Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Stuff you can't do in a real job

Well, I'm finally back at it; writing on the blog.

It's been a wild couple of months, and crossover season nearly killed me. (Don't worry, there will be a crossover season posting in the coming months.)

But since I'm taking a much needed mental break from my papers and projects (just a reminder folks, I'm taking two graduate classes and all work is due in one week from tonight), I wanted to share some of the fun side of being a SID.

First of all, I must give credit where credit is due. Steve Wilson, the SID extraordinaire at Park (Mo.) University, came up with the title of this blog post. So, Steve, here's you 15 minutes of fame ... or since this is a SID blog, 15 seconds of fame. :-)

Anyway, back to the topic at hand.

There are so many perks, benefits and 'added little bonuses' to working in sports information. Now, by and large, the pay is not the greatest; people rarely notice or recognize you (unless you screw up); and the hours are long. (Truthfully, the hours are pretty much 24/7.) That being said, there are some things that you get to do and experience that just don't get in any other profession.

Nearly three weeks ago, I enjoyed one of these times. I was at our conference volleyball tournament. The semifinal round was in the morning with the championship match set for 4 p.m. Union played in the first semifinal game that ended a little after 11 a.m., meaning after I got my release finished, I had over four hours to kill until the finals.

After enjoying a nice, relaxing lunch and then doing some reading while enjoying coffee at Starbucks, I got back to the tournament site around 2:30 p.m., and that's when the fun began.

The tournament was being held in a hotel conference/ballroom, and when I got back into the court, there were a few others in there kicking and passing a volleyball around. And with my and a couple others' arrival, there was enough to play some volleyball.

We started out playing 3-on-3 and it was a motley crew to say the least. On my team was Matt (a former Union baseball player and now our play-by-play announcer and bowling coach) and Coach Oz (Union's baseball coach). On the other side of the net were Clay (Union's head athletic trainer), Frank and Emily (who work for the Kingsport Convention and Visitors' Bureau).

Now, while all of us work in athletics and once played sports competitively, none of us are volleyball players. And let me just say, it had been YEARS since I played. Honestly, it has probably been since my days at Carson-Newman College playing intramural sports since I last played in a volleyball match.

And what made the match more fun was that we picked up more players. Joining us were some people with Bryan (Tenn.) and Montreat (N.C.) colleges to give us six players per side.

I really, really, really wish we had videotaped this "match" because I am telling you it was a hoot. Seeing Coach Oz and his 'rainbow serve', me going for a dig only to have it ricochet into my face, Clay kicking the ball so high that it sails through three rafters without touching ANYTHING (it was a beautiful punt) and having the Union and Bryan volleyball teams cheer and laugh at us was just a blast.

It's times like those which make my job special, unique and fun. How many other professions do you know of that allow you to play volleyball in between tasks?

And later that evening, I got to enjoy something else you don't get to enjoy in most other lines of work: a police escort.

When the Union volleyball team and I got to the Barbourville city limits, we were greeted by a police car who led us through town with lights and siren on to help celebrate a conference championship.

I've been fortunate enough to have been a part of something like that before, but it was so fun listening to the joy in the girls' shouts of jubilation.

A couple of other things I that my profession has allowed me to do include 'working' the first and second rounds of the 2007 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament (yes, it was such work getting to watch March Madness up close and personal like I was afforded to), working two NAIA Football National Championship Games and getting to travel all over the U.S. from Daytona Beach, Fla., all the way to Lewiston, Idaho.

Being a SID has also allowed me to continue my education for basically just the cost of the textbooks as well as having the flexibility to incorporate my family (especially my son) into and with my job. In addition, as was the case today, if need be, I can leave the office early to pick up a sick child at school and work from home and not miss a beat.

It is amazing the amount of work a SID does. It truly is. And the job can wear a person down. But getting to enjoy some of the perks makes it all worth it.

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