It wasn’t too long ago that I was waking up for morning practice in the dead of winter, bundling up in Colgate grays and making my way down to the field house at 6 a.m. for a team lift. Many of those morning practices came after all-nighters in the library or in the Colgate Maroon-News office, typing away on papers and articles right up until practice started.
There was never a dull moment, never an easy class or practice, but I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. Every day at Colgate was exciting, every race was intense and every moment indelible.
My career post-Colgate follows the same curve. Working in the National Football League for the Super Bowl Champion New York Foot-ball Giants is a dream come true. I wake up every day humbled by, thankful for and respectful of the position I have. I work under the best owner-ship in the League and in the phenomenal mar-ket that is New York.
As a sport, football is exhilarating, de-manding and fiercely competitive. As a business, football encompasses all of those adjectives and more. There are no dull moments, and there is no off-season.
Playing four years of Division I athletics helped me build a physical and moral foun-dation for my life after school. The bitter cold practices, the long nights, the travel and the missed Spring Party Weekends were all minor details.
However, the overarching lessons are long lasting. I learned about sacrifice, about putting team first and taking direction from coaches and trainers. Limitations are physical. My mentality on and off the field has always been to dig in deep and get the job done – with a smile.
Colgate athletics taught me about trust. The bond between teammates is unbreak-able. The pressure was immense, but we achieved together. When you are part of a team, a professional, varsity or intramu-ral one, you learn to lean on each other and succeed as one. In transition from a college team to the Giants’ sponsorship sales team, these lessons continue to drive my decision-making efforts and leadership in the office.
Numerous Colgate students reach out ev-ery year asking how to “break into the sports world” and I offer the same advice I was given on my first interview with the Giants: “All it takes is one chance. Someone has to give you one shot. And when you get that shot, put your head down and work hard.”
All of you Colgate students are smart. That is a given. It takes those smarts, a level head and an unyielding desire to work hard and grind out long hours, tough road trips, wins and losses to wake up every morning and love your job “in sports.”
No matter what the industry, the well-rounded curriculum and street smarts you graduate with will take you anywhere you want to go. One of the best assets you have access to is the Colgate alumni directory.
This instant network is unparalleled by many universities; please take full advantage of it. There are multiple avenues into the sports arena, all worth taking a look at – from mi-nor league ballparks, to major league stadiums, activation agencies to broadcast partners.
Each path intertwines on game days and of-fers varying views of the sports realm. Through Colgate’s directory, you are privy to numerous executives within professional sports leagues, na-tional TV networks, major advertising agencies and top-ranking marketing firms. All it takes is one shot. Research the directory and pick-up the phone to start making connections.
Winning the Super Bowl last season was an unforgettable experience. I got fit-ted for a ring and rode along the Canyon of Heroes but never lost sight of how thank-ful and fortunate I am to work for the Giants organization. If your goal is to work in sports, don’t let anyone stop you. Put your head down, be tenacious and create your opportunity. Go for it. To echo one of our team’s mantras: “Work hard, do your best, speak the truth … have no fear.”