The Finale

This is it. This is my final day working in Miami for Super Bowl LIV. And it was a good one.

I started my morning by working at the Social Media Command Center, but before I made it there, I stopped by the NFL Transportation booth to drop off meal vouchers. After arriving, I stayed at the booth for a few minutes speaking to a few of my classmates. During this time, I heard a group of people approaching to walk by so I turned around. And there he was. Christian McCaffrey. My mouth almost dropped to the floor. I knew that he visited the Media Center yesterday, so I assumed he wouldn’t be back today, especially since he was not scheduled for an appearance and Radio Row was in the process of being taken down. But yet, there he was walking by just a foot away from me. McCaffrey walked by with an intimidating posse of about ten people and just like that he was gone. But those few seconds that I was able to see one of the best players in the NFL was incredible.

After McCaffrey’s brief appearance this morning, my day was a bit quiet. The Media Center was a ghost town as most of the media members were preparing for Super Bowl Sunday and some were attending NFL Honors. Although the Media Center was quiet, Super Bowl Experience was far from quiet. It was full of NFL fans, some local, some traveling from out of state, and some traveling from across the world for this event. It was amazing to see hundreds of people from differing backgrounds come together with their love for football. Seeing this truly helped me realize that sports are so much more than just a game. And I’m so glad that I was able to play a part in this event.

Rest Day

Compared to yesterday, today was significantly less eventful. I had the morning off, it was much needed. I did not have to wake up until 9 a.m. this morning which allowed me to catch up on some sleep. I was not supposed to have this morning off, but I was switched out with someone else the night before. I was a little upset because I knew some of my favorite NFL players were going to be visiting Radio Row this morning, but it was probably a good thing that my body was able to re-energize.

After sleeping in for a bit this morning, my roommate and I discussed going to get brunch with someone else who also had off this morning. We got brunch at Crema Gourmet Espresso Bar. I ordered the pancake combo because I love pancakes. The combo included pancakes, scrambled eggs, and bacon. I thought about getting coffee; however, coffee does not help wake me up. I drink it sometimes because I like the taste of sweetened coffees from places like Dunkin’ and Starbucks. Very rarely am I able to trick myself that it does wake me up. I did not feel like spending money on a coffee that was probably going to do nothing for me, so I settled for the free water because we love budgeting.

After we ate, we walked back to the hotel. Then, we all finished up some work and got ready to work. My shift for tonight was in the Social Media Command Center. It was a slow night social media wise, but luckily the extra sleep I got this morning allowed me to be energized throughout the night. Although you may not want to take time off in fear of missing things, sometimes you need to in order to let your body rest.

All About the Headlines

Today was a very eventful day, actually the most eventful day out of the whole entire week.

My day began by attending the Pepsi Halftime Show Press Conference. Before I could watch the press conference, I had to direct several media members to the ballroom of the hotel we were in. I was in charge of manning the elevator, pressing a fancy touch screen pad to take the media up to the floor they needed. I did this for a little over an hour, then it was time to see Shakira and Jennifer Lopez.

We sat in the back row of the ballroom where the press conference was held, and watched as Shakira and Lopez talked about their upcoming Halftime Show performance. They answered various questions from the press. It was very interesting to see how a big press conference is structured. However, there was one thing that threw me off. At least four of the questions asked were about the late Kobe Bryant. This confused me. Although Bryant is dominating the news cycle, this didn’t seem like the right time to ask these sorts of questions. I guess that’s the reality of journalism sometimes. Asking the right questions that will give you flashy headlines. This is why I could never become a journalist, even though I enjoy writing.

Being able to watch the press conference was overall a neat experience. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to do that again. It also helped me validate my decision to not pursue journalism.

Starstruck

Unexpected- that’s what today was. After a few days of not seeing any celebrities I recognized, I figured today would have been the same. Especially with most of the media attending the AFC, NFC, and NFL commissioner’s press conferences. I thought the Media Center would have been empty, and boy was I wrong. The Media Center was packed with TV and radio personalities, as well as current and former NFL players. Little did I know I was about to see and meet some of my idols.

As I was sitting at the NFL Transportation booth this morning and waiting for media members to walk up and ask for directions, I set my eyes on two people that I was completely shocked to see: Corwin McCallum and Luca Celebre. The majority of people on this trip probably have no idea who they are, but I’m a huge fan of the two. McCallum and Celebre work for TSN with their content primarily hockey focused; therefore, they were honestly the last two people I had expected to see in Miami. I was lucky enough to be able to speak to them for a few minutes which absolutely made my day. After meeting them, I was content with my experience for the day. Then, my day got even better.

While working in the Social Media Command Center later on, I was sent to take pictures in Radio Row and Super Bowl Experience. Luckily for me, as I walked into Radio Row, Saquon Barkley was signing autographs for fans. I wanted to jump in line, but it went on for what seemed like miles. Instead, I walked up near the barrier and took a few closeup pictures to send to the Host Committee for their social media pages. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to meet Barkley. However, it was incredible to see him in person and up close.

The Experience

As soon as I walked through the blue doors, I was in complete awe. Football and everything NFL was everywhere. This is what you see when you walk into Super Bowl Experience.

Unfortunately, I was not able to take this all in as just a fan. I was there for work. My task was to take pictures and get content for the Host Committee’s social media accounts. As I was snapping photos, I was taking in all of the NFL history scattered across the room. I’m not sure when or if I’ll ever be able to go to the Football Hall of Fame in Ohio, so this was the closest thing to it that I’ve ever experienced. Walking around looking at the different jerseys and past Super Bowl banners was incredible.

In addition to Super Bowl Experience, I got to snap photos of the infamous Radio Row as well as the live TV sets. Although it wasn’t super busy, it was still incredible to see some of the shows I grew up watching happen live right in front of me.

Not only was this an amazing opportunity to be able to experience something really cool, but I was able to put one of my other interests to work. I’ve become much more interested in photography over the last year or so, more specifically sports photography. Although this wasn’t live action sports being photographed, I still greatly enjoyed capturing this amazing experience for not only the Host Committee but for myself as well. I am genuinely so thankful for the opportunity to do what I love on such a big scale like the Super Bowl.

Every Little Thing Is Gonna Be Alright

Today was an eventful day, to say the least. After a fairly easy day at the Media Center yesterday, I was not prepared for the chaos that ensued today.

My workday started out by helping set up a press conference. After setting up a backdrop behind the podium, we were directed to escort a few of the speakers from credentials pickup to the press conference room. After waiting for a while, we were informed just minutes before the press conference was supposed to start that the speakers had already arrived upstairs. We then ran across the convention center to get back to the press conference room in time. Luckily, we made it and the conference went smoothly.

For my next shift at the Social Media Command Center, I expected it to go similarly to yesterday: a bit quiet, but a tad more volume. The first hour and a half went as expected until I was denied access to dismiss tweets from my feed. Seconds later, everyone was kicked off their computers and could no longer interact with any social media posts. We didn’t regain access until about an hour later. This delay wasn’t ideal, but at least it came early in the week when Super Bowl activity online is low.

In a day where we had more than a few things go wrong, I learned a lot. I needed to experience a day like this because this is the reality of working not only in sports, but in life. It is almost impossible for everything to always go as planned at these types of events. Although it may not seem like it, today was truly a great learning experience.

First Day!

It’s here. My first day working at the Super Bowl. Something that I have thought about non-stop for the last few months, and it is finally here.

Going into today, I really didn’t know what to expect. A friend gave me a quick rundown of her Social Media Command Center experience, but I still didn’t have a clear understanding of what was going to happen. This made me a bit nervous because I like to be prepared.

Upon arriving at the Miami Beach Convention Center, I had to pick up my credentials and also take a new picture. This was unfortunate because the picture I had submitted beforehand was much cuter than the one I had to take this morning. Next thing I knew I was in the Social Media Command Center scrolling through hundreds of Twitter posts, looking for content to reply to or share. Although I only favorited two tweets, there was something that made the experience much more exciting.

As I was looking through NFL Twitter mentions, I saw the door open out of the corner of my eye and caught a glimpse of a wagging tail. I immediately turned my head towards the door and saw two officers with two dogs, Beta and Eci. One by one, most of us working stood up to go pet the dogs. I can confidently say that being able to pet dogs in the Social Media Command Center was not something that I was expecting to happen today, but I’m not complaining. I could get used to this.

Plane Personalities

As someone who is going to college across the country from home, I am not a stranger to taking flights. I have to take at least eight flights during the year. So I know what to expect for the most part. However, one thing you can’t prepare for is who you sit next to during the flight. This was no different today as I had two very different experiences.

My first flight was quiet. I sat in the middle seat between two older women and neither of us really spoke to each other. All three of us went in and out of sleep during the whole flight. Nothing too exciting.

My second flight was anything but quiet. I was sitting near a group of high school students who were on their way to Peru. The student who sat next to me was a bit frightened by airplanes and was making dramatic comments before we had pushed back from the gate. The entire flight I listened to this boy talk to one of his teachers about all of the ways the flight could go wrong. I went through a number of emotions on this flight. At first, I felt bad that this boy was scared- but it eventually got to a point where it was annoying. Then it became slightly entertaining as his comments became more bizarre. I, at times, questioned whether he was serious or trying to be funny. Regardless, I hope the kid was okay.

As you can see, I had two very different flight experiences that you cannot prepare for. The only thing you can do is go in with an open mind and put your best foot forward by being friendly.

I Almost Passed Out in Old Navy

Preparing myself to volunteer at Super Bowl LIV was a fairly easy process. Although I experienced a few minor bumps along the way, nothing was too severe. However, this almost wasn’t the case. I was very close to having an unfortunate accident at Old Navy…trying on pants. It’s also important to mention that I was fighting off a sinus infection the day I decided to shop at Old Navy.

The process of finding two pairs of suitable pants was not difficult. I grabbed two pairs of pants, one black, and one khaki, right away and headed to the dressing room. I tried on the black pair and they fit perfectly, but the khaki pair in the same size did not. I peeked out of the dressing room and asked my mother to get a different size. After she left, I started to feel very hot and began to work up a sweat. Although I’ve found that many dressing rooms in San Diego are overwhelmingly warm, this time was much worse because I was sick. As the seconds went by, I was heating up and beginning to feel a bit faint. I sat down as I started to see spots. Luckily, my mom came back shortly and made me take a break. I put my clothes back on and went outside to get some fresh air. We decided to get lunch before returning to Old Navy about an hour later. The second time went smoothly and I found a pair of khaki pants that fit without almost passing out. That’s the last time I’ll go shopping while being sick.

Ten Years Later

As I’m nervously watching the New Orleans Saints attempt to make a comeback against the Minnesota Vikings in the first round of the playoffs, I begin to look forward to Super Bowl LIV. As I think about what could be for the Saints my mind begins to wander to what my own experiences will be at this once in a lifetime event. I am starting to feel more excited when I should be sitting anxiously on the edge of my seat, hoping that my favorite NFL team can complete the comeback. However, I’m no longer able to keep my focus solely on the game in front of me. The anticipation for my own Super Bowl experiences is getting in the way.

Growing up in a football-loving family, I came to appreciate football with the same passion as my parents. However, I failed to become a fan of either of their favorite teams. Instead, I chose to follow former San Diego Charger, Drew Brees to the New Orleans Saints. I watched Brees lead the Saints to win Super Bowl XLIV in Miami almost ten years ago. That day holds a special place in my heart as a Saints fan. The opportunity to be able to volunteer at the Super Bowl ten years after my favorite team won in the same city is incredible. I’m excited about the unknown experiences that await me in Miami. I’m excited to feel the Super Bowl buzz in the city. I’m excited just to be in a Super Bowl environment. Being able to work at the Super Bowl is already a dream come true, but it’s even more special with it being the ten-year anniversary of the Saints’ last Super Bowl win.