My internship with the PGA golf tournament is coming to an end. It has been a steady week of incredible crowds, inclement weather, and hours of people-watching in the herds of over 100,000 spectators in Phoenix, Arizona on this Super Bowl weekend. Let me just say that crowds of people can be highly entertaining. Add in some alcohol (and in this particular scenario, drinks started flowing before 10:00am) and you’ve got a real show on your hands.
The majority of each day, I stood at the entrance and bar of the sky boxes for Hole 16, notoriously the most rowdy and wild hole on the PGA tour. For example, Francesco Molinari shot a Hole-in-One on 16 this morning and the stadium showered the stands with beer. So needless to say, there was plenty of opportunity to simply people-watch.
Each day for employees begins in the special parking lot reserved for all staff, including waitresses, bartenders, cooks, cleaning crew members, security guards and other interns. Lines and shuttle rides from the employee parking lot are entertaining enough. I get to hear about the bartenders’ (100% female staff) strategies for pulling the most tips out of their customers. I learned that at the Kid Rock concert last night, his security guard used a false ‘porta-potty’ as a secret door to the rocker and band’s staging area. Our bus driver became suspicious when she saw a bouncer standing outside the potty, and multiple people entering without coming out. Pretty clever disguise for a secret entrance, albeit a smelly one.
I was shocked to learn that the bartenders and waitresses at this event worked strictly off of tips (although, in a $50,000 sky box I’m sure tips will out-haul minumum wage ten-fold) and many of them went straight to their regular jobs downtown after working 9 hours at the golf course. Rockstars and Monsters were the drink of choice; I saw more morning energy drinks than coffee.
People will lie and embellish the silliest stories to try to get into the sky boxes. The things they come up with for a free beer! Some were not so creative (“my friend has my ticket and he can’t come down”) and some were a little far-fetched (“I’m Tiger Wood’s daughter”). Some were very rude (“I’m a senior citizen, I can’t believe you won’t let me in. You are ruining the sport of golf”) and some were desperate (“How much money can I give you to let me up there”). One guy tried to show us a picture of his pass, then took a used pass from another guest, then tried to follow a crowd in. His lime green pants didn’t help him blend in.
Part of the fun of people-watching is the variety of outfits people wear. For men, it’s a pretty standard button-up or t-shirt with jeans and dress shoes. Not too notable. The women though were all over the board with their styles, from Conservative-businesswoman to die-hard-sports-fan, from workout-chic to straight-out-of-Wal-Mart. Some wore adorable rompers and I complimented their classy ensembles. Some wore stilettos and too-skinny jeans and I feared for their ankles in the muddy and wet conditions. Everyone has their own style, and their own comfort level. I really don’t judge anyone for what they wear, but I do find it very entertaining and I found myself playing ‘Who Wore It Better’ in my head all day.
Along with spectators, I really got to know some fellow employees that also worked at the entrance of Hole 16. Two retired men, John and Dave, greeted guests and scanned their credentials. They certainly had the personality for it. Although John is a soon-to-be grandfather, he was quite the flirt with the ladies and Dave had something kind or funny to say to nearly everyone who walked up. Throughout our days together, I learned that the pair had been friends for years. They were self-proclaimed ‘gym rats’ who had a strict 8am gym routine 6 days a week. In fact, they are so dedicated and so social at the gym that they each received worried text messages while we were working at the golf course from fellow gym-goers who were concerned that neither of them had shown up to the gym for a couple of days. So sweet :) Turns out that Dave was married to another hole-16 greeter, Jenn. They were a retired police officer and a retired fire chief who met in a traffic accident.
It’s now the last day of the tournament and I’m sure the Super Bowl in the same city will attract some of our massive crowds. Have a happy Super Bowl Sunday! Go (Insert your favorite team here)! ;)
By now, you know of my my affinity for Pinterest. I pin recipes, workouts, adorable puppies, sarcastic e-cards, and inspirational quotes. I’m all about those inspirational quotes.
What you might not know is my eagerness to jump start a career in sports marketing. Over the summer, I spent my lunch hours in the office researching Sports Marketing Masters programs in universities throughout the country. Over spring break, I bought myself a copy of The Dream Job by Melvin Helitzer. The first chapter proved that I’m in the right place. Sports marketing has elements of the entertainment industry, competition and athletics, business and strategy. Yet it’s very open for creativity.
My next step: look for internships.
Small problem…I’m a full-time college student in a small mountain town with no major (or minor) sports teams. My university doesn’t currently offer any sort of internship program for sports marketing.
After my enlightening trip to see Warren Buffet last month, I was inspired by the resumes of my peers. So inspired, in fact, I did some proactive work to kick start my career.
What better place for a sports marketing internship than my own university’s athletics program?! I’m already very familiar with the department, being a student-athlete myself for three years. I already had contacts.
I just needed a killer resume and persuasive proposal to send for their consideration in “creating” an internship for me.
After sending off my resume and a proposal to create an “Undergraduate Sports Marketing Internship,” the athletic director helped set up a meeting between the external relations director and myself.
I watched Sports Center while curling my hair to prepare ;) When the interview started, I was asked what exactly I hoped to get out of this internship. This position didn’t exist yet so I explained my expectations to learn about the “behind-the-scenes” aspect of the sports industry.
We talked about my qualifications and skills.
We talked about the different functions in the department that I could assist with.
We talked about ideas to improve student attendance at home games, and building more support from the local community.
Not to keep you in suspense, I think you can predict the outcome.
I’m so grateful to the university athletic department for considering my request and giving me this amazing opportunity. I am now the Undergraduate Sports Marketing Intern for an NCAA Division I athletic program. If I hadn’t have approached the athletic director, it never would have happened.
Next to my bed, I have more inspirational quotes framed on the wall. One reads: All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them. -Walt Disney.
I think it’s important not to settle for ordinary. I wanted an internship that didn’t exist. With a little effort, now it does exist. That’s something I can be proud of. :)
I’m thrilled to begin working in the athletic department next semester!
If this is finals week for you….GOOD LUCK FRIENDS. We can do it.
My best friend and I were feeling a little dramatic about finals week and declared this it’s theme song: