Times Staff Writer
Recording statistics during games, organizing team events, or just helping out with practice.
These tasks may seem mundane. However, it takes a special kind of person — with passion, dedication and patience — to deal with attitudes of coaches and players. Yet, Gunnison High School (GHS) students Christina Karr and Madison Hadley possess those qualities — and more.
“Christina and Madison share a very rare character trait among people in general,” said GHS boys head basketball coach Matt Smith. “Their willingness to go above and beyond for the benefit of others, and acknowledgment of nobody, sets an example for every student at Gunnison High School.”
A prime example of that occured during a GHS boys basketball road trip.
“One time, they started washing our jerseys in the bathtub at a hotel because the washer was broken,” said Smith. “If that doesn’t speak to their dedication, I don’t know what does. They bring things to the culture of this program that few people will ever know about or understand.”
Despite being in two different grades — Karr is a junior and Hadley a sophomore — both were drawn to athletic managing for similar reasons.
“I’ve always been the type of person who wanted to get involved,” said Karr.
Hadley echoed that sentiment, saying she “wanted to be involved in athletics but was never that athletic in anything, so this was a way to be involved in athletics.”
Karr’s first stint as manager came freshman year with the GHS boys baseball team, which led to her becoming manager for other GHS teams.
“That was the main thing that got me started,” said Karr. “Then I decided to become manager for softball and boys basketball my sophomore year.”
Hadley didn’t become a manager freshman year like Karr; however, she is the manager for multiple GHS teams — including volleyball and boys basketball.
“Madison is not your typical manager. She is so much more than a manager,” said head volleyball coach Shana Benson. “She uplifts, encourages and plans extra things for the players and for the coaches. She is driven by her generous heart.
“She is passionate about anything she sets to do, and strives for perfection,” Benson continued. “She brightens my day, encourages me regularly and is someone who demonstrates the goodness in the world.”
Hadley also is thinking about becoming the manager for the track and field distance team.
Despite Karr and Hadley not technically being considered athletes, they have had to learn how to work sports into their schedules.
“In the beginning of the year, it's hard because you miss a lot of school,” said Hadley.
“It’s one of those things where if you really care about the teams, you help out,” added Karr. “You just find a way to make it work because you want to be there for them.”
With Hadley and Karr possessing a similar mindset, it is no surprise that they’ve developed a special bond.
“Having Madison come on the team was a big help for me. I appreciate that a lot,” said Karr, “We have definitely grown a relationship. We didn’t know each other at all (previously).”
Hadley has helped Karr to plan team dinners, sleepovers, bingo night and helped organize events for the basketball Christmas party.
When Karr and Hadley aren’t planning events, they can been seen helping coach Smith get ready for practice, packing players’ bags, or jotting down statistics during games.
All the work has given the duo a slight edge for their plans after high school.
“I want to go into sports medicine or sports managing so I have also been working on athletic training aspect,” said Karr. “So this is also a way to start my career earlier.”
During the 2017-18 school year, Karr worked with certified athletic trainer Maria Kattnig, learning how to wrap ankles, manage basic injuries and experience what it is like to be an athletic trainer.
While Hadley isn’t interested in going into sport medicine in particular as a career, she is interested in the field of medicine.
(Brandon Warr can be reached at 970.641.1414 or firstname.lastname@example.org.)