Red Hook Crit Barcelona

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. 

A Homebody’s Guide to Leaving Your Comfort Zone

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


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.


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.


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.


0-35: A Sport Industry Slump

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


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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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