By Jeff Dickson, Director of Food & Beverage
I came to Hickory to intern with the Crawdads in April of 2011. I arrived on a Friday, sometime in the afternoon and had just enough time to unpack some things in my apartment and get in a catnap before coming back to work that night. I was stationed on the picnic deck and helped serve a buffet before heading to the front gates as the game came near an end. I wasn’t really sure what I was doing, and didn’t even know my coworkers yet, but I soon found myself on the top of a dugout trying hopelessly to blow bubbles.
After that ill-fated attempt I looked for another way to be helpful, which led me to the field. First day on the job and I was standing on the field after the game. Then all of a sudden, I was under attack. Tennis balls came flying at me from every which way and I had no place to hide. Did I really do that bad of a job at blowing bubbles?
Of course, it was just time for launch-a-ball. And the balls were being thrown at the targets on the field, not at me – you learn a lot on the fly in minor league baseball – so I was able to relax and soak in the fact that I was working for a minor league baseball team.
Flash forward eighteen months: a lot has changed. I went from a concessions intern to Director of Food and Beverage. I met (and liked) my coworkers. I’ve not only served, but set up and cooked for picnics. I’ll never blow a bubble again. And now I am leaving Hickory, the Crawdads, and minor league baseball.
The life of a minor league baseball employee is certainly unique. The hours can be long, your life can be hectic and you can have a lot of fun. I’ve met many fantastic people in my two seasons, including some really great friends. And I’ve had some really fun experiences that I never would have been able to have if it weren’t for minor league baseball and the Crawdads.
But besides the cool stuff, I’ve also learned a lot. Like I said, the job is unique. And until you get here you don’t really know what it’s all about. But once you’re here you have no choice but to work hard, otherwise the job will get the best of you. I guess that’s like most jobs, it just seems to be magnified in this setting. But that’s what was great about it; the lessons you learn and work ethic you develop in this industry will be with you forever.
So while I’m moving away and changing careers, I don’t regret a second of my time here. I’ve always loved minor league baseball, and actually worked for three summers in the concession stand of a minor league team back home in Oneonta, NY. But to be a part of the Front Office and be involved with the day to day operations of a team was an opportunity I’m thankful to have had.
So to the team, the city, and the industry…farewell. Until next time, when I’m in the stands enjoying a hot dog and ice cold beer.
Jeff is leaving the Crawads after two season to move back to Florida to pursue new opportunities. The Oneonta, NY native joined the Crawdads in 2011 as a concessions assistant, and has previously worked with the Oneonta Outlaws as a sports marketing intern. Jeff is a graduate of the University of Central Florida and is a die-hard fan of the Philadelphia Phillies and North Carolina Tar Heels.