This week’s guest post comes courtesy of Jeff Schildt, a long-time friend of the W&M Sports Blog; Jeff recently won our football prediction contest, and was awarded the opportunity to write a guest post. Having served as a Football Equipment Manager for several years at W&M, he offers great insight and a behind-the-scenes look at Tribe Football. Don’t forget to thank those Equipment Managers for their hard work next time you see them! Roll Tribe Roll.
Millions of college football fans around the country eagerly wait for their team’s contest. They talk with their family and friends about where to watch the game and what food items to prepare. Preparation is key to enjoying the game! We as fans plan out plenty of small details to ensure a great game day experience.
We know our favorite teams are doing their required preparation for gameday as well, but what fans may not be aware of is the preparation by many departments around college football that help bring all the game day enjoyment to life. Some of these departments are: Equipment, Sports Medicine, Sports Performance, Facilities and Game Ops, Ticket sales, Marketing, and on and on.
I had an opportunity to work as a support staff member for The College of William and Mary in the equipment department, and I’m going to share some things I did to prepare for each game.
Where to begin? The amount of work can seem overwhelming, but what I found to be incredibly useful was a worklist. I’d fill up multiple sheets with items that needed to be completed before the end of the week.
From top to bottom I’d write out tasks by priority, and if you saw this list you’d think to yourself there is no way one person could get that many items done in a week! Well, you’d be right. Next to each item I would put my name, or the name of one of the student equipment managers, who in my opinion, are the most important workers on the equipment staff.
Student managers work everyday of the week helping with the daily task that must be done to allow our team to practice. They come in a few hours before practice and set up the field with gear for each position group, they work the practice hustling so the team can execute the maximum number of plays.
After practice they do the laundry, clean the equipment area, and work a window that the student athletes can visit and have any need addressed. Throughout the week, in between handling practice responsibilities, the student managers will scrub practice and game balls, inventory newly received items, organize storage rooms, sew jerseys if necessary, and whatever else they are asked.
It’s been my experience that student managers have a high care factor for the work they do because they know they are a part of the team. Equipment managers and student equipment managers take a great deal of pride in accomplishing all the work required so the team can focus on practice and games.
Game day is equally exciting for equipment managers as it is for the players. Before the crowds flow in or the players take the field for practice reps, we get to stand back and admire hours of work come to fruition.
Those few moments before game time routine kicks into high gear are gratifying. The next time you are at a stadium or watching the game on TV keep an eye out for those quiet figures in the background running around doing everything they can to help support the team.