By: Rachel Buck
Assistant SID, George Mason University
Special to the Sidelines Blog
It’s been just over two months since I left Washington and Lee and headed to George Mason University and the Washington, D.C. area, one of my favorite places in the country.
The transition to Division I athletics has been pretty smooth, and I’m enjoying my new surroundings and coworkers. It helped that I arrived right as the men’s soccer season was drawing to a close and my spring sports don’t start until this weekend, so it’s been an easy couple of months adjusting to the office and department expectations. But ask me again in three weeks when three of my four sports are in action and I’m traveling with the baseball team five out of seven days of the week and my opinion may be different 🙂
A lot of the responsibilities are the same: stats, player bios, maintaining the website, media guides. Those responsibilities belong to anyone in the SID world, no matter the division.
Then there are the differences. The biggest one for me is that I no longer have to do PA at games!!!!!! (Anyone who has worked with me in the past knows why I gave that line an excessive amount of !). In fact, many of the responsibilities I had at W&L (PA, warm-up music, stat spotters, scoreboard ops) are now taken off my hands.
This new phenomenon may throw me into some sort of panic mode on Friday, my first men’s volleyball game. I can see it now: I arrive at the arena and immediately question why there isn’t music playing, or freak out because I don’t have a script prepared and wonder if I really talked to the spotter/scoreboard op to make sure they are going to be there. I’m sure I’ll adjust over time, but for now my coworkers have to tolerate me asking a million questions about gameday responsibilities that are no longer mine.
Increased media coverage is something I’m also learning to embrace. Knowing the D.C. sports media base from my time with the Washington Capitals is a big benefit, and it always feels good to see a story I pitched in the newspaper a couple days later.
I’ve also had the opportunity to do official stats for MASN and CSN during our televised men’s basketball games, watch Marquette practice twice at the RAC (they had an unofficial scrimmage in the fall and practiced here again last week in between games at Georgetown and Syracuse) and help produce video content for our website in addition to doing a lot of feature writing showcasing our student-athletes, which I love.
One of the coolest events I was a part of was with our men’s volleyball team in December. As a part of the SportsUnited program, our men’s team hosted a group of female volleyball coaches from Iraq. I’ll spare you a lot of the details (if you want to read the article here is the link http://www.gomason.com/ViewArticle.dbml?SPSID=611148&SPID=84995&DB_LANG=C&ATCLID=205345766&DB_OEM_ID=25200), but it was absolutely amazing to sit down and talk with one of the women about living in Iraq and how sport plays an important role in her life. It really opened my eyes to sports as a cultural bridge, looking beyond the superficial placards Americans often place on their athletes and seeing that down at the grassroots level sport can be used to unify people from diverse backgrounds.
So what’s next on the docket for me? Like I mentioned earlier, this weekend will be my first foray into stating men’s volleyball and then mid-February brings baseball season…which I’m really excited for because the coaching staff is great (two of the assistant coaches played at ODAC schools), and baseball is my second-favorite sport behind hockey. During the baseball season I will also have the opportunity to do some color commentary for the team on the road, so if you want to hear Uecker-isms and me waxing poetic about my Milwaukee Brewers during a college game be sure to tune in!
Outside of the sports world, well it seems like the possibilities are endless for things to do. Just a short Metro ride away in D.C. is concert venues (I’ve become a regular at Black Cat and 9:30 in addition to Jammin’ Java in Vienna), Kennedy Center performances (already been to an opera and have tickets to the ballet next week), a plethora of museums to peruse and of course Caps, Nats and Georgetown games. Add in the fact that it’s an election year (which is awesome for a political junkie like me) and I’m sure I’ll manage to stay out of trouble.
Of course, Lexington will always hold a special place in my heart, and I’m hoping to make it back soon to see everyone. A person can only live so long without the sights of the beautiful mountains, a sandwich from Blue Sky or chocolates from Cocoa Mill.