Saint Mary’s senior reflects on time as student football manager
Jordan Cockrum | Wednesday, August 30, 2017
Upon arriving to campus her first year, Saint Mary’s senior Ashley DeJonge said she knew she wanted to participate in the football student managing program.
“I knew about the student managing program before I even stepped on campus as a student,” DeJonge said in an email. “I know a couple people who were involved as a manager for other sports and spoke very highly of the program, so I thought I’d give it a try.”
Students interested in the program must join during their freshman year, so DeJonge began her involvement during her first year of studies.
“I’ve been a manager for the football team since my freshman year,” she said. “That’s when anyone who is interested needs to get involved because of the way continuing on in the program works.”
Within the program, she works both practices and games in order to assist the team.
“We work every practice and walk-through the team has, set up the locker room before game days and work on the sidelines of the home games,” DeJonge said. “Some of us even get the opportunity to travel to all the away games.”
DeJonge said her participation in the football management program has given her an introduction into the sports industry — a field in which she said she hopes to continue working after graduation.
“My dream is to work in the sports industry someday, so I felt this would be a great opportunity to get involved with an athletic program and to build my resume,” she added.
In addition to building her resume, football management has taught her about all of the work that goes into a game day, she said.
“I love getting to see everything that happens behind the scenes,” DeJonge said. “I’ve learned so much about an athletic team and its program that I would have never imagined goes into a game day production.”
However, there are also obstacles that come with working in the field, DeJonge said.
“At times being a female in this position presents a challenge where I’m unable to help out in areas that are needed, such as having to be in the locker room. But these situations definitely have not hindered my ability to work in this program,” she said.
Nonetheless, DeJonge said her experience at Saint Mary’s has given her the confidence to continue working in the field.
“Saint Mary’s really prides themselves on empowering women, so this mentality has helped me succeed in a male-dominant position,” she said.
If any first year students have an interest in joining, DeJonge said she recommends they give it a try. Any freshmen that would like to become involved are welcome to send her an email, she said.
“Even if you are on the line about it, sign up and work a practice,” DeJonge said. “Every freshman will have the opportunity to work practices and some will even get lucky enough to work a game. It’s an amazing opportunity no matter how long your experience is.”