Final Blog by Shaan Baren, Alex Tracosas, and Delana Williams

Delana Williams

Overall, our trip to LA was phenomenal. My mind was blown each and everyday. At the end of each day, I would tell myself “there is no way this trip can get any better” but Professor Veley was right, each day was better than the day before. During the course of one week, our group visited many different aspect of sport such as: the PGA Tour, NASCAR, CAA, Fox Sports, AEG (LA Live, Home Depot Center, LA Kings) , UCLA, USC, The Rose Bowl, and Mandalay. We met with the top people at each of these corporations. Everyone we met with was fantastic and I was surprised at how willing they were to help us and give us advice. The two constant pieces of advice everyone told us was to make sure we are passionate about whatever it is that we end up doing and that relationships with the people you come in contact with over the years are very important. Although we went on this trip with the mind set of “this is a school course and I need to take full advantage of every opportunity that is in front of me”, we also had a lot of fun and experienced new thing. Some of the highlights for me were eating at Chick-Fil-A and Yogurtland, and seeing a taping of the TV series Two Broke Girls. 

During the week we were in LA, we visited the University of Southern California. After visiting USC and listening to Mark Jackson speak about the athletic program there, I immediately knew that USC has one of the best athletic programs in the country. I was amazed by everything from USC being the most international school in the world to the description of the new athletic facility that they are planning on building soon. But what really blew my mind was how many athletes they have going to the 2012 Olympics in London this summer (20). One of the things I appreciated the most from USC was the way Mark Jackson talked about the importance of their athletes’ education and how the recruiting staff takes into consideration the connection the recruits have to California. In the new athletic facility, the ground floor is going to be dedicated to the athletes’ education with study labs, tutors, and whatever else they may need. While I was walking around in one building, I noticed that many of the athletes at USC were on multiple honor rolls for academics. They really pride themselves on being students first and athletes second. After I heard the statement about the recruiters actually caring about what the athletes think of California, I thought about USC in a completely different way . Mark Jackson said they try to make sure the parents have a visit of the school and that the athletes have some kind of connect to California whether it’s family who lives near by or if they had a good experience at Disneyland when they were younger. 

The biggest surprises of the trip came from UCLA and the Home Depot Center. Before this trip, I was unaware of the amount of success that came from UCLA Athletics, and the numerous records they have broken and the amount of national championship titles they have won. I knew UCLA had a great athletic program, but I did not know how great it was. I was also surprised at the amount of influence John Wooden had on not only UCLA Athletics, but all athletics in general. It amazed me how every speaker we encountered over this trip quoted John Wooden, and how many people based the way they live their lives off of him and what he taught. I was also surprised by the Home Depot Center. Going there, I gained an entirely new perspective on sports and facility management. I did not realize how many different thing you could do with one facility. After visiting the Home Depot Center, I considered looking into facility management. I loved the fact that you could do so much with one space. The biggest surprise however, came when we were told that the university across the street owns the land that the Home Depot Center was built on. I was surprisingly interested in the relationship between the university and AEG. I would have to say that the Home Depot Center was definitely one of my favorite parts of the trip. 

My most memorable part of this trip was meeting Bill Walton. Meeting him was by far my favorite part of the trip. He was extremely nice and personable, and he gave us a few life tips/lessons that will be very helpful in the near future. Bill Walton has a remarkable story. After all he’s been through, he is still a very positive person and he continues wears a smile on his face. After talking to him and listening to his story, Bill Walton is someone I admire and can look up to. I learned that no matter how hard things get, it is possible to overcome whatever life throws at you. I also learned that it is a good idea to keep close friends around you because they can help you when times get hard. What impressed me the most about Bill Walton, was the fact that even though he participated in the Olympics, won two NCAA Championship, played in a Super Bowl, played in the NBA, and was a Sports Broadcaster, he is incredibly humble. 

If I had any advice to give to future student who take this course, it would be to fully embrace every opportunity that is presented to them not only on this trip, but also out in the real world. All of the people we met with, took time out of their hectic schedules to speak to us because they wanted to share their knowledge and help us get to where we want to be. Overall, I had a fantastic time on this trip. I learned a lot, made new friends, and got a little bit closer to deciding what I would like to do after graduation.

 

Shaan Baren-

My most memorable experience on the trip was definitely when we went to the taping of Two Broke Girls. Although it was a very long taping, I had a surprise waiting for me that I didn’t know was coming. My parents knew someone who was involved with the show and decided to surprise me by having the entertainer for the audience call out my name and interview me in front of a huge crowd. I’m a generally shy person and hate public speaking more than anything, so this was a nightmare for me. But, I was able to get through it and make everyone laugh. Throughout the entire show, the entertainer would whisper “Hi Shaanie” and wave to me. For the rest of the trip, everyone always whispered my name at random times. 

My impression of Los Angeles was probably a lot different than pretty much all the kids that went on the trip. Being one of two students from LA, I knew my way around, had been to most of the places we went, and was able to visit my family and have some home cooking. But I definitely enjoyed the places I hadn’t been in or seen yet, such at the LA Live area. I never really spend any time in that area unless I’m going to an event at the Staples Center, so that was a new experience for me.

The career advice messages we got were pretty constant throughout the trip. The main ones were: do what you love, do what you are passionate about, work to make yourself better, be prompt, do your homework and be prepared, be yourself, be organized, and ask questions.

 

Alex Tracosas-

Favorite Experience: 
My favorite experience on this trip was meeting with Bill Walton. Although Bill Walton is not directly involved in the career path I plan on following, I believe that Bill shared some of the most useful career information and life lessons that I have ever heard. Bill taught me to always trust my instincts, not be afraid to ask questions, work hard, and to find something I’m passionate about. Bill stressed the importance of finding something you can be passionate about, because if you’re not passionate about what you’re doing, then you will never feel happy or satisfied, and you won’t be compelled to try your best. In addition, Bill taught me that loyalty is extremely important, and without loyalty there is no trust, which is fundamental to a successful career and a successful life. Lastly, Bill left me with several quotes that I will always remember: “When you have your health, family, and a dream for tomorrow, you have everything”, “the worst advice someone ever gave me is ‘that will never work’”, and “when you have problems, don’t adjust the perimeter. Step back and look at your core.” All of these quotes and pieces of advice really had an impact on me, and I plan to use them all in the future, so that I can be successful in “the game of life”. 

Advice: 
For future trips, I would advise students to be prepared to work hard. When I initially signed up for this trip, I thought it was going to be more along the lines of a vacation. However, this was far from the truth. Days were packed from dawn ‘til dusk, and this trip required a lot of patience, intent listening, and concentration. On this trip, I really had to listen to what each person was saying, and really try to soak in all of the valuable information that was being given to me. I would advise students to bring a tape recorder (which unfortunately I did not do) so that they can listen to the tape later and night and pick up any missing pieces that they didn’t catch in the meetings. Although I was able to take down almost everything that was said, there were a few things that I know I missed that I unfortunately will not be able to hear again. 
Lastly, I would advise students to pack accordingly. Originally, I didn’t realize that some of the places we were going were so formal, and I packed completely inappropriate clothes. Luckily I live in Los Angeles, and I was able to pick up some extra clothes from home, but even then, I felt a little under dressed at times.

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Departure!March 12th, 2016
LA here we come!
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