April 19, 2024

A lot more goes on behind the scenes of the Events Center at California Baptist University than meets the eye.

While athletes practice on the court and coaches prep for upcoming games in their offices, the team managers are making sure their team is on schedule and everything is running smoothly.

Joy Graham, senior early childhood studies major, has been the team manager for the women’s basketball team at CBU all four years of her college career. She said her father inspired her decision to become a team manager for a college sports team.

“My first year, I needed a job and my dad did sports development overseas, so I love basketball. I had no idea at the time what the job entailed but now that I’ve done it for four years I absolutely love it.”

Makya Bullion, freshman kinesiology major, became a team manager for women’s basketball last September. Bullion played basketball in high school and saw the team manager position as an opportunity for her to stay connected with her love for sports.

“I’ve played sports my whole life,” Bullion said, “so to be a freshman and get a job like this is pretty cool.”

Bullion said she believes that being a team manager will help with her future kinesiolgy career.

“The athletic trainers sit on the bench with the team managers during the games, so if someone gets injured I can listen to what they’re saying and see them take care of the players,” Bullion said.

Graham said she currently works for the team 10 to 15 hours a week and her job consists of various tasks that keep the team organized.

“Essentially, I come to practice 30 minutes to one hour before they start, run the clock, keep score during drills, help remind the women of tasks and after practice I do laundry,” Graham said.

Being a part of the team has opened a door to new friendships with the athletes. Kristine Sellona, junior civil engineering major and guard on the CBU women’s basketball team, said Graham has become her close friend.

“Joy helped me as a freshman when I was transitioning pretty badly,” Sellona said. “She put in extra hours, rebounded for me, timed me on drills and was always there.”

Although Graham is not a basketball player, she said her time spent with the team has helped her become more understanding of the lives of student-athletes.

“It’s a lot of work to be a student-athlete. This role has given me insight into a whole new world that I thought I would never get to see,” Graham said. “It takes so much time and effort out of their lives and I see all that time and effort they put in.”

Bullion said that she could not pick a favorite aspect of her job.

“I’m still soaking it in, but I like everything and would like to stick with it for the rest of college,” Bullion said.

Graham said the most rewarding part of her job was getting to see the women’s transformation throughout the years.

“Now that I’ve done it for four years I’ve gotten to see the women as freshmen when there’s so much potential,” Graham said. “After four years you get to see this cool person blossom and grow not just as a player but as a person.”

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