Super Bowl XLVI was in my town! Now, I know that the Super Bowl is held in other cities — some host it semi-regularly — but it’s never been in Indianapolis. It seemed like everyone was extra excited about and I was no different.
First off, I love football and when it comes to football the Super Bowl is as big as it gets. Secondly, the Super Bowl is as big as it gets!…meaning, there is no other event like it. It’s the most watched phenomenon on Earth every year. That’s what was happening in my town, right down the street from where I work every day. Why not be apart of history, even in an extremely minor way. So when I friend asked, ‘Ronnie, would you like to help out with the Super Bowl this year?’ — I was all over it. I even got my ex-girlfriend, Emily, to do it with me (the game just happened to also be on her birthday).
Before I go any further, I must say that I have the utmost respect for those individuals who work the Super Bowl behind the senses every year. My my hat off to every volunteer that help those workers fill in the gaps. Indianapolis is still receiving all kinds of praises for hosting the world for approximately two weeks. From the outside looking in, it was a beautifully put together and seamless work of art. My viewpoint (and Emily’s) as a volunteer the day of the event was slightly different.
We were assigned to the Mobility Assistance Team. It was our duty to help anyone who need assistance from the streets to the gates into the stadium to their seats and the reverse order when the game was over. I mean, that sounds like a pretty cool thing to me. I like helping people and assisting those who are in my town to watch a sport I love on the biggest stage in the world was something I jumped at. I’ve lived long enough to know that nothing is perfect. Unfortunately, this experience was just overall bad.
After the game, the volunteers were sent a follow-up email requesting responses. Here was Emily’s:
1. First, we’d like to find out from you if you ended up working yesterday and if so, where were you stationed, what were your responsibilities, and how long was your shift (start/end time)? I worked from 9 in the morning until 11:15 at night, and sent running between the stadium and the Convention Center, usually without purpose. I hung out at the magnatometers in the Tailgate, then delivered one person to her seat before the game, and brought one person back after the game.2. At your convenience, please send us a brief critique of your shift yesterday. We are curious to hear about the event organization, communication with management, and overall satisfaction of how the day went. I’m certainly not gearing this towards [you] in any way, I just wanted to relay my experience.It was a miserably frustrating day for several reasons:1.) Too many “chiefs.” I never had any idea who was really in charge, as I received instructions and schedules, all of which conflicted, from several people and organizations both prior to and during the event. To be honest, I have no idea what the relationship was between Mobility Assistance, Faribach, GameDay, Knowledge Services…and others. I received phone calls/emails and schedules from all of them, and the information was usually conflicting.2.) During the event, immediate supervisors would communicate instructions which directly conflicted with their own supervisors, just five seconds later. This resulted in us running around all over the place – with wheelchairs – without any direction or purpose. Understanding that nothing would be perfect on such a crazy day, I was really surprised at the lack of cohesive communication amongst supervisors, and between supervisors and us worker bees. Nobody appeared to know what was going on in any way. The one hour I spent during the entire day actually helping people was certainly a great experience, and I’m really glad I got the chance to do that. Everything else was pretty miserable.
Now, here was mine:
1. First, we’d like to find out from you if you ended up working yesterday and if so, where were you stationed, what were your responsibilities, and how long was your shift (start/end time)? My shift was 9a to 11:15p. Leading up to Super Bowl Sunday, I was scheduled to work within the stadium but was told that there were no creditials for me when I arrived at checkin. Nobody knew where I was suppose to go so I was just placed with a team to work one of the lots; we were to take those who needed assistance from the lot to the gate to be assisted by someone within the gate (also apart of MAPS). There were a number of us who were not assigned a cart to transport people and we didn’t really have much directions on what to do — because I didn’t want to just sit around and be bored, I took over the driving duties of someone’s cart. Samantha and I helped a few people who needed assistance and a few NFL stars. During the first half, I watched the game at White Castle (while charging my cell phone) and the tent next to Red Garter. At the beginning of halftime, we were summoned to get ready to transport people who could potentially be leaving at that point — I didn’t move one person. We then spent the majority of the second half being shuffled around from spot to spot to “be ready”…but I never knew for what; I can only assume that we were to be ready for people to leave but most people stayed until the end of the game. When the people were let out, I assisted three or four groups of people back to their cars but then my cart broke down about a half of a mile away from where we were picking people up. Luckily, I had the cell phone number (and charged cell phone) to someone that was on my ‘team’ with me who came and picked Samantha and me up. I was pretty much done then and decided that it was time for me to go home.
2. At your convenience, please send us a brief critique of your shift yesterday. We are curious to hear about the event organization, communication with management, and overall satisfaction of how the day went. I’m disappointed with the lack of organization. I’m not quite sure whether it was the NFL or the staffing agencies but a lot was left to be desired in organization and communication on Super Bowl Sunday and the weeks leading up to the event. A couple weeks out from the game, I received a call asking me if I wanted to pick up additional shifts from ‘John’; when I tried to call him back as my personal schedule opened up, I got no response — as a matter of fact, I wasn’t even able to contact to his voicemail. The schedule for the day of the event changed seemingly multiple times a day and it also changed from day to day. Different information was being relayed to people from the staffing agency or some people weren’t receiving information at all. When I replied to an email confirming my schedule for Super Bowl Sunday, I received a call the next morning either from ‘Angela’ or ‘Amanda’ (Friday before Super Bowl) asking if I wanted to work a shift that morning; the shift was 6a to 3p but the called was received at 8:38a. Communication on the day of the event was poor, too. Nobody knew where we were suppose to be. There was no sense of direction throughout the day; at one point, people thought I was in control only because I was driving a cart that wasn’t assigned to me and talking to the police. The highlight of my day was driving Hall of Famers Jim Brown and Barry Sanders around, hanging out with Brandon Marshall just before kickoff, and seeing the Make A Wish kids. If I wasn’t getting paid for this, I would have left an hour into it.
As you can tell, we were less than impressed with the organization of NFL GameDay. I am really happy that the fans were extremely pleased with all that they got from the experience. I am even prouder of the showing that Indianapolis put on and that I was apart of the first Super Bowl hosted here. I will say with the highest confidence that I will not do this again unless drafted. It was just too unorganized behind the scenes for such a huge event. I will just remain a fan and enjoy it all from the sidelines.