Hello from London, England!
For the past five weeks I have had the privilege of interning with the National Football League (NFL). Each year, the NFL brings American football to the UK by hosting a regular-season game at Wembley Stadium in London. For the first time, the NFL hosted two games at Wembley Stadium—the first was September 29 between the Minnesota Vikings and the Pittsburgh Steelers. The second game is in three weeks on October 27 between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the San Francisco 49ers.
As an avid fan of football since my first Philadelphia Eagles game at age 5, this internship has been a dream come true. The production of bringing four franchises over from the US to play at Wembley is an incredible amount of planning. I have been assisting in the operations, sponsorship, public relations and hospitability for the International Series. I have done projects such as allocating parking passes, to printing the quick fact guide – a book for staff members. I also helped coordinate the game day sponsorship event where the NFL invited sponsor guests to enjoy VIP hospitability including on-field access and a post-game party highlighting the Vince Lombardi Trophy on display.
The amount of time and preparation that goes into these games has really been eye opening. There are small projects and details that I would have never thought were needed when bringing NFL teams to the UK. For example, I attended a meeting with the an international medical company who was hired by the NFL to provide medics, trainers and doctors to the teams while overseas because all of the team doctors and trainers may not practice medicine in the UK. In addition, the medical group provided assistance to the families of the teams who were also coming to London in case they needed medical attention as well. The NFL is growing tremendously in the UK with a sold-out 90,000-seat stadium and I am thrilled I can be a part of these events.
One of the most rewarding parts about being a part of the preparation for the first NFL game a few weekends ago was observing how professional football players, even throughout all of the fame and money, are still a part of a team and have a similar preparation structure to that of our team.
While talking to some players, it was evident how humbled and thankful they are to be playing in the National Football League and especially in the London International Series game. I was fortunate to attend practice for both teams and observe the similarities between our styles of preparation before games. Similarities ranged from practicing scout, to attending film meetings, to even similar agility drills. These small details made me realize that athletes prepare a certain way because it works and this experience has allowed me to recognize the importance of these preparation techniques.
As I watched the Steelers grab their boxed to-go dinners on Sunday night after the game, it took me right back to our away games and grabbing our post-game meal, saying a quick hello to our parents and getting on the bus with my team. There is a lot of glamour in professional football but in the end the players are still athletes who work hard for their team in order to win championships.
Living in London has been incredible—I am living in a flat with my teammate Samantha Schiff and Jill Corcoran ’15 (Cross Country/Track). We live in the center of London, just a few blocks from Regent’s Park. We have explored all of the beautiful sights in London on the weekends. My two favorite tours were Buckingham Palace and The Tower of London. I was in awe with the utter beauty of the state-rooms in Buckingham Palace and the magnificence of the Crown Jewels at the Tower of London.
We have also enjoyed finding out favorite local restaurants and shops in our neighborhood and have had such a great time exploring other areas in London such as Kensington and Notting Hill. The beauty of spending a few months in Europe is the ability to travel around to different countries so easily. I have had the opportunity to go to Paris for the weekend, and I am planning trips to Prague and Amsterdam. Living abroad in foreign country and even in a city has given me access to so many opportunities that I will probably never experience again in my lifetime.
I absolutely love London and don’t worry, I promise to perfect my accent by the time I return!
Jess Frieder ’15