BY LOREN BRANCH
There is nothing like the experience of Super Bowl weekend. I believe I speak for myself, and the rest of the group who made the 14-hour road trip, when I say that being a part of one of the biggest events in sports was the opportunity of a lifetime. We not only got to enjoy the exciting environment of New Orleans but also gained the experience of assisting with the operations of large-scale NFL affiliated events. One of those events was the NFL Experience.
The NFL Experience is by far one of the most exciting events surrounding the Super Bowl every year. It is simply an indoor fan fest filled with numerous interactive games, displays, and other attractions. The games give fans the opportunity to experience all facets of football, including drills that incorporate skills such as passing accuracy and the 40-yard dash. Some of the other big attractions were the autograph table that included big names such as Barry Sanders and Joe Montana, and the massive memorabilia show.
Our job during the NFL Experience was to help run a couple different games. Half of our group ran a game where they controlled a jugs football machine that passed the balls to fans after running through obstacles. The other half of us ran a game called “Extra Point Kick.” Fans had the opportunity to kick an extra point from 10, 20, 30, or 40 yards away. There were actually multiple people who moved the ball back to about 50 yards and nailed it. As one of the thousands who went to the NFL Experience for Super Bowl 40 in Detroit, it was a very fun experience being on the other side and helping run the event. Overall, the event ran smoothly and fans were definitely enjoying themselves.
In general, the whole weekend seemed to run in the same fashion. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience from start to finish and could not have asked for a better weekend dedicated to volunteering. Between seeing over 70 notable figures (e.g. Pat Riley, Snoop Lion, Eli and Peyton Manning, and Joe Theisman), getting first hand experience with the operation of a large scale sporting event, and seeing New Orleans for the first time, this was a weekend I will never forget.
If it wasn’t for the BGSU Sport Management Alliance and the faculty involved with the organization, I would have never had this great opportunity and for that I am very thankful to everyone who made it possible.