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Worlds Collide: How Working in Sports Changed My Fan Perspective

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

I’ve known from a young age that I wanted to work in sports when I was older. As a young cheerleader for my town’s local recreation football team, I loved the energy that a game brought to fans, players, and everyone else involved. I’ve spent countless hours (and dollars) cheering on my favorite sports teams, regardless of their places in league standings. Professional sports have always brought me mixed feelings of excitement and anxiety, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. 

Today, after two years of college (and plenty of worries about my future), I’ve finally settled on exactly what I want to do in sports for the rest of my life, and it’s all thanks to the job I got this academic year. I landed a position as a Communications Intern for UMass Athletics this past fall, and this job has taught me so much more than just managing social media and updating the teams’ websites. Here are some of the things I’ve learned over the past year working in sports that make me think differently about being just a casual fan!

It takes a village

One of the coolest experiences I’ve had with this job is getting the opportunity to work alongside my team to run an NCAA hockey tournament. While my mind was centered on my excitement to be back in a college hockey arena, I completely underestimated the labor of love it takes to run an event like this. There are those who you would expect to see: concessions workers, maintenance, and the ice crew. But there are also so many other people doing multiple jobs to make the game run smoothly. Take me, for example. My technical role for these games was helping put stats from the games into the website, but I was also making sure members of the media had what they needed, signing in photographers before the game started, and even going into the locker rooms to give game recaps. That might seem like a lot for an intern, but some of my full-time coworkers do much more than I did. Now, every time I go to a live game, I really get to appreciate how much effort went in to make each game as exciting and fun as it was!

There’s a method to the madness

If you’ve gone to any sporting event, you’ll know that there’s a ton of breaks in the game with fun little games on the jumbotron. Whether it’s a karaoke sing-a-long while the ice is being cleaned or a coin shuffle at a basketball game, these aren’t just meant to keep fans engaged during a break in the play. They usually occur during a media timeout (when broadcasts go to commercial break), which also seemed random to me before I started working. I’ve since learned that these are actually strategically timed to make sure they’re all evenly distributed throughout every game. This makes watching games a little more fun, because I always know when there’s a perfect break to run and grab a sweet treat!

So many sports

One of my favorite things that working in sports has done for me, is that I’ve branched out and gotten into watching far more sports than I used to. Before this year, I usually just stuck to professional sports that everyone knows about: baseball, hockey, football, and basketball. But now I have a much greater appreciation for all sports and their athletes, especially college sports! I never understood the hype behind watching a bunch of student athletes on a big stage, but after watching some crazy college basketball, field hockey, and lacrosse games, I’m completely hooked. There’s something so different about watching college sports versus professional games and I’ve gained a lot of respect for college athletes since. 

Overall, I would definitely say that working in sports has changed my fan perspective for the better. I have a much greater appreciation for the sports, events, and the people that go into every game, and I cannot wait for another year of some of my absolute favorite sports to watch. If I had any doubts about my future career, this experience has definitely made them disappear! 

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Priya Shah

U Mass Amherst '26

Priya Shah is junior at UMass Amherst, majoring in Legal Studies and Psychology. She is excited to be writing for Her Campus this semester! She loves hockey, fashion, and music.