I will have to say that I have never been more nervous or anxious about an opportunity for the blog than I was Saturday night. That night I had the privilege to shadow Evan Morris, the Director of Ticket Sales for the Carolina Railhawks. Anybody that follows me knows what a great fan my family and I are of the Railhawks. Having this opportunity to shadow made me more aware and appreciative of those that work behind the scenes to make every Railhawks game an experience to remember.
As I have said before, the staff at the Railhawks are amazing people and the other night just proved the point. Too often times the players get all the accolades because they are seen as the face of the team but to me the ones behind the scenes should also be out there at the end of the game giving autographs as well.
Evan and his staff, which consists of 6 people, are at the stadium all day the day of the event. They are the first to arrive onsite and the last to leave. I was not there for the initial part of the day but I did arrive 3 and ½ hours before the games to get a first-hand look at all that they do. From setting up the multi parties that were being held during the games, to making sure the suites were equipped with all the proper items needed, setting up tables and chairs, setting up the bouncy house as well as other little details, Evan and his staff does it all.
When I arrived at 4:30 most of the major setup routine was already done. In fact I was able to watch his staff switch from their set up clothes into their official work clothes. Evan greeted me with a hug and off we went. The first thing that he told me that he does on game day after set up is complete a walk through and trouble shoots any problems. On our first walk through he checked all the suites to make sure things were set up and ready to go. He said that all the staff communicates by cell phones so when he spots a problem he shoots a mass text and someone is sure to take care of it.
But he does double check to make sure it is taken care of. During our walk through, I was impressed with every detail was in place. There were a few little problems that were easy to take care of. Evan mentioned that there is normally a little lull between when his staff is finished setting up to when the gates open. Yesterday they had a few challenges like being a little short-staffed, but they were able to handle those issues in a cool and calm manner.
Evan and his staff are very hands-on when it comes to preparing for the events. I personally saw them walk to the parking lot to make sure the fans were having a great time. Evan himself even carried a garbage bag to some fans that were tailgating before the game. There is no job too big or too small for his staff they are all equal.
Before the gates open Evan makes sure that all staff (as well as interns) are in place and that the vendors are in place and ready to go as well.
Once the gates were opened it was all hands on deck. I watched as ticket holders were allowed to enter the stadium and then I took a break from shadowing because I had arranged an on-field experience with my girls before the game. (This on-field experience I will write about in another story. But I will have to say that Evan and his staff handle this with grace and a smile.) So I did not get back to Evan until after the game was underway. I met with him and once again started walking around to check on the facility. Evan says he never gets to watch a game because he is constantly checking to make sure everything is okay.
The same could be said of his staff as well. He walks around the stadium too many times to count during the game making sure that everything was going okay and that nobody needs anything. I was amazed with just how much walking he does. He not only trouble shoots for problems but I also witnessed him discussing purchasing season tickets with current season ticket holders who want to renew for next year. During the course of the game, he also checked on staff members’ making sure everything was going okay and making sure that they get a break as well. How awesome is that?? I was really impressed with how well respected he was with the fans. Almost every one that we walked by knew who he was and expressed how sorry they were that he would be leaving. He will be moving to California sometime in the near future to be with his fiancée to start his life with her.
The only time that I saw Evan take just minute to watch the game was when he stopped to see Shriver score a penalty kick in the goal to tie the score for the Railhawks.
After shadowing Evan, I now have a new appreciation for what goes on before, after and during a Railhawks soccer game. I will have to say that his staff is truly the unsung heroes of the Railhawks and they deserve a huge round of applause and appreciation. Maybe they should have a ticket staff appreciation day instead of a fan appreciation day LOL. Seriously folks next time you are at an event thank the staff that works there because they are truly the hardest working people out there.
I will have to say that I really enjoyed the night I spent shadowing Evan. His staff was extremely helpful and friendly, answering all the questions I had. I am sad to see him go but wish him all the best in his future endeavors.
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