If I could describe working for a sports commission in one word It would have to be, AWESOME. Working in this industry I have been exposed to different and unique sports that I would have never even watched, let alone worked. From diving trials to BMX race tracks, to paddle boarding, I have gained first hand experience in a variety of sporting events.
My favorite event that I got to work at, besides the Rainier LAX Cup, was the triathlon. There was so much that had went into planning and organizing the 130 participant race that I am glad I wasn't in charge of doing anything major for it other than show up. The triathlon basically encompassed three sporting events into one, swimming, cycling and long distance running. Since this event was hosted by the city it allowed us to block off major roads for our course, with the help of the police department. During the cycling portion of the race I was in charge of directing the cyclists, going at high speeds on a busy road, onto the next leg of the race. It was crazy to see these participants switch from their wet-suits to bike gear, then to running shoes. Working this event I have defianantly gained an appreciation for people/athletes who partake in tries. They look excruciatingly exhausting, but very rewarding after accomplishing I am sure.
Though being out of the office and working on event days is a lot of fun, the work that takes place in the office starts to get tedious, but determines the success of the event. Before we can put on any tournament or competition, there is always a pre-event meeting where our staff comes together and brainstorms the main purpose of the event we are hosting, along with other logistical measures such as budget & marketing. Once the duties are delegated, its go time. I can't even begin to count how many emails I sent and phone calls I made over the course of my internship. It makes me wonder how anything was ever accomplished before the internet and technology. Staring at a computer for 7 hours at a time some days does get really dry, but once you finally get to see all the hard work you put in on the event day, it is well worth it.
It is hard to believe that my internship is coming to an end, but I am looking forward to continuing my journey in the sports world through coaching while I finish my last semester of school. Working for Tacoma Sports I have gained a better understanding of the impact that sports have on communities, along with how much work it takes to coordinate major sporting events. I feel confidant in what I have learned at TSSS to coordinate and execute my own sporting event from start to finish. And hopefully in the future, I will be able to do just that =).
The Rainer LAX Cup was finally here and my stress level couldn't have been any higher. All of the long hours in the office making phone calls and emails to coaches, drafting and organizing event details, had finally boiled down to this weekend. Overall I was not too nervous about the event being a success; we had met all of our deadlines and goals. The thing that I was most nervous and anxious about, was getting to spend all day with Hilary Bowmen, four-time NCAA DI lacrosse champion & U.S Team Member; and Regan Bosch, former goalie all-star at Duke. Mind you, these two ladies are celebrities in the lacrosse world and I got to spend all day with them!
Hilary and Regan weren’t at all what I had expected in my mind. Though I was socially awkward at first, they were both very sociable and made me feel comfortable. They were only three years older than I was and much like me, they both have a deep rooted passion for lacrosse. We all hit it off really well and I learned a lot about college athletics and coaching (they both coach at USC now). In fact they have convinced me to try and land a coaching position once I finish my degree. The sport is expanding at a very rapid pace and the demand for coaches is substantial. I am hoping the odds are in my favor when it comes time for job hunting.
Saturday had rolled around and we were at the fields bright and early. My advisor was in overdrive directing and yelling at people where to put stuff and set up things. She looked like she had at least two Redbulls (overly stressed). Luckily for her, we had both met earlier in the week and I was able to eliminate some of her stress by checking in the volunteers and direct the vendors. Set up was probably the most important part of the day and once that was over with, everything ran off a master timer. The coaches already had their schedules, the U19 players were assigned their VIP coach, and it was smooth sailing until the event was over at 5:00pm.
As I sat with Emily at the check in table watching the teams play, she had told me that everything was looking great and coaches/parents/players were all very pleased with the way the tournament was going. She then told me, she prayed and hoped no one got injured. Apparently, one of the staff members who were in charge of finding an EMT for on site did not follow through with their duties. So if someone were to get severely injured, we could be in deep s*it. Luckily no one got hurt other than a couple of scrapes and bruises. Something I have learned from this, what could have been a terrible disaster, is not everyone can be as reliable as you would like them to be. In a business setting I will be working with multiple people on any given assignment and often times a lot of people don’t do their part. It is important to do follow ups and set deadlines, that way as the director you can check the work and progress to ensure it is done correctly.
All in all, the entire event was a huge success and will certainly be held again next year. There were only a couple of things that would have been done differently. By having gained experience in helping create an entirely new event from scratch, it will make planning other events more efficient.
Rhubarb the Mascott
I always knew working in sports would be fun, but some of the stuff we get to do here at TSSS is beyond amazing.
One of the perks of working for TSSS are the season tickets for the Rainier AAA Baseball team. As a TSSS employee we are welcome to select as many tickets (game dates) as we want, as long as no one else has already reserved them. Oh and I should mention, the seats are fourth row from the dug-out and we get access to the VIP lounge where they serve complementary beer and wine along with all the ball park peanuts you can eat =).
Another awesome perk of the job are the free events I get to attend. So far I have been to the Disc Golf Championship, Lacrosse Jamboree and the Highland games. But hands down nothing has compared to watching the US Olympic Diving Trials this past Thursday. Let me just say, it was incredible. I was in the presence of the best diving athletes in the nation and got to see in person who will be representing the US in the Olympics this summer. Also, we had access yet again to the VIP lounge where free food, beer and wine was served.
Tough you have to work long week days and weekends in the sports industry, it definitely balances itself out when getting to attend once in a life time events.
Emily & I battling it out
With long hours just sitting and staring at a computer monitor, TSSS CEO Tim likes to spice up the office from time to time to prevent employee burn out, or what I like to call bored-um.
Fridays are usually casual meaning we can wear jeans, which is awesome, but this Friday it turned into a competition between co workers. Early morning Tim walked in the office with a mini table tennis board and paddles shouting for everyone to "gather round, today is competition day." Tim told us we had the entire day to play each member of the staff once and log our wins and losses on the white board. The individual with the most wins at the end of the day would win a medal and bragging rights. Though we still had to finish our work, it was nice to take a break every so often and see the true competitive nature of some of the employees come out. Not to mention, it also helped to get us out of our desk and socialize with one another.
Unfortunately on Fridays I have a half day so I was unable to play everyone in the office. Though, I certainly mastered the art of mini table tennis and probably stood a good chance at placing in the top of the bracket if I had been able to play everyone. Its days like these that make office life less draining.
After a long work week, it continued into the weekend with an all day lacrosse jamboree. Saturday I spent all morning and afternoon direct marketing for the Rainier LAX Cup. During the break sessions in between games, I went up to coaches and verbally marketed the RLC while handing them a informational flyer I designed earlier in the week. If the coach seemed interested, I marked their names down on my contact sheet so I could call them later in the week.
Despite the mistake of talking to the same coach twice, I was fairly confident and successful in approaching complete strangers. Most of the coaches were friendly and willing to listen to my shpeal. I even managed to gather a large number of contact information. I think the only reason why some coaches seemed annoyed with me, was because they were in between games and probably trying to focus on coaching and thier team, not listen to a "salesman" try and pitch them a tournament opportunity.
Even though I would have rather spent my Saturday doing other things, I learned that direct marketing is the most effective form of marketing when trying to promote a product/event. I had already sent an email to these same coaches a week ago, and shockingly enough the vast majority of them had no idea what I was talking about. By being able to verbally communicate an event to someone in person, it has more staying power and that individual is more likely to remember that particular event versus skimming an email.
Rush hour traffic
You know the phrase Monday blues? I have had anything but the Monday blues. In fact, Mondays may be my new favorite day of the week!
Today has been chalked full of work upon work. While most may consider this draining, I find it to be exciting. Not to mention, it made my day go by really fast which is an added bonus. I spent the vast majority of my time making phone calls and emails trying to find vendors and sponsors for the Rainier LAX Cup. It was a bit nerve wrecking talking on the phone, but I really got to hone my communication skills in a professional manner. I must not have sounded too nervous though; I managed to get a verbal agreement from Sea Town LAX, a local lacrosse retailer and Fine Designs, a custom t-shirt company. I am waiting on a couple more retailers to call me back later this week, keeping my finger crossed!
The second half of the day was way more stressful. I had to hand deliver posters/flyers to local business all over the greater Tacoma area. Now I know this doesn't seem like it would be stressful, but I am not a local of Tacoma WA, therefore I am not at all familiar with the area. This assignment should have only taken me an hour, it ended up lasting two. This just reassured me never to audition for the Amazing Race; I choke under pressure when it comes to driving, especially in unfamiliar territory. Also, I strongly believe every hour is rush hour in the Sea/Tac region. Bumper to bumper traffic, mixed with bad directions, exhaustion from an already long day, equals not a happy way to end my afternoon. But! Despite the awful driving aspect, I look forward to returning to my desk on Wednesday to what will hopefully be a grip of voice messages and emails.
Now that I am more familiar with the ins and outs of TSSS, today was a lot more enjoyable and less stressful than Monday. The first half of the morning consisted of making phone calls to U15 girls lacrosse coaches to invite them to the Rainier LAX Cup on July 14th & 15th.
The Rainier LAX Cup is South Sound Washington’s first-ever girl’s U15 Regional Lacrosse Tournament & U19 VIP Challenge. The top U15 girl’s lacrosse teams from the Northwest come together for 2 days to compete in a unique tournament with the hopes of winning the coveted Rainier Lax Cup. This tournament is a fun fast-paced competition designed for school/ club programs who desire to continue playing beyond their spring lacrosse season into the summer.
This is one of the main projects I was assigned on Monday as an intern. It is my job to get teams to register for this tournament along with finding sponsors and vendors. Though I was unable to physically get any teams to register today, I had spoken with a lot of interested coaches who I sent personal emails to with more detailed information about the event.
The second half of the day I updated the social media sites (Twitter, Facebook & Blog) about the PLU's softball team and their national championship. I also researched and made a list of possible vendors and sponsors for the LAX cup and looked up major events in the region that will be taking place in 2013.
Tim, president of TSSS, had sent out an email to the staff to create a mission statement for the Let's Play event in January. I took my time trying to come up with something original then wrote it on the white board in the meeting room (as directed in the email). Not going to lie I am a little nervous for others to read it, though I am confident in my "skills" it is still rather exciting/nerve wrecking to think these business professionals are going to be reviewing my work and critiquing it. I am now going to be anxiously awaiting for the next board meeting when we vote on whose mission statement is going to be selected for this huge event, =).
At 7:00am I was up and at em to get ready for my first day with the Tacoma Sports Commission. The dress code is business casual, which is a change from my everyday wear of jeans and a t-shirt, but it makes me feel professional and rather excited to be a "grown-up". I technically don't have to be to work till 8:30am, but because I do not have a parking pass I have to take the train down town then walk to the office, hence the early wake up. My work days are Monday & Wednesdays from 8:30am-5:00pm and Fridays from 8:30am-1:30pm.
Upon my arrival I was introduced to the staff and who I would be working with. I was then showed to my desk and where I'd be stationed. I have my own space tucked away in the corner of the office with a computer and all the office supplies I could ever need. Emily, my supervisor, gave me a brief run through of the assignments I would be working on while at TSSS. Essentially whenever someone asks me to do something I do it. In other words I will be getting my hands dirty in a lot of different assignments, very exciting =).
During this time I got to sit in on a meeting about the "Let's Play" event that will be hosted in the Tacoma Dome onJanuary 2013. This meeting was an introductory to the event. The staff had went over the objectives, goals, marketing, budget, layout and basically built the foundation for the event before working on it. As I sat there and listened to everyone collaborate and bring forth their ideas, I couldn't help but flash back to Tiffin and how all my management and marketing courses we did the same exact thing prior to a project. This was exactly what I learned in school, but for an actual event!
After the meeting I took a lunch break in the semi decent break room. We get 30min for lunch, but most people in the office seem to either use less time or eat at their desk and continue to work.
I spent the rest of my afternoon researching information on upcoming sporting events within in the NW region, formatted and created a weekly social media update that i'll turn into the head of marketing every Monday, and looked up the weather on Wednesday for the president (this was a funny office joke).
For the remainder of my internship ill be doing small assignments/research here and there for those that need it along with small tasks like filing, making copies, dropping off flyers ect. My main "projects" will be to help design and structure the internship program and work on the Rainier Lacrosse Tournament.