The Thing I’m Doing This Year #19
I went to Orlando recently to host an event for USA Volleyball. I had this idea to go to the CoSIDA Convention, a convention of collegiate sports publicists. I wanted to connect and say thanks to the volleyball SIDs. I told my friend Doug Vance, the ED of CoSIDA, my idea and he said, that sounds great, let’s make it the closing reception for the entire 800-SID convention.
This event aged me. It’s hard to plan an event in Florida from Colorado, especially when you have other things to do and you tend to procrastinate. But it came off beautifully.
I was given the opportunity to speak to the convention at lunch the day of the event.
Here’s what I said.
It’s good to be back at CoSIDA. I went to my first convention 25 years ago as a lowly job seeker. Are there any job seekers out there today? Well, keep your head up, good things can happen.
I did 12 interviews in two days and I ended up getting a job at the University of Florida. Justin Doherty, a former CoSIDA President, was part of my intern class at Florida and Mark Reinhiller … at this point Reino yelled out, “You’re my boy, Blue!” and I said, “that’s Reino, right there.”
After Florida, I worked at USA Swimming and the U.S. Olympic Committee and about a year ago I took this job at USA Volleyball. The first question everyone asked – well, it’s the only question really – is, “Do you get to work with beach volleyball?” And the answer is, yes, I do get to work with beach volleyball, but here’s the great news – this is why I’m here – soon, all of you will get to work with beach volleyball too.
Then I talked about how the emerging sport of sand volleyball is set to become an official NCAA sport in 2016.
I also mentioned that our reception would be different than other receptions that they were used to … the dude with the tall, white hat cutting the meat for meat sandwiches would not be at our reception. And there’s not going to be a cheese cube to be found in the entire ballroom.
I closed by plugging Olympic gold medalist Dain Blanton and his post-luncheon keynote address. I did it like this …
In 1989 in Washington D.C. at my first CoSIDA Convention, Senator Bob Dole was the keynote speaker. Then I busted out my patented Bob Dole impression, saying Bob Dole talked about Bob Dole and Bob Dole talked about civics and being involved in local government.
I said I don’t know if Dain Blanton will speak about himself in the third person, but you can find out today at 2:15 p.m. in the Royal Ballroom.
I spent most of my trip to Orlando curled up in a ball in the corner of my room worrying about every little detail of the USA Volleyball Sand Reception, but in the end everyone was happy with positive feedback.
A highlight of the trip was getting to see Reino. I hadn’t seen him in 25 years, since we both left Gainesville. We went out to dinner and talked old times and new times. There’s no one like Reino. He is passionate and funny, outgoing and caring. And no one talks like Reino.
But that wasn’t the only reunion. Doug Vance went to Cuba with me in 1991 for the Pan American Games; we were two of six guys who lived in the Athletes’ Village for 28 days. We called ourselves the Village People. So I’m at the Sand Reception and I see Joe Browning, or Pepe, another member of the crew. We gave each other Spanish names. I was Juan Carlos. My roommate, Steve Penny, current USA Gymnastics CEO, was Esteban. Frank Zang was Francisco, Mike Mahon was Miguel, Joe was Pepe and Doug, well we called Doug, Doug.
The Next Installment … “Am I A Phony?”