Life On The Court: A Basketball Story
Nick Higgins goes to class like any student. He gets homework, has to study, and takes exams. But his weekends aren’t spent out partying or at the bar — they’re spent on the court. In fact, most of his days and nights are spent at the Bryce Jordan Center where he and his co- managers are either setting up practice, cutting film for head coach Pat Chambers, or pe any other team-based need.
The title “student manager” is one that might be misinterpreted. Some take managers to be kids who wished they were on the team but lacked the necessary skills to compete, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Student managers are an integral part of any athletic program, because they do the jobs nobody else wants to do. But they do so with a smile on their face, and Chambers couldn’t be more appreciative of the managers on his team. For Nick, the job carries purpose that’ll prepare him for whatever challenges he may face down the road — it builds character and teaches responsibility. While it’s not the easiest job in the world, no manager ever signed up for the gig believing it’d be a cakewalk. They knew what it entailed, and stepped up to the task anyway. Without people like Nick, the team wouldn’t be the same; maybe on the surface all would seem unchanged, but it’s the little things a manager helps accomplish that create the product fans see on game
The job can be an exhausting one. Nick travels to every road game, meaning preparation in the classroom is key. Occasionally, the team bus serves as his library where he’ll complete his work from the week. Although time away from campus might make it harder to study, operating on the fly has become second nature for Penn State’s chief manager. The hours might add up, but the sights and experiences that come along make it all worth it. From sitting across from Hall of Fame coaches to joining the team in Madison Square Garden, trips on the road lead to memories that will last a lifetime.
Next time you attend a Penn State basketball game, pay attention to the guys at the end of the bench where their hard work and dedication is put on display.