In a house full of athletes, I’d be lying if I didn’t say I have a blast serving as The Team Mom. Not every season for any one one sport or every child’s team all at one time, serving as the Team Mom is a volunteer responsibility like any other and when well managed, its both fun and rewarding.
I marvel at the art of organization that creates the dance of a well played season from game schedules to field locations, snacks, coaches gifts, fundraising, service projects, working the concession stand, uniforms, team pictures and so much more. Then there is the world of travel sports. Enter travel logistics, hotel accommodations, meals, equipment, uniforms and spirit wear, budgets, activities during off times for both team building with athletes, practice, and both independent and group family time. And don’t get me started about multi-media communication strategies, capturing photos and videos for personal and perhaps scouting camp use. Are you ready to volunteer yet? C’mon…its really fun I promise!
Earlier this year, I was over the moon to spend some time at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports complex. While attending The 2012 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration, on Saturday morning we had the chance to choose an experience or conference sessions and my heart leapt at the chance to learn about the industry leader in Amateur Sports, home of countless baseball tournaments, cheer competitions, football championships and special events year round for a total of 13 sports that are a dream come true for the kids who compete in them. I couldn’t wait for the Team Mom Experience!
After pictures and credentials were covered, I headed out with Yoly, Emily, and Mary and a representative from the Cheer organization who was in house competing for World Championships. All I can say is the campus was VERY sparkly! With my organized eye I set out to focus on the following areas that make all the difference when planning a tournament: Facilities, Video, On-Site Logistics, Pictures, and Memories.
I could have spent the entire day scooting around in that golf cart asking questions and soaking it all in. Baseball isn’t a fast game, taking hours for practice and the same for games. Its a game of failure where you can expect to get it right 3 out of 10 times and that’s doing well. It’s a game you simply have to love to play or watch. And its the sport where I’ve spent most of my volunteer time over the last twelve years supporting our oldest child who now catches for his high school team. Its facilities like this that make little league dreams come true.
I had no idea we’d have access to the Broadcast Center. As a video blogger and honestly someone who simply should have stayed in the Broadcast Media degree she chickened out on, I was in the pinch me zone. I LOVE the opportunities I’ve had to work in live and taped TV ~ it feels like home every time I’m on a set and I get a rush every time you get that countdown and its camera time.
While I was busy imagining myself calling the shots from the control room on and thinking how jealous I knew my husband and sons would be, the Disney Sports Team surprised us with this!
Is that not the coolest ever?!!! The real reason we spent time in the broadcast center was to show us the inner workings that go into producing all the media related to the events hosted by Disney Sports or those that are hosted by the organization running the event. Its amazing! Not only does ESPN do live network broadcasts from the facility, organizations have access to a wealth of media resources including live streaming events all over the complex so families can watch the screens from any vantage point as well as accommodating overflow attendees when seating is limited for indoor events. The staff works closely to identify media needs for every event and has the ability to produce real time literally anything you can imagine. I would expect nothing less from both ESPN and Disney but I’m telling you, its the bomb!
Next up we made our way to The Welcome Center, better known as the ground zero for Team Moms. While there, we just happened to meet “Minerva Van”, resident Team Mom and my was she ever sparkly!
We had a few minutes to visit with her later in our schedule and her is her take on why the complex is so awesome for busy Team Moms just like her…
The Welcome Center is where Team Moms make the magic of a well run tournament happen. No ask is too small, request to crazy, its about making sure event organizers, Team Moms, Coaches, Athletes, and the Families who endure it all have the best possible guest experience ever. Staffed by a fantastic group of cast members who can answer any question, any time, and find a solution for any Team Mom’s unexpected challenge ~ all it takes is Faith, Trust, and Pixie Dust!
Not only are they highly qualified, solutions minded logistics masters, they happen to have quite a playful sense of humor too…check it out…
If you are anything like me, taking pictures is critical. I have thousands. Tens of thousands at this point to be honest and I’ve yet to purchase the camera that will make my shots magic. Realistic about my limits, I am always up for a resource that will give me the shots I wish I’d have taken in a memorabilia format I can’t help but display. Also located in the Welcome Center, Gameday Photos is the ultimate onsite memorabilia resource. They offer a wonderful variety of packages tailored to your athlete and sport and knowing that getting the shot is on them is worth its weight in gold. Because its Disney…you know they’ll make it happen.
We ended our day with a lovely lunch hosted in the board room where I swear I thought Brad Pitt was going to come strolling in at any moment, all Billy Bean and MoneyBall for us! Such was not the case but to know that were were seated for lunch in the exact same room that Atlanta Braves Executives use for key meetings while in house for Spring Training was pretty close. The reality that in the picture of those athletes above, one of them would likely move up from the minors and play in the major leagues is simply inspiring. We enjoyed the company of an AAU representative as well has the operations director whose job it is to make sure the logistics of multiple events complex wide really do make magic.
Amateur sports is where athletes are made. Through hard work and dedication with the support of their parents, coaches, teammates, and community, truly anything is possible. ESPN Wide World of Sports offers organizations a world class experience that is as close to the big time as many of their athletes might ever see. As Meg Crofton so clearly said, Disney is in the business of making dreams come true, of making memories, of giving guests the experience of a lifetime. When it comes to ESPN Wide World of Sports, in my book they hit a home run!
Are you a Team Mom? What is your greatest challenge as you navigate each season?
Thanks so much for stopping by ~ we’ll see you next time!
Disclosure: special thanks to Disney Social Media for inviting me to register for The 2012 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. I was not asked to post at anytime and my opinions are entirely my own….clearly…they are full of Team Mom spirit. GO MOM!