Coming back to school for me was a HUGE decision. However, my choice to do a second Masters degree has been life changing for me. I chose the University of Windsor Master of Human Kinetics for a few different reasons. Their Sport Management program is currently ranked ninth in the world and top in Canada. The option to choose between an internship or a thesis was ideal because I wanted the networking and practical experience that an internship would provide. What I didn’t realize was the numerous out of classroom learning experiences that I would get through my Sport Management program. Less than a month into school, back in September, my Strategic Management in the Sport Industry class headed to Toronto for two days to meet with executives from Maple Leafs Sport and Entertainment, the Toronto Blue Jays, CBC Sports, and the Wasserman Media Group. The trip also featured an alumni networking event at Real Sports Bar & Grill and concluded with the Canada vs. Slovakia World Cup of Hockey game at the Air Canada Centre. Needless to say I was in heaven and knew I had made the right decision to come back to school.
Flash forward 6 months and I’m almost done my first year of the program! It’s been better than I expected and I most recently had the opportunity to participate in the ‘Great Olympic Journey’ as part of my Politics, Crises, and Commercialism in the Modern Olympic Movement class. My professor, Dr. Scott Martyn, has been taking his class on this trip since 2004 and it has become a staple of the Sport Management program at the University. As part of the course requirements, we each had to select a way to journal the trip. Of course, bronze & gold was the obvious choice for me!
The trip was incredible and featured far too many highlights and moments to cover everything but here’s a quick glimpse of our week!
We met at the Human Kinetics building early on Monday morning and somehow managed to cram 12 people and their week’s worth of luggage into two vehicles. After the quintessential first stop of any true road trip- Tim Hortons, we were on our way to Toronto. Our first meeting of the week was with the Toronto Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) office that focuses on marketing and digital content. The COC Foundation is also housed here. We were then surprised by our professor with tickets to Medieval Times where it was then our turn to surprise him with a knighting ceremony.
Tuesday was a full day of driving. In typical Montreal fashion, we arrived in the midst of a 40cm snowstorm. Our original plan was to watch the Habs game but after some unfortunate ticket issues (don’t ask), we were escorted out of the Bell Centre. But nothing could get us down! We were on the Great Olympic Journey after all!! We headed straight to Peel Pub and I think we had more fun watching the game there… especially once the karaoke station was set up.
Thursday marked the halfway point of the Great Olympic Journey and it was a busy one. We started off with an all-access tour of the Montreal Sport Institute followed by a guided tour of the 1976 Montreal Olympic Park facilities. We then crossed the border and made the quick drive to Lake Placid, home of the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympic Games. We were welcomed to Lake Placid by Jim Rogers, Chairman of the Protocol Division and Chief of Protocol for the 1980 Olympic Winter Games. He gave us a tour of the 1980 Miracle on Ice Herb Brooks Arena before we headed to the U.S Olympic Training Centre where we would be staying for the next 2 days. With an unlimited, 24/7 food service, we really got to live like Olympians, or at least eat like them!
Our final full day started with a meeting with Jared Steenberge, Manager of Operations of the United States Olympic Committee. Jared gave us even more insights into the day to day life of an American Olympian training at the U.S Olympic Training Centre. We then received a tour of the Lake Placid Olympic Museum and the 1932 and 1980 Olympic venues by our good friend, Jim Rogers. We finished off the day and our final night of the trip with the second ECAC Men’s Hockey Championship Semi-Final game at the Herb Brooks Arena.
Our Great Olympic Journey concluded on Saturday morning with a gondola ride to the top of Whiteface Mountain. Our week was filled with educational experiences that really emphasized to me that you can only learn so much in the classroom. Having the opportunity to see all aspects of the Modern Olympic Movement, from the COC Marketing team to WADA to living with the U.S Olympians, was just another reminder that not only is sport management the career for me but I truly made the right decision in choosing the University of Windsor.