They’re everywhere — sometimes standing on sidelines, sometimes extensively taking stats of the game or talking to the players in the halls. For each of the 19 sports at East, three students manage them. Each student has a unique reason as to why they do, ranging from injuries, to future careers, to the sheer love of the game.
After junior Chace Prothe finished his fall season of soccer his freshman year, he began looking forward to the spring, otherwise known to him as lacrosse season. But as the soccer banquet came to a close, it dawned on him that he would have nothing to do until the first day of lacrosse season in March.
“I’m the kind of person who has to stay busy,” Prothe said, “and five months was way too long for me not to do anything.”
That’s when he looked to Coach Hair and the basketball program.
Knowing that he wasn’t the best at basketball, he looked for other ways to be involved with the team. After talking to Freshman Basketball Coach Andrew Gagnon, Prothe learned about managing and thought it would be a fun way to participate in a winter sport.
After his debut to the managing stage, his love for it grew everyday as he was constantly improving his skills. Before he knew it, he was keeping track of every shot, block and play that happened.
“Coach Hair came up to me at the end of the freshman season and asked if I wanted to keep statistics on the Varsity team,” Prothe said. “It didn’t take much convincing; I loved it.”
Since becoming the varsity manager, Prothe has attended nearly every practice and game.
“At practice, I am basically the practice player and water boy,” Prothe said. “I play against the guys when I can, and get them water or whatever else Coach Hair asks me to do.”
The games have a much more serious tone than practices, according to Prothe. He often dresses up in a blazer or collared shirt, and sits on the bench to record every part of the game.
“The games are a little different than practice,” Prothe said. “The guys like knowing how many blocks they had or how many points they scored so I have to be on top of it.”
Prothe started his management career for the fun of it, but as he moved from the freshmen team to varsity, he became more focused on his job. Now, Prothe sees sports management as a possible career.
“I had never really thought about managing a sports team in high school, but now that I’ve started, I can’t imagine not,” Prothe said. “It is really fun way to be a part of a team and stay busy during the off season.”
Freshman Jack Melvin is one-of-a-kind when it comes to the personality and energy he brings to a team. Melvin is a member of the special education program at East, and began his managing career this fall when he decided to join the varsity football team. Head Coach Dustin Delaney reached out to Melvin to be a part of the football team, and asked him to come to all of the practices to help out.
“I manage because I love going to practices,” Melvin said. “I like seeing all my friends everyday after school.”
Melvin can be spotted almost everyday on the sidelines of the turf field after school. Often dancing to music or cheering on the players, Melvin helps bring water out on the field and plays catch with anyone he can.
“Jack is a great kid,” Delaney said. “He brings a lot of energy with him and we love seeing him at practice everyday.”
Following in special education alumni Dan Walker’s footsteps, Melvin signed up to manage the football team after some thought and a persuasive conversation with Coach Delaney. Just like Walker, Melvin’s trademark smile and outgoing personality make him well known around East, especially to the football team.
“We were all upset when Dan graduated, but Jack, like Dan, fills in the position perfectly,” Bamford said.
Melvin is currently attending only practices, but in the future he hopes expand his role.
“I go to most of the practices,” Melvin said, “And next year I get to go to the games, so I am really excited.”
Although injuries often diminish players’ interest in sticking with their sport, junior Katie Kuhlman felt just the opposite.
Kuhlman played JV soccer her freshman year, but her ankle never felt quite right. Over the off-season, her injury progressively worsened as she continued to play. As a result, she wasn’t cleared to play her sophomore year. She then learned that she had a benign tumor growing in her ankle.
“I knew I still wanted to be involved in the team,” Kuhlman said. “I was still a soccer fan, and wanted to be with all of my friends who play soccer, so I talked to coach Kelly and decided to manage.”
Kuhlman had hoped to return to the team this year, but her ankle injury prevented this hope. She had surgery a few weeks ago, and is not expecting to be healthy by this upcoming season.
“There is still a small chance I can play this season, but everything would have to go perfect,” Kuhlman said. “I am looking forward to going to all the games though and supporting my team.”
Kuhlman does her best to come to every practice to support her teammates, making a point to attend every game.
“At the games, I usually sit on the bench next to the players,” Kuhlman said. “I toss them waters as they come off the field and talk to them about how they played.”
Although Kuhlman is upset that she cannot join her teammates on the field, she puts on a brave face, enjoying every minute she can with her fellow teammates. She even went to the varsity team’s tournament in St. Louis over the summer.
“We didn’t win the tournament but it was fun to stay with the whole team for the weekend,” Kuhlman said. “I felt more involved and got a lot closer with the girls since we were together for 3 days straight.”
Kuhlman uses her injury as a way to grow and bond with her friends and fellow teammates, despite the fact that she isn’t in the game with them.
“I manage girls varsity soccer to stay involved in the sport and to stay close with my soccer friends,” Kuhlman said. “It is tough to watch them play while I sit on the sideline, but I know I want to support them just like they have done to me.”