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If Columbus East football managers think doing the team’s laundry is tough, just imagine what it was like before the flood of 2008.
Prior to that disaster, the high school had two standard washing machines similar to those found in homes. Thanks to a renovation, East now has an industrial-sized washer and dryer.
“That took a long time,” assistant coach David Miller said of the pre-2008 days.
What used to take about two days now is done in a few hours. Miller and another assistant, Michael McBride, and the team’s managers usually do one load of laundry after games Friday nights and three more Saturday mornings.
“On Saturday, when we leave, all the laundry is done because you don’t want to leave sweaty, stinky stuff for a day or two because then it’s going to mold, and that smell will get on the jerseys,” said assistant coach Jonathan Martin, who is in charge of equipment and laundry.
East players have been instructed after games to take off their jerseys and put them in a laundry basket and take the thigh pads and knee pads out of their pants and put them in their lockers. They are to turn their pants correct side out, with the belt fastened, and put them in the basket.
Jerseys are easy to keep from getting mixed up because they have numbers. Martin has numbered all the pants by the year they were bought and the number. A manager hangs the jersey and pants in the players’ lockers Thursday nights.
Across town, Columbus North is in a bit of a dilemma. The Bull Dogs also have managers do their laundry, but as of Thursday, the team had no managers.
Gary Moody, who is in charge of equipment, said after each game, players will put their uniforms in a bin and team managers will wash them and have them ready for the next game. Helmets and pads are cleaned by the players or their parents.
“Each player takes care of their own equipment,” Moody said. “They can either keep it in their locker or take it home and get it cleaned. It they have issues with it, they see one of the coaches.”
East players are responsible for washing their own practice gear. The Olympians have “no-cloth Saturdays,” meaning no jerseys or pants can be left in the locker room. Players take them home to wash and bring them back Monday.
Game jerseys and pants are washed at the school in high-efficiency washers. Martin buys five gallons of industrial-strength laundry detergent at a time for all the athletic teams to use. The school goes through about three 5-gallon tubs each school year and less than one during the football season.
Miller, McBride and the managers use a cup per load for four loads in a low-soap wash cycle, then tumble dry on low so the jerseys don’t stick together. They wash jerseys with jerseys and pants with pants, making sure not to mix because pants will get more grass-stains on them than jerseys will, especially during away games.
“We put a little bit extra soap on there and rub the pants a little bit better when they go do the wash,” Martin said.
East usually has two to four managers and has four this season. While one might go with the junior varsity team Saturdays, the others receive a little perk for their laundry efforts.
“Michael brings in doughnuts for the managers on Saturday, and that’s pretty much their payment for doing the laundry,” Miller said.
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