Basketball manager brings passion to team

Evan Goldberg, Sports Editor

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Junior Danny Brodson reacts during a basketball game against Deerfield on Dec. 15 which Glenbrook North lost 45-42. Brodson has been the manager of the boys basketball team since his freshman year of high school. Photo by Richard Chu

In the past three years, the joint-longest serving member of the boys varsity basketball team has never logged a single minute of playing time, but junior Danny Brodson has been helping the team in a different way as the team manager.

“I don’t consider myself a player,” said Brodson. “I never wanted to play. I never try out. I always just ask to be the manager.”

After becoming the manager of the boys basketball team at Wood Oaks Junior High, Brodson was approached by Brian McDonaugh, boys varsity basketball assistant coach, and asked to manage the varsity team when he arrived at Glenbrook North.

David Weber, boys basketball head coach, said having Brodson as the team manager makes focusing on the players easier for the coaches.

“We get to concentrate on coaching the game,” said Weber. “We’re not running around looking for the warm-up [jerseys], and when [players] throw them on the bench, [Brodson] puts them in the bag and brings them to the locker room and makes sure everyone has their stuff.”

Brodson said he attends a majority of practices and all games where he helps organize the water, warm-up jerseys and towels during the games. In practices, he assists Weber by running the game clock and keeping score during drills. He uploads game film onto Hudl, an online application that allows players and coaches to review film. Additionally, he became first aid certified through an online course in order to become a better manager and now assists with injured players.

“Like Dwight Schrute in ‘The Office,’ I call myself the ‘Assistant to the trainer,’” said Brodson. “I’m not an assistant trainer, but, you know, I’m great with bloody noses.”

Junior Frank Siegien said Brodson is as much a member of the team as any player.

“He’s family to us,” said Siegien. “If somebody picks a fight with him, you’re picking a fight with the rest of the team. We love Danny.”

Siegien said the players appreciate all the little things Brodson does for them and how dedicated he is to the team.

“[One time], I was having a bad free throw shooting game and … after practice the next day he stayed and helped me shoot 100 free throws after the whole [team] was gone,” said Siegien. “It took, like, 30 minutes, but he stayed.”

According to Brodson, who has also managed the varsity football and softball teams, getting to interact with the players fuels his passion to manage every year.

“We had a buzzer beater last year at Maine East, and all the players were carrying me out on their shoulders, … and that was a lot of fun,” said Brodson. “Whenever [the players] chant my name, it’s a lot of fun [for me] and recognition of how hard I’m working during the game.”

Justin Weiner, football running backs and defensive backs coach, said Brodson’s joyful personality helps lighten the mood at practices.

“There’s a positivity about him, and he’s always willing to crack a joke or tell us about the weekend.

“It’s kind of a nice and needed distraction every once in a while from the … sometimes monotonous practice days,” said Weiner. “You know, when you’re getting [into] the dog days of August … and all of [a] sudden he goes, ‘Hey! It’s a [Boeing] 747!’ … That’s the best part about Danny. As much as he is serious, he’s always willing to be a little light-hearted.”

Brodson’s enthusiastic personality is clearly visible as he is often times the first person on the bench clapping and yelling during a game.

“The key to success, especially at this level, is energy,” said Brodson. “And you’ll see me clapping [and] getting them energized. … Even if I’m the loudest, that’s okay, because at least we have someone cheering for us.”

As of Jan. 24, the basketball team has a record of 11-7. The team opened the season with seven straight wins but has gone 4-7 since, including conference losses against Deerfield, Maine West and Highland Park. Seniors Evan Barnes and Kellen Witherell lead the Spartans in scoring, averaging 10.9 points per game each.

While some people only see the work he is doing on the sidelines during games, Brodson said being manager is much more than that.

“Most people just see me getting water, running around with the water [and] getting towels, but my job is more than that,” said Brodson. “If I wasn’t as passionate about doing this, then I probably wouldn’t be on the team. But, I’m so passionate about doing this and helping out that it’s more than just water.”

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