I know the managers of the football team may just seem like people who just give the boys water on the field. But for those who manage, it's much more. We hand out jerseys and practice equipment, fix their helmets and more. And as soon as players are on that field starting practice, we are there with them, even at 7a.m.
Four girls have managed for 3 to 4 years for this team. They include Ashlyn Leishman, Lesley Cruz, Jayda Howard, and, me, Kiara Guerrero.
We each have all of our own stories to tell about this team, from bus rides to practices. These boys have become more than just people we give water to. We all care about these boys. They have become practically family, including the coaches.
With that I would like to share experiences from each manager’s perspective.
I’ll start with Jayda Howard. “Over the past 4 years, I've had a really good lesson on responsibility and unity. I didn't think that there was a chance in the world that I'd be able to make friends with anyone on the team, but over time, I have become very close with these guys. They've been really good to me and really good friends. They've looked out for me and helped me with a lot. I'm really glad that they would have taken me under my wing like they did, including the coaches and the other managers.”
Howard added, “The other managers didn't come into the picture for me until sophomore year, but I don't think I've had unconditional love like I have with them. They mean the world to me, and I don't know what I would have done or been without them. I've attained great skills to get jobs, great connections with people that will get me far in life and great memories that I'm going to be able to keep forever. They're my boys, my kids. My family. This team has become my family. I feel comfortable and at home with all of them and I can't thank them enough for being a part of my life. It's been a fun, stressful, heartbreaking, exhilarating, wild ride, and I thank my fellow managers for loving me and riding through it with me. Forever my family.”
Lesley Cruz said, “In the middle of my sophomore year I had a really good opportunity to become a football manager. I remember telling my older brother that was a senior at the time on the football team that I wanted to be one of those girls on the football field. He got in contact with the managers, and boom I was in.
Cruz continued, “It was a really great experience for the ending of my sophomore year and those next 2 years. I am very fortunate to have had experiences like managing a football team, being at every single game, emotional games at times, but the boys always played their hearts out. I was new to the managers and I didn't think I was going to be friends with them. I didn't know Jayda, Ashlyn or Kiara, but man am I glad I am close to them. I love the girls and the team.”
Ashyln Leishman said, “I became a football manager through Jayda Howard. She and Kiara need help and I fell in love with it right away. The team welcomed me in with open arms and I am so grateful. I made so many friends and learned that I would always have a family with these boys.
Leishman added, “I became so close to the other managers. We are practically sisters. I can't imagine my life without them. Most games were an emotional roller coaster. But the boys on our team have always played their hearts out. They gave it everything they've got. Each and every one of them have earned my respect and my love. The last games were always the hardest. Especially now that I know I won't be able to come back next year. I'm so thankful for the memories that were made. I'm forever a proud Grizzly.”
Now it’s my turn. I had the opportunity to be able to manage football for all four years. I have always loved football, and being able to be on the sidelines and watch those boys play their hearts out on that field, has been such an amazing experience. These boys have been very respectful and grateful for what we have done for them. I don't think I ever went a day without the boys telling us thank you.
This is something that has had a huge impact on my life and is definitely something that I will never forget. Especially the state game, definitely a highlight of senior year. It was also a really hard game to watch knowing this was my last year being with those boys on the sidelines. I also love the friendships I have made with the other managers, as well as some of the boys. They are definitely friendships I believe will last a lifetime. I am so proud of these boys playing their hearts out these past years. I am also very grateful for the coaches. Forever a Grizzly!
These girls do have a big part to do with football, as they are there throughout the entire season. They go on every bus ride, are there at every practice, as well as every game, just to make sure those boys have what they need, just so they can focus on the game and nothing more. Thanks for a wonderful 4 years!