Sports managers gain experience, sense of community

The Newtonite

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Junior Jackie Ly, a boys’ lacrosse manager, keeps score of Senior Night with freshman Yaaron Yavim.

by Ryan Condon

Being involved with the school community is something that all students do, whether by acting in a play, joining a club or playing a sport. For students who want to be a part of this school’s sports community and help out on a team, managing a sports team can be another way to get involved.

Responsibilities of a manager

Boys’ soccer coach James Dow said, “Managing is almost like being a student coach. It gives students a perspective on what it takes to run a team.”

According to senior Allison Wu, who managed girls’ indoor track, managers help at practices and keep statistics for games and meets. They also work with coaches to make sure the team runs efficiently.

Junior Rosanna Gessel-Larson, who managed girls’ swimming and diving, said she helped with administrative work and running meets.

“I wrote up diving sheets, made photocopies and recorded times and scores on the official meet sheet,” she said.

Gessel-Larson described managing as being about the same time commitment as being on the team.

Wu said, “We work closely with the coach and make sure everything goes smoothly. Last season, we had worked together for a long time, so sometimes I knew what a coach wanted and I could get it done before he asked.”

The difference between managing a small team and a larger one is important, according to Wu.

“It’s important to recognize the different dynamics of a team before selecting one to manage. For example, girls’ track has no formal divide between varsity and JV during practices or meets, which creates a different environment from other teams,” she said.

Building a sense of community

Managing can lead to being part of a community, Wu said. “The team has been like a family to me,” she said. “We have a long tradition of fostering a sense of community.”

While Gessel-Larson did feel part of the community while managing girls’ swimming and diving, she warns that managing is not the same at being a member of the team.

“I was treated as a full member of the team, but I didn’t get to know any of the girls as well as they got to know each other. They bonded over a difficult practice and they talked when they got breaks, and by not practicing with them, I didn’t have the same relationship with them as they had with each other,” she said.

Lack of appreciation

Gessel-Larson said that managers usually get the recognition they deserve, but sometimes they should receive more.

“I have been on a few sports teams, and I did not really appreciate the manager’s job until I managed swim,” she said.

According to Dow, managers are appreciated, but they are not recognized enough. “They do such an important job, but their job is understated a lot of the time,” he said. “We appreciate them, but we don’t verbally express that enough.”

Wu said that she does not feel the need for any extra recognition, “but there are managers on other teams who do a great job, and I hope they get the recognition they deserve,” she said.

Managing is just one of the ways to get involved at this school, according to Wu.

“I’ve appreciated the opportunities I’ve been given at Newton North, including the opportunity to be involved with the girls’ track team,” she said. “No matter what you end up doing, I hope everyone is able to contribute to the North community.”