Football managers: They serve behind the scenes

-A A +A



Special to The Trimble Banner

Managers can be found almost everywhere; offices, restaurants, supermarkets, hospitals - the list goes on and on. In the stands at a football game on a Friday night, look very closely and through your squinted eyes you may see another type of manager. The three blue-clothed teens standing along the sidelines are managers of the football team. And that brief glimpse may be the only recognition they receive the entire night.

“Organized chaos” is how Shalah Barnes, a senior at TCHS, describes the atmosphere before a Friday game. Shalah, along with seniors Chelsea West and Alicia Schnoor, manages the ins and outs of the TCHS football team. Out of the three, Shalah has worked as manager the shortest.

“My first game was Midnight Madness in my junior year. They were short a manager and needed someone to help out. After that, I was hooked,” Shalah said. Since then, she’s taken on many roles; her primary job during the game is to keep everyone hydrated. Shalah has also stepped into a more unexpected role: “The players tell me that I’m the team mom.”

“Hectic but exhilarating” is Chelsea West’s description of a pre-game Friday evening. If anyone would know, she certainly would. Chelsea began managing the TCHS team as an eighth grader, making her the longest-serving of the three current managers. “I became interested in football when my older brother Joe played for the high school team. Football became something I wanted to become involved in,” said Chelsea. During the game, Chelsea fulfills the role of ball girl. As her not-so-glorious title suggests, Chelsea exchanges a used, beat-up football for a more suitable one at certain points throughout the game. Like Shalah, this definitely isn’t her only job - just ask her partner-in-crime, Alicia Schnoor.

Alicia began her work for the team as a freshman, signing up because “I wanted to be involved in something during high school.” Four years have passed and Alicia has certainly become involved.

After school on Friday, Alicia and Chelsea grab food for the players, run equipment down to the field, and set up pylons, padding, and the American flag. With her managerial focus on medical service, it’s also Alicia’s job to tape the players’ wrists, fingers, elbows, and knees to prevent possible injuries. Alicia’s experience on the sidelines will also prove its value after graduation; she, like Chelsea, wants to begin her career in the medical field.

This is the last season of football for these three girls. Thankfully, a new generation of dedicated workers has risen to the occasion. And they’re “being trained by the best.” Within weeks of the call for new managers, freshmen Kaci Corley and Alexis Dunagan are learning what it’s like to oil the machine themselves. Alexis’ first game was two weeks ago - she loved it. “The feeling down there by the field is amazing. It’s something I want to do throughout high school,” she says. Alexis isn’t taking the mantle of responsibility lightly, though. “I know I’ve got to be committed to this. I’ve got to put my heart into this.”

“Organized chaos” is an apt term for the fast-paced, last-minute goings-on before a game.
To be “organized,” however, an organizer is needed. This particular “organizer” has taught science courses at TCHS for 16 years. Thirteen of those years have been spent on the sidelines of the football field as well as in the chemistry lab. Angela Pacheco doesn’t seem to mind, though. Pacheco is statistician for the Raider football team and also assists in many administrative functions.

Besides jotting stats for both the Trimble team and whoever their opponent may be, she also finds herself finding community sponsors, taking care of laundry, taping players’ ankles, evaluating serious injuries, responding to equipment failures, and providing statistics for the local press. With such a broad range of responsibilities, Pacheco is a sort of “head manager” for the team. As such, she has no illusions regarding her duties and those of the managers. “There’s no glamor,” said Pacheco. What drives the dedicated managers to do what they do is their personality: “They’re the sort of people to whom service and dedication come naturally.”

The Raiders’ head coach, William Blair, understands the significance of the role played by the team managers. “Their job isn’t seen on Friday nights directly; it’s only seen through our success on the field,” said Blair. Even the players occasionally take their managers for granted.

According to Angela Pacheco, “the players don’t fully realize what the managers do to put a game together. It’s only when they go without these comforts that they actually understand it”. Pacheco then described when the Raider players once came home from a weeklong football camp - without the help of managers. Upon coming home, “the players ran off the bus, dropped to their hands and knees, and said, “Thank you!” Recognition, from both the team and fans, means little to the managers; they know what they do, even if no one else does. “It’s a nice compliment, but we don’t need someone to tell us we did a good job,” added Chelsea.

Nobody ever said being a football manager was a cool job. In fact, the three seniors serving in that post will tell you that it isn’t. This is their last season though, and the managers are determined to make the most of it. “Watching a football game will definitely be different. I’ll miss that Friday night-feeling when the lights come on. It’s a pure adrenaline rush,” said Alicia.

The emptiness of Friday nights after graduation will hit hard for Shalah as well. She will always remember, however, the experience and the lessons she’s gained from her service to the team: “Being a manager has definitely given me patience,” she says, “along with the ability to handle a lot of responsibility and being able to work with many different personalities. If anything, it’s given me confidence in myself.”