Manager, Friend And Teammate

Ben Larrison

Ben LarrisonThe Daily Northwestern

She’s one of the hardest working people on the best team in the country, but you’ve never heard of her.

Not that anyone’s blaming you. After all, Andrea Doherty can’t be found on the sidelines during games, doesn’t capture major awards like her teammates and coaches and isn’t on the lacrosse team’s official roster at the Northwestern athletics Web site – not even down at the bottom with the coaches and assistants.

Yet if you ask around the NU lacrosse team about the girl they all know as Mini, you tend to get the same response from everybody: that without her, things would be a lot tougher for the two-time defending champs.

“She’s just like everyone else on the team,” said senior Aly Josephs, who is also Mini’s roommate. “I wouldn’t even consider her a manager. I’d consider her a teammate.”

Though glorious it is not, the life of a manager consists of doing anything and everything it takes to ensure things run smoothly. Missing a ball bag? Mini’s there to run back and get it. Need the game taped? Just ask Mini. Chilly day? Mini can help you out there, too.

“During a cold game or practice, she’ll come over and warm up our fingers for us,” senior and roommate Kristen Boege said. “She’s really good at warming up fingers.”

When not thawing others’ extremities, Doherty is quite possibly freezing off her own. Take the infamous Rutgers Incident of 2006. In temperatures hovering around zero degrees, she climbed what Josephs called “this huge tower” in order to tape the contest for the coaching staff and team to review after the game.

“She was crying, it was just freezing, but she didn’t complain,” Josephs said. “She just did it, and it shows how selfless she is and willing to do anything for the team.”

Not that Doherty came to NU anticipating a life of managing. The senior arrived in Evanston as a lacrosse player, not a manager. But midway through her sophomore year, after a freshman season troubled by injuries, Doherty’s interest in playing had dwindled.

Though she had initially planned to quit, NU coach Kelly Amonte Hiller pleaded with Doherty to stay, at least in some capacity. With that, the lacrosse team had a new manager.

While she admittedly found it hard at first to go to practice and not play, things would get easier over time. Doherty started taking on more responsibilities, from working with the coaching staff in the lacrosse offices to helping make sure practices run smoothly.

“It’s been awesome,” Doherty said. “A lot of people would think you would regret it, but I have no regrets. And I think I feel just as part of the team as I did when I was a freshman or a sophomore, you know, on the roster. So I think it’s great.”

And even though she no longer plays for the Wildcats, Doherty found an outlet for her competitive side: the NU women’s club hockey team. Though she had only limited hockey experience before joining her junior year, Doherty was quickly one of the team’s most prolific scorers. Not that she’s done with lacrosse: Doherty, who is off to get her master’s in Special Education in the fall, hopes to one day coach at a high school.

So when you’re watching the Cats wallop some poor opponent in the NCAA tournament, take a minute to wave to the girl filming from the scaffolding behind the stands. It’s about time we start to appreciate the unappreciated.