Two Great Days at Work

At work this time of the year it is really nice. June is basically our “slow” month of the year and a lot of us use it to go on vacation, attend national conventions, catch up on everything from the past year (it is the last month of the fiscal year), and do a lot of P.R./outreach type work with all of the great fans of Griz Nation. Every June, our department stages two wildly successful events that usually take place on consecutive days. These two events, Huddles and Heels and the Montana Grizzlies Conoco Golf Classic, always make me realize what an awesome job I have.
Huddles and Heels is a football clinic for women put on by Griz Marketing (yes, my department). The brainchild of my boss, Christie Anderson, Huddles and Heels gives our women participants an all-access pass to our coaches, players, and facilities. On Thursday, we held our fourth annual clinic.

                                           My boss Christie and I after Huddles and Heels.

The whole agenda for the event is beautiful. The women check in and we give them a bag with a t-shirt, wine glass, football glossary, and other goodies. They then go up to the Sky Club, our arena suite that we use to entertain boosters, and the fun begins. Waiting upstairs this year we had a full tailgate dinner ready for the women. Of course, once they got into the Sky Club they first breezed right by the food spread and went to the bar where we had wine and beer tasting available. As the participants ate and drank, our Athletic Director welcomed them and our cheerleaders and dance team members gave tours to anyone who wanted to see our facilities.
Once everyone had a nice buzz going, we started the actual clinic. Our whole football coaching staff and about 25 of our players ran the clinic. The women were divided into teams and we rotated them through different stations. These stations included everything from classroom sessions dealing with terms of football/officiating 101/a day in the life of a Griz football player to weight room crash courses to on field drills. We had our big inflatable helmet set up right outside of the players’ tunnel so the women got to feel just like a Griz football player does on a Saturday. As they ran out of it and onto the field, music that I play for the Griz games filled up the stadium. Despite the rain, the women had a great time. I could not stop laughing as I was sitting up in the press box watching from high above as the women gave it their all on the field. It was so much fun playing music for them as they would break into dance for each song, coaches included.
After the clinic portion of the event, we ushered the participants back up to the Sky Club for more drinks. All of the Griz players in attendance then went up to the front of the suite and participated in a Q&A session with the women. Next, Coach Pflugrad used two of our standout players to model the full uniform that a Griz football player wears. The players started with full uniforms on, and as Coach explained each piece, they would take it off, drawing huge cheers from the crowd (he stopped once they were in their shoulder pads). After another drink break, Coach Pflu conducted our live auction. I guess I should probably say that Huddles and Heels is a charity event. Each year, we choose a charity to donate half of the proceeds to. This year, our charity was Big Brothers, Big Sisters. Anyways, the live auction items were big hits. Of course we auctioned off the typical signed footballs and helmets but we also included packages with many of our coaches. For example, you could bid on an all-expenses paid happy hour session with our very popular defensive coordinator, Mike Breske. Or you could bid on a BBQ at the house of our charismatic linebackers coach, Ty Gregorak. You get the picture. Our coaches were more than happy to donate their time, money, residences, etc. for a good cause. A silent auction followed the live auction which was then followed by more drinking. At around 10pm, the Fourth Annual Huddles and Heels was in the books.
Yesterday, we had our 31st Annual Montana Grizzlies Conoco Golf Classic at the Canyon River Golf Course. This event is put on by the Grizzly Scholarship Association (GSA) and the whole athletic department volunteers for the day. I was assigned to hole 16 where I was in charge of grilling hot dogs and making sure all  the beer was cold and stocked. My partner at the hole was Heather, our accounting services manager in the department. We had a blast cooking for the golfers and BSing/drinking with everyone who came to the hole. Golfers ranged from coaches to University officials to long time boosters to die hard Griz fans. To add to the enjoyment of this day, the weather was perfect. Honestly, there is nothing better than sun, good music, cold beer, hot dogs, and golf. Yeah, not a bad way to spend the work day.

                                         Heather and I cooked about 1,000 hot dogs!

The reason why I love work in June and why I love these two events in particular, is because I get to hang out and have fun with all of my co-workers in a much different light. During most of the year, people are busy and stressed. Nerves and tension flows readily. It is just the nature of the business. However, come June, everyone is much more relaxed.
This is no more evident than with the coaches. I will blog about this down the road in much more detail, but the amount of pressure that is put on coaches is incredible. You would not believe some of the unreal expectations that the community puts on these individuals. Coaching is one of the few professions where random people who have absolutely no business/experience/knowledge will constantly come out of the woodwork and critique your job performance. It is no wonder then why it seems like some coaches are always walking on pins and needles. Over the past two days it was so nice to see many of these coaches having a great time. I got to talk to them as people in a relaxed situation rather than in a stressful work environment where they have everything on the line. It was nice.
I love my job. The past two days simply reinforced it. Don’t Blink.

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