Mike Singletary – the Hall of Fame Chicago Bears linebacker – once said, “Do you know what my favorite part of the game is? The opportunity to play.” As the MSBA Class of 2017 descended upon The Ainsworth for our Commencement Celebration, our “opportunity to play” was all I could think about. The panels. The Speakers. The companies. The Mentors. The internships. The friends. As I reflected on eight weeks’ worth of memories, the value of my playing time dawned on me and amazed me with its gravitas.
First and foremost, I could not be prouder to be part of this MSBA class in particular. The amount of time spent enjoying each other, laughing together, sharing our aspirations, and helping each other get better every single day is exactly the “special sauce” David described we would find on that very first night of programming. I say with the utmost confidence that I cannot wait to see all of the incredible things you each go on to achieve and all the memories we will make in the many years to come.
If the students of MSBA are the ingredients, then Bailey, Lorne, and David are “Chef Curry with the pot, boy.” It is an undeniable testament to their vision and leadership that such an incredible mix of individuals became so close throughout these past eight weeks. Thank you for taking a chance on me this summer and making it one of the best experiences of my life. I look forward to the challenge of justifying this opportunity in the many years to come, and I can’t wait to see just how high MSBA continues to set the bar for the incredible classes to come.
“The group that gathered was a special combination of hundreds of people, ranging from companies all across the sports industry, all with the common thread of having affected our MSBA summer. For everyone who made that night possible, thank you.”
In further overdoing the perfect recipe metaphor, a summer filled with incredible Mentors, Speakers, and Office Field Trips is the seasoning that gives MSBA all its flavor. Whether it was meeting with my Mentors (a special thank you to Marc Raiken, Brian Jungreis, and Ryan McKenna for taking time out of their summers to make mine that much better), networking at company offices, or just getting to listen to someone who is where I one day hope to end up, the experiences, memories, and lessons will last a lifetime.
I often joked with my classmates that our MSBA summer had higher stakes than we were probably realizing in real time. Every Speaker, Office Field Trip, meeting, game, or moment had an impact on our future. That is what made commencement so incredible. Commencement was legitimately the Pro Bowl of MSBA. Back in 2010, Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson answered a reporter’s question about what the best part of being at the Pro Bowl was. He said, “Just being out here with all of the other players and all the different characters. I’m just enjoying the time down here.” That statement couldn’t be more reflective. It was an amazing change of pace to relax, kick back, and enjoy the company of people who have spent so much of their own time this summer making us better. The group that gathered was a special combination of hundreds of people, ranging from companies all across the sports industry, all with the common thread of having affected our MSBA summer. For everyone who made that night possible, thank you.
I know in my heart that this first Pro Bowl with MSBA is just that: the first. I know I will always smile back on my opportunity to play for MSBA this summer. My God, did I enjoy the different characters. I can’t wait to be back.