Walk into a press box at any sporting event that is big enough to have press covering it, and the first thing they will tell you is always:

There is no cheering in the press box.

The reason is simple. Everyone in the press box is working in various capacities to be as objective as possible. The writers need to be objective, the broadcasters need to be objective, and you can even be escorted out if you violate these rules. The same principle applies to the vast majority of people with careers in the sports industry. While many people who work in sports are just as much fans as anyone else, the job they are paid to do dictates a level of professionalism much like a sports writer in a press box. For younger sports professionals, this may require a bit of an adjustment. One of the first things someone seeking an intership in professional sports should know is to never ask for an autograph. This is the cardinal sin, much like cheering in the press box. Athletes and coaches are largely kept seperate from front office staff (sales, marketing, etc.). Chances are you will have several opportunities to earn memoribilia as incentive for quality performance, so resist the urge to grab the Sharpie. Another factor to consider is to not let your particular fandom dictate your career. Just because you grew up rooting for Team X doesn’t neccesarrily mean that Team X offers you the best career opportunity. If you have a deep hatred of Team Y, don’t be quick to gloss over what they can offer. Many people in this industry have put their careers above their team allegiences several times over. None of this is to say that you must part ways with your face-painted, sore-throated former self. Being a fan is what draws so many people to this industry, and its part of what makes it unique. You surely don’t get the same atmosphere at an accountant’s office. However there is a need to take sharp focus of what it is you’re there to do. Fan, after all, is short for fanatic. A fanatic is more or less the opposite of a professional. As a professional, you are there to get a job done, and hopefully done well. Whether its talking to season-ticket holders, organizing a school outing to Friday’s game, or respresenting the team in the community, you are held to those responsibilities first. If you focus on your work first, and impress your colleagues, this industry will afford you many opportunities to engage with the sporting world that drew you to this job in the first place. People with long careers in this industry have stories and memories that most fans could only dream of. But when you’re starting out, don’t let the fan inside control you. You might find yourself being escorted from the press box. Visit JobsInSports.com for job and intership listings, or contact us for more information.

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