The biggest conflict in my mind is definitely when the office has not prepared in the right way or has fallen behind in its preparation for the weekend when the games usually are. This is a huge source of conflict because when it comes to game day, everyone is scrambling to get tasks done. Alternatively, if the preparation is done, but not done thoroughly, then it makes for an awkward situation where things don’t run as smoothly or there are more issues that pop up that have to be dealt with. I have seen this conflict come up a couple times, but in the instances I saw it, it was a preparation problem, and more so a problem that was kind of unlucky. The first time I saw conflict on game day was the first weekend of softball and baseball at home, and the conflict was mainly just due to it being the first time that there were softball and baseball games for the year. Whenever you start a new season, things have to be refreshed to everyone. A lot of it had to do with making sure everyone was getting their particular job done right and refreshing everyone on how everything would work. Because there were some new individuals to this process, including both Abby and I, it definitely was a little shaky to begin with, and Abby was not really herself at the beginning of the day. I saw her get extremely stressed and a little upset about how things were running to begin the day, and John basically had to calm her down and help her understand that everything would end up working out all right. At the same time, there was not a whole lot he could do to help her out because he had his own responsibilities. At the end of the day, everything ended up turning out just fine, and I think that was due to the leadership that is present within the administration, especially John himself. There is a lot of experience within the administration that helps take over in these situations and brings calmness to the various issues and problems that come up. You have to have this leadership though in athletics to have successful programs because there are always problems and issues that arise from day to day. Often times, these issues are out of the control of those in charge of the tasks and operations.
Another instance of conflict that I saw on a game day was for a men’s/women’ basketball doubleheader. The conflict arose because the individuals in charge of the stats book and running the clock for the game both got stuck in traffic on the way to the game, and were going to be late. Just as I explained above, this is a major problem that is out of the control of the individuals in charge of making sure game days run smoothly. John was on it right away, and showed great communication skills to get everyone in the right places necessary to get the jobs done right. He had to make a few changes to make it all work until the individuals got to the gym. Once again, he showed an extreme calmness because I am sure he has been in situations plenty of times before that are similar to this; it’s probably almost second nature to him at this point in how he handles things. Just the way he carries himself in such a professional manner during these situations where it would be so easy to just get upset and start blaming others is incredible and has honestly taught me quite a bit about myself. It really has showed me how in times of stress I am not nearly as professional and calm as John is, and I don’t handle these types of situations in the best manner all the time. That doesn’t mean at all that I struggle in stressful situations because I actually think I do pretty well for the most part in situations of conflict, but I definitely don’t handle them the best all the time. I just struggle to communicate in an appropriate manner, as a lot of times I will raise my voice at other individuals and really get into them because I feel like I am doing my job, but they aren’t. That isn’t the right attitude for me to have at all, especially as someone who strives to be someone who positively impacts others through great leadership. So this has definitely helped me see in person what really good leadership looks like and how to act as a great leader in tough situations that can be extremely conflicting at times. Game days are extremely important in showing this manner of professionalism because they are public events and you want to carry yourself in a manner that represents the program in the right way. That means all the way down to me, and I feel like this administration does that extremely well in the way they present themselves in public as people that are extremely approachable people that enjoy conversation with the fans of the athletics program. I just feel like I always see them having conversations and building relationships with students, faculty, and members of the public that are all fans of the program. This is an extremely important part of building a successful program because this is how you get donations and fundraisers started that help to fund the growth of the program so it doesn’t just flat line, but instead continues to improve and rise in the amount of success that it’s having.
Finally, although I mentioned a couple of conflicts on game days, within the office the days are much more stressful because that is when all the preparation happens. In order to have successful game days, there is so much work done each week. So in the office you see much more frustration between the administration at times, as well as especially with people outside the organization that are partners or that play a role in the program’s success.