Hill Comm Abroad: Quinn Schmidt's insights on British Basketball and his time interning in London
Roughly one month ago I said goodbye to flavorful food, long summer nights and bright sunny skies for puddles of hot sauce, late-night tube rides and cloudy, dreary walks through Central London. My time here in the United Kingdom is flying by faster than I imagined, and I wouldn’t change a thing about my first real experience outside the United States.
I had a few weeks to explore this magnificent city and find my bearings in the heart of the English capital, enjoying some incredible moments and once-in-a-lifetime adventures along the way. From beach-side fish and chips to front row seats at infamous football matches, none of these experiences have been more valuable than my work as an intern at the London Lions, the city’s only professional basketball club and one of the most dominant teams in British basketball.
My tenure with the Lions got off to a rocky start. I stuck out like a sore thumb at the tight-knit office with my accent and other small Americanisms as I struggled to gain the respect of my colleagues. My first day on the job came just hours after the Lions’ men’s season tipped-off in Treviso, Italy, and right in the middle of a hectic period when the women’s team was switching venues for their season opener. The person who originally brought me on board was now working remotely dealing with family matters, leaving much of the back-end responsibility that keeps the London Lions afloat on just a handful of individuals. With so much going on around me, my bosses did not have a spare second to ensure that the American intern received proper training or introductions, and instead, I was welcomed to the world of European basketball with a trial by fire.
As a Marketing & Operations Intern, I am expected to show up to Queen Elizabeth’s Olympic Park hours before tip on game days to assist in the set-up of the Copper Box Arena. I organize the benches and complete other trivial tasks, capped off by operating the box office prior to games. However, I wanted more from my employers in order to fulfill the Marketing half of my job title and test my capabilities as a budding communications professional.
After a productive day in the office where I politely requested more tasks with more significance, my workload saw an exponential increase overnight. Within a week I was writing player bios and articles, updating the club’s official website, and networking with partners from the parent company that owns the London Lions. With the hiring of more high-level staff who now act as my bosses, I am being given opportunities to put to use what I’ve learned on-campus at Syracuse and develop more skills to add to my communications arsenal.
With more exciting projects on the horizon, I could not be more thrilled to see what the future holds for me and the London Lions. My first experience with a professional basketball team has already forced me to get out of my comfort zone, and I can’t wait to see how the sports communications industry continues to challenge me while I soak up everything the United Kingdom has to offer.