Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Not Your Typical Spring Break

Hello all!

David Benoit here. I hail from the great city of Boston, Mass; but I did spend a few years in Delray Beach, FL – so I guess you can say I’m a dual native of both cities and states. I haven’t quite come to grips with that yet but someday I will. I completed my undergraduate degree here at this great institution, the University of Central Florida, with a degree in Marketing and a minor in Sports Business Management (1 of 9 to first receive the minor, yes I’m tooting my own horn, but its ok). It’s great to be able to go to graduate school at my alma mater. It leaves no room for confusion as to where my allegiances lie, GO KNIGHTS!!!!!

Spring break has come and gone for us in our first year in the DeVos program. While others were tanning at the beaches or catching up on some much needed rest and foolery - my classmates spent our break getting our hands dirty and doing some real work done in the city of New Orleans, and the St. Bernard Parrish in partnership with Hope For Stanley (a non-profit founded by past DeVos students that is dedicated to rebuilding the city of New Orleans and providing hope to the people of that great city).

This was my 3rd trip to NOLA, but every time I go it brings excitement and new perspective. When I visited the city on my first trip back in August the feelings I felt were just indescribable. I felt anger, frustration, excitement, sadness. Just about any emotion you can think of I felt, and at the same time I felt empty as it was a surreal moment and experience. The 2nd trip in December was different in that some of the same feelings arose again, but not nearly as strong as the first and I was ready to work and do some positive things and help those people.
The 3rd trip was very different from the first two. As soon as I stepped foot into the hotel I wanted to get to a work site and get building. I have accepted the fact that the rest of the country and the world has forgotten about this city, and that everyone feels as if time alone can cure such a devastating tragedy. What they fail to realize is time can be a constant reminder, that if not fostered properly, re-growth can be at a standstill and even allow digression to take place. I am no longer angry when I think about the city of New Orleans, instead I am just hoping to make a difference.

When I arrived at my work site, my teammates ( I look at my classmates as my teammates) and I were happy to see that the house needed sheet rock put up. Dry walling is probably the most rewarding job you can do, in my opinion, because you can see the fruits of your labor, and see the progress that is being made. There were other schools involved with this work site so it was nice to see and interact with other students like us that felt the need to help the city and area. Although they were some NOLA rookies and complained a little too much on the grind of construction, they did their share and it was a really nice and different experience.

It was hilarious and uplifting at watching how upset my teammate got about the bad mudding job someone from another school was doing on her wall. I won’t name any names but she knows who she is. I am happy to be with a team that really cares about the quality of their work and that really wants to help others. By week’s end my teammates and I had the entire house’s dry wall completely hung up and mudded. I made sure to put my mark on a wall for the next group to see that the DeVos students held it down and they better do just as good of a job. Our reward for ourselves every night after a hard day’s work was to go out and experience the city. We spent time in different parts of NOLA by visiting restaurants, local colleges, and even had time to watch a Hornets game. We even got a picture with some of the Hornets dancers afterward. I tried to get kiss on the cheek from one but she wasn’t having that. Maybe next time!

The work was complete, and we were all tired and ready to head back to Orlando and get back to the easy life of graduate school (hearing that Natalie and Kaj still had energy to run every morning was just ridiculous, those girls have plenty of stamina!) but I can’t wait till August when I can go back again and show the new class what this city has gone through and allow them to see that the fight is not over, and we are the arms that will raise the city and help it prevail.

Going back to NOLA is no longer just an opportunity for me to give back; it has become part of my curriculum and part of who I am. I can be honest in myself in knowing that unfortunately once I leave the program I may not have time to come back like I do now while in the program. For me to miss a trip to NOLA would be like missing one of Dr. Lapchick’s classes or arriving late to a Dr. Harrison discussion, you just can’t do that, and if you do it better be for a darn good reason. I feel the same way about the Big Easy. I can’t begin to describe the immense level of pride, love and excitement I feel every day about my classmates and realize what it means when I can say I’m a member of 2011 graduating class of the DeVos Sport Business Management Graduate Program at UCF. Visiting NOLA is another reason why I thank god for this tremendous opportunity and experience.


David Benoit

Meet The Class 2011 - Austin

One of the unique attributes of the DeVos Sport Business Management Program is the network of students who make up our program. Our class will take every course together during our tenure here at UCF and we will work on countless group projects and collaborative efforts. As a result of our shared interests in the business of sport, a natural team camaraderie is formed. However, our team is composed of people from diverse backgrounds, experiences and ambitions. We offer profiles of class members to give you an idea as to the type of people who make up our program, individuals who collectively will be leaders in sport and society and will be teammates for life.

Name: Austin Moss II

Hometown: Hopkinsville, KY

Undergraduate School & Major: University of Kentucky, Business Marketing

Past Sports Industry Experiences: University of Kentucky Football 2005-2009

Current G.A. or Sports Industry Related Internship/Job: Graduate Assistant, The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport

Reasons for Choosing the DeVos Program: I chose Devos because of the unique combination to provide service to the Orlando community, study ethical issues in sport, and learn from three of the most influential and knowledgeable figures in sport business.

Future Career Ambitions (1 to 2 sentences): Upon graduation, I hope to intern with an NFL organization or NFL League Office. My ultimate goal is to become a Director of Player Personnel for a NFL team.

If you could play a round of golf with any three sports figures (dead or alive, on the field or off) whom would you choose and why? (Examples: Michael Jordan, David Stern, Pat Summit)

If I could play a round of golf with any three sports figures, my foursome would include:
Michael Jordan – I’d love to have a conversation with him to see what drove his intrinsic motivation.
Jackie Robinson – Who wouldn’t want to spend a day with the man who broke the biggest barrier in America’s most historical sport?
Tiger Woods - If you’re going to play the game you should play with the best in the world, and I would like to converse with him about his successes and recent failures.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Jemele Hill: A Pioneer in Sports Journalism

Hey all,

My name is Christopher Kaiser and I was born and raised in “beautiful” Buffalo, New York- home to some of the best beaches on the American side of Lake Erie. I did my undergraduate work at SUNY-Geneseo (Go Knights!!!!) and graduated this past spring with a degree in Management. I came to UCF due to the reputation of the DeVos Sport Business Management Program, the family atmosphere that is cultivated, and the distinguished faculty that guide the program. Thus far the program has more than exceeded my expectations and I look forward to all that lays ahead for our class in the upcoming year.

One of the many incredible aspects of the DeVos Sport Business Management Program is the weekly speaker series. Every Friday, a prominent figure from the sports industry comes to campus and speaks to our class. Following the speaker, we generally have a reception in the TIDES office where we can casually speak with the distinguished guest one-on-one. This past Friday ESPN columnist and TV personality Jemele Hill visited the UCF campus to speak to our class. Now I don’t how many of you killed two hours of your day as an undergraduate watching ESPN’s First Take, but I know I did! So, having someone that I watched on TV almost every day in college, two feet in front of me, was almost surreal.

Ms. Hill began her speech by telling us about her upbringing in a low-income household in urban Detroit. Although she was very modest when speaking about this period of her life, it was clear that her drive and work ethic were cultivated by the adversity that she faced at this time. She then went on to discuss her career path and how she got to where she was now at ESPN. An astounding fact that she revealed was that a study conducted by our own Dr. Lapchick several years before, had shown that she was the only African-American women working as a sports columnnist in the United States. I found this shocking and it allowed me to really understand the type of pioneer she was in sports journalism. This part of the speech was pretty standard as far as our speakers go, however the fact that she only spoke “at us” for 30 minutes and opened the room up to questions for an hour and a half was not. It a truly incredible opportunity to have 90 minutes to “pick the brain” of someone who is so prominent and influential in the sports entertainment industry. As a class, we bombarded her with questions for this whole time period on issues ranging from matters of diversity in sports to “What’s the deal with Skip Bayless?” Ms. Hill answered every question with enthusiasm and genuine interest. This question and answer session was arguably the most intriguing class-wide interaction of the speaker series thus far. After the official meeting was over, Ms.Hill came to the TIDES office for a small reception for over an hour. During this time, she graciously talked with a number of students in a one-on-one setting.

Reflecting on the overall experience of having Jemele Hill as a speaker, I almost could not get past the excitement of meeting a famous television personality and the entertaining, humorous way in which she spoke to us. However, when thinking about it a little more, it was clear that there was a deeper message that could be taken from Ms. Hill; that was one of modesty and humility. The down-to-earth manner in which Jemele Hill carried herself when interacting with us blew me away. For all she had accomplished and overcome in her career, she showed us the upmost respect and did not once discuss her own accomplishments. This made me examine the fact that I can act in an arrogant manner or get cocky about something as insignificant as doing well on a test in one of my classes. While a celebrity talent like Ms.Hill doesn’t say word about something as significant as breaking down gender and racial barriers in sports journalism. Going forward, I will now make a greater effort to let my actions and hard work speak for themselves, rather than gloating to and looking down on others. Whether Jemele Hill knows it or not, by simply being herself she not only gave us a better understanding of sports media, but also helped shape me into a better person.

It can be seen in my reflections above that the doors that are opened to you by the DeVos program can have profound impacts on you both personally and professionally. To quote the famous blog writer Jesse Gardner, “I am a very lucky individual to have been chosen to be a part of the DeVos family and I continue to look forward to all the opportunities and experiences that are still yet to come.” I could not agree with statement more and I consider my choice to come to UCF as one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Also, I had some fun with my fellow classmate Jessie’s blog post in the beginning, so I thought why not at the end as well. Now, she may get upset with me, but the beauty of the DeVos program is that we see each other so much and have built such close relationships, that I am confident we will be able to work through this minor bump in the road.

Have a Great Day!!