Lake Zurich High School Student Media

Bear Facts

Mind your managers

Jenna Roach, Sports Writer

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When people attend basketball games, they go to see the players score points or steal the ball, and the fans congratulate the star players after a win and console them after a loss. However, few fans appreciate, or even acknowledge, the team managers.

            “[Our managers are] like assistant coaches. They’re doing so many things for us, and they don’t get any praise. They don’t get their name in the newspaper or that kind of stuff. Getting to run out there, playing in front of the band and all the cheerleaders and the crowd, all of the players get to do that and they don’t get to do that,” Billy Pitcher, boys’ varsity basketball coach, said. “They [are managers] because they’re really just helping. We really, really appreciate their effort, I mean, they do a really, really, really good job for us.”

            The managers of the boys’ varsity basketball team are Brett Pope, senior, and Brandon Perel, junior, who manage the boys’ varsity basketball team. Lourdes Ramirez, sophomore, manages the girls’ varsity basketball team. They each help their team in various ways at practices or games. Pope has been helping the team for three years, Perel has been helping for two years, and this is Ramirez’s first year as manager.

            “Coach Pitcher asked if I could start helping the basketball team, so it kind of just started from there. I show up when the team does for all the games, and I’ll show up to practices whenever I’m needed. I usually videotape and sometimes I’ll edit video for the team, and then just whatever else they need me to do,” Perel said.

            Pope says he started out videotaping but has moved to stats.

            “The past two years I’ve been recording stats, like recording the points, rebounds, assists, steals and all those kinds of things,” Pope said. “I have to go to all the games that I can and I go to some practices, too.”

            Ramirez’s job as a manager for the girls’ team differs from the boys’ team managers because she says she is mostly a practice manager, not a game manager.

“I have to go to every practice but not every game. At practice I usually run time [on the scoreboard] for [the team] when they need time, and at games I keep stats and stuff. Also, I told the girls that if they ever need anything else I can get that for them; like for Theresa [Baumann], I get her ice after practice.”

In addition to helping the team out at practices and games, Perel says the managers also get to participate in activities with the team.

            “I like being a manager because I can go to all the games and I get to hang out with the team and get to know all the guys and work with the players before the game and go into the locker room at halftime and hear the pre-game and post-game speeches and things like that,” Perel said. “I have fun with [managing]. I enjoy coming to all the games and supporting the team.”  

            Pope agrees that spending time with the team is an important part of being a manger and he even hosted one of the team dinners at his house.

            “I just like going behind the scenes and all that stuff. I like sports a lot and being able to go behind the scenes with the basketball team, I just think that’s really cool. It’s been very enjoyable and a very rewarding experience,” Pope said.

            Ramirez agrees that being a manger has brought her closer with the team.

            “In the beginning, I was kind of shy and nervous, and I didn’t know if I would really be part of the team, but [the team] welcomed me with open hands, and now I feel comfortable around them because I know all of them better,” Ramirez said. “I got to go to a couple of the varsity team dinners and when I see [the players] in the hallways, I’ll talk to them and I’ve just been getting to know them more. I feel like [managing has allowed] me to get to know more of the people I go to school with. I am really glad I did it.”

            Pitcher believes that going behind the scenes with the team has allowed the managers to become a part of the team.

            “All the kids on the team really like being around [the managers], and they’re part of the team. They get a letter at the end of the year at our banquet and we honor them. That’s the biggest thing; our guys on the team all treat them like they’re all teammates,” Pitcher said.

            Brad Kruse, junior captain, agrees that the managers are his teammates.

            “They really are part of the team. They come to all the games and [they come] on the bus rides, [so] I know them both pretty well,” Kruse said. “They help us out a lot, and I don’t know what we’d do without them to be honest.”

            Kaylee Grant, sophomore, also believes Ramirez is a huge help to the girls’ team.

            “I just met Lourdes this year, but she’s always at all of our practices so I’ve gotten close to her. Now I’d say we’re good friends,” Grant said. “She stays after school every day and she runs the clock and helps just do little things for our team. It’s a huge help and she definitely does a lot. She plays a huge role in our team.”

            Not only have the managers affected the coaches and players, but Pope says he has learned to appreciate the players from his time managing. 

            “I’ve learned how much practice and how much time people have to put into [basketball]. Before [managing], I kind of thought that [the players] just went out and did their thing, but now I realize how much training and practice all the players have to go through to ready for the games,” Pope said.

            Pope was able to use what he has learned from watching the team in the manager one-on-one game he played with Perel.

            “It was actually coach [Don] Rowley, the assistant coach‘s, idea for us to have the game. Once the players were done with their practice, Coach Rowley said ‘alright whoever is cheering for Brandon go on one side, and whoever is cheering for Brett go on the other,’ so they split up the players who were cheering for whoever, and Coach Rowley was refereeing the game and we just played to seven points and I ended up beating Brett. There was a little bit of trash talking going back and forth between us two just for fun,” Perel said. “It was fun getting to actually play after being a manager. It was just a fun experience to play each other and have all of the players on the team watching us and cheering.”

            All three managers agree that managing is an enjoyable experience and they are glad they chose to manage.

“[Managing] was a really good experience. I had a lot of fun this year. I’m glad I did it, and I can’t wait to do it again next year,” Ramirez said.

Pitcher says he really appreciates having these two managers on the team.

            “[They] just save me a ton of time, with stats, video, all that kind of stuff. A lot of teams don’t have the luxury that we do, it’s huge,” Pitcher said. “If I were to acknowledge them or say something to appreciate them every single day, they’d still be under appreciated. They both do a really, really good job.”

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Lake Zurich High School Student Media
Mind your managers