One for the money, two for the show, three to get ready and thanks to a generous donation, the Bowie High School football team is now ready to go, Bears, go.
They’re made of blue leather and not suede like the famous Elvis Presley song, but the Bowie Bears this season will sport new Under Armour cleats donated by the Class of 1975.
The Bowie alumni raised $1,600 to buy 25 pairs for the team, delivering the shoes on Aug. 11 before the start of practice.
“There’s a little less stress for the coaches and a feeling of connection to alumni groups by our current players,” football coach Roberto Padilla said. “Hopefully when they are older and they feel they can help their alma mater, they will come back and do so as well.”
Class of ’75 alum Jesus Gonzalez helped coordinate the fundraising efforts, reaching out to his fellow classmates and other Bowie alumni to raise the money.
“We sent a text to everyone we know that could help, and they came through,” Gonzalez said. “Everyone chipped in what they could, and we even have had some big donations, like from Jorge Molina, who sent $200 from Oahu, Hawaii.”
The Class of ’75 is always looking for ways to help their alma mater, celebrating their 40-year reunion two years ago by donating 30 pairs of cleats.
“We always try to help the school in one way or another,” Gonzalez said. “Whether it’s helping with fundraising or having cook outs before the game. It’s very rewarding. You feel good about helping someone else and giving back to the community.”
The students were grateful to start the season with new blue shoes to match their Bowie blue uniforms.
“I really like the shoes. They are in our school colors,” senior Troy Torres said. “We love the blue and white and will wear them with pride.”
Senior linebacker Ricardo Valles is looking forward to wearing the new cleats for his last year as a Bowie Bear.
“It’s a great feeling to be supported by our alumni like that,” Valles said. “I think it will help us play with more pride because we know we represent a lot of people in the community that support us.”
Gonzalez remembers his time as a bear fondly, even when times were tough. He hopes helping the team gives them the encouragement they need to keep playing with the pride the south-side school is known for.
“Helping them brings back memories when we used to play. We had to share shoes and equipment from the Varsity team. We never had anyone that would help us,” he said. “It’s great to know these kids won’t have to worry about that. They were very thankful, and we told them we were proud of them for everything they do – that they have the heart and attitude to win another championship.”