By Cadet Kevin Connell
Throughout a game, there are multiple people that participate in the game other than the players, coaches and officials. The person no one thinks about is the manager. Every team in the country has managers, but none have the managers that are at The Citadel.
Just like every athlete, these special individuals go to class, participate in school activities and even go to practice. Most do not call them athletes. These individuals are at every practice early setting up things used throughout that practice. They also help coaches during the practice.
When the players go back to the other activities they do throughout their day, the managers wash everything and prepare themselves and their respective team for the next day.
Our teams’ managers are from all regions and backgrounds. Justin Lanham is the head manager for the basketball team, but also helps out in the laundry room passing out towels and handing out the next day’s equipment while the football team is at practice. During the summer Lanham was a caddie for his best friend who travelled the county playing golf. He travelled with his best friend while the football team was not practicing. Justin has been a manger for four years now and loves the atmosphere of the games. He looks forward to flying commercial airlines after he graduates in May 2014.
Managers give everything they have to help keep the practices and games go as smoothly as possible. Every morning when an athlete goes to his lockerroom to either workout or go to rehab for a recovery, these players always look for clean attire. There is always something in their locker that is clean and folded neatly. The managers are sometimes called out to participate for those players who couldn’t come to practice. I call them “players” even though they were not the best, yet they love the game so much that they were determined to keep their dream alive and help with the team.
Josh Terry is a former high school hockey player who is the baseball manager. He decided to come to The Citadel for a great education and ended up becoming someone that is always there when a baseball player needs anything. Coach Fred Jordan has had many great managers in his 22 seasons. The Amick brothers — Stephen and Bryce — from Columbia were the last managers before Josh. Bryce was a mentor for Josh and taught him everything that Coach Jordan likes and dislikes so that it makes life easier for everyone.
The managers are always being supervised wherever they are by Kevin Yeager. Yeager is the head equipment manager for all of our sports, and his cadet assistants are the best. Whether it is putting out equipment for practice, folding towels before games or even spraying water into the player’s mouth during the heat of the contest, they give 100 percent effort every day. Yeager seeks perfection, and if it is not, he will make certain it gets done.
The guys wearing red on the football sideline carrying the balls during every game has been voted as the best ball boy team in the conference three year in a row because of Yeager. If Yeager does not think they can get the job done, then that person won’t get the opportunity again. Next game, look around on the field or court and you will notice a certain group of individuals that do not have on uniforms. They are either talking to the referees about what they can do to help or are assisting the coaches with any and everything. These individuals are no longer laundry boys, but the backbone of a team and he/she will rarely get noticed.
And that is fine with them because they enjoy being behind the scenes.
Kevin Connell, a junior from Gray, Tenn., is a pitcher on the baseball team.