I have always had the drive to make an impact in sport. Whether it was on the field, on the bench or in the stands, my passion for sports and being a part of a team has rarely been outmatched. I have always been small in stature but large in spirit and morale, which has allowed me to be involved and take part in many sporting experiences and memories that will last with me for a lifetime.
Growing up, I played baseball, basketball and football. Having to make up for my size was something that always drove me to work harder and find a way to make an impact on my teams in other ways than hitting home runs or averaging 15 a game. I found a lot of empowerment in being a leader on the bench while my varsity high school teams excelled on the court or field, making sure my teams stuck together and stayed focused on our goals. I made up for a lack of natural talent and size by getting in the weight room and proving to be a leader, while upholding a high standard in the classroom along the way. I ended up having a great athletic career, being recognized a lot more for efforts I made outside the lines and in ways that didn’t always show up in the stat sheet.
My coaches had a lot of trust in me to lead by example and push those who were going to make the difference on the field, and I found no loss of gratitude in being that type of teammate. I was not going on to play a sport in college, so naturally I searched for a school where I could study sports management and business, as well as be a part of something bigger than myself.
I decided to take a trip to Bloomington, Indiana, in the middle of baseball season my senior year, drove past Assembly Hall and Memorial Stadium and my decision was as good as made: I was born to be a Hoosier. Now, the Christian Watford shot vs. the undefeated Kentucky Wildcats in December 2011 had a lot of influence on my decision but, more so, I wanted to benefit from one of the strongest sports marketing and management programs because I knew I wouldn’t be happy down the road working a 9-5 if it didn’t revolve around, or at least have something to do with, sports.
My education and time at IU was all I could have asked for, taking classes focused on impacting the sports market as well as my courses in the Kelley School of Business really helped me reposition the way I thought about sports. More so than the athletic side of it all, I fell in love with the idea that sport brings people together, and the fact that everyone can and does consume sport in a different way than the next person.
When I graduated from IU in May of 2016, I came back to Chicago and started off working part-time for the Chicago Blackhawks in the marketing department, where I spent most nights at the United Center when the Hawks were in town. I love being an employee of one of my favorite organizations, but I found myself not bringing enough value being in a very limited role, and I wanted to take on more responsibility. In the meantime, while the team was on the road, I searched and applied for jobs trying to find a foot in the door, and luckily found an opportunity here at NCSA. I honestly had not known a company like ours had really existed or made the impact the way we do, so I fell in love with the opportunity to be a part of this team.
On a daily basis, I enjoy showing up to work and talking with families about their student-athletes. I believe the demands and traits of being an athlete instills valuable assets in a young person, as it has paid off for me along the way. Changing lives while talking sports is what I’m all about, and it is an invigorating feeling being able to help families and student-athletes achieve their goals and play at levels they may not have thought would have been possible. I have had the chance to speak with great kids and parents, and I have no desire to change paths at this point. It is a good feeling to be a part of something bigger than myself, and I plan to continue to better not only my life, but other’s through sport as well.