Do Managers Deserve Half a Varsity Letter?


Photo: T. Weisberg '21

Managing a varsity team has long been an alternative to athletics or drama for fifth and sixth formers seeking an afternoon activity. However, not playing in the games or matches sparks the question of whether managers ought to be considered part of the teams they manage – and whether they deserve the half varsity letters they receive at the end of each term.


The Athletic Department requires managers to bring the waters to and from team practices as well as attend all of the team’s games, both home and away. As a result, the time commitment is not significantly less than the sport itself; boys varsity hockey manager Addie Newsome ’18 says “I’ll work out so I’ll be in the AC for the same amount of time they are.”


Then, before every home game, Addie and her co-manager Evie Gomila ’19 have to “fill up the water, set up the puck pyramid, bring the back-up sticks, keep stats, control the music, and tweet the score of the boys’ game.” Much of this would be the domain of coaches or players otherwise, so managers fill an important niche in team activities. Further, by using the statistics managers take, coaches have the ability to analyze the team as a whole and determine what tactics they need to focus more on in practice

According to Athletic Director Bob Low, managers are given half a varsity letter is because “the time commitment equates to that of an athlete on the team.” Willow Irving ’20, a member of the girls varsity squash team, agrees with Mr. Low that managers “deserve half a varsity letter because even though they aren’t playing for the team, they are still helping out, taking the scores, and setting up the matches.”

Varsity letters are traditionally awarded based on varsity team status – by proxy, on athletic skill. Getting half a varsity letter showcases the level of commitment that managers bring in an often thankless position. However, some would argue that this doesn’t mean they are truly part of the team. Varsity hockey player Henry Hodde ’20 says that managers “are very useful, but I wouldn’t necessarily consider them to be a part of the team. I’d say they’re connected but not actually on the team because they’re not actually playing in the games. For hockey, they’re not on the ice with the rest of the team, they’re off to the side, and they aren’t in the locker room.”


On the other hand, boys varsity basketball manager Elechi Egwuekwe ’18 says that she feels like she is truly a part of the team “because this team is made up of some of my best friends, so it wasn’t hard for me to fit right in.”


The same is true of managers on the girls varsity basketball team; Coach Stacey Spring strongly believes that the managers are integral members of the team: “Sunhoo [Park] and Charlie [Pearce ‘18] bring positive energy to bus rides, practices, and games…They help keep things light.” Overall, it seems that the question of whether or not managers are truly parts of their teams depends on the specific team and manager. Regardless, managers serve important functions and help to keep team’s running smoothly. “The team wouldn’t be the same without them,” says Willow.