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Cabrini Connection Leads to a Once-in-a-Lifetime Opportunity with ESPN

Posted on 6/2/2023 2:30:15 PM

Written and submitted by: Jason Fridge ('25) 

It has always been a dream of mine to work at ESPN as a broadcaster. Over memorial day weekend, 2023, I got one step closer to that dream.

Cabrini Alum Donna working for ESPN with Cabrini students

I was simply walking through the Communication Wing in Founders Hall when our department head, Dr. Francis, pulled me aside. She told me that Cabrini alumna and ESPN Remote Operations Director Donna Capone was looking for students interested in helping the 2023 NCAA men's lacrosse championship production team at Lincoln Financial Field. One of the roles available was being a "runner," Dr. Francis thought this would be a great opportunity for me to network and get hands-on experience being behind the scenes of a large-scale sports production.

Almost as fast as Dr. Francis could finish her sentence, I gladly accepted the offer and had her send my name in for the job.

As a current Cabrini lacrosse player and lifetime lacrosse fan, I've been watching championship weekend for as long as I can remember.

The magic started on Thursday when I was first scheduled to be in South Philly helping get everything set up for the weekend. 

From the moment I got on site, I had the biggest smile on my face.

When I arrived at the field, I was given a lanyard with credentials that granted me access to everywhere in the stadium. Immediately after I got the pass, I sent a picture to a group chat of my friends saying, "This is so sick!"

My job was to be an assistant to the operations and production team helping to gather materials, set up the snack station, deliver lunches to crew around the stadium, and other tasks assigned by my director. As a part of my duties, I was on the field, in the production truck, and around the broadcast booth for some of the best lacrosse games of the season.

On top of the outstanding experiences I got running around helping the team, one of the best parts was interacting with various crew members and understanding all that goes into creating a successful production. Everyone hears the broadcasters and sees the camera angles, but many people work quietly behind the scenes playing an integral role in helping produce the final product that thousands of people watch at home.

The technical workers, graphic creators, camera operators, cord managers, and hilarious audio engineers are the true backbone that allows fans to feel as if they are in the best seats in the stadium. It was amazing to network with these outstanding individuals and hear about how they got to their current position and how important their job is. 

My favorite part about this entire experience was doing it alongside some of my Cabrini classmates and alumni. It was awesome to see how the concepts we talk about in the classroom and the networking skills we practice every year came into full effect.

1685452757052.jpegEvery once and a while, I would take a few seconds to live in the moment and look around, taking everything in. I was working an event I had been watching since I was a young lacrosse fan and was in the production environment. It confirmed this was the direction I wanted to take my career.

As I drove home after the championship game on Memorial Day, I still had the biggest smile on my face reflecting on the experience I had those previous five days. My reflection brought me back to the reason that I love being a part of the Communication department at Cabrini.

My professors opened the door to an unbelievable opportunity that I took full advantage of. And now, along with a bunch of awesome new ESPN gear I received, I'm even more confident that the industry I've been dreaming of working in is one step closer to being a reality.