Baseball. Cheering. Crack of the Bat. If you’re at Turner Field, the Tomahawk Chop. Growing up in the suburbs of Atlanta, my summers included hanging out at the pool, country concerts, going to as many Braves games as possible, and tailgating in the infamous blue lot.
I was always fascinated by the game of baseball and all the behind the scenes work that went into putting on the game—from an operations standpoint to connecting all the pieces for things to run as they should.
Like many boys growing up, I wanted to be a professional ball player in the “show”, playing a game that I love for a living. After coming to grips with my mediocre baseball skills, I sought the next best thing: working for an MLB team and doing any and everything it would take to land a job in professional baseball. I wanted to be around the game and involved with the sport everyday, ultimately deciding to major in sport management at the University of Georgia to help me achieve that dream.
I applied in March of 2015 for the Braves Ticket Event Team (TET), a group of about 30 college students that work at the home games and assist with raffle and special group outings. I thought this would be the perfect way to get my foot in the door with the Braves and make a name for myself within the organization.
While I had prior experience assisting my school’s athletic department and doing volunteer work with different sport organizations, I was not selected for the job with the Ticket Event Team. It would have been a great opportunity to start my career with the Braves, but that wasn’t in the cards.
After a couple of months, the summer slowly started to creep around the corner. I had no idea what I was going to do to get more experience in the sports industry. I know I wanted to get involved with something, but my options seemed limited with UGA’s Athletic Department slowing down for the season.
One morning in April, I woke up to a Facebook message from Bryan Wish, the founder of this platform, whom I had met several times before through Josh Jones, a mutual friend. Bryan told me about an opportunity to become involved with the Atlanta Braves as a college sales ambassador. He was putting together a group of students to reach out to Georgia colleges and universities, getting student and Greek organizations to come out to games this season. I immediately told him I was interested and thought, “Here is my shot to make a name for myself with the Braves!”
I messaged and emailed everyone I could think of from UGA to have them come out to a game, but I didn’t receive the response I wanted.
I thought to myself that if I really wanted to make a name for myself, I needed to set myself apart from everyone else. I began reaching out to schools all over the state as well as schools in Tennessee, Alabama, and South Carolina.
I spent countless hours that summer on my computer sending hundreds of emails and messages and trying to take full advantage of the great opportunity I had been given.
I finally broke into schools like Georgia Southern, Auburn, Valdosta State, South Carolina, Tennessee, Clemson, and many others. Through the course of the season, I sold 2,436 tickets, $24,000+ in ticket sales, and created successful sales at 12 different colleges. Now that the season has closed, I am proud to say that I have led all the college ambassadors in sales as well as overall tickets sold. On top of all that, I’m applying for a position with the Braves in the next few weeks.
When I was turned down from the Ticket Event Team before the season started, I was really bummed because I knew that could be my chance to make a name for myself. When Bryan came to me with the opportunity to get involved however, I needed to “knock it out of the park” to make people with the Braves recognize my work ethic and notice me for a position after school.
My advice to anyone who wants to work in sports is to find your passion—whether that’s college sports, sales, marketing, public relations, or community outreach—and pursue it relentlessly until an opportunity comes your way. When it does, take full advantage, set yourself apart, and something good will come of it.
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” – Steve Jobs