My experience working for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Mohana Holloway, Contributor
Since I was a kid, I have always been a sports fan. I’ve liked ‘em all — hockey, baseball, basketball, you name it. But as all true sports fans know, there is one sport, and one team, that lives in our heart. For me, that sport is Canadian football, and that team is the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. You can only imagine my joy when I got an internship working for my dream team this past summer.
I still remember my first Ticats game. I was three years old, and my dad and I drove from my hometown of London, Ontario to the neighbouring city of Hamilton. Immediately upon driving into Hamilton, you realize that it’s “Tiger-Town”. The Ticats are truly the pride and joy of the city. From gas stations to gyms, everyone has a Tiger-Cats poster hanging up.
It’s not just the fans who make up the Cats family. The players, coaches and football staff love the fans just as much as the city loves them. The atmosphere at a Ticats game is one that is almost indescribable. As a three-year old girl, a Ticats game became my equivalent of going to Disneyland.
When I began looking for internship opportunities, the CFL didn’t even cross my mind. As a woman of South Asian descent, most people do not take me for a sports fan, let alone someone who aspires to work in the field of sports. But, I found the Tiger-Cats internship program through a simple Google search, and saw there was an opening for a communications and media intern position.
Shortly after applying, I got the job! It was a surreal moment when I learned that I landed the opportunity. The day I landed in Hamilton, the same feelings of being in ‘Tiger-Town’ I had felt as a child came rushing back. On my first day of work, every person I met welcomed me with open arms. The inevitable ‘first day jitters’ immediately went away, and I knew that this was the place I was meant to be.
My second day of work was CFL draft day. The atmosphere was something I had never experienced before. My bosses and I were in a conference room, waiting to hear which players we had drafted. Immediately after hearing their names, we researched them and wrote out our press releases. Despite being at work until one in the morning, and being asked for a faster turnaround time than I would have thought possible, that night was one of the best nights of my entire internship.
Shortly after the draft, was training camp. This was my first-ever experience of having to coordinate media conferences between players and news outlets. At first, it was intimidating having to walk up to players and ask them to do media interviews. I still remember the anxious butterflies in my stomach as I walked up to the first player I talked to, quarterback Dane Evans.
However, as soon as I talked to him, I realized that these players were some of the friendliest people I had met in my life. They also absolutely love being in front of the camera, so pretty quickly, any member of the media team becomes their favourite person to talk to.
Training camp led to our first game day of the season. Our first preseason game was against the Montreal Alouettes, and the Ticats won 25-23. It was a pretty cool feeling to watch the game from the press box. But as my internship went on, I came to realize that no longer was I just a fan of the Ticats; I worked for them! I was part of the Hamilton family.
Following the preseason win against the Alouettes, the Ticats had a rough start to the season. We had five straight losses, which did not look great. However, on Sept.17, things started to turn around. The Tiger-Cats beat the league-leading Winnipeg Blue-Bombers, 48 to 31, which seemed like an amazing feat. This game marked the start of a massive turnaround for the Ticats, one that no one expected.
The Blue-Bombers game was the start of something great for the Tiger-Cats. At the time of writing, they are currently the hottest team in the league, with a winning streak of four. Following their win against the Ottawa Redblacks on Oct. 21, The Tiger-Cats clinched the crossover spot for the CFL playoffs, making them third in the East division.
In recent games, the Ticats have displayed good defense, strong kicking and daring yet successful passes. Statistically speaking, odds are against the Ticats. Third place teams typically do not make it to the Grey Cup.
However, the Ticats are a team who break the status quo. Hamilton had not won a game in Calgary in 18 years, yet it was a feat pulled off by this year’s team. Some may say the pressure is on for the Tiger-Cats, but after working with them this summer, one thing is certain: this team knows how to beat the odds.