Sideline Support: Boys Basketball 2017

Lucy Dozier

Practice jersey. Check. Gym shorts. Check. Nikes laced tightly. Check. 

Junior Ben Dollar runs through the same list he has for four years as he prepares for his daily practice. 

Two wet towels. Check. Floor mop. Check. Ball cart. Check. 

Directly above the locker room, senior Chace Prothe runs through his own list ingrained into his mind. As team manager for his fourth year in a row, he keeps his routine quick and efficient so he is ready to assist coach Hair when practice begins at sharply 3 o’clock.    

Although Prothe and other team managers, sophomore Alex Gwin and senior Lane Johnston,  never made the game winning shot from half court, their commitment to the team made them just as much a part of it as any other player was.  

The team managers were at every practice and game. Riding along with the team on the bus or jumping in as subs in scrimmages when a player was injured or absent. They attended every team brunch and dinner, never daring to miss the Wednesday night dinners at Johnny’s.

As the players storm down the court, the managers clench the cold metal bench beneath them. The score is 50-46 with two minutes left on the clock and East is battling to keep their lead against Rockhurst. 

Prothe and Gwin have helped prepare the team for this moment for weeks. Their extra hours spent subbing into scrimmages at practice and going over each players’ stats with them would all come down to these next two minutes. 

Gwin scribbles nervously in the stats binder, almost too excited to write when senior Stanley Morantz makes a three pointer. 

Prothe vaults off of the bench as the ball circles the rim in what seems like slow motion. The managers are just as invested as the varsity players, jumping up and cheering as loudly as the student section behind them. 

 “They’re always in the locker room with us before and after the games,” Morantz said. “So they’re with us through every emotional step of the way.”

This team depended on their managers to support them at the away games when the student section was sparse. Their commitment to keeping the team’s spirits high and cheering them on at even the most unexciting games was what bonded them with the team so well. 

“When the players hear the bench bringing good energy it helps them a lot,” Prothe said. “When it gets tight we will all usually be pretty nervous. We’re always really into it.”

Prothe and Gwin roll the ball cart back into the utility closet as the exhausted players trudge downstairs. They unlace their Nikes while the managers return the floor mops to their places. Another day of hard work comes to a close.