Hello internet world and faithful Conference USA fans! Welcome to my C-USA blog debut. Prepare yourself as I give you an intern's look at the conference, subject you to my thoughts and ask for your help with some important Conference USA projects.
Before we dish out some C-USA speak, allow me to introduce myself. Despite what the "By" line may tell you, I'm James Etter and I've spent the past six months working at the conference office as the media relations intern. I'm a proud native of Memphis, Tenn., graduate of Auburn University and avid sports fan. So I'd say that it all works out pretty well. Now that we've met, let's jump in!
I'm going to venture not so far out on a limb and say that most followers of the league are dedicated to one school. We all have our loyalties and I'll be the first one to say that it's exhausting to constantly keep up with how a school's athletic program is doing. Staying beside your team during the ups and downs of a season and always positioned on the edge of your seat during those close games takes a serious toll on the everyday fan! But that rush is addicting, right? Well, with Conference USA, it's my job to follow all those programs closely. It's a pretty sweet gig.
Like I said above, I take care of the media relations for several sports. You can see which ones here. Want to know what all that entails? Ask in an email or drop a comment at the bottom and I'll fill you in!
For the meantime, I'll give you all a quick look into the life of a C-USA intern. I serve as the Conference's primary contact for men's soccer, men's and women's tennis, and men's and women's golf. In the fall, I worked with nine different men's soccer schools (six from C-USA members and three affiliate schools) and helped to promote each program, both on an individual level and also as a conference. The short and sweet of it is keeping accurate league stats, posting a release each night after matches, selecting C-USA players of the week, creating a weekly notebook with news, rankings and league standings, and promoting players and schools for national recognition. I guess I got lucky with how well our teams performed this year, both in league play and against non-conference opponents. Time to toot the C-USA horn: we were one of only five conferences to place four or more teams in the NCAA Tournament. That's a big deal. When the C-USA Championship came around in mid-November, I went to Memphis and served as the media contact for the event. That involved everything from putting out post-game releases to making sure that CBS College Sports had all the information they needed during their live broadcast of the championship game. It's a crazy week of events, but you get to watch some great games in the process so it's a win-win.
For our tennis and golf programs, it's almost the same deal, but with a slight twist. There is no regular-season champion in tennis or golf because not all the teams play everyone on an equal schedule. Since we're mid-season in both sports, you can count on me to keep track of how each program is doing and how the league is looking. With both golf and tennis, I update the weekly notebooks, highlight players throughout the week and help to gain publicity for the conference and the programs. Need some tennis stats? Don't worry, I got you covered.
Anyways, the life of a C-USA intern has some serious advantages. I get a chance to see what all it takes for a major athletics conference to succeed. It's a pretty unique opportunity, especially during this past year when it has seemed like every conference was changing and teams were jumping all over the place. You add in the fact that I get to travel to plenty of conference championships and you've got a pretty cool year lined out. As you already know, I was able to get to Memphis for men's soccer and also to Orlando for football during the fall. But, in the next few months, I'll get to five more schools for five different C-USA Championships. So, look out, Houston, UTEP, UAB, UCF and East Carolina because I'm coming your way!
HALFTIME!! Props to this guy.
So you're probably thinking to yourself, "This guy only works with three sports? That's weak." Wrong. I may be the primary contact for men's soccer and both men's and women's tennis and golf, but I get in on football, basketball, baseball, softball and track and field, too. In the fall, I handled all the football stats and helped C-USA guru Russ Anderson with all things football. I was lucky enough to score a trip to Orlando for the championship between UCF and SMU, where I helped out with community outreach events and handled our media credential distribution along with press box duties during the game. You'd be surprised at how much work goes in to putting on the C-USA Football Championship. It's more than booking hotels and handing out a trophy. Trust me.
Nowadays, I chip in with basketball. I serve as helper to Courtney Morrison Archer (men's contact) and Debbie Davis (women's contact). Odds are that any basketball release they've posted and you've read on the website went through me first. No, it's not an authority thing (I'm an intern, remember?). I'm the guy who proofs over everything. Whether there's a letter that should be capitalized or a gigantic picture missing, it's on me to catch it. Let's be honest, you can only count on spell check so much. In just a few weeks, we'll head to El Paso for the C-USA Basketball Championships. I'll be helping out all over the place during that week and, yes, I might be working on a blog then too. Breathe in and breathe out. I know it's exciting.
I'm also lending a helping hand for indoor track and field right now and will be doing plenty of work with softball. Beyond examining Player of the Week honors and covering stats, I'm walking into a fog with those sports. It's just one of those things where you help out with whatever people need and do whatever needs to be done. It all comes with being the intern.
Consider this your two-minute warning. Take a breather. Need
motivation? BOOM! You got it!
Alright, readers. This is the part where I reach out to you for some help. Each week, we post a poll in the "hot corner" where I work alongside Kelly Ninemire, C-USA's outstanding sports services intern, and we ask the entire office where their loyalties lie. Why is it called the "hot corner" you may ask? Because every person in the office walks by at least a couple times a day so there's quite a bit of foot traffic. Back to the point, we're always looking for more polls to use and we sometimes have a tough time coming up with fresh ideas. If you're wondering what kind of polls we use, consider some of our more recent topics: mashed potatoes vs. sweet potatoes, Krispy Kreme vs. Dunkin Donuts, and - my personal favorite - Backstreet Boys vs. N'Sync. So get to it and send in some fresh questions!
On a serious note, there's a lot of work and effort that goes toward maintaining the conference's image and promoting each of the member schools. It takes a lot of energy to keep Conference USA in its national spot and they've developed a well-oiled machine to accomplish that task. So keep supporting Conference USA and its member schools because the fans' experience is one of the many things that keep this train rolling.
Until next time, thank you for your continued support of C-USA and remember: Be Kind. Rewind.
If you have any questions, comments or if you are immediately concerned, the email is firstname.lastname@example.org.