The court was empty except for a few teammates working on free throws. My jersey was drenched with sweat and my ankles swollen from sprints, so when the starting point guard asked if I was staying back for some extra shots, the no came off my tongue before I even realized it. I was chosen for this basketball team in seventh grade because the coaching staff had seen potential in me. Not because my skills were polished or my shooting form impeccable, but because they knew if I worked at it, I had the potential to contribute to the squad at a high level. But once the girls around me started to put in the work that I was unwilling to give, it became obvious that the potential they had predicted would not be realized. After an especially poor game, my dad asked my coach what he could do to make me work harder and her response has always stuck with me: “You’ll know when she wants it.” Turns out I never did want it on the basketball court, but I did want it somewhere else.
“It is humbling to work beside such inspiring friends, and realizing how bad they want it has helped me find that extra ounce of excitement to begin our journeys navigating this industry.”
Flash-forward to 6am on a frigid February morning during a New England blizzard. I was waking up my parents to ask them for a ride to the men’s indoor rowing practice before my own so that I could get a few extra meters in. My dad recalls this as the moment he knew I wanted it. Whatever it was in this instance, whether it be a college scholarship, or to win nationals my senior year, I was going after it because I wanted it. The funny part about this anecdote is that I don’t even remember it. All the extra practices and early mornings for rowing have never been particularly noteworthy in my opinion, because when I know that they are necessary parts of the process towards success, it never quite feels like work.
Throughout our first three weeks of MSBA 2016, we have heard from a plethora of impressive speakers and visited some of the most dominant sports corporations and businesses in Manhattan. What has struck me the most is the unanimous theme of advice that we have heard from different facets of the sports industry, including journalism, public relations, agencies, and even leagues. Each of these leaders has emphasized without fail that we need to find something we are passionate about and then grind at it. I understand their guidance because looking at my own experience with rowing, and knowing my immense passion for the sport, the grind never felt too trying. The accessibility to achieve success when you can put your full heart behind something is far more likely than when your motives are not derived from passion. When you have the passion, the work comes naturally because it’s worth it.
While they say not to mix business with pleasure, far too often people fall into occupations randomly. While they may experience happiness and success in their positions, the true moments of brilliance result from the late nights at the office and extra weekend work. The more you are passionate about what you are doing, the easier it is to find yourself putting in the work others are unwilling to do. The game-winning free throws came down to the teammates who had the passion that led them to stay on the court hours after practice had ended. While I am unsure of where I will fit into the sports business world yet, I know that passion is the first indicator. Once I know I want it, the rest will fall into place.
It is clear to me that my fellow MSBA participants are not just here to be on the team. Each of these classmates are game changers. They wear their jerseys with pride and are all looking for a starting position in the season opener. It is humbling to work beside such inspiring friends, and realizing how bad they want it has helped me find that extra ounce of excitement to begin our journeys navigating this industry. For the rest of the summer I look forward to listening to the advice from our speakers and mentors who suggest we find our passion and then work at it.
While entering such a competitive industry is undoubtedly daunting, I have full faith in my sports biz teammates because I can already tell we want it.