Growing up in Minnesota, the Timberwolves were a pretty big deal to every little dude who ever picked up a basketball. I can’t think of one of my friends who didn’t have one or multiple Kevin Garnett posters plastered on their walls or in their lockers at school. KG was the man and if you were lucky enough, you could see him, live and in person, at one of my favorite places as a kid … the Target Center. Every game I went to, my friends, family and I would wait out back in the cold for hours at the magical door where all the players would enter and exit… waiting for the chance to meet … well, anyone really.
I grew up about an hour southeast of Minneapolis so going to a game at the Target Center was always a big deal. I remember one time we were eating dinner and my Mom and Dad ended up surprising me with playoff tickets against the Lakers for that night, tipping-off in just a matter of hours. I was SO jacked up! Every game was special in that building, but there are a few that will always stand out.
Another one of my most memorable games, the Timberwolves were hosting their annual jacket drive where fans could bring jackets to donate and you would get a chance to meet the Timberwolves Dancers. My friend and I, being junior high school boys with their priorities straight, scrounged up every jacket we could find! Unfortunately, we arrived a tad late and missed the opportunity to meet the dancers. We were beyond devastated, but … at the end of the day, we were still at a T-Wolves game! However, my mom, without us having a clue, tracked down a Timberwolves employee and shared our story of disappointment. Before we knew it, a guy in a suit came to our seats, addressed us by name and told us to follow him. We followed him somewhat nervous, but more curious. The man in the suit ended up bringing us down to meet the whole Timberwolves Dance squad, gave us posters, they signed autographs and we got to take pictures with the girls. My mind was blown. I may have not know it at the time, but eventually I wanted to be the man in the suit who could seemingly effortlessly pull strings to make people’s day.
Fast forward to 2018, I now work in sports. I am the guy in the suit … well at least sometimes … it is more of a figurative suit, but you get the point. I have the incredible blessing to work with a close group of guys who are more like family than coworkers, all doing what we love. We were all once that kid cheering in the stands, waiting outside to get a glimpse behind-the-scenes and now we are the ones that have a chance to create those memories for the next generation. Okay, I’ll take this story a step further …
December 2018, I’m boarding a plane heading to an event, which has become the usual. This time however, was different. I was alone. I was the lead on this event. I was meeting and managing a crew of people I had never met. I was, coincidentally, familiar with the venue. I was heading to the Target Center. Remember that door I mentioned I used to wait outside of for hours waiting to see who would come out? Well, now I was the guy going in that same door, not as a fan, but as THE guy. The Producer/Director of the Under Armour All America Volleyball Match.
Going from 300 level seats of the Target Center to the scorer’s table?? Sitting in the director’s chair??? It’s a feeling I cannot fully express into words. Nostalgia at its fullest! I walked the halls KG walked, I stood outside the locker room, I even led a meeting with the entire audio/video team who produced all those T-Wolves games I went to as a kid. I worked alongside the DJ who provided the soundtrack to all the T-Wolves games I went to as a kid (including a dance contest my Mom won at a Lynx game, but that is a story for another time). All I could do was look up at the seats where I used to sit, look at the banners, give a nod to Malik Sealy and Flip Saunders, and try and focus on the task at hand. But for one moment, through door and onto the floor… it feels like I’ve made it.
The event was the 2018 Under Armour All America Volleyball Match. This is an awesome event we get to participate in each year in different venues. The top high school volleyball players in the country come to compete in an All-Star like match-up. This particular year, it happened to be in my old backyard. Crazy how things can come full circle. Now, coming this Spring, we’ll be heading back to Minneapolis for the NCAA Final Four where our company will have oversight of 14 events over 4 days in different parts the city. As our Creative Director Matt reminds us often, “Dreams do come true kids!”