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!
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.
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!