Junior Mia Johnson works just as hard as the rest of her team. She attends every practice, training session, game, and tournament. But during the season, she almost never steps foot on the court.
Instead, Johnson can be found on the sidelines, frantically scribbling in a notebook. She plays the position of team manager, and is responsible for copiously recording every move her team makes. She tracks kills, errors, and passes, which are rated on a scale of zero to three depending on how many options are open.
“Basically, everything that volleyball players do, I write down,” Johnson said. “You have to follow the game really fast.”
The position was offered to Johnson after she was cut from the varsity team this fall.
“I was a starter on Freshman A and on the sophomore team, but I got cut for varsity,” Johnson said. “I don’t really understand the decision process.”
Johnson’s friends who did make the team were quick to recommend her as manager.
“They told [Coach] Pazely I’d be good for the job,” Johnson said. “The girls he’d already offered the position to said no, so here I am.”
She did admit to occasionally feeling frustrated over not playing in games despite working hard at practice.
“I’ve played a total of one time, and it was when we were winning twenty to six,” Johnson said. “I’ll only get to play if someone’s sick, or if I outperform someone else during practice.”
Despite the downsides of being a manager, Johnson is still grateful to have the position.
“Anything is better than nothing,” Johnson said. “If I didn’t take the management position, I wouldn’t be doing any sport right now. I’d get worse, and definitely wouldn’t make the team next year.”
Most importantly, Johnson is glad she still gets to play the sport she loves.
“Volleyball is like, my thing,” Johnson said. “I’m glad I still get to hang out with all my volleyball friends and go to practices. That’s close enough to playing for me.”