More than a manager

Johnson explains the importance of her role on the Texas High Steppers


Kelsi Brinkmeyer

Olivia Johnson ensures that the small details of a Highstepper’s uniform is in place before the team’s halftime performance.

Daylan O'Neal

Story by Anna Cannon, staff writer

Standing under the stadium lights every Friday night. Practicing a dance to wow the crowd at the football game and pep rally. Spending time with a great group of dedicated girls. Getting up close and personal with some orange sequins.

Not every girl is lucky enough to be a part of the Texas Highsteppers. But their manager, sophomore Olivia Johnson, was lucky enough to still be a part of the team and share the experience, just with a little more paperwork thrown in.

Johnson became manager after trying out for the team at the end of her freshman year.

“Well, last year at tryouts, let’s just say it wasn’t my best,” Johnson said. “I didn’t make the team but Kristi [Robinson] offered me the opportunity to be the manager and go everywhere with them and do everything with them.”

As the manager, she is responsible for just about everything that the team does.

“If anybody forgets anything, I’m the person they go to. I will get poms, tights, and I have a drill team emergency kit in my car that I take to every game,” Johnson said. “Every single football game someone’s gotten sick and I have to go with them, like throwing up sick, and I haven’t gotten sick yet but it’s going to happen. I play music and do most of the paperwork and enter things in the computer and whatnot.”

Johnson enjoys the lack of pressure from thousands of fans who watch the dances every Friday and getting to spend time with all the girls on the team.

“My favorite part is not being so stressed about it, because I’m not actually dancing. I’ll stress for them, but I don’t have to worry about going out on the field every Friday night and messing up. I still get to hang out with everybody, and they really welcomed me.”

Although Johnson loves her job, there is a downside.

“My least favorite part was giving demerits. I hate the thought of being mean to someone and punishing them, and people would bribe me. Then I told Christy that I wasn’t really comfortable and she said “Okay, well I’ll just do it.” So she does demerits now.”OJ2_KBs

Some students haven’t quite adjusted to Johnson’s new position.

“A lot of people will come up to me and say things like, ‘Well, what do you do?’ and ‘I always see you with them, but you’re never dressed like them,’ and I’m like, ‘Well yeah, I’m their manager.’ One girl came up to me and said, ‘I always see you in their pictures, but what are you doing?’ And I was like, ‘What do you think I’m doing?’” Johnson said.

When asked if there was anything she would change about the drill team or her position, she said that she wouldn’t.

“My philosophy is everything happens for a reason, and some people can be bitter about not making the team and just trash them, but I don’t think you should do that. Sometimes I’m hard on myself because I’m thinking, ‘Oh, I could do that,’ but I can’t because I’m not on the team,” Johnson said. “But God put me here for a reason, and I feel like everyone has to face rejection, and this is one of the easiest ways for me to get used to it. I don’t really think I would change anything, because I love my job, and I love what I do.”