The Mystery Behind the Cage


Williston students produce hundreds of loads of laundry and, somehow, it all gets washed.

Jason Tirrell, commonly known as JT, is the director of the cage and is Williston’s Equipment Manager. JT reaches and connects to athletes at all levels on campus every day, from washing uniforms and distributing them to teams, to managing equipment, to lockers and the general upkeep of the gym; He keeps everyone organized and on track all while knowing everyone’s name who passes through the hallway.

JT is in charge of the washing machines in the back room, but he also steps out front and is a welcoming face to all in the gym.

After the end of one season and the start of another JT, who has been working at Williston for 10 years, works tirelessly to have everything necessary and ready for the quick turnaround, along with training a new batch of students to help with smaller tasks.

During the transition of seasons, accuracy and organization is crucial for collecting folding, storing, and accounting for all uniforms used previously. Over several years not only has the student body increased in size, but the intricacy of the cage has increased as well.

“The cage is a lot more complicated now then when I started. Now with over 60 athletic teams you have to be organized,” said JT. “In the cage the label maker is my best friend. It truly is.”

Walking through the cage, past the window, you will see walls of bins and drawers, every single one labeled with its designated equipment and apparel.

Beyond the millions of labels needed for organization purposes, JT works with vendors and other members of the athletic community such as referees. When game time rolls around, JT welcomes away teams and referees, provides a locker room, and sets up the score board for the according court.

JT works with a lot of logistics in the shadows that many students tend not to see, and without him we would be a mess. Melissa Brousseau, Associate Director of Athletics, said, “The cage is the athletic hub of the gym and a funnel to get everything out to the students and the coaches as well as getting vendors, supplies and equipment so everything can flow in and out accordingly.”

Not only does JT help keep gym running, but the student body as well.

“Whenever I lose my items, I always know where to go. JT really has everything; he is also always available to help whenever a student needs,” said Jordan Attys, a member of the football and track team.

The cage is the place to be, and it is always surrounded by noise, and positive cheer from teams.

Louisa Coughlin, a member of field hockey, squash and lacrosse teams, added, “The cage is where we get everything from uniforms to good luck cheer to mouth guards and honestly, it’s just a fun pregame tradition to go to the cage and pick up your uniform, say hi to JT and then go off and get ready for your game.”

There are three days in the cage, the day before game days, after game day, and game day. Each day has specific requirements. The day before JT and the students help him fold and hang laundry according to rosters and sizes. The day after, all uniforms are washed, dried, and put back on loops.

Game day is something different entirely. It entails all rosters for teams displayed in the back with color-coded loops and sticky notes. Students’ names, number, and team are then required to find their respective uniforms. Any equipment students and coaches need are handed out, and the score boards are set up in time for the big games to come.

JT is much more than just a staff member students see on the way to sports. “JT sees students’ emotions almost more than teachers, advisers, and coaches, and he has stepped right up into that role,” Brousseau said.

It is clear JT has a love not just for the job but the students as well. “I get to hang out with teenagers every day it’s a great atmosphere,” JT said. “Everyone hangs out here, any time after 3:00 you never don’t see people hanging out here.”

JT has his own unique inside joke with almost every student, and teacher. Inside, the Cage is filled with gifts from students and teachers over the years. On the other side of the window, students who have worked with JT have signed their names in Sharpie and often leave messages in a notebook for him when they graduate.