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Lax In The City – 6.8.12

Jun 8, 2012, 9:58 AM EDT

Notre Dame rising senior women’s lacrosse player Emily Conner has a dream internship for a sports fan this summer, as she is interning with ESPN in New York City in its Marketing & Sales department. Within the department, the Alexandria, Va., native works on the asset management team in the consumer marketing solutions department. The 10-week internship will offer Conner a chance to explore the fourth biggest city in the world, while working for The Worldwide Leader In Sports.

Conner graciously volunteered to keep a weekly blog for Irish UNDerground, which will offer a small glimpse into her busy life this summer. Here is the opening entry in the summer series: Lax In The City.

As a wise man once said “live every moment for the moment.” While most people would choose a quote from great minds like Albert Einstein or Mother Theresa to start their first blog, that just would not be an accurate representation of whom I am. Instead, I start us off with a quote from Michael Jordan. I have always liked Michael Jordan. Perhaps it’s for his ability to make not only himself look good but his teammates as well. Or maybe it’s because he could fly … at least for a little while. Most likely it’s for his incredible acting in the movie “Space Jam” – seriously. No matter if you like or dislike Michael Jordan, his quote can resonate with you on some level or another.

In my case, “live every moment for the moment stood out to me when I moved to New York City last Saturday. When I say, “stood out”, I mean literally, as it was written on someone’s shirt in the subway. It actually made me think about a lot of things. Here I was, 21 years old, moving to a new (HUGE!) city, about to start my dream internship at ESPN, and I was scared to death. I do not know what made me so nervous, but I think it was the fear of failure that I and many other elite athletes suffer from. Our whole lives we have been considered good at what we do, namely sports, but in this case I was going into a situation where I didn’t know if I would be good at what was expected of me. In fact, when my bosses said that my work would involve finance, flashbacks of my first finance exam at Notre Dame – my worst grade ever – kept running through my mind, and I felt my confidence shrink very quickly.

My first day, I definitely carried some of that fear over with me, but walking in with my roommate, a fellow ESPN intern and college athlete, made me relax a little bit. At least I knew I had someone I could grab lunch with – it’s sad how quickly those middle school fears can rush back to you! Still, when you walk into the office, it’s hard not to become overwhelmed. I mean this is ESPN…how cool is that?

(Side Note: The only bad part about my office is the large New England Patriots’ poster. Not okay for an Indianapolis Colts fan.)

As great as everything else was, I have to admit that the first time my phone rang I think my heart started beating out of my chest as I whispered to the girl next to me – “What do I say?” Something tells me MJ didn’t have the same fears in a game’s final minutes… That first day I didn’t completely overcome my nerves, but I definitely made huge strides. It didn’t hurt that the entire office was welcoming and incredibly helpful, doing their best to integrate me into the system during such a busy time.

Now I still do not know how good of a grasp I will get on all the GRPs, CPMs, VPVH’s etc. (Editor’s Note: What are these?), but I do know that I will not let the fear of failure dictate how I approach this summer internship. Instead, I plan on doing what Michael Jordan said, and live every moment for the moment. And why shouldn’t I? I am in a city that people dream of living in, working an internship, which had been out of my wildest dreams only a few months ago. I am incredibly blessed. And while I realize that this summer will be a challenge, I know how to respond to failures and learn from my mistakes.

Through lacrosse I have learned to fight through insecurities and other inhibitors, and I am now prepared to not only face the challenges in front of me today, but also enjoy the challenges as I pursue my goals. This is a lesson that Michael Jordan – the high school student who was cut from the varsity basketball team who became the most highly decorated basketball player in history – taught the world. Is there a better success story in the world of sports?

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