Leesburg, Fla. — Internships play a vital role in your success of finding and being qualified for a position following graduation. It is a way to get your name out there as well as to gain experience within the particular career path that you desire.
Professionals tend to say, the earlier the better.
Four interns, myself included, crossed paths this summer within the Leesburg Lightning organization — a member of the Florida Collegiate Summer League. The breakdown of interns: one journalism intern and three operations interns.
We have our specific duties pre, during and post game, but one thing trumps all — creating a fan-friendly environment in everything we do.
Throughout my four years at York College of Pennsylvania, I have changed my mind in regards to career paths but stayed within the realm of sport, finally realizing journalism suits me best.
Sports have been my life. As a kid, I have played them all, but my true love has been and will continue to be baseball.
The FCSL jumped out at me because their journalism internship was everything that I wanted. I’m able to write game recaps, feature stories, obtain quotes from players and use social media platforms — everything that will help me attain my dream job … a beat writer for a Major League or collegiate baseball team.
The operations interns are seen throughout the entire game. They walk around with the Lightning mascot, Striker, sell raffle tickets, lead on-field activities between innings but most importantly, make sure the fans are happy.
The operations are full of energy, enjoy talking to people, and love being around Pat Thomas Stadium day in and day out.
Abbott has always loved baseball.
“My favorite baseball memory is winning the Cy Young Award for pitching my junior year at St. Rose High School,” Abbott said.
Abbott worked with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last fall in guest relations and wants to continue his trek with a career in the National Football League.
“Interning with the Florida League in just my freshman year will separate me from the rest down the road,” Abbott said. “The connections made as well as the experience that I have had so far, all makes this worthwhile.”
Growing up, DeFazio played baseball and is obsessed with it — credit to his father.
“My dad has always been there to teach me the game,” DeFazio said. “Most importantly, he taught me how to play the game of baseball the right way.”
DeFazio has stepped in on the Lightning radio broadcast and even did PA announcing during two home games, but he has his mind set on being a professional baseball scout.
“This internship is a great way to get my foot in the door,” DeFazio said. “I had an opportunity to sit down and speak with a scout from the Detroit Tigers, which was very eye opening. Being able to observe college baseball players this summer can only help me in the long run.”
The entertainment guru, Austin Jacobson, is from Clermont, and enters his sophomore year at Liberty University with a double major in sports management and business. His first love is basketball, but baseball isn’t too far behind.
“I’ve always been fascinated with the statistics and strategy of baseball,” Jacobson said. “It’s such an intricate game and I have followed the numbers breakdown as I am a big fantasy sports player.”
Jacobson would love to work in a front office of one of the “Big Four” sports leagues. He is confident that he will get there because of what he has experienced so far within the Florida Collegiate Summer League.
“I’ve gotten to see behind-the-scenes of a baseball game and do a multitude of things throughout this internship,” Jacobson said. “I’m now more confident in my abilities to excel in a sport management role.”
Four interns with a great organization like the Leesburg Lightning is the first stepping stone to having success within the sports industry. We will be forever grateful for this opportunity and will continue to make the fan-friendly environment at Pat Thomas Stadium the best in the FCSL.