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