Gridiron gift-giver

This valley takes a lot of criticism. The slams come in the form of rankings, reports and anecdotes. Some of it is justified. But too often, our community is judged as heartless and greedy.

In reality, Las Vegas has too many generous philanthropists to count. Much of their work makes a profound difference in the lives of Southern Nevadans but never makes the news.

One anonymous donor was too benevolent, providing gifts too public, to keep his or her good deeds secret. This donor has lifted the spirits of the students and coaches of the Western and Chaparral high school football teams by giving them everything they could have asked for.

As reported last week by the Review-Journal’s David Schoen, that’s a lot. Much of their gear was as distressed as the neighborhoods the schools serve. The donor upgraded weight rooms and field equipment, and bought new uniforms, practice clothes and new top-of-the line shoulder pads and helmets, among other things.

“I never had control of the money, so it was never an exact amount,” Chaparral coach Bill Froman said, “but I’m sure Chaparral’s portion was over half a million (dollars). I can just do some quick math in my head and get there.”

Some no doubt will criticize a donation that benefits athletics instead of academics, especially at two low-achieving schools. No one should question the charity choices of donors. This was a gift. If others get to control the money and decide where it’s spent, it’s something else: a tax.

Sports can make a huge difference in the lives of young men and women. Western’s football team hasn’t won a game on the field since 2010. Chaparral’s football team hasn’t made the playoffs in eight years. These gifts will benefit the teams for many years.

“It made us think people had faith in us,” Western senior running back/free safety Xerexes Tachiquin told Mr. Schoen. “They believed in us, so I don’t want to let them down.”

That’s the power of giving.

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