A MONTH DOWN UNDER
When people talk about the desire to travel or locations that are on the top of their bucket lists, Australia is mentioned pretty often. It was always in the top 3 on my list, but I always had doubts that I would ever actually go there. Well, I’m writing this now after returning from my fourth trip there thanks to my job. I’ve now spent a total of 16 weeks Down Under in my life, and probably have many more to go.
Often times, people hear about my job and all my traveling and being around sports and just think of the glitz and glamour of it all. I can’t blame anyone for that. Taking a look at social media, you usually just see the highlight reel of anyone’s life. However, working for 5 weeks straight, 12-15 hours on average, without a day off can really, really wear on you. This year was my second year as Project Manager of the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam in the tennis season. It’s a great event - beautiful site and courts, great people to work with, and in the great city of Melbourne.
It’s always been hard to explain what my job actually entails and the services my company provides at sporting events. Put simply, we provide the official stats and scoring system at the Australian Open, so to try to put into perspective just how important and large of an operation it really is, here’s a stat of the totals our scoring system captured at the tournament:
Total Sets: 2151
Total Games: 20031
Total Points: 176334
Obviously, that is a large amount of information. Essentially, we are responsible for recording and delivering that information through every type of media outlet you can think of all around the world. So if you woke up at 4am to watch the AO Final on ESPN, if you went online to check match stats, if you happened across a Tweet with some scoring info at AO, that information originated from us. Pretty cool I’d say!
Managing such a large event with so many different services, people and issues to deal with on a daily basis is a challenge. I love challenges and so I look at it as an opportunity to improve myself as a person and in my career. I count this as a blessing every single day because despite the hard and frustrating moments, how often can someone combine two of their loves, travel and sports, with their livelihood? When the matches are on and you see a Venus vs. Serena match-up and Serena winning a record 23rd Grand Slam. When you witness a classic Roger Federer vs. Rafael Nadal in a Grand Slam Final once again with Federer, the greatest of all time, winning – it just does not get much better than that.
Being able to play an important part in giving the world the ability to witness those types of historical moments really puts into perspective what I do for a living and the opportunities God has chosen to bless me with in life. I try not to ever take it for granted. And while the long work days and stressful moments are inevitable, I always try to take a second to relax and reflect on those facts to remind myself just how great an opportunity I have in my life.