Posts Tagged 'softball'

For the Love of the Game

By Matt Trocchio (@Trochman)

Ah, the summer… It can really only mean one thing: softball season has begun again! Although the mighty SHIFT squad is once again off to a slow start, it isn’t always about the Ws and Ls on the record, it is what you take away from the game. Don’t worry, I’ll try not to be too warm and fuzzy. You can read last’s years post for that (Team Building: It Takes More than Just Trust Falls).

I’m often surprised at how often you can find direct comparisons of sports and PR.  Perhaps it’s because these analogies are universally understood, or maybe it’s because they just plain make sense.

I was speaking recently with another PR pro regarding PR career paths and the changes to expect along the way.  It’s something I think about quite a bit.  Not always for the reasons you may think either –not about increases in money, increases in control/power or if I get that new office with a window.  No, I am usually trying to get a grip on what I should be doing and what I should be letting go of.  Sometimes when you get so used to what your role is on a team, when it changes it can be hard to adjust. You are so used to certain projects and pitches that you just roll with it.  However, you need to remember there are hungry staffers working with you that are still looking to get these opportunities.  When do you learn to just let go?

The conversation I had was very interesting as he went on to describe how he views himself now compared to when he was in more junior positions.  When you first break out into PR you are like a starting pitcher.  You keep the pace for your team and you get the opportunity to throw some real heat at some tough tasks.  As you grow you move more into the closer position.  You are brought in to really take on some of the elite batters (pubs, contacts, etc) and ensure the win for your team.  You are also responsible to teach the bullpen along the way, allowing them to hear what you’ve learned since your days as a starter.  You show them your pitch techniques and tips and let them know how certain batters like to be pitched to or how to pitch around them.

However, is you move on to even higher levels you remove yourself from pitching altogether and become more like a catcher for a baseball team.  You are now behind the plate looking at the whole diamond, seeing every play unfold.  Your job is now to call the pitches letting your pitching staff know when to throw the heat, when to look for a curve or when to walk that batter altogether.  Your job is also to protect that pitcher – whether that be from a batter charging the mound or giving advice after a wild pitch.

This analogy could go on and on as you make your way to coach building and running your own team to someday perhaps owning your own ball club.  I think this description paints a pretty accurate description of the path through Agency life and what’s expected of you along the way.  If nothing else it reminds you that Agency PR is a lot like playing ball – it’s all about patience, experience and team work.

See you out on the field gang….

Team Building: It Takes More than Just Trust Falls

By Matt Trocchio (@trochman)

Agency life has many factors to it:  multiple clients, multiple deadlines and multiple personalities working together.  If a team isn’t built properly the latter can be a detriment to all the others.  Well, how do you help strengthen the team without reducing yourself to old school methods?  Simple, find ways to get to know one another without it being ‘forced.’

At SHIFT Boston, we have been fortunate enough to participate in many activities that have helped with this.  There have been days spent volunteering together (such as with GBFB) and nights battling together on sports teams.  Right now, our softball team is in the start of its post-season.

Although our regular season record of 1 win, 11 losses may not showcase it, the season has been a real winner.  Each week the team carpools to different fields across the greater Boston area, pours their hearts onto the field, and from time-to-time enjoys a frosty beverage.

How does this sort of activity help an Agency? Well, it will at the very least:

  • Build Trust – Any team sport will ultimately come down to trust.  You have to trust that someone is going to do their best to ensure that everyone is safe and has a good time.  I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen SHIFTers come to the aid of another on the field to A) make sure they are ok after a play or B) have their back if another team is trying to get physical.
  • Build Confidence – Some call me “Dad” on the field, but there is nothing wrong with a little bit of cheering.  When someone can feel good about striking out on the diamond, they really won’t be as bothered if a pitch falls flat in the office.  Dust yourself off and try again.  You know you can do it.
  • Build Friendships – You may not all be BFFs, but I’d be shocked if you could sit on a bench, share laughs and drinks for a few innings and still not like each other somewhat.  Many of us will go out after games and share a drink or a bite to eat.  Although there will always be the aspect of ‘work’ in an office, it certainly doesn’t feel that way when you like the people sitting around you.

Now what do you do if you’re in a large company that can’t all play on the same team?  Well, these ‘internets’ I keep hearing about are a wonderful thing.  Share your fun!  Our softball team creates post-game press releases that recap the misadventures of our team and share them across the company so SF and NYC can get to know their ridiculous Boston counterparts.  We also post photos to Facebook and occasionally have folks on the bench tweeting out what’s going on.

I’ve had the pleasure of being Captain of our team for the last three years, and although the record may fluctuate, the outcome is always the same – everyone has fun and grows closer.  Wish us luck for the remainder of the summer and I hope to see you on the field next year.

SHIFTers: Better at PR Than Softball

June 7, 2008 — 11:28 AM EST — by Amanda GravelAdd a Comment

Tonight I attended my first SHIFT “Benchwarmers 2.0″ softball game here in Brighton. The team had a great attitude the whole way through, even though the opposing team was made up of absolute beasts who had less than courteous sportsmanship. SHIFT played like the great team we are, and although we didn’t win the game, we all agreed that we “win at life.”

Check out the new Flickr and Facebook groups for Benchwarmers 2.0 photos and footage. As often as I’m able, I’ll be at the games tweeting, taking photos, getting video, making Utterz and probably trying out other new social technologies to capture the softball experience.

We may not be the greatest softball players in Boston, but we have fun.


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