Blog38-Gray

Day 38: For the Love of the Game

Gray Malias 2017, Blog

We’ve all heard the phrase “sports are more than just a game.” This timeless mantra has been used to express the idea that there is more than meets the eye when it comes to win streaks, records, or titles. Through MSBA’s programming, my classmates and I have been exposed to different aspects of the sports industry that offer insight into what that something “more” may be.

During this evening’s Corporate Social Responsibility Panel, we had the opportunity to hear from Harrie Bakst, Partner at Weinstein Carnegie Philanthropic Group, and Romola Ratnam, Director of Corporate and Sports Partnerships for UNICEFF USA. They both elaborated on the idea that sports business is much more than just a numbers game. While ticket sales and corporate partnerships matter, both Harrie and Romola have built careers within and adjacent to the sports industry, bridging the gap between for-profit and nonprofit companies to foster philanthropic growth.

“Having the opportunity to hear about ways to broaden the social impact of sports is something I had never even thought of before this program, and presents yet another opportunity where the MSBA Class of 2017 can make an impact.”

Their message emphasized a unifying truth: at the very core of whatever it is we do, there is an underlying human element, and sport has an inherent ability to unite fans by presenting a set of common core values – whether that is a coaching philosophy, team pride, or athlete role models, sport offers a platform to connect people on some level. Harrie and Romola demonstrated how this synergistic power of sports, rooted in our common humanity, makes the industry a perfect partner for nonprofits and philanthropic opportunities.

As both an athlete and as a volunteer for the Special Olympics, I have seen first-hand the positive impact sports can have. It was so rewarding to take a step back from the more traditional business aspects of the industry and learn about how Harrie and Romola were able to turn their passion for sports into a mechanism for helping others in a very tangible way.

When applying for MSBA, I remember saying I wanted to be a part of the program because I love the atmosphere of sports. Through the Speaker Series and Office Field Trips, I have realized that all along this has been rooted in the aspects of sports that are more than just “the game” – from the friendly rivalries to the excitement on a kid’s face when she scores a goal. It is all about the passion and love for the game. So many of the people we have been introduced to are successful because they are passionate; there is an evidently contagious energy surrounding those who are so committed to what they do and really believe in the work they are doing. Having the opportunity to hear about ways to broaden the social impact of sports is something I had never even thought of before this program, and presents yet another opportunity where the MSBA Class of 2017 can make an impact.

Overall, I can’t believe how fast the summer is going by! Between my internship at Mission Athletecare and MSBA programming, it is definitely fast paced but so exciting! I’ve really enjoyed getting to know my Mentors as well and the group as a whole, and am looking forward to these last couple weeks!