As Spring has official started, no matter how winter-like the Iowa weather seems still, April means baseball season is back.
This summer, I was lucky enough to land an internship with the Iowa Cubs, the AAA affiliate of the Chicago Cubs MLB team.
As a game-day/stadium operations intern I have a lot on my plate for the summer, and big shoes to fill.
I started work about 20-25 hours per week in the middle of March, and continued that until opening day on April 5. That’s when things got fun, exciting and became everything I’ve wanted to do since I decided to pursue a career in sports.
Due to the extremes of the weather in Iowa, the first home-stand schedule has been altered. With a double-bill on opening day, my first real ‘game-day’ experience was one to remember.
All my coworkers came in at 7 a.m. to start prepping the stadium. I was in class from 8-9:30, but came in quickly after to work the rest of the day. For me, that meant I worked 10:30 a.m. until after 10 p.m. when the games were over and the stadium was ready to close.
Everyone in the sports industry says to be prepared for long hours, showing up early and staying late, but I was shocked at how quickly that started. I love what I’m doing, but the hours are as extreme as the weather.
Until I graduate from Simpson on the last Saturday of April (3 weeks), I’ll be working as many games as I can, but will have to stay up finishing assignments and keeping caught up. It’ll be a grind, but once I graduate and can dedicate all my time to pursuing a career in my passion, the long hours and stress will pay off.
On opening day, we did a lot of work to get the stadium ready for fans. Everyday, we use leaf blowers to blow the stadium (seats, concourse, suite boxes, outside grounds) and follow that by hosing. The blowing gets all the peanut shells, popcorn, trash and leaves out of the walkways, and the hoses get all the dirt and grime from the day/s before to make the stadium look as good as possible on game-day.
Once we’ve gotten the stadium cleaned and ready to open for the game, we’ll all split up and get ready for our in-game promotions and other jobs.
To keep the games fun and interesting, we run 8-12 promotions per game. Each promotion is at the top, middle or bottom of an inning, and includes a fan (kid or adult) coming on the field or answering a trivia question for a prize. Each promotion is different, but they’re all fun and a good way to break up the game for those fans who are wanting more than just ‘another ball game.’
Once the game is over, and the Cubs have either won or lost, all that’s left is to clean up and close the stadium. That’s not all fun and games, but it has to be done, and once we were taught what needed to be done and how to do it, it’ll be quick and easy the rest of the season.
If you’re interested in a career in sports, I STRONGLY consider interning with a minor league team to build up your skills and credibility. The connection I’ve made at the Iowa Cubs may or may not help me land another job in sports down the road in my career, but I’ve already learned so much about how stadiums operate in and off-season.
I’ve only just begun my career in sports, but I can say one thing is certain; this is what I want to do.
My degree is in public relations, and I have strongly developed skills in writing and drafting content for those purposes, but because of my passion for sports, I’ll be continuing to pursuing a career in that. Ideally, my future job will connect both of my experiences, skills and passions (PR and sports) and I’ll be living the dream.
Take that chance.
Say ‘yes’ more often than ‘no.’
Put in the work.
Rise and Grind.
And last, but not least, find your passion and do what you love.