When the Bradwell Tigers take the football field in August, a familiar face from the last three years may not be there. Christopher Teale, the Tigers’ equipment manager, graduated from Bradwell Institute last week and said he is on his way to college to study graphic communications. He said he is deciding between Emmanuel College and Andrew College.
Teale, however, did more than wear a tool belt and help fix equipment for coach Jim Walsh Jr. and his football squad. He also was a friend.
“He definitely has had an effect on our kids and coaches,” Walsh said. “He’s fun to be around. He is a carefree spirit.”
Teale has a penchant for remembering game details, scores and even history.
“He has a memory that is unreal,” Walsh said. “You ask him about something and boom there it is. He can remember things that happened three years ago. We (Walsh and coaches) can’t remember things that happened two weeks ago.”
Although high school football is competitive and is turning into a big business, with several adults chatting on message boards and ogling over prospects, Walsh is quick to point out that the game is for the kids.
“We’re here for the kids and Teale is a guy who definitely has left his mark on a lot of us and that is just as important,” Walsh said. “With coaches, we try to mold young people and along the way, there’s molding that takes place with us and he’s been an important part of what we’ve been doing here the last three years.”
Walsh is not losing many seniors off last season’s playoff team, but it’s always bittersweet to lose members of the program. And Walsh hopes Teale returns to the sidelines.
“I hope it’s not a farewell with him, but if he stays in Hinesville, I hope he stays involved,” Walsh said. “He knows he is welcome to stay with us.”
Teale joined the Tigers in 2004 looking for something fun and meaningful to do after school. Walsh had the perfect job for him as an equipment manager.
Walsh explained that coaches wear a multitude of hats and must be able to take care of many things.
“It’s not like we get dressed and walk onto the practice field and start,” he said. “We have to deal with players equipment, football equipment, and more. When you’re out there, a kid may lose a screw or where his chinstrap goes in, a snap might go or a shoestring might pop on a shoulder pad or the kids’ pants, so there’s many things that go on and Chris is the guy who made Miller’s (defensive coordinator Jeff Miller) job a lot easier. If a kid’s helmet went down, Chris was there to help coach Miller with the parts or take care of the problem.”
Teale said he will miss being an equipment manager and working with the Tigers.
He said he learned skills that will help him in life and had fun along the way.
“It taught me how to work with a team and with other people,” he said. “The best thing about Bradwell football is getting to see what the players learned over the week and put it into good use in a good, friendly competition.”
Teale has seen several Bradwell games and said his most memorable one was his sophomore year in 2004 when the Tigers lost 14-12 to Georgia Dome-bound Camden County.
Besides the near upset the Tigers pulled off, Teale had another reason to enjoy the game. He dressed up as the Tiger mascot to entertain the fans and players.