A successful football program is made up of many ingredients. Many of the activities that have to happen are behind the scenes and far removed from the spotlight of the end zone. One such job is that of the trainer. In this department the Ridgerunners are in capable hands.
Seniors Ashley Fitzgibbon, Callie Dollarhide, Bailee Tullis and Kellea Hampton, along with sophomore Sonia Roberts, make up the training crew for the Ridgerunner football program this season.
For Hampton the 2008 season will mark the third consecutive year that she has been part of the group. Fitzgibbon, Dollarhide, and Tullis will be entering their second season with the football team. After tending to training duties with the State Champion Ridgerunner wrestling team last year, Roberts will be making her debut with the gridiron club.
“I worked with Sonia last year during wrestling season,” Dollarhide said. “She’s a quick learner and she’ll be excellent for football. She’s our trainer in training for football season!”
Aside from working with the football and wrestling programs Dollarhide has also been the trainer for the GHS track team the past two seasons.
“I love athletics,” Dollarhide said. “Being a part of everything is a lot of fun. I even enjoy going to the practices.”
While each sport that Dollarhide works with has its own charms she definitely has a favorite.
“There’s nothing like high school football,” said Dollarhide. “Especially Ridgerunner football!”
“I really enjoy being on the sideline with the coaches during the games,” she continued. “There’s a lot of energy down on the field and I like the fast pace of the game.”
All of the trainers enjoy their work and some of the job is hard work.
“We have to wrap ankles and wrists and elbows and knees,” Fitzgibbon said. “We take precautions to make sure something like a staph infection doesn’t occur.”
Some of the wraps that the trainers enact are the figure eight wrap, the stirrup wrap, the horseshoe wrap, and the anklelock. Fitzgibbon says that the wrist and elbow are the most difficult joints to wrap.
The trainers have other duties during practices as well.
“We time the practices,” said Fitzgibbon. “We have a time sheet that says what the team is going to do for a certain amount of time during practice. We have a timer and whenever time is up we sound the air horn.”
The ladies do a lot of on-the-job training as the season progresses and certain needs arise. But everyone on the staff has attended a trainer’s camp at NEO A&M to build a solid knowledge base.
“I went to NEO training camp for the past two years,” said Fitzgibbon. “When I went this year I learned a lot of new things.”
All of the trainers are good friends and that is a large part of the enjoyment they take from the job.
“Being with friends and getting to spend a lot of time with them are things I like about being a trainer,” said Fitzgibbon. “The football players are funny and they mess around a lot.”
As full-fledged members of the Ridgerunner team the trainers are privy to the highs and lows of a football season.
“Sometimes the players can get a little touchy during a tight game or a hot practice,” Fitzgibbon said, laughing. “Like, when I’m taping ankles during a practice and the player will say, ‘It’s not tight enough!’ And I’ll say, ‘I’m doing the best I can, calm down!’”
“But if it’s not a tight game or a really tough practice they’ll say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’,” said Fitzgibbon. “They treat us like a lady most all of the time. And other times, it’s just part of being part of the team, and that’s fine, I understand.”
As a three-sport trainer Dollarhide keeps busy with training duties all year round. After football season Fitzgibbon, Tullis, and Hampton take to the pitch for the Lady Red soccer team. Roberts trains for the football and wrestling teams and is also an active member in the Grove FFA.