Spotlight on winter sports managers

By Paxton Moore

There is a lot of work done behind the scenes to make sure our winter sports run smoothly, and the devoted winter managers are largely responsible for this. Managers’ responsibilities range from shouting out the individual dives for the diving team, to filming each basketball game and subsequently breaking down that film so the players can view it online. Coaches rely on the managers to do the little things, so that they are able to completely focus their attention on the team.

“When I decided to be a manager for the basketball team, I never expected it to be so time consuming,” said senior varsity basketball manager Anna Kate Heller. “However, I also didn’t expect to be given the opportunity to form such a strong relationship with both the team and its coaches.”

The responsibility of the basketball managers requires a certain amount of unspoken communication with the coaches. Coach Zack Darling is in charge of distributing responsibility among the eight managers this season and fully trusts them to make sure the team has everything it needs before it boards the bus.

“In the beginning of the season it seemed a little ridiculous for us to have eight managers for a 14 player team,” said sophomore Parker Tatum. “But now I realize that having such a large number only helps to ensure that everything runs as smoothly as possible.” Six of the eight managers this season are seniors, so they have all had to miss some games in order to take care of other responsibilities like college visits. However, with eight managers, there has never been a problem with getting the job done.

Many would assume that managers are a rather unathletic bunch, but the managerial staff actually represents a well-rounded bunch. Among the basketball managers is senior Sahara Fletcher, who will run cross country and track at Ohio State next season, and sophomore lacrosse standout Maggie Borders. The dive managing squad boasts senior Ansley Walker, lacrosse star.

“It takes a lot of devotion to be able to do our jobs properly,” said Walker.  “It’s not something that people do simply to fill out their resumes, rather it takes commitment and willingness to work in order for the required tasks to get done.”

Of course, managers are also spoiled in that they are able to witness outstanding athletic achievements.

“My favorite moments from my time as manager are watching the girls team win state last year and watching as [senior] Gaffney Taylor broke the school and pool record for diving,” said Walker. “She’s incredibly talented and a total joy to watch.”

For managers who feel passionately about their sport, witnessing incredible feats of athleticism often results in memories that will last a lifetime.

“I remember against Avondale my sophomore year when Quay Strozier, a freshman, came in off the bench in the closing minutes of the game,” said senior Tol Candler. “The game was beginning to look like it would end in a loss for us, but then Quay stole the ball and hit the game winning layup in the final seconds.  It was simply amazing, and I was able to join in on the celebration”.

Senior Mihika Kohli is the managing all-star. She has been managing for three sports since seventh grade. She is currently managing the varsity wrestling team and is in charge of keeping track of what happens in individual matches.

“It’s nice to know that the job isn’t just busy work,” said Kohli. “The stuff we write down is used to help the wrestlers see what points they give up easily, trends and what not.” Kohli has been practicing for four years and has her job down to a science. Without her expertise, many of the wrestlers wouldn’t be able to follow their trends and fix their mistakes.

All in all, managers serve important roles in their given sports.

“My job has been relegated to keeping stats on the iPad for every game,” said senior basketball manager Eliza Jameson. “With the help of other managers I am able to show coaches areas where the team can improve, as well as keep them updated on how individual players are performing throughout the season”.

Senior Peyton Kelley joined the basketball managing squad his senior year because he had heard such positive things about it from the existing managers.

“It’s really a great experience,” said Kelley. “The managers always have a good time going to all the games and being part of the program. I think managers really do a lot of the stuff behind the scenes that makes everything work, and have a great time doing it.”

His first season acting as a manager, Kelley fit right in and relished in the fact that he is a part of the basketball team. “One of my favorite things is riding on the bus to away games,” said Kelley. “I love watching [freshman] Will Benson goof around on the back of the bus and seeing the coaches roll their eyes at his ridiculousness”.

Managers are given a special opportunity to be a part of the team and form relationships with the players and coaches.

“Socially, being a [wrestling] manager is fun because I move from a group of 90 guys with the football team to a much smaller group,” said Kohli. “We get to spend so much time together because the meets are so long, and we are really given a chance to get close”.

Although most of the work the managers do goes unnoticed, they are an integral part of Westminster’s athletic program.