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How to Lose a Sports Internship in 10 Days

May 5, 2011

Ashley Peek is a junior sports communication major at Indiana University.

Ashley Peek, former Indiana Pacers intern

Ashley Peek works a fan event during her internship for the Indiana Pacers' promotions department last summer.

By Ashley Peek

It is a sunny, crisp morning as you drive down the road and into the parking facility of your summer internship. You’re nervous, slightly under-prepared, and you may have forgotten to put on deodorant — but none of that matters right now. You get to intern in the wonderful and exciting world of sports. But this is not for everyone, people. It gets extremely cutthroat.

Sure, every internship can potentially make or break your career, but in the sports world it seems that everyone knows everyone. If you make one bad impression, it can cost you other favorable positions down the road.

So, if you’d like to ruin any chance of working for a front office, here are some of the guidelines I give to you:

Don’t arrive on time!

Being on time is for weenies. Your boss probably won’t even know that you strolled in 15 minutes late — you are an intern, after all. Act like you got there on time and it’ll be fine!

(Fact: NEVER DO THIS. Being prompt, or early even, is one of the easiest ways to make a good impression. In the sports industry it is common to not just work in the office daily, so arriving on time to game events, fundraisers, special events, and other programs that might be associated with the organization you are working with always shows that you are responsible. If you do happen to think you are going to be late, we are all humans after all, just give your boss a call. They’ll understand.)

Hound the players for autographs!

If you ever get the chance to meet a player for the team you are working for, make sure to always ask for an autograph not only for yourself, but for your Mother, your boo, and the kid down the street. Take advantage of getting to know the athletes in your facility; your bosses will take kindly to you rubbing elbows with the stars instead of sending the emails you were asked to send an hour ago.

(Fact: I’m obviously lying to you here. Remain professional at all times. You are working to help promote these individuals and to do so in a positive light. Bombarding them for their autograph will not impress the people you’re working for. Keep a business attitude and show you do not get star crazy or bashful.)

Home of the Indiana Pacers

It's one thing to have a few legitimate work-related queries, and another to nag your bosses with questions like, "When did the arena get built?"

Learn about the franchise after you’re hired!

Remember, an internship is an opportunity to learn. So expect to learn everything about the team, franchise, and front office policies from your bosses. They’ll love to sit down in their busy days and go over the corporate diagram of the organization with you. They expect you to have little to no knowledge of the organization when you get there.

(I don’t mean to lie, but it is somewhat entertaining, isn’t it? Do your research before you start interning. They’ll be happy to know you want to be a part of the organization, and understanding who does what before you start will make you stand out for the right reasons.)

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