Below is a guest post by Olivia Wilson LAS ’16. Olivia attended the Jobs in Sports TREK: Careers in Baseball: MLB Network site visit on September 6th.
MLBN: My Life Begins Now
First impressions are everything. A basic concept that every child is taught once they reach middle school. It’s the reason why girls rush to the mall to find the perfect back to school outfit. It’s why boys buy the freshest sneakers on the block. One small first impression. As we grow up, first impressions become more and more important to our futures. College essays must be perfected, interviews must be flawless, and attire must be business causal or better. Our lives now depend on one first impression.
This is what I carried with me when visiting the MLB Network. Mind you, it was nine in the morning and I wasn’t fully functioning yet. I walked to Bartley with my mind racing: Was this dress too short? Should I have worn heels? What if you can see my wrinkles? I swear I ironed this dress, I swear. As I drag my feet into the building, I instantly knew that I was most likely on the younger side of this group. I’m currently a sophomore at Villanova, so I really went on this trip to maybe get some business cards. If I was lucky, I would get an internship. Either way, I got on the bus knowing that I needed to make this first impression count.
Little did I know that first impressions work both ways. MLB Network clearly put a lot of effort into their front lobby. I would tell you that I was like a kid in the candy store, but it was much bigger than that. It was more like being a kid on the high school football team and having your state championship game in an NFL stadium. The HD televisions and huge leather chairs screamed swag. I thought if their lobby was this amazing, I could only imagine how amazing their studios would be.
As our eyes grew with excitement, the doors to heaven opened up. We were finally allowed to walk through the hallways. We instantly see a wall completely covered with baseball cards. If you’re having trouble picturing this, just think of what a typical freshman girl’s wall looks like. We finally made it into studio 42 and my jaw dropped. The whole studio is a replica of a baseball field, with infamous icons from stadiums like Wrigley field. More importantly, our names were displayed on the ticker. I instantly knew that this is a place I would love to work at.
We moved through studio 42 and then made it to MLB Network studio. When I tell you my heart stopped, I mean it went from 80 to 0 in .5 seconds flat. It was everything I had ever dreamed of and more. The rotating stage, the media center, the wall where every single baseball game can be viewed, all lay out in front of me. It was sensory overload. We learned how the whole set operated. Each anchor wore a headset with peoples creaming in their ear. They had little screens under the desk to watch themselves on camera. They barely worked off a script. I literally saw into the future. This will be my life.
We moved back into studio 42 to meet with current employees at MLB network. All I was waiting for was Lauren Shehadi to step in the spotlight so I could find out how it is that I can be in her shoes one day. I kind of mean that literally because she was wearing some pretty nice shoes. As she walked forward, she confirmed every rumor I had heard about being a reporter. She told us that she starting out in North Dakota covering high school sports, fly fishing, and everything else that screams amateur. Her demo reel was apparently a mess. Everywhere she sent it, she was rejected. Except North Dakota. Naturally, I asked her when we should start making a demo reel. The response was immediately. Never have I left someplace with such an urgency to do something in my life as I did that Friday.
Of course, all good things must come to an end. Here’s the part where I’m supposed to tell you all the things I learned from this trip, hoping that you will feel the same way as I did when I walked through these holy grounds. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of things I can tell you. For example, I felt inspired to travel to Villanova away games just to get a five minute interview. I learned that all you need is one person to believe in you in order to get your big break. Taking a position at entry level or in a field that you don’t necessarily want can get you to the point you want to be at. Or who would’ve thought that sports is a business before anything else. I’m just scraping the surface of what I gained from this trip.
Unfortunately, anything I say will not compare to actually being inside of the MLB Network. The environment is so welcoming and laid back. They emphasize being able to speak to anybody in the building whenever you want. Never have I been in a company where I felt like work wasn’t actually work. It made me remember why I want to be a reporter and why all of the struggles I will undoubtedly face will be worth it.
First impressions are everything. The MLB left a huge impression on me. I’m in awe, I have hope, and I feel empowered. I can only dream of being able to leave the same impression on my future viewers. We are a sports community and we demand the best from our professionals on and off the field. I saw the best during that tour, and one day I will be among the best too.