Behind-the-scene Bulldogs | CraigDailyPress.com

Behind-the-scene Bulldogs

Freshman trainers a constant at every football game

John Vandelinder

They don’t wear pads, cleats or helmets.

If asked what a zone blitz scheme is, encroachment on the defense, or a buttonhook, Jordan McLeslie and Kelsey Nylander would be the first to admit they hadn’t the faintest idea.

But despite their lack of football terminology, the two freshmen are as much a part of the Moffat County High School football team as the boys who don the blue and white each Friday night.

Each game night, when the team busts out of its locker room, Kelsey and Jordan are close behind, gym bags, water bottles and one giant orange cooler in tow.

Jordan and Kelsey are the team trainers.

“I was a basketball trainer last year and in seventh grade” at Craig Middle School, Jordan said, “and I wanted to try this, so I got Kelsey into it, too.”

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Since the duo has been friends for a while, Jordan didn’t need to prod for too long.

“Jordan asked if I would come with her because she was the lone freshman,” Kelsey said, “and she didn’t like being the only one, and I didn’t have anything else going on.”

At the time, they admitted they had no idea what they were signing up for.

High school football can be a physically demanding sport, and being a team trainer – they found out – is full of surprises, on and off the field.

“They always seem to come off the field bleeding,” Kelsey said with a wince. “Like the one time Braeden (Sullivan) was bleeding everywhere in a freshman game.”

“I don’t know what happened, but he was bleeding all over the place,” Jordan added.

“We really don’t know what happens,” they finished in unison.

And they didn’t know what happened to Luis Garcia, when he went down with an injury.

“We were at a freshman away game, and he got tackled pretty bad on the knee and was apparently knocked unconscious,” Kelsey said. “I ran out to the field and helped coach (Matt) Ray assess the problem.”

Jordan laughed when she heard Kelsey’s comment.

“She’s weird,” Jordan says. “She goes to dictionary.com and picks out a word for the day.”

So what did coach Ray “assess” in that particular situation?

“Apparently he got hit on his knee and tore a ligament or something,” Kelsey said.

They looked at each other and said together, “we don’t really know.”

What they do know, is when to talk to the players on the sidelines and – more importantly – when to stay quiet.

“Sometimes, when we’re losing,” Jordan says, “well not losing, but :”

“When we’re not achieving our best,” Kelsey said.

“Thank you,” Jordan continued, “you don’t want to talk to them, or offer them water after, because it’s like they almost attack you.”

But to them, boys will be boys.

“They are teenaged guys that get all crazy about football,” Kelsey said. “We know when to stay away from them.”

Being the only two girls on a bus of 30-plus football players headed to a road game has its downside, as well.

The first game of Kelsey and Jordan’s high school trainer careers was a more than four-hour ride to Berthoud one way.

The team also stayed overnight for the game, a first for the two freshmen.

“It was the very first staying-the-night one,” Jordan said. “We go there with the coaches, but we had to ride with the players to dinner, and they were spazzing out.”

“We didn’t know we shouldn’t sit in the middle,” Kelsey said. “Now we know to sit by the coaches.”

“And on the bus, we sit in the front because they all sit in the back,” Jordan said. “Unless there is some sort of food involved, then they’ll move up.”

With the football season behind them, they have yet to figure out what’s next.

“We don’t look that far ahead,” Jordan said.

“Tomorrow, is too far ahead,” added Kelsey.

What the duo did agree on was which of their game-day tasks is the most difficult.

“It’s not too bad,” Kelsey said of carrying the giant, orange team cooler.

“It’s just that cooler is so heavy.” Jordan added, “But, we really like what we do and being at the games.”

Just don’t ask them the score.

John Vandelinder can be reached at 875-1793 or jvandelinder@craigdailypress.com