Published 12:01 am Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Alabama sophomore Anna Locklier (center and in purple) works during a recent women’s basketball game. Locklier is an Andalusia native and has been a manager for a year and a half. | Courtesy photo

Anna Locklier loves helping people and athletics.

For the past year-and-a-half, the Andalusia native has served as a manager for the University of Alabama’s women’s basketball team, and she’s loved every minute of it.

As a freshman, Locklier had a job at a veterinary clinic in Northport — a town not far from Tuscaloosa — but things just didn’t work out, she said.

Not working or doing anything was out of question for the Alabama sophomore.

“I’m kind of the person that I just want something to do,” Locklier said. “I want to work.”

Locklier said she acquired her position as a manager through friends of her parents who live in Tuscaloosa.

“The wife of the couple is the secretary for women’s basketball,” Anna said. “She kind of squeezed my name in, and I volunteered all last year.”

Like any volunteer, Locklier did all that paid managers do during a respective season, but was unpaid. Now, she gets a check once a month during the season.

Locklier said it was during her freshman year that she realized that she wanted to be a part of athletics for the rest of her life.

“I was going to major in biology,” she said. “With being in basketball, it was an awesome, awesome opportunity. I just slowly and surely fell in love with what I was doing.”

Locklier is now studying business administration and has aspirations of becoming a director of operations of a women’s sport at a four-year athletic organization.

Her responsibilities as one of five managers — three women, two men — are pretty easy to sum up, Locklier said.

“Everything,” she quipped. “For practice, we get out the balls and we get out the cart. What’s on the cart are like combs, and a board with markers that they can use to draw plays on. We get out towels, we make sure their loops and everything is ready.”

Additional duties include doing laundry to make sure each athlete has all they need to wear at games, she said.

For games, setting up the court and getting the chairs ready behind the bench are other things the managers do.

Locklier said it’s a pretty tall task to keep up with everything on a constantly-moving schedule.

“We stay ridiculously busy all of the time,” she said. “Our gym is called Foster Auditorium, and I practically live at Foster. I’m there more than I’m at home — easy.”

During games, Locklier said managers stay 100 percent alert to players’ needs all the time.

“That’s when you need to be more sharp and on point because you’re dealing with 15 girls,” she said. “All 15 of our girls play. They might not play the whole game, but all 15 play at some point of the game.

“So, you’re dealing with 15 girls who are mad about this call or that call, or what just happened or what they messed up on. You’re dealing with them saying I need that towel now, I need water and if somebody’s leaning back with their hand on the chair and wanting a towel immediately, they’re going to have a towel in their hand.”

Locklier isn’t a stranger at being a team manager. She was Andalusia’s softball team manager for a number of years.

When asked why she likes being a manager so much, Locklier said she loves helping people and being around sports in general.

“I like helping people,” she said. “I still, now, almost a year and a half in, I still don’t know that much about basketball. I’m still a softball girl at heart. I’m competitive, not athletic. I like the sports atmosphere and love getting to travel with the team, and of course with basketball, it’s a whole different idea at Alabama.”

Locklier said it was her dream to attend college at UA.

“This just kind of makes my dream more amazing with the fact that I’m at a school with all of those Division 1 teams,” she said.

Most important of all, being a part of a team allows one the opportunity to build relationships with the players, your co-managers and team support staff, Locklier said.

“Being around all 15 players, they have definitely become my family,” she said. “The players and our staff, which are our coaches and secretary and my managers, that’s my own little family. I spend all of my time with them. If I’m outside of practice, normally you’re going to find me hanging out with some of the players (or managers). By far, my favorite thing is hanging out with my family.”å

Anna is the daughter of Jim and Lisa Locklier of Andalusia.