When Brooke Arnold graduates at the end of the school year, another chapter will be closed in the history of the Augusta Prep Cavaliers.
Along with several of the football players, Arnold has been with the program since its inception five years ago.
“She is just as important to the program as any player,” said head football coach Harry Bacheller. “Her hard work and dedication to the program not only has been a tremendous help, but it also sets an example to the players and other managers of how to work hard and be dedicated.”
As an eighth-grader, Arnold went to Bacheller and asked if she could help, and she hasn’t missed a game since. She played volleyball in eighth and ninth grade, but had to drop it from her busy schedule.
“I had to make a decision to do one or the other because it was too much,” Arnold said. “So, I decided to stick with it (football) and I guess I’ve been in love with it ever since then.”
She didn’t drop all of her sports. She is still on the Cavaliers’ tennis team and is a two-time all-region player. She began as a doubles player and is now their No. 2 singles player.
Arnold has seen the team go from the lean years of being pummeled to the contenders they are today and is a walking fact book on Augusta Prep football. Ask her who scored the school’s first touchdown (senior Nate Pylant) and she knows that as well as that it was against Curtis Baptist. It is the firsts that she will always remember.
“When you saw the first game underneath the lights, it brought a tear to my eye,” Arnold said. “Finally having Friday night football. There’s nothing better than that. To be able to play out there and see the stadium this year is huge.”
Her role with the football team quickly evolved.
“I started out doing a little water-girl type of thing, now I do most of the equipment stuff, the equipment room,” Arnold said. “Coach Bacheller has pretty much handed that over to me.”
As well as running the equipment room, she gets everything prepped for practice, arriving 30 to 45 minutes early and is at the stadium as much as 4½ hours before the start of home games. She is also in charge of making sure everything needed is on the bus for away games.
“It’s a lot of responsibility, but I think it’s helped me grow as a person,” said Arnold. “I definitely would not be as mature, responsible or any of that without having done this for five years.”
An only child, her work with the high school team and the middle school team has been special. As well as being at practices and games, she works out with the team and attends team dinners.
“When I got involved with football, I had this huge family of all these brothers,” she said.
Her dream is to become an elementary school teacher and be hired back at the school, but first she would like to use her football managerial experience in college.
“There’s different opportunities there, but coach Bacheller and I have been talking and we’ll start meeting with some coaches and schools I’m interested in,” Arnold said.
“When I’m finalizing the list of colleges I’m interested in, if they don’t have a football team it goes way down. Even if I’m not managing, I want to be at football games on Saturdays and just still be a part of football at college.“
Arnold said she can’t thank Bacheller enough for the opportunities he has given her. While she may get to be on the sidelines in the coming years, it will be strange to her to be an outsider of sorts.
“It’s going to be weird coming back and not being so involved,” Arnold said.