On a Tuesday night, Valentine’s Day, the sophomore Huntley boys basketball team finds itself down by three points, with one second remaining in overtime. Every spectator has their eyes on sophomore Zach Gorney, who shoots a last-second desperation shot from more than halfway down the court. As the shot goes through the hoop, fans pay no attention to junior Roger Alvarado, jumping up from his spot on the end of the bench.
Alvarado is an integral part of the team, but he does not play.
Alvarado is a team manager.
Alvarado keeps statistics, while coaches yell and players try to execute.
Alvarado humbly fills water bottles in the corner of the gym, players soak in the cheers of fans.
Alvarado dresses in formal clothes on game days, though he will not exchange them for a jersey at game time as players will.
Alvarado got here because varsity head coach Marty Manning approached him, impressed by the fact that Alvarado, a freshman at the time, had an A+ in his intro to business class.
Alvarado says Manning asked him to become a manager for the varsity team, but he declined the invite and asked to become a manager for the freshman team.
Alvarado wanted to stick with “his guys”, he says.
As Alvarado runs out onto the court with the rest of his teamates, a hoarse call from the coaching staff to “get back on the bench” rings out.
Alvarado and his teamates sheepishly return, and prepare for a second overtime period.
Alvarado’s team will eventually fall that night, losing in that second overtime period.
Alvarado remains optimistic though, and continues to support his team.
Alvarado sits in his first period biology class the next day, quick to say “come check out this shot from last night man, it was a crazy game.”
Alvarado is proud.