Working in intercollegiate athletics is a lot of fun. Don’t get me wrong, it is a lot of hard work and a lot of long hours but it is worth it. I get a lot out of what I do, most importantly a job that I look forward going to each and every day as well as an opportunity to connect and work with a wide range of people.
Besides the major components of what makes my job so great there are also the little things that make working in college sports just a little sweeter. No, I am not talking about an endless supply of free tickets, summers off, or an office overlooking the football field that so many people think I get (I don’t receive any of the three). I am talking about the very minor things, perhaps things that only matter to the nerdy and sports-obsessed person like myself. Yep, throughout my four years working fulltime in intercollegiate athletics I have accumulated certain items that I value. In tonight’s blog post I want to share the three items I have an overabundance of that I consider perks of the job but most other people would consider junk.
If I wanted to, I could wear a different Griz, conference, or promotional t-shirt for each day of the year. I don’t have enough space in my bedroom closet to store all the t-shirts I have received over the past four years so I have a living room closet that is filled with folded up shirts. You have to see how this happens though. We host any sort of tournament, we get a shirt. We have a white out or a maroon out, we get a shirt. We have a pink game, heart disease game, coaches vs. cancer game, or any cause awareness game, we get a shirt. We have a milestone game, rivalry game, or championship game, we get a shirt. We have an athletic department special event, we get a shirt. We have special initiatives in marketing that we want to push (i.e. social media, spirit squad, etc), we get a shirt.
This is not to even mention all the other shirts that come our way. Different sports will sometimes give me shirts. One time we found a few boxes full of long sleeve shirts out in storage that we didn’t even know we had (each staff member got a shirt). Many times I will get shirts for helping out other entities on campus. A t-shirt collection can build quite quickly.
I try to give shirts away to my family members and friends, and many times I am successful. However, the rate that I give them out just doesn’t match the rate that I receive them.
You meet anyone who works in the event industry and most likely you will at one time or the other see their vast credential collection. Employees in intercollegiate athletics are no different as many of us need issued credentials to do our jobs, both at home and away events.
Now compared to some of my seasoned superiors, I have a pathetic credential collection. But it is definitely starting to grow. I have accumulated most of my credentials through working gameday for both Griz football and basketball, doing football road travel, and then various odds and ends events. My most treasured credentials are definitely my NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament and NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament creds.
Credentials are important to me just because they show where I have been. They also serve as a memory of that particular season or event. I hold them closely.
Growing up as a kid I always wanted to go to giveaway days whenever we went to a sporting event. It didn’t matter if it was a single baseball card or a magnet, I wanted a free souvenir out of the experience. I remember going to Mariners games and freaking out that we had to get to the dome/stadium extra early because only the first 20,000 fans would get the item. Never mind that we could have gotten to the game after the first pitch and still have gotten the trinket, I needed to be 100% sure.
Fast forward 20 years to the career I am in right now and I can say that promotional items have lost a little bit of their luster for me. After you order, get ready, and pass the items out over and over again the intrigue starts to fade a little. You also start to wonder about the sanity of people when you encounter individuals who are 10x more obsessed about getting the giveaway item than I was back in my youth.
Out of the many items that usually come in a single shipment, I try to save one for myself as both a memory and as an example if we ever bring that item back again. I have rally towels, backpacks, growth charts, mini balls, sunglasses, foam fingers, cheer cards, leis, hats, and many more items. Granted most are in storage but I still utilize some of the promo items on an everyday basis, such as the backpacks and sunglasses.
So is my job cooler than yours?! I like to think so but obviously one’s satisfaction with his/her job is relative. I can say though that more than likely I have a greater amount of t-shirts, credentials, and promo items than you! WHAT NOW?! Don’t Blink.