On Wednesday, July 20, I spent the day at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, training and preparing for the 2022 ESPY Awards. My assignment was to ensure the smooth running of the show by coordinating with world-famous athletes and escorting them to each of their queues. In preparation, I spent several hours familiarizing myself with every inch of the theater. Despite having interacted with many athletes previously as a fan or writer, this was the first time I’ve worked professionally with talent.
I was responsible for University of Oklahoma softball star Jocelyn Alo and her appearances during the event. I escorted her on the red carpet, to her seat, and to each of her appearances throughout the night, all while having to avoid being caught on camera. I helped her, and other female athletes set up for a special presentation on the anniversary of the passage of Title IX and guided her during the presentations for the several awards she was nominated for, including “Best Female Athlete in a College Sport”.
Before training, I expected to work solely with Alo, but I ended up helping a handful of famous people, including Carolyn Peck, Klay Thompson, Lisa Leslie, Dick Vitale, Juan Toscano-Anderson and Russell Wilson. On camera, the ESPYS was a simple process. However, many circumstances behind the scenes involved quick thinking and spontaneity.
Working at the ESPYS taught me organizational and personal skills. I learned how to work with celebrities without making them uncomfortable in the presence of a large audience. I gained improvisational skills while thinking on my feet and being decisive when problems occurred. I was trained on everything that makes a show run smoothly both on and off the stage. Although I was initially assigned to be a low-level volunteer, I learned how to step up and lead others when people were unsure what to do. Backstage, I didn’t get to watch the ESPYS, but from my perspective, it was a great production.