July 19, 2013
Alex Barhorst is a senior journalism student from Milford, Mich., who recently spent a day interning with MSU Athletics Director Mark Hollis.
MSU has offered me so many great opportunities and experiences the last couple of years. The day I spent as Mark Hollis’s intern had to be one of the most unique and interesting ones.
Hollis, MSU’s athletics director, posted on Twitter that he was offering a one-day internship with him in late May. I’m not someone who is constantly on Twitter, but on that day I happened to check it five minutes after he posted the offer. It didn’t take me long to respond with my sales pitch of why I should be picked, the paramount reason being the date of the internship was on my birthday.
I received the tweet that I won the contest three days before the scheduled date for the internship. It was such a pleasant surprise; I assumed he would get hundreds of applicants. I also was told I would get to bring a guest, so my girlfriend was able to share the experience with me.
When we arrived at Skandalaris Football Center, I wasn’t sure what to expect. We were ushered into a room with a big projector screen that was displaying images of various coaches and successful athletes from MSU. We had to put on strange colored hats with pinwheels on top of them that made us look ridiculous.
One by one, coaches from MSU came to speak with us about what it is like to work their jobs. First, the swimming and rowing coaches, then the volleyball and women’s basketball coaches and finally, Tom Izzo, the men’s basketball coach – who Hollis referred to as “the big man on campus.”
I would later learn that Hollis and Izzo used to be roommates. They still picked on each other like you might expect a couple of former roommates to do. It was really nice to see all of the coaches speak freely and comfortably. I had only ever heard their voices when they had a camera in front of their faces and were carefully picking their words.
After introductions were done, a videographer for MSU Athletics gave us a tour of the football center. The entire building was impressive. I could have stared at the artwork on the walls for days. Some of the pictures were from games I attended in person, so nostalgia was flowing as I stared at the blown-up images.
The practice field was unbelievably huge. As soon as my feet touched the turf I wanted to start running around and acting like a little kid, but I held myself together. We even walked around the locker room. As nice as it looked, it smelled about how you would expect a football team’s locker room to smell.
After the tour, Hollis treated us to a night at the movies. We went to Celebration Cinema in Lansing and watched “The Internship.” The goofy hats finally made sense now. All of the Google interns in the movie had to wear them. The movie exceeded my expectations. Hollis picked a good one. He said he was “quite the movie buff.”
When the internship concluded, I shook Hollis’s hand and thanked him for the opportunity. It really was a great day and I genuinely meant it. My girlfriend and I will always have this unique experience to look back on and reminisce when our college days are over. I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday present.