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Lax In The City – 7.9.12

Jul 9, 2012, 1:07 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 fourth entry in the summer series: Lax In The City.

“I might as well push myself. It’s only 10 minutes worth of work. I might as well push as hard as I can.”
These are the inspiring words of the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest’s six-time champion and world record holder Joey Chestnut – a man, known as “Jaws”, who happened to spit backwash all over me in the midst of tying his world record. Yes, that is right, I got to count every last hot dog he so gracefully shoved in his mouth. I was standing in front of Chestnut as he put down hot dogs number 67 and 68 as the clock struck zero, and I have never been more afraid of being thrown up on in my life.

So how did I end up judging this famous competition? I really do not know. All I know is that I was asked to do ESPN fan photos for the event. The job description included handing out foam ESPN fingers and taking pictures with fans. Overall, it was a pretty easy task, and a lot of fun! I actually had multiple people ask me if I was the talent (i.e. a competitive eater) and/or tell me they were big fans. For the record, I am not a competitive eater and I do not know how to respond when people ask me if I am.

After taking tons of pictures and meeting many interesting people, I went back to the “Entertainment tent.” Next thing I know, I’m being handed an official Nathan’s shirt and being versed in the scoring of the competition. They told me that one of the judges I’d be scoring with was MarShon Brooks of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets (formerly New Jersey Nets). All I could think was, “Is this real life??” And an hour later, as Joey Chestnut’s rain of backwash hit my face, the answer was clear- yes this is real life…and gross!

Despite my very temporary aversion to hot dogs, it was one of the coolest experiences of my life. I mean only so many people get to say that they got to be the judge as someone broke a world record (I also counted for Sonya Thomas, who broke the women’s record with 45 hot dogs!). It was never something I had on my bucket list, but as my roommate – who also worked the event – said, “now I’m pretty pumped to say I have that checked off!”
While I have no intention of getting involved in the competitive eating world, I do think there are some lessons I can take from our champions and my experience. As Joey Chestnut demonstrated, as hard as it is to do what he does, it is only 10 minutes. He might as well push as hard as he can.

I feel similarly about my internship. It is only 10 weeks. I might as well take advantage of every minute I have here. This week I have started to embrace more opportunities because I’ve started to realize just how quickly it all goes by. I even scheduled a meeting with one of the Executive Vice Presidents of ESPN to learn more about the business. I cannot even begin to detail how informative and interesting sitting down with him was. The 4th of July was supposed to be a day off, but I jumped at the opportunity to work the event. I did not do it because I thought I’d make it on ESPN, but because I wanted the full internship experience – whatever that may entail. I do not want to end my summer and realize that those 10 weeks went by so fast, and I did not take advantage of them.

Life is short and there is no reason to waste it. Everything has an ending point. My internship will end. Lacrosse will end. One day my career will end. And I know that I will look back on each phase and think they flew by. So whatever endeavors I pursue I need to look at it with the mindset of a champion – the mindset of Joey Chestnut. “I might as well push myself. It’s only (insert amount of time here) worth of work. I might as well push as hard as I can.”

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