Before the NFL season came to a close on Sunday, D18 was given the great opportunity to fundraise at the Pro Bowl on January 26th. As a cohort, we were able to work with the sports apparel company, Fanatics, by running their merchandise booths at the game. Coming into the event, I was personally excited to work at the Pro Bowl and be a part of a uniquely thrilling environment. Little did I know that it would one of the most hectic experiences of my life.
This was my first time inside Camping World Stadium, so it was cool to be right next to the field and see the setup process before we started working. I was excited for the day but unfortunately I was sick and it was cold outside (only 50 degrees but cold for Florida). After sitting around for a while, we were whisked away to the Fanatic stations where we would be working during the game. Two of my fellow cohort members and I manned a booth on the second level of the stadium. Our job was to sell team merchandise and memorabilia to the fans throughout the game. As soon as the gates opened at 5:30, the line at our gate got so long we didn’t even know what hit us. For the rest of the game we weren’t able to see the end of the line.
From 5:30 to 11:00 I was constantly working and engaging with the crazy fans at the game. During that time, I ran the cash register, attempted to find shirt sizes, moved inventory and ran around the booth. The line never slowed down regardless of how much gear we had and how much time was left in the game. During the shift I didn’t eat, drink, or even have time to think. I forgot about how sick and cold I was because I was too busy to worry about it. Our group had to improvise when the cash registers didn’t take cards and when we ran out of certain shirts so soon. I was in a complete daze the entire time and I did not move from out behind the counter for almost six hours. Eventually the line began to slow down and we were finally allowed to box up the booth and call it a night.
Despite, the absolute craziness of the work, I felt very accomplished at the end of the shift. This was one of the most hard-working experiences of my life and I was pleased at how efficient and focused we were as a group. We were able to solve all the problems and communicate to the fans. In the end, I was happy with my time working with Fanatics and I was even able to catch the last few minutes of the Pro Bowl from a great view.
Working at the Pro Bowl is one of many once in a lifetime experiences given to me by the DeVos Program. These events give me the chance to reach out of my comfort zone and improve myself by doing things I would never pursue on my own. The program gives me countless opportunities to do this, which helps my personal growth. Fundraising, in general, is one of the core pillars of the program. It allows us to travel and experience world class sporting events while having fun, gaining experience, and growing character. As a class we are able to attend not just the Pro Bowl, but countless events at Disney, Daytona, etc. Fundraising really allows you to bond with classmates and make the most out of a great opportunity. The DeVos Program is perfect for anyone who is ready for many new experiences.