Former Cary-Grove football player Kasey Fields is in his first year working as a student manager for the Oklahoma State football team. The job has afforded Fields the chance to experience college football in a big-time environment and admittedly has changed the way he watches the game. Fields’ next game – the Cowboys Jan. 3 Cotton Bowl appearance against Missouri – will put him in front of the largest football crowd he’s experienced but means another long day at the football office for the college freshman.
It’s interesting going to college with a bigger football program just because that’s what my life had been – just watching all of the big-time schools play. And that was really attractive to me. I had never really been a fan, really of football. I had always been involved in it. So I really wanted to do my best to be involved with the football team as much as possible. I think it would have been a real adjustment for me to just be watching (football). I had really only watched NFL games as a fan with the Bears, but until deciding to come here to Oklahoma State, I had never had reached the point where I was one specific college team’s fan.
When I’m watching and being around coaches and knowing what they’re supposed to be doing, I watch to see if things happen exactly how they’re supposed to be happening. I see how the game develops and so I think that part of the game is still there for me with being a manager that I probably wouldn’t have if I was just a regular fan.
Game Day for me involves a lot more work. For an 11:00 game, we’re probably here at 6 – about five hours before kickoff getting uniforms set out and putting pads out. I have to make sure everything is going right and then have to go set up the field. After the game, we’ll pick everything back up, wash the uniforms, wash (players) towels and the clothes they wore for the game. So Game Day is about a 10-hour day. But being around it is awesome. The benefits I get to experience along with it is quite the ride. It’s amazing and I really am blessed to have spent my first semester (in college) having this experience.
Everything we do is really crazy. We have to hand-scrub the jerseys every Sunday just so that there’s no facemask marks or pad marks left behind. I have really started to appreciate the finer details. When I’m watching NFL games, I’ll notice jerseys or the way helmets are put together and how they decaled. I think I have a lot more of an eye for detail now. I think the players respect us, but I’m not sure they respect all of the work we do. I don’t think they know really how much work we put into making the program run smoothly.
One of the things the head manager really hammered in was for us to take pride in our work because a lot of times, it’s national television and if we (don’t do our job), maybe people think, ‘Oh, Oklahoma State doesn’t really take too much pride in the work that it does. So we always have to check (details) a lot. We have to check (helmet) decals at least twice before we put the helmets out and get ready for a game. Doing my own laundry now seems like it’s no big deal to throw a couple of my shirts in, my shorts or after having to wash the 130 (bags) and towels we have to do every night after practice.
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