Working at a collegiate Sports Information office can hardly be considered a glamorous job, especially at Harvard, which boasts a huge, 41-sport varsity program.
Long hours spent at sporting events keeping statistics, most weekends devoted to job responsibilities, weary bus rides to places such as Hamilton, N.Y., and Philadelphia, publishing weekly press releases, keeping track of all team's statistics, answering pesky journalists' questions about the most trivial of facts and providing materials for the press at Harvard athletic events are just routine parts of the job.
It's not exactly Donald Trump's lifestyle, but Harvard's new Director of Sports Information, John Veneziano, wouldn't have it any other way.
"Anybody that pays me to go see basketball games is crazy," says Veneziano, who graduated from Boston University in 1986 and has served as B.U.'s assistant director of sports information since December 1986. "There are people who will pay hundreds of dollars to travel somewhere and watch a basketball game."
"I'm in Hawaii last December, watching basketball games and getting paid to be there while it's zero degrees back in Boston," continues Veneziano, referring to his trip with the Boston University men's basketball team to the Rainbow Classic. "I grin whenever I think of that. Obviously, there's a lot of hard work, but I love the opportunity to travel and see parts of the country you don't normally get to see."
But what about all those hours spent huddled over a Macintosh spitting out statistics?
"You throw out how many hours you're working because there are so many positive aspects of the job," responds 25-year-old Veneziano. "The opportunity to work with kids all the time keeps you fresh. Not that I'm so old, but seeing the new kids every year is refreshing. And working with [B.U. men's basketball coach] Mike Jarvis has been fascinating."
Last March. Veneziano was asked by the Providence College Sports Information Department to help out at the regionals of the NCAA men's basketball tournament. Veneziano worked the foul paddles in those games, including Princeton's near-upset of Georgetown. After the weekend was over, he was profusely thanked by the Providence Sports Information department.
"I'm at center court for NCAA tournament games and they're thanking me," Veneziano says. "I felt like hugging them."
Yes, there certainly are perks for working in a sports information office, but few people understand the tremendous amount of time and effort required to run a small, three-person establishment such as the Harvard Sports Information department.
But for John Veneziano, the tradeoff is more than worth it.