholarship Program. The centerpiece of the scholarship was an essay about the positive impact sports have had on their lives, and winners were selected by an independent panel of judges, many of whom were professional athletes. Applicants and finalists ranged in age and were from all over the country and from various sports.
One of this year’s winners is Katelyn Armstrong, a 12-year-old hockey player from Prosper, Texas. After hearing about the results of the #GearForAYear Scholarship, Katelyn shared her excitement and gratitude. “Ice hockey is a challenging sport and playing in a mostly boys league makes it even harder,” said Katelyn. “This scholarship will allow me to upgrade my gear, improve my game and raise my level of competition.”
Tanner Pratt, a 28-year-old hockey player from Columbus, Ohio, was another one of the winners selected. In his essay, Tanner shared how sports have changed his life and helped him through intensely difficult times. He admits that while never being the most skilled player, his happiest place to be is on the ice playing hockey. Tanner was the captain of the Robert Morris University hockey team for three years and spent the following years managing various hockey pro-shops. He says winning the #GearForAYear Scholarship provides inspiration for the younger hockey players he now coaches.
“It’s showing these kids I coach that I’m not going to let anything hold me back and they shouldn’t either,” said Tanner. “Pain is temporary. Winning the #GearForAYear Scholarship is additional support literally and figuratively. It means a lot after the year I’ve had and I couldn’t be more thankful or blessed.”
“Our goal is to make sports more affordable. The #GearForAYear Scholarship is just another way we are able to support athletes to compete for less,” said co-founder and CEO of SidelineSwap, Brendan Candon. Candon was a college athlete himself and experienced the high cost of competing first hand. In addition to costly club registration and travel fees, staying equipped with high quality gear was expensive. Since founding SidelineSwap in 2015, more than 200,000 athletes have signed up and have saved more than $8 million by shopping on the platform.
You can check out their latest listings at http://sidelineswap.com.