With game ticket and basketball program in hand, people stop by the concession stand for a snack before settling into the bleachers Friday nights.
Ticket sellers Cindy Cieminski and Gwen Marcott are oftentimes the first to greet students, parents and sports enthusiasts at Cochrane-Fountain City High School.
Cieminski, sporting bright pink nails and a big welcoming smile, said she sells tickets for all of the sporting events.
“I have a lot of fun with it,” Cieminski said.
Ticket sellers keep tabs on the money and tickets, but also have to act as mini-bouncers, insuring no one gets through the doors without paying. And just because the women are volunteers doesn’t mean they aren’t serious about their duties.
“I know who pays and who doesn’t,” Cieminski said. “At half-time, I go in the gym and find the people and have them pay.”
Walking through the ticket line at Cotter High School, fans are welcomed to the concession stands, conveniently located right inside the gymnasium. Shelley Trainor, working an early shift in hopes of catching her daughter’s game that night, said setting up for the concession stand usually begins with early preparation.
“I stop and grab some pizzas from Papa Murphy’s, and any other supplies we need I get from Ziebell’s or Midtown Foods,” Trainor said.
Trainor said the Booster Club--parents of student athletes--are in charge of the concession stand and volunteer their time filling the bellies of students and fellow parents during games. All money raised from concessions is donated back into the athletic programs at Cotter High School.
While Cotter boasts pizza and popcorn, C-FC’s concession stand has a unique item of its own. Stirring their signature boiling hot dogs from Strum Locker in Strum, Wis., Karla Krueger, Booster Club member, said the volunteers and parents don’t skimp on quality when it comes to these gourmet dogs.
“We don’t buy the cheap hot dogs,” Krueger said. “People always compliment us for that.”
As participants take their seats in the stands, they glance through the oftentimes ad-laden program, catching a glimpse of a mug shot of their own son or daughter and viewing the most recent sports statistics on each player.
At Cochrane-Fountain City, Administrative Assistant Donna Baertsch designs the front and back cover of the program from her office, which is packed with past pamphlets, papers and calendars. An employee of the high school for 36 years, Baertsch adds a photo of the home team and inserts the C-FC Pirate mascot in the background.
For those sports enthusiasts not able to attend the game, final scores and highlights from the game can be found with the click of a mouse or the flip of a television remote the next day. Former Cotter graduate, Jenn Miller, is the woman behind those numbers at Cotter High School.
“I’ve missed a few games, but have been to most of them,” Miller said, having played for current Cotter girls’ Head Coach Bowlin as a high school basketball player. “It’s really important to have an official record.”
While the bookkeeper makes sure to report every score and foul of the night through pen and paper, the timekeeper sits directly to his/her side, keeping time and position through a different tool: A microphone.
At C-FC, Bernie Johnson, 82, has been running the game clock for more than 50 years. Johnson said some games make him wonder if it’s time to retire.
“Sometimes I forget to stop the clock, and people yell,” Johnson said. “I should probably quit, but it’s kind of fun, especially to watch the kids.”
Bernie’s wife Marianne, attends every game with him and sits directly behind him in the stands each night.
With the game results still glowing on the scoreboard, and bleachers and team chairs empty, all that remains is trash. In walks C-FC custodians Brian Loewenhagen and Darrel McCutchen. They discover empty pop bottles, crumpled popcorn bags and forgotten programs waiting for them. McCutchen, the newest addition to the custodian staff, said he’s been working at C-FC for seven years, making him a newbie in the eyes of the schol's seasoned custodians.
“It’s a lot easier than farming,” McCutchen said, sweeping the bleacher floors, “which is what I did for the last 40 years.”
Wiping the sweat from his forehead as he emptied trash from the bleachers, Loewenhagen said he’s been a custodian and bus driver for 20 years at Cochrane-Fountain City.
“After the game, we clean everything,” Loewenhagen said. “Every day is different.”
Following the hefty cleaning, the custodians wheel their carts down the hall, returning their equipment to the supply room; just as they do every time their hometown team takes the court.
“It’s nice when the little people get noticed,” Loewenhagen said, locking the doors, and turning the lights down for the night.