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The Man, the Myth, the Manager

Photo+taken+by+Conrad+Singh+-+Manager+Collin+Watson+helps+with+pads
Photo taken by Conrad Singh – Manager Collin Watson helps with pads

Beep… Beep… Beep…  He wakes up with a jolt and looks over at his alarm clock.  The numbers 7:00 a.m. glare back at him. Although it is Saturday, he drags himself out of bed, knowing he needs to get ready for the long day ahead of him.

Being a football manager is not always the easiest job, but for senior Collin Watson, it is muscle memory.  He has been doing this for four years now, so these early mornings are routine.

“In freshman football, I got a concussion, so I started [managing] early freshman year, and I’ve done it ever since,” Collin said.

As one of five managers on the team, each with different responsibilities, Collin specializes in the sideline duties, helping provide water, pads and tape for the players.

“The operation is dependent on everybody,” said head football coach Randy Trivers. “[Managers] are a part of the family.”

Photo taken by James Lau – Manager Collin Watson ready with water on the sideline

It’s game day, so after eating a quick breakfast, Collin departs for Gonzaga, arriving at 8 a.m. to begin treatments.  After taping up a few players, the team goes to pre-game meetings. Collin, on the other hand, begins to fill up the ice jugs and takes them to the field, making sure the players have easy access to cold water during the game when they desperately need it.

“[The manager] really helps hold the team together, [especially] in stressful gametime situations,” stated senior Malcolm Terry, the team’s starting running back.

Once the ice jugs are filled, Collin joins the players for a pregame meal.  The team jokes around, everyone a part of the same football fraternity. They all get excited for the day of football that lies ahead, hopefully ending in victory.

Following the meal, everyone makes their way to the field, where the players walk through their plays and Collin prepares the water and equipment.  Collin is on-call for some last-minute tape, ensuring that every player is ready to take on the team’s opponent.

As the team walks out onto the field, Collin can hear the roars of the student section.  While the team goes through warm-ups, he completes his final check of the water and equipment.  Suddenly, the coach calls the team to a huddle, offers his last pregame words of encouragement and lines them up for the National Anthem.  Oh, say can you see

Collin thinks back to the week leading up to the game.  He and the team invested so much time to prepare for the game, working for two hours each day during the week.  Day after day, Collin was on the field prior to practice, setting up each drill and water jugs. During practice, he made sure each player was hydrated, providing ice cold water for the team during their cherished water breaks.

“There’s a lot of things [the manager] does unnoticed.  [His work] goes under appreciated a lot,” said senior Olu Fashanu, left tackle.

Even when Trivers ends the practice, Collin’s duties continue; he has to break down the drills and bring in the equipment and water jugs.  It’s a time-demanding job, Collin thinks, but it’s all worth it.

… and the home of the brave!  The crowd’s cheers bring Collin back to the present, where he must always be ready for the team.  He needs to take care of his guys, especially when they run off the field after a tiring play. Besides his on-call water duties, Collin must be prepared for any obstacles, such as a broken piece of gear.  Because he is a managerial veteran, Collin is able to quickly deliver water and repair equipment with ease.

Photo taken by James Lau – Manager celebrating with team after a win

“[The manager] is like a [Nascar] pit crew.  Those guys have to be quick, they have to know what they’re doing, and [they have] to get that car back out there,” Trivers said about the speed at which Collin must work.

As the game progresses, Collin can’t lose focus; he needs to be on his toes non-stop, but when he gets the chance to watch the game, he takes it all in.

“My favorite part [of the job] is helping the boys, but at the same time watching the game [and] making memories on the field,” Collin said.

When the game nears its end, Gonzaga is winning, per usual.  With the Eagles on top, Collin has the time to break down the equipment during the fourth quarter so he doesn’t miss the post-game celebration with the team.

The strong team performance reminds Collin of last year’s championship.  He remembers standing on the sideline when the legendary Hail Mary pass from current junior Caleb Williams was caught by John Marshall, class of 2019, and the next thing Collin knew, he was running around crazily with the student body; he recalls losing his phone in the celebratory chaos.

As the final whistle blows, with last year’s success on his mind, Collin cannot help but hope for another championship.  One week at a time, he thinks, as he runs to join the boys in the locker room for their traditional victory dance.

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