What It Feels Like to Choose The Sidelines

By Thomas Scott // As told to Kaylee Schreiner

Ten hours until the game… nine hours until the game…

I’ve loved football since around eighth grade. As soon as I started watching it on TV, my dad encouraged me to play. I always used to go out and practice with my friends, which was what really started to make me love it.

Even though I loved football, I didn’t really know much about it until I became a manager. My interest in football grew every year that I was involved with it and as I learned more about the sport, I learned more about people, as well. Through football I figured out who really appreciates and cares about me. I’ve noticed that some people just look back at me and be like ‘look at this kid. He’s not playing, what’s wrong with him? Is he too scared?’ No, it’s not that. It came down to my grades. I couldn’t keep up with football during my freshman year so I decided to manage and it’s honestly been one of the best experiences of my life.

Eight hours until the game… seven hours until the game…

People don’t realize how much goes into being a manager. Even though it isn’t all that hard to do, it’s a huge time commitment. I went to football all summer; five days a week in June and three weeks in July. I also went and conditioned with the team just because I loved being with them; I come everyday. I’m always hanging out with the linemen if they need me to step in front of a drill. Whether it be PAT’s (Point After Touchdown), blocking drills for the running backs or quarterbacks, tip drills, high point drills, etc., I’ll do whatever they need me to do.

Sometimes I just help people mentally. Plenty of people will go run the ball and fumble, and then they’ll beat themselves up for it. After that you have to go up to them and give them support. You have to tell them ‘you’ve got this, you’re okay.’ You have to make sure that they feel great about themselves and that they can come out with confidence because if you’re feeling like crap, you’re going to play like crap: look good, feel good, play good.

Six hours until the game… five hours until the game…

Being able to be a part of the team and be a part of football, it’s really my favorite thing in the world. Even though I don’t miss playing, I love the sport. When it came down to it, playing football as a team sport just wasn’t my thing, but I love friday night lights and being on the sidelines. If I could get a job later on in my life where I could work with a football team or any sports team, it would be my dream. I couldn’t let it go: once you start getting into football, it’s like an addiction.

You don’t just become addicted to the sport, you get attached to the people, too. You have to be open-minded with everyone because they’re all different. There’s the popular kids and then the lower-ended ones, but at the end of the day, we all come together as a family because we respect each other.

There’s so many people within the football program that I never thought I’d be friends with. I mean, when you’re able to be good friends with the star quarterback, the captain of the team, I think that’s pretty cool. You have the respect from everybody else and it all comes down to having good relationships with the coaches, the trainers, the other managers and all of the players; I love each and every one of them and I’d do anything for them.

Four hours until the game… three hours until the game…

This year they gave me a jersey for my senior year, which all of the coaches and last year’s players recommended me for. I was really excited during summer camp when coach called everyone’s number and, somehow, I was the last one. My heart dropped a little bit. I was kind of like ‘are you kidding? Is he being serious?’ I wasn’t going to cry but I felt pretty emotional, I was really happy; it’s definitely a moment I’ll remember. With that being said, I think it’s a big deal for me, at least, to be a part of the team and ultimately be a part of a family.

Just like all of the other football players who wear a jersey on Friday, I can’t focus on game day. When you get to school you’re practically counting down the hours until the game starts. The whole day is unreal, almost like you’re in a videogame; nothing seems real. I don’t even know how to explain it, but it’s really hype. It’s really exciting to be a part of such a big thing in our community and school. Everybody comes to our games so it’s really awesome to be down there on the sidelines with the rest of the team. By the end of every game I always lose my voice and have a great time; I’m always giving high fives and cracking heads, it’s all so much fun.

Two hours until the game… one hour until the game…

I’m going to really miss it when it’s over. Football and managing has been such an important part of my life for the last four years. If I wasn’t a football manager I’d just be sitting around being lazy. Football’s even introduced me to weightlifting which has helped me get healthier, stronger and lose weight. Some of my best high school experiences have come from managing the football team and the last game after we lose, I’m definitely going to cry.

Football has made me a much more caring person in general. I have gained a lot of friends from going through football or even from friends knowing friends from football. Some of my best friends are people from the football team. I think it’s taught me loyalty and determination on the field, on the weight deck, in the off-season and off the field. A lot of football players train to get better, I train to better myself.

Game time.