For one player on the 2011 West team, the Kansas Shrine Bowl will be a new experience in a very familiar setting.
Dalton Converse, an outside linebacker and defensive end from Clay Center High School, will get to experience the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of playing in the state’s premier all-star game.
The Shrine Bowl, featuring 68 of the state’s top football players, is set for Saturday, July 30, in Hays at Lewis Field.
Converse will probably know more about the preparation that will lead up to the annual affair than almost anyone associated with the Shrine Bowl.
That’s because Converse has served as a team manager for the West squad the last five years. Before that, he was present at several of the camps held at St. John’s Military School in Salina.
His dad, Myron Converse, a former Shrine Bowl player from Manhattan in 1982, has been director of the West camp since 2002.
“I’ve been helping with it since I was really little,” Dalton said. “My dad became camp director when I was 7 or 8, and I got to stay for three or four days during camp.
“When I was 13 or 14, I got to be a full-time manager and thought it was one of the coolest things ever.”
Being a Shrine Bowl manager means long hours and hard work, attending to the needs of about 40 players and coaches, especially during training camp week prior to the game.
“A lot of people don’t know what managers do,” he said, “things like putting out Gatorade, making sure the players have snacks throughout the day, being on time with water—we’re constantly filling water jugs.”