For someone working in the world of sports, there are few events bigger than the Super Bowl. Last week, 12 sport management and sport media students from Ithaca College had the opportunity to get close to the action while volunteering at some of the side events held in the run-up to the big game.
Accompanied by Associate Professor Annemarie Farrell and Assistant Professor Rachel Madsen, the students spent five days in Houston, Texas, working at the Super Bowl Live and NFL Experience at the George R. Brown Convention Center. Fans in attendance were able to get players’ autographs, take photos with the Lombardi Trophy and try their luck at a number of games and drills, like field goal kicking and slant routes, which the students helped run.
The kicking station was among the most popular. The students working there got a chance to see history made when Indianapolis Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri broke the world record for the most field goals kicked in one minute — 28.
The kicker wasn’t the only famous player the students saw. Junior sport management major George Colville met and got a photo with Hall-of-Famer Jim Brown, one of his father’s favorite players. “When I sent him the picture that I took with him, he was very jealous,” said Colville.
The students were required to work three five-hour shifts, but were otherwise free to explore and network with other attendees. The experience allowed students like Colville to see what where they could work in the future.
“It was really motivating to see all the players and executives who have worked their way up to where I and other management students aspire to be,” said Colville.
While in Houston, the students also had the opportunity to meet with Ithaca College alumni working in the sports world. The group toured and watched a Houston Rockets game at the Toyota Center, where 2010 alumnus Andrew Sidney works in sales. He shared his knowledge about living in Houston and working in sports sales. They also had dinner with 2016 alumnus Ndue Palushi, who works for the National Football League.
Freshman Emily Palmer said the experience served to introduce her to a number of possible career paths available through sport management. “I learned it is very important to keep an open mind as to what field I want to work in and be willing to go the extra mile when working,” she said.
While they didn’t get to go to the game itself (they watched together in a local sports bar), the students gained valuable experience and learned what their careers might entail.
“It wasn’t about going to the game,” said Samuel Christiansen-Provost, a sophomore majoring in sport management. “It was about going to work, getting experience and meeting new people.”