So Much More than Laundry
Nov. 12, 2003
By Jeff Robinson, Fourth Year
On game day, the Cavalier Football team runs out of the tunnel, outfitted in their very best. The light reflecting off recently shined helmets, the extra grip in newly replaced game cleats and everything in between is the hard work of the equipment room staff coming to form.
The glamour of the game day uniform is only one of many important responsibilities of the equipment room staff at the McCue Center. Matt Althoff, equipment manager for four seasons, along with two full time assistant managers, and a crew of 10 student managers are responsible for all ordering, issuing, and maintaining of equipment for the Cavalier Football team.
During the week, the staff is responsible for the laundry loop that includes all laundry that the players wore during both practice and weight training sessions. The efficiency of this system depends on three industrial strength 180 lbs. washing machines that run on a continual cycle. The staff is also responsible for making sure all game day equipment is in top form. For example, football cleats must be cleaned, broken shoelaces replaced and the regulation one-half inch spikes exchanged.
The top concern of the equipment room staff is that players are comfortable with their current equipment. Football players can replace existing equipment at any time as long as they bring their old and worn items to the equipment room for exchange. When an injury arises, players’ equipment must be modified to conform to a brace or cast. The equipment staff values feedback from all players as to how their current equipment is fitting.
The Equipment Manager at the McCue Center, Matt Althoff said, “When players are comfortable and satisfied with their equipment, they can focus all of their attention on making the big plays.”
When the Cavalier Football team goes on the road, everything the football team needs travels with them. All supplies from the training room, weight room, video and equipment rooms are packed into the equipment truck. The equipment for the sidelines are chosen based on one of three seasons. In the late summer, the hot weather games will call for electric fans and other cooling devices. In the early fall, when game temperatures are slightly chilly, mock turtlenecks and lightweight jackets are worn. The third season is defined by extreme cold, and the majority of equipment packed consists of heating devices, long sleeves, and gloves.
The Cavaliers travel to College Park, MD Thursday night to battle the Terrapins of the University of Maryland. The weather forecasted for Thursday’s game is a low of 29 degrees and winds of 23 mph. Without a doubt, the Cavaliers will be prepared for the winter game conditions with their cold weather gear.
The responsibilities of the equipment room staff are not limited to equipment alone. The ten volunteer student managers are involved in the day to day operations of the Football team as well. Matt Althoff describes the student managers as the “lifeblood of the team…things could not happen without their dedication.”
The managers are heavily involved in practices with responsibilities such as spotting the ball on all practice drills, managing the practice clock, and even running the practice drills. Each manager is assigned to a coach and given the responsibility to provide for as many as ten players. On game days, the managers are given roles such as charting plays, facilitating communication from coordinators to coaches on the field, running game balls in to the field, signaling plays, and providing help when equipment problems arise.
Matt Althoff described work as the equipment manager of the Cavaliers: “It is the ultimate way to be involved in sports, you are part of the team, and you take pride in everything you do. Although it is not the most glamorous job and requires many hours, it pays off when you come home with a win.”