Dedicated teammates fill variety of roles

May 17, 2011 

After observing new Battery Creek football coach Jim Shuman's 10 spring practices, I am impressed with his practice organization and the assistants' coaching abilities, and I'm convinced Shuman and his staff will be able to develop the young men into sound fundamental players who execute winning offensive and defensive plays.

Shuman and staff are doing well encouraging the kids to become mentally tough players and loyal teammates. Fundamentally sound and mentally tough players are the keys to winning.

During the Dolphins' 10 practices, I saw another Dolphin team made up of several young ladies working hard to ensure good practices, especially when the temperature and humidity are high. Allyssia, Malasis, Whitney, Maty and Aja work with Battery Creek's trainer from Carolina Sports Care, and it is obvious these young ladies are just as dedicated to the Dolphins football team as the players.

The young ladies help their male teammates with important tasks such as supplying water during practices. A sufficient amount of water is essential to keep players hydrated so they can maintain their mental and physical energy.

Each practice, one young lady drives a John Deere cart from a school building and brings out a number of big buckets of water along with individual plastic bottles. Two others each push a two-wheel Power Flow cart loaded with a heavy bucket of cold water and hoses for drinking about 150 yards from the same building.

After I tilted and felt a Power Flow's weight, I was impressed the girls easily took the device up and down the field a number of times to provide water for the players and coaches. Doing that would be a good workout for this ol' coach.

Coach Shuman has 28 five-minute periods for practice, and one young lady helps keep practice organized by loudly announcing through a megaphone the change in periods.

I was happy to see the trainer, Kim, help a player readjust the padding in his helmet and it was gratifying seeing her helping a player sitting on the cart who had a serious knee injury. Throughout my career, all serious injuries broke my heart, but it's reassuring to know the players have a great trainer to help when they are injured.

When I first came to practice, it was fun to joke with the young ladies by asking them silly questions like, "Which bucket has sweet tea?," "Are you a wide receiver or a defensive back?," or "Are you a quarterback or running back?" We had fun giggling together.

It would make me happy someday when my two young granddaughters are going to an Upstate high school if they become unique teammates to the football players like these girls.

There's just one thing about the situation that bothers me: I hope the athletics department will provide the girls with attractive Battery Creek shirts and shorts for practices and games.

They certainly deserve it, because they are part of the team.

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