An Intern’s Life

It has been a busy week in the Sea Dogs’ front office.  I had wanted to post this earlier today but the hours flew by.  Part of the reason why it was so busy is because our 2012 interns officially reported for duty this week.  Their presence reminds us that the season is rapidly approaching.  Throughout the years the Sea Dogs have worked hard to create an internship program that is beneficial to both us and the interns themselves.  We receive hundreds of resumes for only seven or eight positions.  Our goal is to create future successful full-time employees in the sports industry.

Chris Cameron has done a great job selecting the crew this year.  He and I also do much of the training of the interns.  We find it is beneficial to have two staff members train these fresh faces.  That way, one of us is the “nice” boss, and one is the “mean” boss.   I did not add an official poll for people to vote who they thought  the “mean” one would be, but I will give you a hint:  Her name beings with an L and rhymes with the word “is”.

Interns are the focus of this post.  I hope everyone has had time to recover from The Event that Shall Not Be Named last Sunday night because it is also pretty heavy on the topic of football.  It follows the path of one of our former interns, Ryan Wilson.  Ryan interned for us during the 2011 season with Chris Cameron in the Media Department.  He also helped run a lot of our promotions such as Mercy Hospital’s Hit, Run and Throw program and Oakhurst Dairy’s Musical Chairs, to name just a few.  Ryan was a phenomenal intern, the kind that we hope this year’s will be.  Without the interns to help us through the season, many members of the front office staff would go insane.  They are extensions of the front office staff, and we treat them as such.  Early this week Ryan and I had a little  Q & A about his experience with the Pats and with the Sea Dogs.  Ryan and I did this primarily over email, so my clever come backs are interjected into Ryan’s bold responses bracketed and in plain text.

Liz:  What is your actual title with the Patriots?

Ryan:  Media Relations Coordinator. I started as a 30 hour a week intern (two weeks) then became an unlimited hour intern and then was brought on as full-time temporary employee. (My last day is next Wednesday though, haha). YIKES.

Liz:  Do you hear that loyal readers?  If anyone is looking to hire a seasoned media professional, please contact Mr. Ryan Wilson.

Ryan: Yes, loyal readers who are reading this (crickets, crickets…) Liz, it sounds like you’re posting my personal add – long walks on the beach, enjoys painting and surfing but we all know I could use the help in all phases.

[Hey…whatever works. You’re in no position to be picky.]

Ryan Wilson: Future Media Mogul and lover of Uggs

Liz:   So, did Tom wear Uggs, like, everyday?

Ryan:  Tom sported the Ugg boots on occasion. I wasn’t usually checking out his choice of kicks on a daily basis. [Too busy looking into his tiger eyes, no doubt] He did buy everyone on the team Uggs for the holidays. The locker room looked like a shoe store before the Miami game on Dec. 24. Uggs and Tom also gave everyone on the team a pair on three different occasions as well. Talk about always looking fresh.

Liz:  Do you think you can get me a pair of Uggs?

Ryan: Ohh easily….you’re acting like Uggs are going out of style – they’re still a fashion epidemic. The only accessory or clothing item that challenges Uggs right now in Maine is Wayferer shades. [I am so uncool, I don’t even know what those are] And they are as common as mosquitoes.  Liz, you were always slightly behind the eight-ball in fashion. [True] Don’t worry about it. It’s called Zappos.com. Have you heard of it? [I don’t shop online at work…much] Get your first pair and when you’re ready to make the jump up to your second pair of Uggs I’ll let Tom know – I’ve heard he’s got a hookup.

Liz:  I’m a size nine.  He can mail them to the office.

Ryan: Perfect. I’ll make sure to pass along the message

Liz:   Ok for serious, what was the “typical day” while you were in Indy?

Ryan:  In Indy there was no such thing as a typical day. Each day varied greatly depending on media requests and player obligations. The entire week dealt with Player Relations and making sure we were able to accommodate all the needs of the major media outlets – NBC, NFL Network, ESPN, etc. Each day was essentially “organized chaos” due to the constant overlapping in players who needed to do multiple commitments.  We essentially worked around the clock from Sunday-Wednesday.  My staff [YOUR staff!  Impressive.] would take the players to where they needed to be, supervise the event, answer questions that the media had and make sure players were in proper attire.  I saved a few guys from getting fined. They were pretty pumped when they found out what could have happened.

Liz:  How did you save them from getting fined?  Saying the wrong thing?

Ryan: During the Super Bowl Week it was making sure they were wearing the proper attire. It was requested that every player wear their jersey during speaking events and NFL licensed Super Bowl gear. A lot of times a player would wake up head down to the hotel conference center and be wearing a random hat—the NFL can fine them for that. I would always just make the players aware of what they are wearing and if they were persistent on keeping it on then they are at least made aware of the possible repercussions.   On Wednesday a few players did not want to come down for media requirements… my staff eventually got them down [Jeez, how?  Bribed them with candy and bacon?] and they participated in the event. Later that day Osi Umenyiora [NY Giants] did not show and got fined 20K by the league. When our players found out about that they were pretty grateful.   [I bet!  Ouch.  Great job, Ryan and his staff.]

Liz:  What was your job during the regular season with the Pats?

Ryan:  My job dealt with various different things. I usually would have to transcribe a press conference, conference call, or player interview every day. My staff would attend practice; oversee the open locker room during media availability too. In addition, I would write feature stories on various players and set up weekly conference calls for the opposing team’s Head Coach and player (requested by our media).  A lot of the job dealt with statistical analysis and finding new facts about the organization in whatever area that may be.  The one task I did daily was compile a document of every local and national media coverage of the Patriots, AFC East and NFL. As you can imagine that could take a few hours depending on the matchup or the degree of the game. Luckily, I split up the task with a co-worker.  The job constantly entailed my department managing and shaping the brand of the New England Patriots, the Kraft Family and the players. It was fascinating to see things unfold – why we push this, alter that, redirect something, or defer comment.

Liz: Do you feel like the Sea Dogs prepared you for this experience?  Keep in mind it will be awkward if you say “no”.

Ryan:  My experience with the Sea Dogs without a doubt helped prepare me for the next step in my career. My job at the Patriots requires constant interaction with players, coaches and media members. Being able to learn how to manage and interact with professional athletes at a minor league level helped give me a great foundation on how to approach and converse with high profiled players, executives and media members.  Although it is not a skill you can measure tangibly I would say that the Sea Dogs experience helped improve my relationships skills and ability to adapt to particular environments – stressful or fan interaction that occur on a daily basis throughout the season.

Liz:   Who would you say your favorite staff member is in the Sea Dogs front office?

Ryan:  Geoff no question…I got to go grab a tissue and wipe the brown of my nose real quick.

Liz:  I will pretend I’m not hurt…

Ryan: How about favorite female staff member?  In general the staff collectively is amazing. I became great friends with Brayton and Courtney and tried to watch how Chris, Geoff and you conduct yourselves in all phases of minor league baseball. I learned a lot by watching how you handled situations and then would take mental notes on how the situation unfolded.   At the Patriots I write a personal business journal about any major situations that occur so I can reflect on it down the road if something similar comes up. I’ve used this for player situations with Gronkowski, Edelman and corporate business moves such as the proposed Wynn/Kraft Resort to name a few.  I started doing this at the Sea Dogs when watching the veteran staff.

Liz:  That’s a phenomenal idea!  Where did you think of that?

Ryan: I read that it was a tactic used by upper level executives that are constantly involved in large projects and I figured it would be a great thing for me to start doing now so I can improve faster and learn from past experiences. Personally, I know there have been times when I try to revert back to a past experience but can not fully remember all the details. This “journal” allows me to write in detail about the event – what went right, wrong and improvements therefore I will not forget all the minor details that shaped the outcome no matter how long ago it occurred.

Liz:  What was your favorite promo with the Sea Dogs?  This can be on field or the extra stuff like the Little League days or the baseball camp.

Ryan:  The Lobster Toss is by far the best on-field promotion. Despite myself being demoted from tossing duties (I blame whomever placed the lobsters) due to my bad performance, I hold no grudges against the fan favorite.   The on-field promotions are amazing. It’s a testament to the quality of promotions put forth by the organization when parents and children of all ages run up to you before the game asking what they can do to get involved in a promotion. It can make the intern’s job a whole lot easier, haha.   Off- field I thought the Slugger Valentines’ Day visit was very creative and personal. That was a promotion which I felt was received extremely well and greatly appreciated.  Speaking of, Valentines’ Day is coming up.

Liz:   Yes it is!  Our Valentine’s Day packages recently sold out.  Are you a baseball guy or a football guy, primarily?

Ryan:  I was hardly a football guy by any measurement but after working in the NFL and experiencing the Super Bowl Week I’m beginning to come around. Seeing the whole Super Bowl Week from our busses leaving the stadium through the game was incredible. I find it difficult to believe that any sporting event could rival that build up.   I’m still a baseball person and my end goal is work for a MLB team. Hopefully, I’ll get there sooner than later. Baseball has always been my passion and being a part of something you enjoy only makes you work harder to improve the entire product around you.

Liz:  Coolest promo you saw in Indy or at Foxboro that you think we should do.

Ryan:  The Patriots do not do any in-game promotions during games. The organization will give away rally towels, hand warmers, posters and conduct fly overs prior to the game but during the game the focus is on the team.  Off the field the Patriots, along with the Cheerleaders, are extremely involved in the community and put on countless events all season long. Myra Kraft, the late wife of Patriots owner Robert Kraft instilled philanthropic desires in the entire organization which continue to grow.   The Patriots are very good with social media. Our department does a lot of creative things to engage our fans on both platforms and we strategically put certain things on our Twitter and not our Facebook and vice versa. I would encourage the team to monitor the Patriots social media accounts.  We did do a Gronkowski Spike contest… pretty cool. Pretty self explanatory, lol.

Liz:  This is a contest you do through your social media??  How do you sign up….just wondering…not that I would enter….

Ryan: the contest already happened. CBS Scene held a “Give us our best Gronk!” spike contest at Patriot Place Plaza. Besides bragging rights, fans could win AFC Championship tickets, autograph jerseys and other prizes. We promoted the event through social media.

Liz:  Darn.  I’m not a die-hard football fan by any stretch of the word, but I did enjoy watching Gronk, especially because he single handedly kept my fantasy football team afloat this year.  Thank you Ryan, for giving us some insight into the life of an intern, and the life of working in the Patriots organization.  I am so impressed with your experience.  Based on the work you did for us during the 2011 season you definitely deserved it. So, if anyone out there is looking for a great media guy who has exceptional experience and connections to footwear, contact Ryan Wilson.  Since it would be creepy to put his contact information here, you can just call the Sea Dogs office if you’re interested.  Wow, that does sound like a personal add.

I hope everyone has a safe and fun weekend.  It’s getting a little brighter outside each evening.  April 12th will be here before we know it!

1 Comment

Great post! Very interesting and imformative, Liz. I look forward to more of this through out the summer. Go Sea Dogs!!!
–Mike

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