If this is your first time here, welcome. Before reading on, you might want to check out the two equipment manager posts leading up to this one, Part 1 and Part 2. This post will pick up where the last one left off, around the time I left the San Francisco 49ers and moved to Fort Collins, CO.
So. Yes. About that. I moved to Colorado when my internship with the 49ers was over for a full-time internship with the Colorado State University Rams – this was the time I really started getting into the field of equipment management and got a taste of what it was like to actually work in athletics, not just as a student. Equipment managers are the guys who make things happen for their teams and don’t seek any of the glory. Often their jobs are tiring, thankless, require long hours and involve a great deal of physical labor. The responsibilities I had at CSU were similar to what I experienced in San Francisco, except with about 16 different teams of different sports, I was much more involved from top to bottom and learned something just about every day I was there. On some days I was a chemist, mixing industrial grade laundry chemicals to get the right mix of acids and bases to clean uniforms; some days I was a repairman, fixing everything from cleats to heavy machinery to field equipment and everything in between; some days I was a purchasing coordinator, responsible for ordering a year’s worth of equipment and apparel about 6 months in advance of the next school year; and most days I was a mentor to students and student-athletes.
On a different note, the culture of athletics on the CSU campus was definitely unique and very different from anything I had experienced in the past – different community, smaller department, bigger campus, public v. private, etc. Having grown up in Las Vegas, NV with time spent in South Bend, IN and Santa Clara, CA, I thought it would be easy to transition to Fort Collins – I was comfortable with change and thought I was pretty well-rounded and pretty capable, but those very different experiences and work opportunities situated in varying levels of diversity as well as organizational expectations coupled with my new environment in Fort Collins reminded me that I hadn’t yet “figured it out.” Each new experience reminded me to never really get too comfortable with what I was doing or with whom I was working. You never really know all of what is going on and can always be learning something. Another piece to this period of my life was the fact that I was living on an intern’s salary, barely scraping by (eating mostly Top Ramen, which I have always loved!) but still making ends meet by getting a second job on the weekends.
In some respects my transition to Fort Collins was both very smooth and very rocky. (haha, get it? Rocky Mountains? I’m joking.) But in all seriousness, it was a great learning experience in terms of patience and understanding, discipline and perspective. Plus, I absolutely fell in love with the mountains all over again. I bought my first mountain bike while living in Fort Collins and have loved hiking, biking and off-roading ever since. Because I lived in the Midwest for four years before moving west again, I think I may have forgotten how great it is living near/on mountains. If you’ve never been to Rocky Mountain National Park (or any National Park for that matter), I highly suggest you visit if you ever get the opportunity. Breathtaking and beautiful.
My next post will dive into what I did as an equipment manager at Notre Dame, so stay tuned and…
Posted: 27 March 2013 – William T. Peck, II