NewsLocal NewsIn Your NeighborhoodMilam County


Bitcoin company helps parents curb inflation costs for sports gear with unexpected donation

Posted at 6:28 AM, Dec 08, 2023

ROCKDALE, Texas — Playing sports—especially basketball—is a tradition for Rockdale High School senior Mason Willard and his family.

But when it comes to buying new shoes for the season, his options are slim.

"Shoes would cost $50 bucks when I was 7 or 8. Now, they're $100 and $200 dollars, so it gets tough," Willard said.

They seem to get more expensive each year.

But RIOT, the world's largest bitcoin mining company, is stepping in and helping Willard's family curb the costs.

The company donated shoes for the high schools boys' and girls' varsity and junior varsity teams.

Rockdale ISD usually provides equipment like jerseys, but there's not enough funding for shoes for over 50 players.

"The only thing that they have to purchase typically is the shoes," said head boys' basketball coach Sean Lexima.

"With RIOT taking that off a lot of our family's plates, especially around a time where it's Christmas, you know, Thanksgiving time. It's a time a lot of money's going out, so that was a beautiful gesture."

But basketball isn't the only sport inflation has impacted.

"We are a 3A school, so a lot of our kids play multiple sports, so their parents have to fork that bill over for said bats, batting gloves, shoes, cleats," Lexima said.

All sports equipment is up 3% from last year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

"Growing up in a sports family with everyone playing sports, it's almost over a thousand dollars for every sport every year," said Willard. "It's bad."

But with the donation, shoes are one less thing Willard worries about.

Now, he can focus on his game and his teammates in his last season.

"Well, my sophomore year, we weren't really good, and no one really expected us to be good, and I feel like this year we have a chance to go make a playoff run, which we haven't in like almost 10 years," Willard said.

The full season schedule can be viewed online.