Unsung heroes make athletic departments shine in the spotlight

Culver City athletic department and teams are some of the bests in Southern California. For the past 50 years the Centaurs have produced competitive and championship teams in almost every sport. During the past 10 years league championships have become routine and add to that Culver City's several CIF team championships and individual CIF champions in track and field.

What makes a good athletic department? School administrators, an attentive athletic director, good coaches but probably the most important and the most overlooked is the athletic trainer. Without a good trainer the athletes can not perform at the highest level. Culver City High School has one of the best trainers in high school sports in Marcos White.

White has been at Culver City for 16 years and he has not skipped a beat. During a busy sports day on campus, it appears he splits himself in two. You see him in the gym during a basketball or volleyball game. The next minute you see him on the field at a soccer game. Culver City has over 20 varsity sports and when you add freshman, sophomore and junior varsity teams to that total it's over 50 teams.

"I work with all of the sports, 800 student athletes a year," said White during a phone interview this week. "I'm at all of the home games and away playoff games. The only day I really have off is Sunday to be honest with you. Some days I get to school at 7 a.m. and I don't leave until 10:30 at night.".

White knows the importance of having a good school nurse, Diana Castro, volunteer student trainers and former Culver City coach and teacher, Tom Nakayama who works with White during football games. During a regular pre-pandemic school year White will have over 50 student trainers but because of the pandemic he had 13 this school year. White loves to talk about his former student trainers.

"What I really look back on is teaching and training," said White. "What I also like to look back on is all of the student trainers that are now trainers and doctors. Most of all I look back on the lives that I have changed. The trainer at Lawndale high school use to be one of my student trainers. I tell the trainers that they will never see their names in the paper. If Culver City wins, it's the coach or players and if they lose the coach or players names will be in the papers, but even if we don't get the accolades, they know we always have each other's back. We are like offensive linemen."

Growing up in the south bay and playing sports in high school (Narbonne) put White on the course that eventually led him to become a trainer. "I went to college at New Mexico on a basketball scholarship and I was interested in physical therapy and when I hurt my ankle playing basketball the person who helped me was a trainer. After watching him and talking to him that's when I decided I should change my major and become a trainer."

When White returned home after getting his master's degree in Sports Medicine his first job was at a Physical Therapy Clinic in the Los Angeles area. "They outsourced me to schools like South Pasadena," said White. "They closed the clinic down on a Friday and I put my resume in on the internet for the trainers' job at Culver City and I got a call from Jerry Chabola (former Athletic Director) on Sunday, and I started working at Culver City on Monday."

White continued to say, "That's how quick it happened. It was perfect timing. Of all the people at Culver City I really respect Jerry Chabola. He always did things the right way, him and Tom Salter (current Athletic Director). Without their support and the coaches support I would not be able to my job."

If White were not a trainer, he would probably be a coach. "To be honest I am a coach by nature. After I finished playing basketball in college, I was a graduate assistant basketball coach at Eastern New Mexico while I was working on my masters. Every summer I coach little kids, kindergarten through third grade in all sports."

Both of White's parents were teachers and they instilled in him at an early age that failure was not an option. "My dad died when I was young and my stepfather came into the picture and he was a teacher and a coach," said White. "He was a big influence in my life. He coached in high school and college for 40 years. He instilled in me to be punctual and responsible. He was from Compton and he graduated from Stanford. I am immensely proud of all three of my parents."

The pandemic year has presented challenges for everyone but White tries to keep things in perspective. "For a lot of people, the pandemic has given them the opportunity to spend more time with their families. On the sports side at the high school my main goal has always been safety. It is kind of my job to make sure all the student athletes follow the COVID-19 protocols and educate the athletes on what the guidelines are."

For the past 16 years White has educated all of us in the Culver City High School sports world on how a great Athletic Trainer gets the job done. "I just take it one day at a time," said White.


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