OAKLAND, Calif. - The McClymonds High School football team may recently have won the state championship for the second year in a row. They even had a parade through Oakland last week to celebrate. But still, something is missing-- the championship rings.
McClymonds went undefeated. To the players, wearing the ring means a lot.
"The ring is something I can treasure throughout my whole life. I can show it to my family and my children so they can see the hard work we did as a team," said linebacker Albert Mitchell.
"It's something to say that we did something that not a lot of kids our age, especially coming from West Oakland have done. It's a deeper meaning," said Jamiano Akinjo, the student manager and only girl on the team.
The problem is the ring, made of silver, costs about $400 each. That's money these students or their families don't have.
"Everybody's struggling and nobody's parents really want to tell their athletes, or my mom didn't want to tell me, we might not be able to get that ring," said Akinjo.
"My mom, single mom, she has to support me and my sister," said Mitchell.
"It's the jeweler who sets the price. Some rings are more expensive than the ones we have. So we went the cheaper route," said football coach Michael Peters.
Last year the Oakland Unified School District paid for the rings through the Oakland Athletic League. But the school district is now facing budget cuts. And paying for rings just isn't possible.
But that's not the end of the story.
Word got to the Oakland Athletics which has started a YouCaring page to raise $25,000 for the rings and badly needed football equipment.
"We feel it is our responsibility as an Oakland sports team to support local student athletes. We are extremely proud of McClymonds High School," the A's said in a statement.
The students say they are moved by the fundraising effort on their behalf
"People who understand what it is like to live in this community giving back to us. It's wonderful," said Mitchell.
With a little luck and a lot of hard work, the McClymonds high football team just may be in the same predicament next year.