College athletics full of unsung heroes

Their presence is minimal to the eye of the spectator, sometimes only caught by a passing glance. Like the team members, they wear the name but contribute their efforts in not-so-glamorous ways.

They don’t take shots, or score points, but their attendance is necessary at every game. Without them, a piece of the puzzle is missing and team function goes askew. Working hard behind the scenes, these members are responsible for managing tasks galore.

According to the National Junior College Athletic Association’s (NJCAA) polls, the San Jacinto College Athletic Department is one of the top Junior College (JUCO) contenders in the nation. With such an esteemed reputation from a storied athletic franchise comes recognition and praise, for the athletes, of course. They’re the ones winning games and upholding the prestige of San Jac athletics.

However, a significant part of that credit is owed to a group that usually falls under the applause-worthy radar; the team managers.

“Some personal traits it takes to be a manager is being able to do jobs that might not be the most glamorous,” San Jac Men’s Basketball Manager Jay Turnipseed said.

His daily duties consist of setting up practice, assisting with drills, as well as running the clock and taking statistics during games. He also washes practice and game jerseys, in addition to all the things which, in his words, “make sure everything behind the scenes goes smoothly.”

Same goes for San Jac Volleyball Manager Lorenzo Johnson who takes part in helping with practice and game organization, among other things.

“I had to run around for hours picking up balls,” Johnson said, “I just tried to look at it as my work out.”

Both managers believe it takes a certain character to succeed in their respective jobs, one with a strong mind, great work ethic, and the will to go above and beyond what is asked.

In addition, a manager must be content with missing out on game action.

“I know so much about the game,” Turnipseed said, “but I can’t do anything but watch.”

Furthermore, Johnson said he realizes he is part of a strong foundation supporting the team’s success.

“It is really humbling. You never know what you’re going to get or what the athletes will become,” he said.

Turnipseed said the most rewarding aspect of the job is being, “a part of something that is bigger than you.”

“You get to see everything that goes in to create/prepare the team to win games,” he added.

However, Johnson did mention his desire to ultimately become a volleyball coach.

“Being a manager is just a start,” he said, “You have to understand that building a strong foundation is important to becoming something bigger and better. It’s like building a house. You start at the bottom and build from the ground up until you’re comfortable enough to call your house a home.”

These two men are a part of a greater group of unsung heroes. Managers, trainers, bat boys, etc. selflessly give their time and commitment. They feel satisfied with the experience of being part of a team, never craving personal glory. It is a big job with small rewards usually limited to just a thank you. It is a simple confirmation, but as with most heroes, that’s all they need to know they’ve delivered a job well done.

Or in Johnson’s case, a “welcome home,” would suffice.