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.