Truth be told, I am not the most experienced individual to work in the sports industry. I am 23, and I just landed my first real “big girl job” where I get medical insurance and a retirement plan, and I am only a month into this new job. I am the Assistant Athletic Director of Communications at The University of New Mexico (UNM), if you were wondering.
With that being said, I have been an intern in the industry since 2017. I started at UNM, where I interned for two years in the same office I am currently hired (pretty cool). On top of that, I spent close to a year with USA Basketball before returning home to Albuquerque, New Mexico, to work with UNM.
If you want to know what I do in my position, otherwise known as a sports information director (SID), check out this article!
Regardless of my time in the industry, here are five things that I didn't expect when working in the sports industry and why they were a pleasant surprise.
1 It’s all about putting out fires
I knew that by choosing a career in sports, I wasn't going to have a typical desk job which really excited me. One thing I didn't expect was how chaotic this industry could sometimes be, especially now that almost all sports are in-season due to COVID-19 postponements of 2020 Fall sports.
Postponements or not, you have to be able to think on your feet working in this industry. You know you did a good job if none of the fans in attendance noticed what was going on behind the scenes.
It may be little things like the printer running out of paper, and you have to run and grab more mid-game, or it could be bigger like the live stream cutting out mid-game, and you have to fix it while still keeping up with your other in-game duties.
It is fun because you never really know what to expect. It is a challenge, but a good one, to say the least.
2 You don’t have to be like everyone else
One thing I really worried about when I first started interning was that I couldn’t be like all of the people above me. My main boss at UNM is a trivia king. He knows every small detail about almost everything; it’s very impressive! My other boss could figure out what was wrong with any live stream without even have to think more than a couple of seconds.
It would be really overwhelming when I thought that I had to be JUST like them. That’s when I realized… I don’t. What I bring to the table is hard work, dedication, and a strong social media background. I quickly learned that I don't have to be the best of everyone around me. I just have to be the best version of myself.
3 You work A LOT of hours
There really isn't a “day off” in this industry. You can expect to be on your phone checking emails constantly, and since sporting events usually take place over the weekend, you never really get a weekend to yourself. So, you have to love what you do at least 80% of the time. I say 80% because there will be moments where you are overwhelmed, overworked, and tired. But as long as you keep showing up, you'll remember why you loved your job in the first place.
Walking into a field or stadium and watching the seats fill with fans to watch your team is exhilarating. Of course, the fans aren’t there to see you, but you are a significant part of the game. We are the connection between our team and the media/ fans. It’s an exciting position to be in.
On top of that, your coworkers become your extended family. You will spend a majority of your time with them, creating a bond that is hard to break.
4 Polos and khakis will fill your closet
The typical outfit of a SID is khakis and a polo. It’s not the most fashion-forward attire, but it’s almost like a staple of the industry. I tend to ditch the khakis for a good pair of black pants, but nonetheless, you will find your closet filling up with these types of clothes.
5 Trust in who you are
Probably the most important lesson that I have learned thus far is to believe in yourself. Imposters syndrome is so common in this industry; I deal with it every single day, but try not to doubt yourself. You can do more than you think you can, so give yourself some credit every now and then!
TRUST YOUR GUT!
Learn something from everyone you meet in this industry. Like I mentioned earlier, everyone has their strengths, so learn what that is for others, and see if you can adapt anything that they do to help you be the best YOU.
People may doubt you just try not to doubt yourself. And if this is a path you think you want to take, you got this. I’m rooting for you.