John Swan is barely into his career. He’s had a couple internships, and he’s on track to graduate from Thomas College in May with a degree in sports management. Even so, he’s already heard the comment everyone who works in sports hears, over and over again.

Oh, so you get to go to all the games.

“Last year, I’d go and work all the Red Claws games, and you have to get there five or six hours before the game and set up, all the things people don’t see,” Swan, a Chelsea resident and Cony High School graduate, said. “Then they see you at the game. Yeah, there’s some times your standing around kind of scanning through, making sure everything’s all set. They look at that as, oh, you get to go and watch the Red Claws game. You get to watch Buccaneers practice. There’s definitely more to it than just watching.”

This summer, Swan spent five weeks working for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during training camp. He did a little bit of everything for the Buccaneers. Some days, he worked in the VIP area. Some days, he’d be at the practice field by 6 a.m., getting things ready for when the team arrived at 8:45. He’d tape practice. He’d run tape to the coaching staff. It was work. It wasn’t like Swan was in Florida hanging out with Buccaneers stars Jameis Winston and Vincent Jackson.

OK, Swan did hang out with Winston and Jackson, but only when he was trying to keep the autograph line from descending into abject chaos. Both were fantastic interacting with the fans, Swan said.

“It could be mayhem. There could be some madness involved with that,” Swan said.

More than 1,000 people applied for the 15 training camp jobs with the Buccaneers. Swan became one of the lucky 15 through his networking. When he worked for the Maine Red Claws, the NBA D-League team based in Portland, he met Seth Shuman, who now works for the Buccaneers. Swan reached out to Shuman, applied, interviewed, and got the gig.

The job gave Swan a little insight as to what goes into keeping a professional sports franchise running. Hint: It’s not just watching the games.

“It was definitely more of the grunt work, but we were able to see how it all comes together,” Swan said.

Some days, Swan worked 12 hours. Other days, he worked just five or six. No matter what task he was handed, Swan came away from the experience knowing he’s on the right career path.

“One thing it did tell me was, I don’t necessarily think I want to be quite that far away from home,” Swan said. “It reassured that it’s something I have a passion for and I’m interested in. I’ll see where my connections and career path takes me…Both of those jobs, the Red Claws and Buccaneers, I’ve had a blast. It’s a lot of hours. You’re going to be working a lot of weekends and days that people aren’t working, but that’s just part of it.”

At Thomas, Swan works in the school’s Alfond Athletic Center. He helps run the intramural sports program, often officiating games. When you love the work, when you look forward to it, maybe it is getting to go to all the games, after all.

“If you can go have fun with what your doing for your job, if you can go to work and have fun, you’ll never have to work a day in your life, as people have always said,” Swan said.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM


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