BLHS manager goes beyond stereotype
It's two hours prior to game time and Basehor-Linwood senior Ryan Reed is in the locker room.
He doesn't have his shoes. He doesn't have a warm-up suit. He doesn't even have a basketball.
He's dressed in black slacks, a white shirt and a tie that would make him the class of any wedding and he's armed with nothing more than a small piece of paper and a thick magic marker.
The slip of paper is blank for now, but in a matter of minutes Reed will use his magic marker to fill the paper with an inspirational quote that reads something like this:
"Everyone has the will to win, but only few have the will to prepare to win." - Bobby Knight
Tacking inspirational quotes on the bulletin board well before game time isn't part of Reed's official job description, but neither is the slick outfit.
Reed is the manager for the BLHS boys basketball team, but as you can see his work goes well beyond filling water bottles and washing towels.
"He's more than just that," BLHS coach Bruce Courtney said. "If you were to describe his duties and what he does for us, you wouldn't even list those things until much later on. He does so many things and he does them all on his own. He's just naturally a right-hand man."
Based on what he does for the team, it's obvious that Reed's story is not your common basketball manager story. Unlike the majority of basketball managers, Reed did play basketball until his freshman year of high school. After his freshman year, however, Reed was done with basketball and he took his entire sophomore year off.
The summer before his junior year, however, then BLHS coach Dan Miller asked Reed to be the manager and Reed thought it would be a great way to stay involved with basketball. This year, Courtney took the same approach.
"He called me over the summer and asked me to be the manager again," Reed said. "I had such a good time doing it last year that I thought it'd be fun again this year and so far it's been great."
Whether it's setting up the clock in practice or keeping detailed stats on a handheld stat-tracker during the game, Reed has done it all. He has gathered warm-up suits and he has barked out instructions during a game. He has filled water jugs and he has filled the minds of the players with inspiration and positivity.
In all, Reed has been like a third assistant coach, without having the specific title.
"He's right there all the time," Courtney said. "He's telling guys where to be and he's telling guys how to play. It's like having an unpaid assistant sitting on the bench with me."
For Reed, that's exactly what he hoped it would be. For most of his life he's known that he wanted to be a teacher. Just recently he realized he'd like to be a coach as well. And sitting on the bench watching, analyzing and learning has been the greatest part for Reed.
"I want to be a coach and I'm trying to learn as much as I can," Reed said. "I'd probably just like to be a high school coach, since I've been around that, but college would be cool, too. I wouldn't coach in the NBA though."
Courtney said he's happy Reed has been able to help out as the manager while on the way to reaching his goal of becoming a coach. Courtney also said, that from the looks of it, Reed will make a great coach some day.
"There are two avenues of getting there," Courtney said of becoming a coach. "One is by playing the game and learning it from the inside. The other is by watching and coaching and learning from the outside. Ryan has now done both and I think he'll be a great coach in the future.
"I just wish he would start training someone to be our next manager, because he will be sorely missed."