McALESTER — Though she grew up in Hugo, McAlester senior Madison Drake said her family moved to McAlester because it’d present more opportunities for her and her younger brother Matthew.
Drake transferred to McAlester High School in February of her junior year, and a new opportunity quickly presented itself when football coach Austin Maddux and junior classmate Brooklyn Williams suggested Drake join the student trainer program.
“It was in spring ball, and I just came to practice one day,” Drake said Thursday. “I gave water. It wasn’t hard to learn what I had to do — it was hard to learn all the boys and everything that they needed. All of the other girls had it down, but I kind of had to start from nowhere.
“I like it, I think it’s cool. It’s cool to feel like we’re needed, like if we weren’t here, it wouldn’t get done.”
McAlester’s student trainers take care of much of the behind-the-scenes work that makes the team function. The five trainers, which includes both Drake and Williams, wash uniforms, pack bags, bake snacks, fill and distribute water bottles, film practices and clean up afterwards, among other tasks.
Drake said the job has often required her and her fellow trainers to work late into the evenings or come to Hook Eales Stadium early in the morning.
“Doing laundry Saturday mornings, the team’s here, but they’re not really around us,” Drake said. “They’re with all the coaches, and then the five of us are doing other things.”
Despite the demands, Drake and the other four trainers have stuck with it all the way through football season, which will end within two weeks. Drake said even if the Buffs win State, she’ll be sad to see the season end.