reporting by Neal Singh and Aiden Roth
Throughout high school, senior Noah Belanger has managed the football, basketball, and baseball teams, gaining experience and skills that will stick with him
The crowd cheers as they see the player take their victory run around the bases after hitting a home run. What they don’t see is senior Noah Belanger in the dugout marking down statistics and filming the game. Ever wonder how the baseball team trains and improves? Not only is it hours of practice and time in the weight room, but it’s also studying plays to learn weaknesses. That’s where Belanger comes in. A manager of three varsity sports, he is relied on by players and coaching staff for detailed feedback on strengths and weaknesses of the team in game situations.
“Freshman year, I was asked by Mr. Kizis, the varsity baseball coach, to be a helping hand for the baseball team. Coach Bacalles, who was the football coach, saw my work and how helpful I was during the baseball season, so he asked me to partake in the basketball and football seasons for my sophomore year. Through baseball, I got connections to work with the other two teams.
For football and basketball, I film their games so that the players can look back on possible errors and areas to improve. For baseball, I run the stats book. I keep track of all the hits, runs, outs, everything statistics wise.
Football, basketball, baseball, I think they're all equally my favorite. Each team has a different dynamic and different mentality. You can't really compare the two and say which one is better, because they're all very different when it comes to how they treat each other. Football is a very team based sport, where basketball, not so much. Baseball is kind of an individual sport, although it is still a team.
I think being part of the Hawks athletics without necessarily being in the sport itself, just being able to help out where I can, was my main motivation for joining. I always like working with my hands and helping other people. Being able to do that and being a part of a team are two things I really like to do, so it's killing two birds with one stone. I've never played a sport besides Little League Baseball when I was in elementary school, but being able to work with a team, collaborate with my coaches, problem solve with them will help me, especially in the future when I take an actual nine to five job. I won't be afraid to go to a higher up and say ‘hey, look, here's the problem; let's figure out a solution.’ I think that's my biggest takeaway from this opportunity I've gotten.
Being a senior sort of makes this all emotional. I would definitely say I've been able to make friends with people I would have never thought I'd be friends with. Seeing where I was at the beginning of freshman year, before baseball season started, and who I’ve become a month and four days before graduation happens, I think I’m noticing the growth because of what I do for the teams. That’s the most emotional part. I was a totally different person freshman year before I was asked to manage baseball. When each senior night rolls around, I think about how without Coach Johnston or Coach Bacalles, I wouldn't be who I am today.”