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Preparing for a career

From the time I was 11, when I found out there was such a career, I wanted to work in sports. I was one of those kids who memorized the backs of baseball cards, listened each summer night on a transistor radio to Vin Scully (or Dick Enberg if it was Angels), watched Wilt, Jerry and Gail Goodrich win 33 straight on their way to leading the Lakers to their first title in Los Angeles. UCLA, led by John Wooden, was winning 10 titles in 12 years in hoop, and John McKay and John Robinson were leading a Trojan football dynasty. The Rams annually broke my heart by losing to the Vikings or the Cowboys in the playoffs. The Kings were entertaining with Marcel Dionne and Rogie Vachon, but years away from their first Stanley Cup.

And I did work in sports, for a lot of cool schools, leagues, and companies that served the industry. I got to travel the country, visiting places like New York City, Ann Arbor, South Bend, Chapel Hill and going to Super Bowls, NBA Finals, and 8 World Series, including the Angels first title, the last Series played at old Yankee Stadium, and the end of curses for the Red Sox and

White Sox. But how I got started on this road was by spending four years learning how to be a sports publicist as an intern for Glenn Alford in the sports information office of Idaho State University. I worked stat crews, wrote press releases, did PA announcing, and traveled with teams. My freshman year, now 40 years removed, we even won the 1-AA NCAA title in football. Our back-up quarterback and our linebackers coach, Dirk Koetter and Marvin Lewis, respectively, would go on to become NFL head coaches. Two years earlier, the pair had been teammates for a Bengals team that went 0-11.

My junior year, I was fortunate to have an internship in the United States Football League for the Los Angeles Express. Not only was I learning under our PR director, Bob Rose, but a vast majority of the team was near my age and they treated me like a friend. Even sat on the couch in Steve Young's apartment watching Kareem Abdul-Jabbar set the NBA career scoring record with a skyhook over Mark Eaton. The experience of working for a start-up league was instructive. It taught me to ignore those who say that "no one cares" or "your league will fail." Lessons that served me well when I would work for the league office of Major League Soccer during its inaugural season, and then as lead press officer for the organizing committees of the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup and the 2015 Special Olympics World Games. All three successes on a grand scale.

With Steve Young at LA Express introductory press conference in 1984.

From the Express, I was asked to volunteer in the press office for the 1984 Olympics. It was there where I met arguably the best media operations person in the world, Rich Perlman. When I later had Rich as part of my team at Women's World Cup, and then Special Olympics World Games, you knew your event was going to be run first class and the media was going to be taken care of. As part of the gig, I also got paid to help out ABC Sports and its research department. The relationships I made through those two experiences paid off with working a second Olympics, this time Winter, in Calgary in 1988, and the start of a lifetime love of the Alberta towns of Banff and Lake Louise.

After graduation, I got first job, across the state at Boise State.

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