Ireland: Did You Know?

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Ireland, located on the westernmost part of Europe, is the continent’s second-biggest island behind Great Britain. With breathtaking landscapes, traditional music, welcoming people and no shortage of pubs, Ireland is a must-visit destination. Check out these 20 interesting facts about Ireland and its capital city, Dublin!

20 Facts About Ireland and its Sport Culture

General Facts

1. Dublin was founded by Vikings in the 9th century.

2. Two of the most famous Dublin figures include George Bernard Shaw (Nobel Prize laureate) and James Joyce (writer and poet).

3. It takes 119.5 second to pour the perfect pint of Guinness due to its six steps and waiting in between pours. About ten million pints of Guinness are produced every day in Dublin!

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4. The City of Dublin has 666 licensed pubs.

5. Trinity College is the most famous university in Ireland and produced some very highly regarded graduates including Oscar Wilde (Irish poet and playwright), Jonathan Swift (author of Gulliver's Travels and Dean of St Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin from 1713-1745), and Bram Stoker (author of Dracula).

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6. With about 50% of the population under 25 years of age, Dublin has the youngest population in all of Europe.

7. Dublin’s oldest known pub is the Brazen Head which was established back in 1198 AD.

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8. Ireland is the only country in the world with a musical instrument (the harp) as its national symbol. Many famous Irish musicians were born in Dublin including U2.

9. Dublin means “Black Pool” in Old Irish Gaelic.

10. Despite being Ireland’s third-smallest county, a third of Ireland’s population lives in County Dublin.

Sport Facts

1. Ireland’s national sports include hurling and Gaelic football which are ahead of rugby and soccer in popularity.

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2. Dublin’s Croke Park, which seats just over 82,000 fans, is home to the Gaelic games in Ireland and hosts all major national competition finals.

3. Both the national soccer team and national rugby team play their home matches at Aviva Stadium in Dublin, which was originally founded in 1872.

4. Golfers travel from all over the world to play on the Irish coastline where the natural coastal landscape creates challenging (and beautiful) courses.

5. Speaking of golf, famous golfers to come out of Ireland include Rory McIllroy, Padraig Harrington, Graham McDowell, Darren Clarke and Paul McGinley.

6. The Irish use the word soccer, similar to Americans, because saying football can be confused with Gaelic football.

7. In 2020, Dublin will host the UEFA Euro 2020 (qualifying soccer competition) which will be the biggest international sporting event ever to be hosted in the city!

8. Ireland’s National Rugby team is the most popular team in the country and is currently ranked second in the world.

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9. In 2009, Ireland won its first Grand Slam since 1948 - a moment to which many Irish coin as one of the biggest sporting achievements in the country.

10. Sonia O'Sullivan, an Irish former track & field athlete, set a world record of 5:25.36 for the 2000m in 1994, which stood until 2017.

Hamburg: Did You Know?

20 Interesting Facts About Hamburg, Germany & its Sport Culture

Hamburg is on the rise as a favorite destination among tourists. See why by learning some fascinating history and facts about Hamburg’s history, culture and sport traditions.

GENERAL FACTS

1.  The Beatles actually began their music career in Hamburg! In the 1960’s, the band played multiple sets a night at Hamburg’s Indra Club. When John Lennon was asked about growing up in his birthplace of Liverpool he responded, “I didn't grow up in Liverpool. I grew up in Hamburg".

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2. Hamburg has over 2,400 bridges – more than Venice, London and Amsterdam combined!

3. Hamburg has long been known as “The Gateway to the World”, welcoming around 15,000 ships annually from 100 countries. The Port of Hamburg is Germany’s largest, and is the second largest and business In Europe behind Rotterdamn in the Netherlands.

4. Hamburg is the second largest populated city in Germany behind Berlin.

5. The world’s first modern zoo was founded in Hamburg in 1907, when Carl Hagenbeck Jr. created a zoo with moats instead of cages so visitors could view the animals in their more natural habitat.

6. Children’s inflatable armbands were invented in Hamburg.

7. 14% of Hamburg is made up of green spaces and recreational areas. Planten un Blomen, located in central Hamburg and 47 hectares in size (116.1 acres), is known for having the largest Japanese garden in Europe and for its water light shows taking place at night in the summer.

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8. From food markets to flea markets, Hamburg has more weekly markets than any other city in Europe.

9. Hamburg’s City Hall has 647 rooms, making it bigger than Buckingham Palace.

10. Elbphilharmonie, which opened in Hamburg in 2017, is one of the largest and acoustically most advanced concert halls in the world. It’s made of brick-and-glass and resembles an ocean liner docked in the city’s harbor. 

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SPORT FACTS

1. Hamburg is known as Germany’s capital for sports!

2. FC St Pauli, one of Hamburg’s football clubs, is known for its punk and techno fans who make up one of the western world’s most politically and culturally engaged fanbases. You’ll see them holding signs encouraging more females to play football!

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3. The Hamburger Sport-Verein Club (commonly referred to as Hamburger SV or HSV) was originally founded in 1887 as SC Germania, but in 1919 it merged with two other clubs forming the current Hamburger SV.

4. Until last season when it was relegated for the first time, HSV had played in Germany’s top tier league, the Bundesliga, since 1919.

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5. Hamburger SV’s field, the Volksparkstadion, hosted five matches during the 2006 World Cup.

6. Some notable German athletes currently playing in Major Leagues in the United States include Dirk Nowitzki (NBA - Dalles Mavericks), Dennis Schroder (NBA - OKC) and Max Kepler (MLB - Minnesota Twins).

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7. Germany has won the second joint-most FIFA World Cups, tied with Italy (four), and behind Brazil’s five.

8. The first German rowing club opened in Hamburg and was part of the first official German rowing race in 1837 against an English club.

9. The Hamburger Renn-Club for horse racing was founded in 1852, and the North German Derby first ran in 1869. To this day, the most important German horse race of the year (the annual IDEE derby) takes place in Hamburg the first Sunday in July. The derby is culturally and historically very important as it survived two World Wars.

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10. Other popular sports in Hamburg outside of football include golf, handball, ice hockey, cycling, equestrian sports and the Hamburg Marathon, among others.

Interested in joining the Living Sport team traveling to Hamburg in July? Check out more information on the Hamburg International Sport Business Program and apply today! https://livingsport.com/hamburg

Greece: Did You Know?

20 Interesting Facts About Greece & its Sport Culture

From serving as the birthplace of the Olympics, to establishing Democracy in 500 B.C., Greece is full of rich traditions as a country and within its sport culture. This June, the Living Sport team will travel to Athens, Greece for an International Sport Business Program. We’ll take in the sights of Athens and Ancient Olympia, and move south to stunning Oitylo Bay for a one-of-a-kind sporting event - Oceanman. As we prepare for our Athens program, here are 20 interesting facts to learn about Greece and its sport culture. Interested in seeing it all firsthand? Apply today at livingsport.com/apply!

GENERAL FACTS

1. Greece averages over 250 days of sunshine each year.

2. Due to the country’s diversity and passion for food, more than one dish is considered a national dish which includes gyro, moussaka, souvlaki, fasolada, magiritsa and kokoretsi.

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3. 98% of the total population is made up of ethnic Greeks, and 40% of the total population resides in Athens.

4. Only 227 Greek islands out of a total of 6,000 islands are inhabited.

5. The island of Ikaria is one of the world’s five “Blue Zones”, as scientists call them, where the people have the longest lifespans in the world.

6. Theater was born in ancient Athens, dating back to the time of the first democracy. Athens is now home to 148 theater stages, 90 of which are open air cinemas for the summer.

7. Democracy originated in Greece around 8,000 years ago. The city of Athens, which is Europe’s oldest capital, is sometimes referred to as the cradle of Western civilization.

8. The official name of the country is Hellenic Republic or Hellas. In English the country is called Greece, which is derived from the Latin name Graecia meaning “land of the Greeks”.

9. The Greek culture is very superstitious and has a slew of superstitions and traditions that vary across villages and regions. The evil eye, a popular Greek superstition, is a curse or legend that happens when you are cast a malevolent glare when you are not aware. It is believed that by receiving the evil eye you will be caused misfortune or injury.

10. The Parthenon is a temple built in the mid-5th century B.C. in honor of the goddess Athena Parthenos and sits on the high hill of the Acropolis in Athens. It was lined by 46 outer and 19 inner columns, and boasts a 39-foot gold and ivory statue of Athena. Not only was it originally built as a dedication to Athena, but also for use as part of the state treasury.

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SPORT FACTS

1. The Olympic games are called Olympic because they were originally held in the Greek town of Olympia. What started as a one-day event which only Greeks were allowed to participate in, is what we now know as the massive global event.

2. Football (soccer) is the country’s most popular sport, with basketball a close second.

3. Greece is one of the founding members of FIBA (International Basketball Federation) and is considered one of the best teams in the world. Greek athletes currently playing in the NBA include Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks), Kostas Koufos (Sacramento Kings) and Tyler Dorsey (Atlanta Hawks).

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4. At the semifinals for the 2006 World Basketball Championships, the Greek national team defeated the USA team making itself the only team in the world to defeat the United States during the Mike Krzyzewski era (2005-2016).

5. Olympiakos is the most widely supported and successful football club in Greek history, and holds the record for the most consecutive Greek titles won (seven in a row, twice!).

6. Outside of Karaiskakis Stadium, which opened in June 2004 and is home to Olympiakos FC, you’ll see a monument commemorating the death of 21 Olympiakos fans that were crushed exiting the stadium after a match against AEK in 1981. There are also 21 black chairs among the stadium’s red chairs in memory of the fans.

7. Greece is one of only five countries that have participated in all Summer Olympic Games since 1896 when they began. They even sent their athletes to Moscow for the 1980 Olympic Games despite the Greek government's support of the US-led boycott.

8. The ancient Greek Olympic athletes always competed in the nude. The word gymnasium is actually derived from the Greek term gymnós, meaning “naked”.

9. The ancient Games included the javelin, long jump, discus throwing, wrestling, running, Pakration (form of martial art), Equestrian events and boxing.

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10. The rules of the ancient Games were much different than we are accustomed to today. To start, women were not allowed to compete and married women were not allowed to watch. In boxing, there were no points, time limit or weight classes. In Pakration, the only two rules were no biting and no poking the opponent’s eyes.

A Royal Adventure

By: Kristina Hart, Living Sport London 2018 Participant & Media Relations Intern at the University of Maryland Athletic Department

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We walked up to a majestic building, standing tall and wide with pointed tips on the roof. It towered over us, looking very similar to a castle. This we were told, was our home for the next nine days. The Royal Holloway University was nothing like I had ever seen before. It was in fact, the very opposite of what I had come to know as a typical college dormitory in the United States. In that moment, I have to admit, I felt a little bit like royalty. After a 3,500-mile journey, with 27 strangers, to a country I had never been, I couldn’t have been more excited for what was ahead in my Living Sport experience.

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A few days into our trip we began our work with the Royal Windsor Triathlon. On day one, I was lucky enough to get to explore Windsor. My job was distributing letters to houses around the town to ensure everyone was aware of road closures and parking enforcements for race day. I never really considered how important a task like this was in ensuring a smooth triathlon for residents in the race area. In addition to this role, I had other tasks that taught me a crucial lesson – thinking of how to prevent every possible worst-case scenario when organizing an athletic event of this magnitude.

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My second work day I was assigned to registration, which as a Communications major, fit perfectly. What made the experience even better, was the opportunity I had to work closely with the former event owner, Jasmine Flatters. Jasmine had previously been awarded an MBE, Member of the Order of the British Empire. This is a prestigious British honor given to a person by the Queen for a special achievement, and in Jasmine’s case, for all of her work and dedication in the British Triathlon world. In speaking with Jasmine, she gave me some words of wisdom like telling me to enjoy every moment and to talk to everyone I meet, because I never knew when I would get that opportunity again. I took this to heart and interacted with all of the athletes picking up their race day gear. Sure enough, I learned new words from the athletes and registration workers. For instance, a line is referred to as a “que”, and “cheers” can mean thank you, you’re welcome, or a variety of things depending on the scenario. 

Something else fascinating I learned that day was that having “Royal” in the title of the race, was a huge deal. It hadn’t been long since the event name switched from the Windsor Triathlon to the Royal Windsor Triathlon. Again, I didn’t think much of it. But quickly learned this was a major accomplishment. In the United Kingdom, the use of the word “Royal”, as well as the use of “King,” “Queen,” “Prince/Princess,” and “Duke/Duchess” in the name of a business, company or product must be granted special permission. This is said to be done to avoid misleading the public. To secure approval you must send an application to the Cabinet Office in London. The Royal Windsor Triathlon is the UK’s longest running triathlon – dating back to 1990 –  and for the first time in 2017, with its new name, the triathlon took participants fully onto Royal grounds, running from the gates of the castle into the unique Long Walk directly in front of the Windsor Castle. 

After two days of preparation, and learning much about the race history, race day had arrived! With a wake-up call well before the sun, we made our way to the course, received our tasks for the day, and finally got to see all of the hard work in action. At first my eyes were tired from an early wake-up and the cold and rainy weather, but I was quickly energized and amazed by seeing the whole triathlon come to life. And knowing we had a major part in what was about to take place was incredible.

The royal adventure continued post-race as some of my teammates saw the Queen with Prince Harry & Meghan Markle and Prince William & Kate Middleton, in horse-drawn carriages at the Royal Ascot annual procession. The Royal Ascot, which has been a tradition in the UK since 1711, is a hugely notable and famed five-day horse race. The event attracts the world’s best racehorses as they compete for millions of pounds (dollars) in prize money. Here is the video from my teammates spotting the Queen of England!

Traveling to London may have not originally been on must-do list, but as we boarded the bus to London Heathrow Airport for the last time, I thought back to the day I decided to apply to Living Sport’s unique sport study abroad program on a whim never thinking I would be considered. When I had gotten the opportunity (and was so shocked and elated), I realized there was no way I could pass this up. When else would I get the opportunity to go to London for an International Sports Business Program?

It was a once-in-a-lifetime peek into the world of the sports industry. I met students from colleges all over the United States and together we impacted the lives of athletes all the way across the pond. I got a peek into the “behind the scenes” action that brought a renowned triathlon to fruition. This event drew people from all around the world simply for their love of sports. I knew our efforts did not go unnoticed because everyone – from athletes to spectators - was so curious and interested to figure out who all us Americans were. Living Sport allowed me this unique opportunity to expand my sport industry experience and knowledge – and I learned lessons that cannot be recreated or taught. So who knows, maybe you will be browsing for summer sports opportunities and end up in another continent in a new country where you start speaking with a little bit of an accent. Cheers!

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Life on Two Wheels

By: Cal Weisman, Living Sport Milan 2018 Participant & Student at Bradley University

“Move, Move, Move. Get out of the way,” I hear Kacey hollering at the top of her lungs to the cyclists looking for their starting grid positions. Subconsciously I immediately follow her lead, not sure what’s going on. Soon, I see. The race had just started and like dominos, a mass of cyclists in the middle of the pack crashed to the ground, tumbling on top of one another. The crowd is gasping. We are sprinting onto the course only to turn our heads and see in the distance behind us, the front group of riders, zooming around the corner at more than 35 MPH into the straightaway to end their first lap – right where we are standing. The race had been called for a restart, but the riders rode through the stoppage warnings.

ZIP, ZIP, ZIP. “They are getting closer,” Kacey yells out as we hear the sounds of the approaching bikes. Meanwhile, the majority of the 80 cyclists in this third qualifying heat are lining up to restart in the middle of the start/finish line area. Kacey seems calm like she has seen this exact scenario play out a million times. I am however terrified for the danger of what is about to happen. Nevertheless, the energy is intoxicating. This is a sight to be a part of. With not a second to spare, we move the riders enough out of the way for the front riders to pass through. Safety at last - PHEW! Those are ten seconds that will be forever ingrained in my mind.

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When I heard from a fellow employee that Kacey’s role on race day was to “put out fires wherever necessary,” I wasn’t sure what that entailed. In that ten-second sequence of events, I clearly understood the reason, and saw the respect she commanded among her Red Hook Criterium colleagues. As a more than ten-year professional cyclist who won the inaugural Red Hook Crit in Brooklyn, New York in 2008, today, Kacey serves as the Assistant Race Director of the Red Hook Crit. Needless to say, she knows a thing or two about bike racing. As part of the Living Sport program, I was given a golden opportunity to shadow her throughout the event, serving under her direction in race control. We were tasked with guiding the athletes through the logistics of this high-speed, highly competitive race. 

When starting my role on race day, I recalled event management advice I had been given in the past, that no matter how busy you get behind the scenes, “What the audience will see is a world-class event.” My goal that day was to take in as much as I could from Kacey and other Red Hook Crit staff members about the sport of cycling and event management. Panos Sinopoulos - a business development leader from Athens and the Red Hook Crit Volunteer and Logistics Coordinator - provided pivotal information to us that day, “Ride it out. Enjoy the highs, stay aboard through the lows.” I took this to heart and used it as my mentality when approaching unfamiliar situations in this fast-paced environment. Which were many, considering we were communicating with athletes and spectators who spoke little to no English. 

Working this event flashed my mind back to all of the cycling experiences I’ve had in my life up to this day. I grew up in a family that loves to ride bikes, including competing in triathlons (my Mom!). I learned at a young age that races are about so much more than biking. They are about passion and purpose. I understood this even more during summer 2017 when I interned for Pedal The Cause, a fundraising cycling challenge for cancer research based in Saint Louis, Missouri. At Pedal, I learned about all things bike-related: riding, fixing, distances, terms, etc. I joined in team ride days where we spent 30 miles talking, laughing, bonding and feeling a sense of accomplishment together. Most importantly, I experienced moments that wouldn’t come about in the traditional office environment. Like seeing the support for a 12-year old girl during a bell ringing ceremony who fought to rid herself of cancer. 

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Here I am now, I think. Two years after interning for Pedal. With a front row seat to the action. Inspired by yet another type of passion and purpose for cycling. In front of me are amateur riders, Olympian riders – all with full on kits, aerodynamic helmets. Each athlete seems like superman to me – athletically gifted, disciplined and accomplished. They are putting their bodies on the line. They are fueled by their hearts and their dreams to become the best of themselves, to push their limits physically and mentally. But still these are real people; real challenges; striving; crashing; getting back up and never giving up – it reminded me of the resilience and determination of 12-year old girl at Pedal. I look out into the crowd and see the passion burning in their eyes. I take in the view of the anxious fans standing five-deep alongside the course waiting for the gun to go off for the final race. My teammate Max, who’s kept me going all day with his jokes and positivity, whispers to me, “This one is for all the marbles.” As the rider introductions are starting, 15 hours after we began this morning, I know I am in my element. 

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The day following this incredible event experience, I found myself sitting next to Panos Sinopoulos. Thinking of my goal to take in all the knowledge I could through others, I began asking Panos about his career path. He shared with me his love for the sport of cycling, the discipline, and this specific Red Hook Crit event. Even mentioning to me that his excitement wouldn’t be the same working for an event like Tour de France. With each response, his genuine enthusiasm for what he is doing allowed me to connect with him deeper. Moving me to think, working for what you’re passionate about is a special opportunity.

My other crew manager who I spent a lot of time with was Alex from Barcelona, Spain. Alex I learned had gone to undergrad at University of Missouri – Kansas City, a college four hours from my hometown, on a soccer scholarship. He started with Red Hook Crit four years prior as a volunteer because he is a former racer and bike enthusiast. He was a hard worker and a quick learner. The organization invited him back for the past two years in a consultant role and key crew leader. I was inspired by his mentality, positivity and drive, and his genuine love for the environment and people associated with the event. Again, finding that passion was the fuel to growing his position.

I mentioned to Alex I had a few extra travel days following the Living Sport program. He invited me to stay with him and his wife, Madeira in Barcelona. Excitedly, I took him up on his generous offer. He was a gracious host and tour guide. Spending three full days showing me the city sights like Park Güell, La Sagrada Familia and Bunkers Carmel, and sharing the history of Spain and his ownlife. Alex and Madeira even cooked traditional Spanish cuisine for me - Tortilla de Patatas and Pa Amb Tomaquet. And taught me how to navigate Barcelona by foot, car, moped and bike. I could not believe my good fortune. Building a relationship with Alex during the Red Hook Crit, translated into me being given an opportunity to come to his home for a true local Barcelona experience. Through all of this, Alex quickly became a role model in my life.

After ten days of working a large-scale international sporting event, meeting people from all over the world, furthering my career goals -- I was inspired. I had watched the peloton (cycling term for the main group of riders) whiz by again and again in perfect formations, with their speed creating a wind that blew me away - literally. I could not help but ask myself then and now: What is possible for me? How can I challenge myself to improve? To Grow? To Seek? To Dream? 

I realized one of the most important aspects of growing is the connections you make and the knowledge and experience that come from these relationships. When you have an opportunity to meet people, take it. Putting myself out there isn’t always easy, but through the Living Sport program, I made it my goal to strike up conversations with everyone around me. And especially to pick the brains of the sport industry professionals. The program and these relationships I built have given me a widely expanded personal and professional network around the globe. It’s given me new mentors to help further my career wherever that takes me. And through it all, it’s given me a unique story to tell. I can’t wait to see what new cycling experience and local excursion I find myself in next.

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Scotland: Did You Know?

20 Interesting Facts About Scotland & its Sport Culture

You might know Scotland as the northernmost country in the UK, that shares a border with England. The one with spectacular scenery, a rich history, and great whiskey. But did you know, that Scotland is made up of 790 islands, 660 of which are uninhabited? Or that the first official international football match was played there? Read below for more fascinating facts about Scotland and its largest city, Glasgow - the host destination for our first International Sport Business Program this summer! 

GENERAL FACTS

1.    The national animal is the unicorn and the national symbol is the thistle. 

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2.    Scotland has the highest percentage of natural redheads in the world (approximately 13% of the population has red hair).

3.    Scots invented major modern-day technology including the first TV (John Logie Baird, 1925) and the telephone (Alexander Graham Bell, 1876).

4.    Scotland has more than 6,000 miles of coastline and over 600 square miles of freshwater lakes including the famous Loch Ness. The tale of the Loch Ness Monster dates back to its first recorded appearance in 565AD when a "water beast" attacked a man swimming in the water. St. Columba is said to have seen and spoken to the beast telling it to go back.

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5.    The national dish of Scotland is haggis. Haggis is made of sheep’s pluck (heart, liver, lungs) minced with salt, spices, onion, oatmeal and suet, and boiled inside the animal's stomach.

6.    The Britannia Panopticon, located in Glasgow, is the world’s oldest surviving music hall. The venue came to life in the 1850s and continues to host performances today.

7.    More than 2,000 castles have existed in Scotland.

8.    The Glasgow Subway is the third-oldest underground metro system in the world. 

9.    Edinburgh – Scotland’s capital city – was the first city in the world to have its own fire brigade.

10.  Scotland is a favorite and frequent holiday destination for the British Royal family who spend their time at their private Balmoral Castle in Royal Deeside.

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SPORT FACTS

1.    The first official international football (soccer) match was played in 1872 at the West of Scotland Cricket ground between Scotland and England. The match ended in a 0-0 draw. 

2.    St Andrews Links is regarded as the "Home of Golf". The origin of the modern game can be traced back to Scotland in the 15th century. 

3.    Glasgow hosts the most successful football club in the world, the Rangers FC. The club has won more than 100 trophies, including a record 54 League titles.

4.    Hampden Park in Glasgow holds the European record for attendance at an international game - 149,415 (Scotland vs England in 1937).

5.    Scottish cyclist Sir Chris Andrew Hoy is one of the most successful Olympic cyclists of all time, holding six gold medals and one silver. The velodrome in the Emirates Arena in Glasgow has been named the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome in his honor.

6.    Curling was invented in Scotland in the 16th century. The first written evidence of the birth of the sport appeared when, John McQuhin, a notary in Scotland, created a challenge between a monk (John Sclater) and a representative of the abbot (Gavin Hamilton). Sclater threw a stone across the ice three times to show he was ready for the contest.

7.    Inspired by the rolling hills of Dumfries and Galloway, Scottish blacksmith Kilpatrick MacMillan is credited with the invention of the world’s first pedal-driven bicycle, made of wood, in 1839.

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8.    Tennis in Scotland dates back to 1539 when King James V had tennis courts built at his residence, Falkland Palace. The Royal Court took two years to complete and are the oldest tennis courts still in use today. 

9.    Shinty, a sport that dates back to the 6th century, originated in Scotland and was used to train medieval warriors for war. Shinty is a fast and very physical team game using camans (curved wooden sticks) and a small leather ball. 

10.  Other competitive sports in Scotland, some that might catch you by surprise, include: munro-bagging, stone skimming (the World Stone Skimming Championships are held on Easdale Island in Scotland), the Ba’ game, Highland dancing, caber toss, Tug O'War, porridge making (yes, it’s very competitive, and Scotland hosts the annual World Porridge Making Championships!) and haggis hurling. 

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Eager to experience the country and sport culture yourself? Apply now to join our team in Glasgow, Scotland this June! Check out the full program details here.

Social Media: Today's International Language

By: Karina Vicente, Living Sport Milan 2018 Participant & University of California Santa Barbara Graduate

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I imagine that when people hear the words “social media,” - especially in generations preceding mine - a certain stigma arises about what exactly that means, and what it’s being used for. Most probably assume my use of social media is just that, social. Previously…. it was.

It wasn’t until my trip to Milan, Italy with Living Sport that I got to see social media being utilized in an entirely different capacity. Having no prior knowledge of the Red Hook Criterium - the international cycling race series we’d be working for - I took to the internet like any good millennial would do and found an abundant amount of content and information about the race. I began to learn names of riders, different cities, types of bikes, etc. This is when it became clear to me that social media has its own language that transcends generations and even continents, making it easy to share content across the world and connect with others on a professional level.

Leading up to the Red Hook Crit, I knew I would have the opportunity to choose between various roles that interested me and would provide me with a real-world sport business experience. Although I didn’t pick social media as my top choice, I was ecstatic to find out that I was chosen to work on the media side of the event, putting me directly in the center of the action.

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The day before the actual race, another Living Sport teammate and I met with Red Hook Crit Milano’s social media coordinator, Brian, who was just as enthusiastic as we were about the opportunity to produce Red Hook Crit’s first-ever live Twitter feed. Not taking this honor lightly, I jumped right into asking questions about the race as well as taking time to get to know Brian personally, seeing as we would be working closely over the next two days. We journeyed together via metro to the Velodromo Vigorelli (an adventure in itself), which was located a few miles from the race course. I had never seen or heard of a velodrome before, so when we arrived, I was in awe of the steeply banked track that riders from all over the world were bolting around at high speeds. In this moment, I immediately saw how global the sport of fixed gear cycling truly is. I instantly became hooked on intently watching the athletes and even more curious about the inner workings of a sport I was still learning so much about. 

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After being given access to the Twitter account, another big honor, Brian shared that until it was time for the press conferences, we had creative freedom to capture and post interesting things happening around the velodrome and on the field as riders continued to pour in for registration. While tweeting and taking pictures, I enjoyed being introduced to riders from Brian’s hometown in the Netherlands as well as meeting other important directors and race officials. I found myself almost star struck being among these professional athletes, some even former Olympians, who behaved so casually around the other riders they would be competing against in less than 24 hours. It goes without saying that I was fascinated by the riders’ pre-race preparations as well as the men’s and women’s press conferences which included riders projected to finish at the top come race time.

Early the next morning, race day was upon us. My Living Sport teammates and I were ready! I couldn’t wait to see the athletes pour their hearts out onto the course, following their adrenaline-building day at the velodrome. Shortly before the start of the first heat, I was taken to a blocked off area that resembled an outdoor press box, positioned at the start/finish line of the course.

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This was where all of the media magic happened and I had a front row seat to all of the excitement. It was decided that I would tweet from a laptop, my teammate would use her phone, and Brian would be our race expert, quickly relaying what he saw during the races so that we could translate it into a post for people to follow. Our little team of three was ready to go live! 

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For me, the most interesting part of live tweeting was our ability to be creatively free to write and post what we wanted in order to capture the tone of the race. We were given the race hashtags and constantly sent professional photos that we could utilize in our posts to build excitement for the final races at the end of the night. We even got to share our rapid social media experience with some other Living Sport teammates - they played a major role in providing us with lists of rider names and results as soon as the heats ended to ensure we had the correct statistics and winners. I was completely enthralled by the fast-paced environment and rate at which we were tweeting because it was something I had never experienced before. Even a little rain could not stop the smooth operation we had in motion as I sat with a t-shirt covering my laptop while still posting every few seconds as the sky began to open. 

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With all of the commotion happening in our area, the most fulfilling part of working on this social media platform was taking a second to see the thousands of people actively looking at and interacting with our posts. We could see the number of people being reached rise exponentially throughout the race and we enjoyed the positive feedback on our performance. I got so caught up in the content we were sharing that I became personally invested in the riders who I had previously met and wanted to do well in their heats. I found a new appreciation for the sport of cycling, and for the fans that showed me a new, burning kind of passion.

When I first heard “social media” as my job title for the Red Hook Crit, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Little did I know that Twitter as a live platform would be so impactful for those following the race from home, wherever that home was in the world. Social media has become such an international language that it is easy to understand why it has the power to bring a whole community together without being even remotely in the same physical area. Because fixed gear racing and cycling in general fall into such a widely international category, it makes sense that in order to successfully cover the action and create buzz around such a large event, one needs to utilize a platform that can effectively tell the story and is easy to use. I now have a whole new appreciation for the power of social media -- a language I once thought was selfish in nature.

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A Step Closer to Finding My Million-Dollar Answer

By: Tina Schirmeister, Living Sport London 2018 Participant & student at California State University Fresno

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What do you want to do for the rest of your life? That is the million-dollar question many search daily to answer. All I knew about my answer was something involving sports. Over time I have been given the same pieces of advice to help me succeed in this competitive environment: gain experience in your field, network with current professionals, and find multiple opportunities that will set yourself apart from everyone else. I along with 25 other undergraduates or recent graduates from around the country found our opportunity through Living Sport.

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When I first discovered this opportunity, I thought I had a very small chance of actually being accepted into the program. I applied through Sports Business Solutions thinking I was a long shot, however; within two weeks I had completed an interview and was accepted into the London 2018 program. At the time, I was unaware of how much this trip was going to reshape my life individually and professionally.

Before starting my adventure in London, I made the goal to make some sort of impact on the lives of the strangers I would be traveling with, whether it be professionally or just for a laugh. With less than 10 days to accomplish this, I would need to let go of my tendency to slightly shy away and fully express myself wholeheartedly immediately. I wanted to use this opportunity to improve my interpersonal skills and networking abilities in a low-pressure setting.

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My mentor for the trip, Shane Baglini, the Chair of the Living Sport Advisory Board, presented me the opportunity to shoot footage from the GoPro for our trip video montage during our first full day touring London. Initially, I was extremely nervous with zero GoPro experience and very little recording experience. I started by recording everyone in their natural habitat observing and walking around the city. However, I soon realized I wanted to see everyone's personalities interact with the GoPro. Someone had to start, so with the GoPro in hand, I allowed my personality to shine through, hoping to lead others to do the same. The GoPro also gave me a reason to approach everyone and ask questions, no matter how basic or random. With the GoPro, I felt more comfortable interacting with everyone, creating impromptu interviews to describe our adventure. I felt like I could be my crazy, fun-loving, dancing self and I wanted to keep that going through the rest of the trip. On the first day, my fellow travelers helped me shed a layer of self-consciousness I did not know I was holding onto, and I do not ever want that layer back.

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While recording broke through a personal barrier, our work experience at the Triathlon brought growth to my career. When meeting new people at the event and telling them how I traveled to London for this incredible experience I felt so much joy and pride for myself and my fellow participants. It felt surreal that I was not only visiting a new country and getting to know the locals but also getting international work experience!

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The final day of our trip consisted of workshops led by our mentors (industry professionals). These workshops helped us explore our career options in sports, but most importantly helped evolve our passions and personalities. Living Sport did not put anyone in a bubble, and if you had a unique strength or talent - it was used to our advantage. Alicia Marinelli and her team of mentors provided so much information and expertise to everyone specifically for their career goals. It was an honor to not only meet everyone, but learn from them throughout the trip.

Upon returning home from our trip to London, I am no longer afraid to start conversations because Living Sport helped me evolve into a stronger, more confident young professional with great tools to achieve my goals. With a deeper love and understanding for the sports industry, I can clearly describe my current career goal of sport operations with others. While I am still searching for my precise answer to that million-dollar question during my final semesters of college, thanks to Living Sport and my international experience in London, I am so much closer.

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Making A Change

By: Chris Kuo, Living Sport London 2018 Participant & Brand Ambassador for the Pittsburgh Steelers

I have been working in the sports industry for the Pittsburgh Steelers for the past three years, and have loved every second of it (two years as an undergraduate, seasonally, then in an expanded role after I graduated). However unfortunately, I didn’t find my passion and desire to work in sports until after my junior year of college, during my first year with the Steelers. So a few months ago there I was, a recent college graduate with an Advertising degree, but a newfound desire to work in sports that I would not let die. This meant I had to find a new way to gain experience in the sports industry, but how? Should I go to graduate school, try to find an internship or something else? No matter what my choice, I knew I had some important life decisions coming up.

Most important decisions in life are long and thought-out processes, choices that take time before being made. My decision to apply and ultimately go on this once in a lifetime trip was anything but that. I had applied on a whim while scrolling thorough job opportunities. I applied near the very end of the application process, and being one of the last people to apply, was asked if I could do a phone interview within a couple days of applying. Much to my surprise, the person who interviewed me was Alicia Marinelli, Living Sport LLC’s founder. I could immediately hear the passion in her voice when she talked about this program she had worked so hard to create, and her love for the sports industry itself. After hearing about the cost of the trip, I hesitated and asked if I could get back to her the next day. But in my heart I was already sold, and I didn’t want to let a chance like this get away from me. So I emailed her back as soon as I got home from work letting her know I was in!

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A few weeks later, the next thing I knew, I was taking a bus eight and a half hours from Pittsburgh to New York, and then a Delta flight from JFK to Heathrow International in London, England. I wasn’t alone on this trip, not including myself; there were twenty-five other young sports professionals, and four mentors including Alicia. They were all incredible people to get to know, and it was great having the opportunity to hear the mentors’ stories of all the experiences they have had in their sports careers so far.   

Our first two days in London, we received private tours of different local historical sites and two sporting facilities, Emirates Stadium and the 2012 London Olympic Village. Besides helping us gain more knowledge about the country we were calling home for the next week, these first few days also allowed us to learn more about each other and the world-class event for which we had come halfway across the world to work. 

The second half of our trip was focused on preparing and working at The Royal Windsor Triathlon. The Triathlon was incredibly well organized from the first set-up day all the way through to teardown after the event was over. Human Race, the company who organizes The Royale Windsor Triathlon along with a number of other events all over the UK, had a staff that was really fun to work with and loved to help teach us things. We all definitely learned more than we thought we would in the course of only three days.

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By the end of the trip I think I can safely say, that we all not only had our expectations met for what we thought we would learn, see and experience, but also so much more. And for only being together for a little over a week, we all became very close in that time and formed friendships that I believe will last a long time. I personally still communicate with a few of the people I met from the program almost every day.

Fast forward to today. Since the trip, I still work for the Steelers, but thanks to Living Sport and my decision to take a risk and travel across the globe, I have also been hired by Xperience, a global brand activation company. This experience not only helped me get a job, it opened my eyes to all the places sports can take you, and how deciding to start over and make a change in order to follow your passion, while difficult, is a chance worth taking!

Faith Restored: A Trip Around the World with the Next Generation

By: Shane Baglini, Living Sport Advisory Board Chair

In April 2017, Alicia Marinelli approached me and asked that I consider being a mentor on her inaugural trip through her newly formed company, Living Sport. The trip would be 8 days 7 nights in Barcelona, Spain. It took me less than 30 seconds to say yes. I had planned to go with Alicia to Milan, Italy later that year, but I guess I could sacrifice and settle for Barcelona to help a friend (*wink, wink*).

As a mentor, I’d be passing along my sport industry knowledge to 22 young and eager college students/graduates, most of which were Sport Management majors. We’d be working at the Red Hook Crit: Barcelona, a cycling event. What a great way for me to stay connected and help young people succeed in whatever small way I could, I thought.

Not really knowing what to expect from the group, I went in with an open mind but tempered expectations. Millennials, and whatever we’re branding the even younger generation, get a bad rap. I’m a millennial, technically, I think. Who knows? People say we’re lazy, entitled, don’t want to work hard, blah, blah, blah. Those stereotypes can alter your opinion of a group before even meeting or interacting with them. As this group arrived at John F. Kennedy International Airport that Monday morning, I greeted each of them one by one, learned a bit about their background, where they were from, etc. I introduced them to the collective group, and they were immediately welcomed by all. I knew this was a good group.

Not knowing much about each person (despite Alicia’s detailed profiles that I merely skimmed, sorry Alicia) the student that stood out right away was Amairani Ramirez. Amairani, a Houston native, had flown to New York to pursue her dreams and goals while her hometown was under water due to Hurricane Harvey, and would be for some time. When we arrived in Spain, “Roni” as we came to call her, was our early trip MVP, as she was fluent in Spanish which allowed us to communicate with staff and locals. After one of the worst natural disasters in the history of our country, and flying hours to get to JFK, and flying MORE hours to get to Spain, Roni was willing to help at every turn. What was that about millennials being entitled and lazy? Roni was certainly not the only student that stood out. All 22 of them stood out in their own way.

As I got to know each one of these students throughout the course of the week, my faith in the next generation was restored tenfold. A group of 22 students, most of them strangers, from a generation glued to their cell phones at all times, quickly formed bonds and friendships that will last a lifetime. Strangers now friends, 22 kids in a group chat who had known each other for 3 days, now attending each other’s homecomings at college. Throughout the week not one of them got in any kind of trouble. Not one of them was late for a meeting, bus trip, dinner, assignment or anything else. Not one of them complained about working long hours, or being assigned multiple tasks. They were only worried about soaking up as much of the experience as they could. They did eat at Barcelona’s version McDonald’s several times, so they weren’t perfect…

They worked in the sun for what seemed like 24 hours on Friday. On race day they worked from about 7:00am to 11:00pm. They were exhausted but still cleaning up even when we told them they could stop. Erin Dorsey and Jess Garcia dragging pounds of banners to the dumpster at 11:00pm. Elias Riginos hurdling barriers and sprinting across the center of the track to fix branding that had fallen off. Ross Campbell pumping his fist in excitement as he fitted the last of dozens of go-pro cameras he fitted to bikes throughout the day as the men’s final of the Red Hook Criterium was ready to start. The entire crowd and field of riders, and race director stared at Ross as he worked. But he got the job done.'

All 22 of them taking such pride in their work, that when we arrived the morning of the race to see the majority of the course’s barriers blown over by wind, without hesitation they began fixing it, and providing solutions to prevent the problem again.

I’ll ask again, what was that about millennials being lazy and not wanting to work hard?

If you’re one of the people with this mindset, and think the generation coming up is any of the stereotypes I’ve listed above, I’ve got 22 names that prove you wrong.

Jessica Garcia, Mike Wasco, Josh Clarke, Alyssa Riker, Eran Hami, Chelsie Bingham, Connor Herlihy, Jessica Guzman, Amairani Ramirez, Grant Gittins, Ross Campbell, Mary Sinnot, Jon Kleiner, Nora Wade, Erin Dorsey, Samantha Clark, John Surrette, Caitlyn Schiano, Matt Reynolds, Elias Riginos, Wes Trask, and Dean May.

If you’ve ever said the phrase “millennials are the worst generation ever,” you don’t know the right millennials.

As I prepare to go on my second trip as part of Living Sport, this time to London to work at the Royal Windsor Triathlon, my expectations aren’t as tempered. This group, like the Barcelona group, is filled with eager young professionals looking to make their mark in an industry that is not for the faint of heart.

I doubt I’ll see anything but the same work ethic and willingness to learn and grow. Outside of the sights and history of London, and the experience of the Royal Windsor Triathlon, I’m most looking forward to seeing another group of 20+ students form lifelong friendships through sport. 

My 4,000 Mile Sports Journey

By: Kalah Anderson, Living Sport Milan 2017 Participant & Group Ticket Sales Executive at Peoria Rivermen Hockey Club

It took me 4,000 plus miles, 2 suitcases, 16 strangers and 1 leap of faith to realize that the sky is truly the limit in sports. If you would have asked me two years ago if I would have traveled abroad to Milan, Italy to experience a once in a lifetime opportunity to work an international sporting event, the answer would have been no. Fast forward to today, I am ever grateful for that split second choice to go out on a whim and apply for an experience that has forever changed my life.

This past October I met 16 strangers in an airport and ventured half way across the world to work an international bike race. Little did I know how much those 16 strangers and this opportunity would open my eyes to the world of sports. Throughout the trip I got to learn from business professionals in the field as well as from my peers. Although we are all each other’s competition, we worked as a team to encourage and push each other to the next level. It was crazy to see how in just a week, 16 people went from strangers to the lifelong friends.

My week in Milan was anything and everything sports. We had the opportunity to visit three sporting arenas and venues in the Milan area including the Audoromo Nazionale Monza a Formula One Race Track, Casa Milan the offices and museum for AC Milan and Stadio Giuseppe Mezza/San Siro Stadium home to both Inter Milan and AC Milan. What a wonderful opportunity it was fo us to see sports on an international level. The icing on the cake was having the chance to attend the Derby di Milano back at San Siro Stadium between Inter Milan and AC Milan. This was an incredible experience for us to fully immerse ourselves into the culture that was surrounding us and experience an unbelieve match with a hat trick game winner from Mauro Icardi. Definitely something we will never forget.

The part where it really hit home was working the Red Hook Criterium International Bike Race. As program participants we were placed on the staff of the Red Hook Crit fulfilling various duties which included course branding, merchandise, course marshals and working directly with the athletes at the start/ finish line and in parc ferme. This is where I saw that sports truly is an international language. Working hand in hand with the founder and others at the start/ finish line allowed me to see hands on the work and effort that goes into international cycling. I was able to see the desire and drive that the athletes put into each and every lap. I was able to see the passion and joy that the fans had for these racers as they cheered them along the way. It was in his moment that I saw the true authenticity of sports and I was reminded of why I wanted to get into sports and why I took this chance to travel 4,000 plus miles away from home.

When I left New York City on a rainy Monday morning, I didn’t know what I was going to learn, what I was going to see, who I was going meet, but I came back a changed person. I returned with 16 new friends, endless memories and an experience that has opened so many endless doors. Living Sport has allowed me to become a future leader in the sports industry and I am proud to say I am Living Sport.

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My Something Different

By: Anthony Rizzo, Living Sport Milan 2017 Participant & Ticket Operations Assistant, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

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“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” For those unfamiliar with poetry, this statement comes from the great Robert Frost and his poem “The Road Not Taken.” The message of this poem is simple: choose to be different and shy away from what everyone else does.

Taking a chance on a new company, traveling across the world with complete strangers, and committing a large amount of money to the program, all for the purpose of trying to stand out? That sounds different to me.

When I submitted my application to Living Sport and explained the opportunity to my parents, one of the first questions my dad asked me was, “Why do you want to do this?”. At that point, and still to this day, there were two answers I could give him. Answer one was that I really wanted to travel to Italy. In the past two years, I had been to London and Paris. I was on a streak of international trips and I did not want that to end. When the opportunity presented itself to travel to Italy, I was beyond excited because, even though I had enjoyed the previous two trips, Italy was the one place I really wanted to travel to. The main reason was to experience my Italian roots and visit the country my ancestors had come from. I also wanted to visit Italy because I had heard it was beautiful (and I was not disappointed).

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This, however, was not the answer I gave my father, or at least not the response I gave first. I knew the desire to go on a vacation would not convince him to allow it. I knew I needed something better, and luckily I had another reason that meant even more to me; my career.         

The sports industry has always been described to me as being “tight-knit” and “hard to get in to”. The common takeaway from networking sessions and presentations is that getting a job in sports is “all about who you know not what you know”. As I progressed through my undergraduate career and started to apply to more competitive internship programs and entry-level jobs, I saw these rumors become a reality. To compete for these positions, I learned that you need to be different from the other applicants. You need to have a specific experience or a well-known company listed that catches the eye of the hiring manager and gets your resume pulled from the massive pile.

When I received the email notification about the position, I knew the Living Sport experience in Milan, Italy would be my something different.

I saw this program as a set of opportunities. First, it was the opportunity to travel to a new country. Second, it was the opportunity to work and experience a new sport. I had no prior experience around the sport of cycling, and had no prior knowledge of the Red Hook Criterium. Therefore, anything that we did during the event would be new for me and something that I could take back to the U.S. Third, this trip was an opportunity to make memories and connections with a group of complete strangers, all of which were in the same shoes as myself. When I traveled to Paris the year prior, it was with a group of fellow Queens students that I had gotten to know throughout the semester. Unfortunately, we all had different interests and majors, so there was no focus on sports or casual conversation about it. I knew the Living Sport program would be different because, even though we were strangers, we all had one thing in common; a love of sports. Therefore, I wanted to come away from this experience with a new outlook on my career, and new people I could bounce job and internship ideas off of.

I went into this trip expecting these three things, but I left with so much more. I left with new lifelong friends and memories, a new perspective of the world and international sports, a newfound love for the game of soccer, and most importantly, the something different for my resume. While I hope my experience in Milan continues to separate me from the rest of applicants, regardless, it gives me an amazing story to bring up in any interview I go through. It is not every day that you find an applicant willing to travel halfway around the world to gain experience, but I was.

On October 9, 2017, myself and 15 other college students and recent graduates, chose to take the road less traveled when we boarded the plane to Milan, Italy. Only time can tell where that road will continue to take us.

                “Two roads diverged in a wood and WE-WE took the one less traveled by”.

A Homebody’s Guide to Leaving Your Comfort Zone

By: Alyssa Riker, Living Sport Barcelona 2017 Participant & Kutztown University Student

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Homebody: noun, defined as someone who enjoys the comfort and security of being home

That pretty much sums up my personality most of the time. I am the kind of person who likes being in bed early, plays it safe, and generally gets homesick very easily. I’m pretty much the queen of comfort zones. So how did a girl from a small town in New Jersey end up on a weeklong trip half way across the world? I’ll tell you.

It all started about a year before the trip even happened, back in 2016. The opportunity was brought to me and I just did not think it was something I could give up. So I made the payments, did all of the paperwork, and it was set in stone that I would be traveling to Barcelona, Spain in the following year. Since it was so far away at the time, the idea of traveling out of the country was put on the backburner in my mind.

As August of 2017 rolled around and I had to prepare for the trip, that is when everything started to sink in. So many questions were popping up in my head. What if I get too nervous and can’t get on the plane? What if I don’t get along with some of the other participants? Shouldn’t I be saving my money to pay off these student loans instead of traveling the world? All of these questions, plus more, cluttered up my thoughts for the weeks leading up to our departure.

As the morning of the trip came, I sat in the back of the car as my parents drove me to JFK Airport with a nervous feeling in my stomach. It wasn’t until we got to the security gate when the emotional wreck in me came out. I instantly burst out in tears and just couldn’t stop. I saw the tears welling up in my mom’s eyes as my dad reassured me that everything would be fine and that I would have a great time. I was so nervous to not only be traveling without my family, but to also be going to a foreign country for the first time. It took a few minutes, and a few hugs from my parents, for me to regain my composure and get in the security line. When I got through security and was heading to the gate our group was at, I was still nervous, but gaining confidence with each step. I saw some familiar faces (shout out to my Kutztown family!) and a bunch of new ones who welcomed me right away.

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From the time that I got on the plane in New York with the 21 other participants and our mentors to the time I landed in Barcelona, Spain, I became so much more confident in myself and my decision to go on this trip. The butterflies started to go away and the excitement started to set in once I started experiencing all that the country had to offer. From the beautiful buildings and sights to the interesting cuisine offered at each corner street café, there was something new and exciting to experience. Our schedule was pretty packed all of the days we were there, so there was not much time to be worried. Each day we had different places to visit and explore or work that had to be done in preparation for the Red Hook Crit race day. The sightseeing in Barcelona was amazing, and I found myself becoming more and more excited to send pictures back home of what we did as the days passed. The other participants also made the trip seem less scary. It was the first time being abroad for a lot of us, so we instantly had one thing to bond over, as well as all having a love for sports. As the week went on, I found comfort in some of the participants that had similar feelings and interests as me. All of these factors played a part in me stepping outside of my comfort zone, and actually being okay with it.

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I’m not saying I didn’t call home because I was homesick (I definitely did), but I was here to challenge myself and grow, and this experience did just that.  Being a senior in college heading into my last semester, I have so many changes and decisions that I will have to deal with very shortly. Making myself do something that is completely out of my comfort zone really helped me see that I can do more than I confine myself to. I learned so many things and truly challenged my homebody-self on this trip.

So if it had to give a few pieces of insight or advice to others who feel as if they need to step out of their comfort zone and do something they normally wouldn’t do, here they are.

1. Don’t overthink situations. Do what feels right and what your gut tells you. Most of the time, it is right.

2. Don’t focus solely on the end result. Think about the journey you will be on to that end result and what that could bring you.

3. Do weigh the pros and cons of the situation. It’s okay to have some doubts as long as you work through them.

4. Do challenge yourself to take on tasks that you never saw yourself being able to do. The payoff is worth it.

Now I’m not saying you have start with something that is extreme right away. Your first step could be as simple as taking a class in a subject you don’t excel in or trying a new kind of food the next time you go out to dinner. These are all acts of leaving your comfort zone. The truth is, if you never leave your comfort zone, you are limiting yourself to what you know you can already do. If you do not try new things, go new places, or challenge yourself to see things differently, you may never know how far you can go in your life and career. No one should live with the feeling that they did not reach their full potential and that they were confined in any way.

Traveling to Barcelona was the last thing I ever saw myself doing before I went on the trip. As I returned home, I realized that traveling to Barcelona was the first thing I should have seen myself doing. Leaving my comfort zone has allowed me to branch out and be more outgoing in many situations. From the mind of a self-proclaimed homebody, I challenge you to push the limits of your comfort zone, in both big and small ways. See how far outside of your comfort zone you can get, but never limit how far you let yourself go.

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0-35: A Sport Industry Slump

By: Chelsie Bingham, Living Sport Barcelona 2017 Participant & Current Game Presentation/Event Intern for Minnesota Wild

0-35.

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Nope, that’s not a stat from some pitcher who went from AL to NL and now actually has to stand at the plate. That’s was me, I was a statistic. Graduated, unemployed, 0-35 in not only full time job applications, but also part time, seasonal, and internship applications.

I had one overly expensive piece of paper in my hand, plenty of experience, hundreds of postings on TeamWork, and the whole sports industry in front of me, only question was “where am I moving?”

I am a Hoosier through and through. Only way it could be truer was if I graduated from IU. Born and raised just 20 minutes from Indianapolis went to school 90 minutes away in Muncie, but I always had an itch for more. I knew there was much more to this world than back roads, endless corn and soybean fields and big red barns with cows out on the farm (Shout out to Dean May, a fellow Living Sport teammate, for the hilarious but totally accurate outsiders interpretation of Indiana).

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The summer leading up to my trip to Barcelona was one of the most difficult times in my life. I was fresh out of school and ready to begin my adventures into adulthood. I was able to land a game day position with our MiLB Triple- A team the Indianapolis Indians. Days at The Vic were the only thing that kept my hope alive for my future in sports. When it came down to it earlier in the year, I turned down 2 internships outside of the sports industry that would have had me employed through May 2018 with the possibility of an extension through August for this game day position that ended when the season concluded. I gave up job security for just the smallest opportunity to work in professional sports.

At this point our Triple-A baseball season was scheduled to end the day before I departed for Barcelona. Unsure of our playoff fate, I traveled to the other side of the world not knowing if I would be employed when I returned home.

Set to depart on Monday, I spent all day Friday packing my bags when I noticed an email. Another interview request, still 0-35 my optimism was at an all time low and my confidence was absolutely shot. I was just ready to go on this trip to escape the letdown I had all summer.  They asked to schedule a phone interview “sometime early next week”. Well, I’m about to travel across the globe Monday starting at 6am so looks like I am now 0-36 no shot of this interview happening, another letdown.

The timeslot they selected for me happened to be during my layover at JFK just a few hours before we officially departed for Barcelona. Looks like I have some film to study. No seriously I’m about to interview for a game presentation position where I have to film game day news segments that are posted on social media and broadcasted in arena before the game.

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I began travel from IND to JFK at 6am on Monday, finally arriving shortly after noon to find myself in line behind Alicia, Living Sport’s Founder and the rest of the mentor crew. Crazy timing. I got to the gate and was able to meet other participants and right away met two people in the same spot as me. Man it was refreshing to know I wasn’t the only one struggling. In school they preached and preached about how competitive the industry was, but it doesn’t hit you until you meet the competition, they are much more qualified than you and they are still searching.

I looked down to find it was almost time for my interview. Thought to myself “well looks like its time to add another L to the column, lets get it over with so I can enjoy Spain.” So there it was, from terminal 8 at JFK I had a first round phone interview.

Out of sight out of mind, it was finally time to head to Spain!

I could write about how great the trip was but that’s a whole other blog in itself.

Three days in I got a text, to my surprise it read: “ Hi Chelsie! You’re going to make it to the next round of interviews!”

It’s exactly what I needed heading into the Red Hook Criterium portion of this trip, where we joined the staff of an international cycling event. I was able to refocus and used these days and one on one sessions with trip mentors to realign my focus before my second round interview once I got home.

The day after I returned home I had my Skype interview.  Jet lag aside I used all the knowledge and experience I gained in Spain during the interview. When it was over this felt different from the rest. 

Two days later I got a call: Congratulations Chelsie! I would like to offer you the position, will you come join us at the Wild?”

MY FIRST CAREER HIT! 1-36 it felt like I just walked off in game 7. The catch? “I need you to move here by our first preseason game, its in 13 days is that okay?” Never in my life had I traveled to Minnesota, but in 13 days I made my first trip and successfully moved out of Indiana. Goodbye Hoosier state, hello State of Hockey.

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I am a month and a half in and I could not be happier with how everything turned out. When I volunteered to write this blog I sat down with my supervisor who hired me and asked him how my experience with Living Sport impacted his decision to give me a shot.

“You were so passionate about this opportunity you answered at the airport. You were so focused on the future even though you were hours from traveling across the globe. You were willing to go all the way to Spain just to gain that experience that would set you apart from the rest. You’re not afraid to take risks and right when I hung up I knew I was going to hire you.”

As it turns out, leaving all the back roads, endless corn and soybean fields and big red barns with cows out on the farm for Barcelona was enough to break the slump.

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Living Sport Launches International Sport Experiences for Students and Young Professionals

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KUTZTOWN, Pa. – Experience can be the determining factor in whether or not a young professional lands their first job out of college. Living Sport, a newly founded international sport experience company, is providing that experience and much more.

Founded by Alicia Marinelli, an industry professional with over 10 years’ of experience, Living Sport’s mission is to use sport as a catalyst to experience the world and to inspire personal and professional growth. Through it's International Sport Business Program, Living Sport is providing young professionals and students the opportunity to embark on a 7-10 day international sport experience like no other. Participants will travel outside of the United States to international sporting events, where they will be placed as an official member of the staff. Additionally, the week-long itinerary will include group excursions allowing participants to explore and learn about the history of not only the city they are in, but the sporting culture that makes the city unique.

“If I can take the knowledge I learned in the past decade and use it to help develop passionate young professionals, I see it as a win all around,” said Marinelli. The focus of Living Sport’s International Sport Business (ISB) program will be to develop the work experience that is needed to get ahead, but also the chance to explore other countries, develop interpersonal skills, and establish an impressive resume point.

“I really like to help young adults find the right path to achieve their professional goals” said Marinelli. “I remember everyone who had helped me in my quest to work in sports, which is a really tough industry to break into. Now, this is my time to pay it forward.”

Marinelli sees the ISB program as a way for students and young professionals to stand out from the competition, adding “having an experience to talk about that not many others do is very intriguing to employers. Add in that it is an international cultural work experience, and I believe you just hit a homerun.”

Living Sport’s staff will feature a host of sport business professionals, many of whom got their start with Marinelli’s help.

“Alicia is not only the most dedicated professional I’ve ever worked with, but she is one of the most gifted as well,” said Shane Baglini, Vice President of Communications for Living Sport. “She hired me as an intern and provided a foundation for my career, which lead to me having the skills needed to earn a job with one of the top sport & entertainment companies in the nation. Without Alicia’s teaching and guidance, I would never have reached that point in my career.”

The program requires an application to be submitted and then approved by a committee in order to be accepted into the program. Living Sport has two trips planned for the 2017 calendar year, both of which will revolve around its partnership with the Red Hook Criterium, an international bike race that attracts over 12,000 spectators and hundreds of riders from around the world. The ISB program will take students to the final two legs of the series in Barcelona, Spain and Milan, Italy.

For more information on upcoming trips, visit www.livingsport.com