Grinnellians all know how close the members of our sports teams usually are. After going through the long hours of practicing and traveling to games, players tend to become somewhat of a family. We often see them eating together in the dining hall after practices—especially when they push tables together across the room—but there are other people that fit into that tight-knit family who sometimes go unnoticed: the team managers.

The role of a team manager varies from sport to sport and also depends on what the coach needs.

“I manage for the football team so I go to all the practices and film for them. There are two angles they need filmed for every practice … and there [is] one of us that does the down and distance markers for every practice. For games, we film the ‘dirt angles’ so [it’s] mostly filming,” said Stephanie Haines ’14.

Shelby Carroll ’13 manages for the women’s basketball team, along with two other managers.

“Our role basically is to assist with scorekeeping during practices and make sure that the coach’s practices are going on time. … [We keep] everything organized. …  One of us will travel to away games, and then for home games, one of us will work; during those games we film. That’s pretty much it … but we’re always there just in case the coach needs anything, needs us to run any errand,” Carroll said.

Students choose to take the job for different reasons: it pays, they get time to spend with friends and sometimes, just for the love of the sport they manage.

“I love basketball; I played in high school and I thought about playing in college, but volleyball was more my main sport, so I really just wanted to pick one—I thought I couldn’t handle two sports, so [managing was] a way to keep involved in something I love,” Carroll said.

According to both Haines and Carroll, there is a lot to be gained from the job. In addition to being paid to spend time with friends and make new ones, they have great relationships with the coaches of the teams.

“The coaches are really great; they‘re really accommodating if we need to take a day off … and I’d say we can even go to them with personal issues as well. [The guys on the team are] basically just like a bunch of brothers. We hang out with them outside of practice and outside of games and stuff,” Haines said. “I guess I could say the guys on the team are people that I’ll remain friends with after college.”

“[Women’s basketball coach Kate Gluckman is] like a mentor to me. We definitely have a different relationship than she does with the players, but that’s because she doesn’t have to discipline me in any way,” Carroll said. “It’s nice to have her as another adult on campus that I can go to whenever I need advice or even just to talk about whatever is going on in my head. She’s always there to listen and I really appreciate her.”

Carroll has a very supportive relationship with the players she manages, as well. The women are her main source of support during her volleyball season and then she gets to return the favor when basketball is in season, supporting the team as both a manager and a friend.

“I’ve been here with them for four years and we were friends before because we both played sports from the minute we got here as freshmen. …  Even the first years this year, I’m getting to know them slowly but surely; they’re all very sweet.” Carroll said. “And I just love the bonds between the basketball team. The women are just so much fun, they’re always hanging out with each other; they love each other so much. … I just love being a part of their friendships.”