BY: SHANNON HAWLEY
As an athlete my days consist of more than just wall ball and endless hours of training. I have another job besides playing lacrosse, involving the people who are around me at all times, before and after games and who know me quite well. Sports have always been my passion and so has writing, but I never once thought I could work in athletics as an athlete. Probably because I spend too much time being one, but nothing else seemed to fit. That’s when I met with the Athletic Media Relations Department, not for a post-game interview, but for an opportunity to work behind-the-scenes with the people that make sports at the University of Delaware possible.
I started working in the Media Relations Department this fall and it’s been a rewarding experience to be able to help out and learn more about the type of work they put in for thousands of athletes like myself. It’s also nice to get out of workout clothes and sweats and actually look nice for a change!
My weekdays are spent in the office in the Bob Carpenter Sports Center for a few hours on certain days and my weekends are spent at home sporting events.
At the start of my internship I learned basic computer organizational skills like document design, uploading pictures and fixing bios. The next step was Photoshop and how to fix up the images of the athletes and upload them to the system so they could be viewed in their bios. After I became more comfortable with these tedious tasks I began my writing portion of stories and online design templates.
My first major assignment was to interview student athletes, design a “Meet the Blue Hens” profile and post one every week. These were the most fun to compile because I got to learn about different athletes and the types of things they do outside of athletics. It was a veer away from average sports stories that focus mainly on the athlete’s talent. This piece was more to get to know athletes at the university. Once they were put together and posted, my name would appear at the bottom of the page. It was a rewarding feeling to see that.
My writing continued with game previews, schedule releases, game recaps and other articles relevant to something happening in sports. The sports I mainly worked with were football and field hockey and I got a lot of hands on experience by working their games.
I began shadowing people in the department and I never realized how much was involved. We watch the games and appreciate the sport, but what we don’t always appreciate is that we wouldn’t be able to view the games, read about the games, hear about the games or attend them without the departments whose job it is to make all of that happen.
The department works with marketing, videographers/photographers and other staff members to make sure everything goes smoothly. They take stats, film, shoot action photos, make public announcements and have live coverage and tweets throughout the game. My tasks often involved recording stats into the system, delivering them to coaches at half-time and recording post-game interviews in order to translate quotes after for a later use. One of the hardest tasks was “photo runner” for the photographer at a football game. I had to pay attention and be quick with importing photos for the social media department to upload. It felt great to be on the field and walking by hundreds of fans.
Aside from the experience, this internship is a way that I can give back to the department who puts so much time into my sport (and other sports) and helping make my experience here as a student-athlete incredible.
Shannon Hawley is an English Professional Writing major and Journalism minor at the University of Delaware. She is also a student-athlete on the Women’s Lacrosse Team. On her free time she writes stories, specifically sports stories, for the student newspaper The Review. To connect with her further, follow her twitter, @Shawley003, which she uses for PR and her environmental rhetoric course.