Jun 28, 2012, 3:32 PM 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 UNDerground, which will offer a small glimpse into her busy life this summer. Here is the third entry in the summer series: Lax In The City.
“Her fever has gone down to 103 degrees, she can go to school.” WHATTT?!?! As I heard those words come out of my father’s mouth, I felt a strong desire to just melt right into my twin bed. There was no escaping it. No matter what, I was going to end up on that hour and a half ride down to Richmond, VA to play in my Field Hockey State semifinal game. The whole week I had been suffering from a 105Â° fever and had barely stepped foot out of bed. There was no point in protesting though. I knew it was my duty to my team to be there; even though it meant following the bus in my parent’s car in order to avoid infecting the rest of the team. While both my parent’s later admitted that I should not have gone to the game, I secretly knew whether they had forced me out of bed that morning or not, I would have been at that game. That is how I was raised; you do not quit, you commit – no matter how hard it may be at times.
From a young age, sports have consumed my life. Some of my earliest memories are of my dad coaching my five and under soccer team – the fact that he had the patience to do that makes me think he’s a saint! Especially considering I always got in a fight with one boy who thought he was better than me – he wasn’t.
As I got older, I started taking sports and especially lacrosse more seriously. This was mostly due to the influence of my brother Andrew, who was a lacrosse player himself. He was and still is my best friend, and I wanted to be just like him when we were growing up. My first lacrosse stick was his old stick that he tied so tight that it could be a girl’s stick. I learned to catch, because he refused to teach me. Instead, it was a matter of survival. He threw it; I caught it or got out of the way quickly – he had an abnormally hard shot for a 12 year old. I even wore the #23 jersey because he did – and Michael Jordan.
Not only did he teach me lacrosse fundamentals, but he has also demonstrated for me how important it is to be committed to your team. I watched him suffer through countless injuries through high school and college only to play through the pain – very successfully I might add. At the time, I did not know I would have to deal with many of the same injuries as I continued my athletic career, but looking back and knowing that he played through it has encouraged me to do the same.
Even when my doctor at home told me I needed to reconsider playing college lacrosse after my freshman season at Notre Dame – due to worsening back problems – I knew that was not an option. I had made a commitment to my team and I was unwilling to back out of it. This strong sense of commitment I learned from both my brother and my parents (who are going on 30 years of marriage…talk about commitment!). Famous Notre Dame football head coach, Lou Holtz once said:
“If you don’t make a total commitment to whatever you’re doing, then you start looking to bail out the first time the boat starts leaking,” said Holtz. “It’s tough enough getting that boat to shore with everybody rowing, let alone when a guy stands up and starts putting his life jacket on.”
I think after years of watching my brother keep going no matter how physically and mentally worn down he got, has been inspiration enough for me to do the same.
Now I know college lacrosse ends for me in one short year. But I also know that the sense of teamwork and commitment that I have learned from both my family and competitive sports will help me in whatever I do. In most careers, teamwork becomes a daily commitment. At ESPN, it is no different. Each department is structured into several small teams that specialize in various aspects of the business. The ‘Asset Management’ team I’m working with is a group of four people, all different ages, all different skill sets. While the group is incredibly diverse, what makes the teamwork so well is that everyone is committed to each other and the “team” goal – To Serve Sports Fans. Anywhere. Anytime.
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