Behind the Equipment, Beyond the Locker Room


Ella Villar

Ralph Mattera, sports equipment manager, in the equipment room preparing for post football season. Photo by Ella Villar

Jack O'Connor, Staff Writer

Every sports team needs some extra help and this support is often integral in keeping the teams safe and competitive. Perhaps no one represents this more than Ralph Mattera.

Ralph Mattera is the Boys Locker Room Attendant and Athletic Equipment Manager for his fourth year at SJHHS and twelfth at year Capistrano Unified School District. He works from 7:30 to 2:00 and stays to help the football team with practices. Not only does he deal with the equipment and locker rooms, he frequently helps the sports teams of SJHHS in order to keep them safe.

One of the sports in which he helps out regularly is football. “For football I do everything from yard markers to pylon to setting up the sideline with headsets for the coaches to all the balls and equipment I bring down. I set up the music in the press box. Then during the game my main function is to follow the plays on the field to see if the equipment is not working properly or not safely and [if so] get them off of the field and then get it fixed as quickly as possible and I serve as the get back coach” said Ralph Mattera.

When football is over the real work begins. “ When the season is over, I take back all the equipment and uniforms the players were issued by me at the start of the season. Each player is issued these equipment items; helmet, shoulder pads, soft helmets, helmet guardians, knee pads, thigh pads, hip pads, tail pads, practice jerseys and pants, belt, JV and/ or varsity game jersey and pants. I then clean and inventory all items, to make them ready to reissue, next season. The helmets are sent to Riddell for reconditioning and repainting. The shoulder pads are reconditioned locally” said Mattera

Football isn’t the only sport Mattera helps. He helps boys and girls basketball, softball, lacrosse, and any other sport at SJHHS.

“From time to time I help basketball out with laundry and uniforms and getting them ready for banquets. I also have been a Public Address Announcer for boys basketball ” said Mattera

As Mattera knows, there a lot of unexpected problems with being the Athletic Equipment Manager. “I deal a lot with dirty clothes so a lot times I get sick from having to launder those clothes” said Mattera.

It isn’t all bad for Mattera, there are many things he likes about the job. “Everything I do with the football team [I enjoy and] I love working here at SJHHS and hope to be here long enough to see our stallions win a CIF Championship” said Mattera.

Without Ralph Mattera, not only would we lose one of the hardest workers on our campus, but we would also lose what makes SJHHS so great.