An invaluable spring semester at FOX Sports Arizona

I remember vividly the day that I was offered an internship at FOX Sports Arizona.  My stomach dropped as I saw the email from my boss, Brett Hansen: “I would like to offer you our Spring 2017 internship if you are still interested.”  I thought to myself, “Still interested?  Is he crazy?”  I calmed myself down and attempted to not come off too excited as I responded with a resounding “Yes!”

That excitement would never go away.

Allow me to introduce myself.  I’m Benjamin (Ben) Gruca, and I’m wrapping up my spring semester of my sophomore year at Arizona State.  I study Marketing at the W. P. Carey School of Business.  And while interning here, I added a Film Production minor.  I have been fortunate to have the title of Marketing and Communications intern for the past twelve weeks. I would like to thank my friends and fellow executive board members of Sports Business Association who helped me get my foot in the door. I am looking forward to my new role as President of the organization beginning Spring 2018.

I enjoy the little things.  There is something special about getting your own key card, your own FOX email, and your own cube.  There are credentials waiting for me before going into different Coyotes, D-backs and Suns games.  Seeing my name above FOX Sports Arizona next to large “MEDIA” letters was always a beautiful sight.

When asked to write about what I learned this semester, I knew it would be no easy task putting this experience into words.  Working at FOX Sports Arizona as an intern is something that I will never forget.  The people within these walls dedicate their time to churning out countless hours of programming and entertainment — and spend twice as much working on details that most sports fans will never take for granted.  A lot of the time, it’s a thankless job behind the scenes.  Spending my semester here has made me very appreciative of this process and these people.

Being that this was my first taste of the TV and sports worlds, I had many preconceived notions about what being an intern would be like.  My parents warned me that I should be prepared to get coffee, run errands for people and perform other menial tasks.  Boy, were we all wrong.  From day one at FSAZ, I never once felt like just an intern.  I remember the first day in the office I went to the Ice Breakers shoot with Mike Smith.  Right away, I was helping promote FSGO, assisting with sound, and working alongside this tight-knit team.  The best feeling about this internship is knowing that what you do carries weight and will never go unappreciated.

A small caveat: FOX in general is a fantastic and inclusive company.  During a school trip in California this semester, I was able to contact my internship coordinators and make a visit to the Los Angeles studio lot.  During the onboarding process, we were welcomed into the “FOX Family,” and it is definitely something I recommend all future interns take advantage of.

The best thing I learned during this semester at FSAZ is how to combat the spontaneity of the job.  No matter how much planning goes into a project or a shoot or an interview, there is no guaranteed outcome with anything that we do.  It makes the job fun because you learn to roll with the punches.  This team at FSAZ is also amazing at overcoming hiccups with broadcasts, shoots, etc.  Everyone is constantly learning, and everyone always shakes off whatever issues were had.  No matter the outcome of a project, I constantly hear my coworkers say, “At the end of the day, it’s still TV!”  That is the best mindset to have, and really fosters an environment for learning.

If you’ve read past interns’ remarks on their semesters at FOX Sports Arizona, there is definitely a continual underlying theme: This internship is exactly what you make of it.  Whatever skills you bring to the table, use them to the fullest.  I can say with confidence that I walked through these doors and took ahold of this internship and made the most of it — and I failed from time to time, too.  That is the beauty of this program, and that is truly what makes it invaluable.  You can choose your own destiny.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions and don’t be afraid to “push the envelope” from time to time as we say here.  No matter how small the idea, sometimes those are the most satisfying when they come to fruition. I remember inquiring about creating a congratulatory graphic for Paul Goldschmidt should Team USA win the World Baseball Classic.  We were hesitant because of Goldy’s lack of contribution during the tournament.  Much to our surprise, Team USA won the tournament, and fans loved the message.  Sometimes something so small can have an impact on your experience — and this minute example was one for me.  It also shows how so much thought and time can go into a single post, tweet, or picture.  I no longer take those posts for granted.

Considering I am writing this the night before my last day on the job, I don’t think I’ve truly processed this entire experience yet.  As a young student who is reluctant but eager to move on to the next chapter, I cannot wait to see what doors this internship will help open.  This internship is the best thing that has happened to me at Arizona State thus far.  Because this internship exposes you to all of the teams plus the media, there really isn’t a better position in Arizona sports where a student can truly get a taste of everything.

One last piece of advice: approach every day on the job with enthusiasm and never forget those who help you during this journey.  You never know what you may do that may leave an impact, and you never know where you may run into your colleagues again.  It’s not hard to approach this program with enthusiasm, considering FOX Sports Arizona is a very happy place.

Because after all, it’s still TV.