When Zach Thompson was in the eighth grade, his algebra teacher Craig Montgomery, who was also the volleyball coach, said that he needed help with managing the volleyball team. Since Thompson knew basically all the girls on the team, he decided to help out and wound up loving it.
So when Thompson got to high school, he sought out the opportunity to help manage the Owls’ volleyball team his freshman year. On top of that, Thompson became the student manager of Seymour’s girls basketball team and softball team.
It’s been four years since he started with those three teams, and now as the weeks wind down of his final season with the softball team and at Seymour High School, Thompson has plenty of memories and experiences that he won’t forget.
“It’s just been a once-in-a-lifetime thing,” Thompson said. “It’s just year in and year out to meet these amazing girls and just to form these kind of relationships. For underclassmen, I just try to take this like big brother role and tell them to let me know if they need anything. Just being able to help people through a season has just been fun for me.”
Thompson’s contributions over his last four years haven’t gone unnoticed, either.
The work he has done and continues to do this spring during softball has been instrumental in keeping things in order for the Owls.
“He comes to every practice, he’s at every game, and it doesn’t matter if it’s a varsity-only game or JV-only game. If there’s a game, he’s at it,” said Zabrina Nicholson, assistant coach for Seymour softball.
Nicholson remembers a specific moment when Thompson first started managing the team his freshman year. She started using iScore to keep stats for the JV games on the iPad. She admits she didn’t know much about it, so she just handed it to Thompson and said, “here you go,” and let him keep the stats.
Without ever using iScore before, Thompson handled the task without any flaws.
“No training,” Nicholson said. “I said, ‘you know how to play the game, right?’ He said, ‘Yeah,’ and he just did it. He has just been phenomenal.”
If there’s an odd number of girls at practice, Thompson always brings his mitt with him so he can jump right in. When the girls are hitting, he’ll head out to the outfield and catch flyballs.
He’ll set up the nets before practice, and essentially do “whatever Jerry (Burton) needs me to do,” as Thompson put it.
“He fills in any empty space that we might need somebody to be there for,” Nicholson said. “He’s super supportive. Cheers for the girls, and really to me, a big part of the team.”
During home games, Thompson is in charge of playing the Owls’ walk-up songs when they’re batting. He has donned the nickname “DJ Zachy T” from the girls on the team because of that role.
There’s only one reason why Thompson won’t be at a game or practice, and that’s when it’s time for the school musical.
The spring musical just wrapped up at Seymour, and this year’s musical was “Mary Poppins.” Thompson played the role of Neleus, a young statue that comes to life in one scene and has a “really sick dance number, at least in my opinion.”
Thompson has been doing musicals ever since his sophomore year at Seymour. His favorite was his sophomore year when they did “The Adams Family,” and he didn’t think that could be topped until doing “Mary Poppins” this spring.
“This year, I just had so much fun with Mary Poppins,” Thompson. “Just the cast was just wonderful to be around.”
The rehearsal times and showtimes from this past spring caused Thompson to miss some time managing the softball team, including the 8-2 win over Bedford North Lawrence a couple weeks ago to clinch a share of the Hoosier Hills Conference title.
But that doesn’t mean Thompson was fully invested into how the team was doing.
“The relief I felt when I saw that it was 8-2, it was just ecstatic,” he said.
Thompson was honored at Seymour’s senior night with the other softball seniors on the team, and just this past Tuesday, Burton took the seniors out to a senior dinner and Thompson was included.
After graduation, Thompson will be going to Purdue University to major in statistics and minor in sociology. He hopes to be a student manager for the Purdue volleyball team as well, where the Boilermakers are usually a perennial powerhouse in the Big Ten Conference.
He may dabble with musicals or theatrical stuff in West Lafayette, but hasn’t quite looked into it yet.
He said the reality of graduating has hit real hard over the past couple of weeks with senior night for softball, the senior dinner and the musical coming to a close.
But now that “Mary Poppins” has wrapped up at Seymour, Thompson will be back and fully-committed to the softball team, hoping to watch them win a sectional title in the coming week, saying, “we’re not done yet.”
“It is great to know that I’m going out alongside a great group of not only softball players but a great group of people to be around,” Thompson said.