I made it through the first week. It was challenging and exhausting at times but I managed to stay on schedule, for the most part. After only 4 hours of sleep, I woke up at 6am in Philadelphia on Friday morning. To stay on track for the first week I had to make it to 5 teams before 5pm – Giants, Jets, Eagles, Ravens, and Redskins. As the title states, I was about to meet a host of security guards.
Giants: Leaving Philadelphia at 7am, I raced up to New Jersey – a 2 hour drive – to visit with the Giants and Jets. Arriving at the Timex Performance Facility, home of the Giants front office, I was allowed to pass through the security-guard station and enter the building. Out of the five teams I visited Friday, this would be the one and only time I would be allowed beyond the guard station. Once inside, I had a brief discussion with the administrative assistant at the front desk. She said she remembered me from the phone call I made to the Giants on Thursday. After asking a few questions about my qualifications and the type of position I was hoping to obtain, she told me she would pass along my documents and story to the proper persons. (Note: The “documents” that I mention include my resume, cover letter, list of references, and extra copies of the Informational Flyer and Itinerary, which were also sent to the teams before my arrival. Each team receives a packet containing these documents). The conversation was short and to the point and within a few minutes I was back in my car and headed to the New York Jets training complex/administrative offices.
Jets: The New York Jets administrative offices, much like a number of other teams, are tough to find. The GPS I was using could not find the address listed on the Jets website. However, after some searching, I was able to find an alternate address on the web that took me to the correct place. During my phone conversation with the a member of the Jets Human Resources Department on Thursday, I was told I would not be given access to the building by the security guard. But I set out on this trip to stop at all 32 teams and a little discouragement wasn’t going to stop me. The man working in the security station could not have been more helpful. He was taken back by the fact that I was traveling across the country and asked me two different times if I was “really going across the entire country.” He also told me, “I wish my son would do something like that… .” He then told me he was heading inside the facility in just 10 minutes and would be sure to put it on the desk of the Director of Human Resources. It is these types of responses that I get from the people that hopefully will create some buzz around my story and put me ahead of that next applicant, even if only by a small margin. I could have just decided to skip my stop with the Jets after I was told I would not be allowed into the facility but I am thankful that something told me I should still make the visit. The help offered by the security guard was more than worth the 45 minute trip from the Giants facility to the Jets facility. After the Jets, I had a two-hour trip back to Philadelphia to visit the Eagles.
Eagles: The Philadelphia Eagles was another team that told me ahead of time that I would not be allowed through the security station at the entrance of the facility. After my positive trip to the Jets, I was keeping my fingers crossed that I could have a similar experience in Philly. The discussion with the Eagles security guard was a little less eventful. He simply took my packet and assured me it would be given to the HR Department. He was very nice and polite but I did not get that “awe” reaction that I’ve received with other teams such as the Steelers, Patriots, and Jets. But again, he took the time to listen to my story and I hope I was able to make some type of impression. After my two-hour trip from Jersey to Philly, my stop in Philly lasted no longer than 3 minutes and I was back on the road, headed to Baltimore.
Ravens: After a 2 hour trip to Baltimore, I experienced my first official “loss of yards” (pun intended) when I visited the Baltimore Ravens. The quick conversation I had with the security guard was through an intercom and I had no face-to-face interaction. The man was very polite and very helpful, but told me that the process for submitting a resume is to simply send it through the mail. His opinion was that if I were to drop it off it would only get lost in the shuffle and would not reach the right person. I made the mistake of not verifying that I could drop off the resume before actually making the trip. But, like I said above, the goal is 32 teams and skipping one of the teams is not an option. I will now just have to mail my resume to the Ravens and be sure to make a follow-up call, if possible.
Redskins: The fifth and last team of the day was the Washington Redskins. At this point, I was in a race against the clock to attempt to make it to the Redskins facility in Ashburn, Virginia before 5:00pm. I lost. To say that I ran into traffic from Baltimore to Ashburn, Virginia would be an understatement. Not only was it 4:15 on a Friday, but the Redskins also had a preseason game that evening. Therefore, I ran into double the congestion. I ended up arriving at the Redskins facility around 5:30 and to my luck the security guard was still on duty at the entrance. (Making this the 4th security guard I had to give my resume to in the 5 stops I made on Friday). He told me he was heading inside and he would be sure to place it on the receptionist’s desk right away. This may not have been the most ideal way of “making an impression,” but I was glad just to be able to have a face-to-face discussion with someone. The security guard gave me the name and number of the person to follow-up with on Monday, which I am thankful to receive, and I folded back into my spacious Chevy Aveo and set off into the sunset.
To top off the wonderful Friday the 13th that I was experiencing, I then had an 8 hour drive to Gaffney, South Carolina, where I would be spending my weekend with a friend who plays volleyball at Limestone College. The time was around 6:00pm, so it was shaping up to be a late night. After spoiling myself with 2 different McDonald’s coffee stops, I arrived in Gaffney around 1:30am. My total amount of driving for Friday was 18 hours, but it felt good to make it through the first weekend.
Next week, I will be visiting the Panthers, Titans, Falcons, Jaguars, Buccaneers, and Dolphins. The total of 6 teams I plan to visit across the span of a week is just 1 more than the 5 teams I visited on Friday alone. It seems that the week may be a bit more mellow, but we shall see.
Thanks for the support!!