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Baseball - 09. March 2010.

Courtney White

  
WSR

When were you first attracted to baseball?

COURTNEY

My love of baseball began the night I was born, July 1, 1985. Both parents were sports writers for The Huntsville Times located in Huntsville, Alabama. My mother covered the new local team, The Huntsville Stars. At the time, Huntsville was the affiliate to the Oakland A’s and the team was filled with soon-to-be superstars.    

My life crossed paths with one player in particular as he played his final game in Huntsville the night I was born. His nickname was “Parkway” because rumor has it that his homeruns hit Memorial Parkway that runs about 100 yards past the outfield wall at Joe Davis Stadium.   
                                                                                                                                               My birth was announced on radio and my “stats” were displayed on the scoreboard. From that night on, my love of baseball just got bigger. And with my grandparents and great-grandparents as huge Braves fans, it was destined that I grew up with the tomahawk chop as well.

WSR

What was your first job in baseball?

COURTNEY

I became a batgirl for the Huntsville Stars when I was thirteen.  They were affiliated with the Milwaukee Brewers and I got to work with future Major Leaguers like
Ben Sheets, Corey Hart, Bill Hall and many others.  It was and still is the best job
ever…even though the pay was the worst.  I was paid $12 per game regardless of how many extra innings.

I worked my way up to souvenirs and programs and stayed until I went to college.

WSR

What college did you attend?

COURTNEY


I attended the University of Alabama where I received my BA in journalism and my MA in Sport Management. I worked in media relations for Alabama’s athletic department and was the scoreboard operator for 2008 baseball season. That summer, I interned with hometown team, the Huntsville Stars.  I learned so much and worked so hard.  I credit my former GM Buck Rodgers and his wife Babs for teaching me what I know about the front office.

WSR

Did you ever attend Major League Baseball winter meetings?

COURTNEY


In December 2008, I paid my way to the MLB winter meetings in Las Vegas in hopes of snagging a full-time job. I interviewed with about 6 or 7 teams, both at the major league and minor league level. I had to get a full-time job. I had just graduated and needed the insurance. I wanted to work in media relations, but that job is not too big at the minor league level. So I searched other positions and found a group sales one with the Oklahoma City Redhawks. They were the only team to offer me the job, so I packed up my 3 cats and headed west. I’ve been here a year now but am still settling in.
                                                                                                                                                I have one season under my belt and that gives me confidence. It’s still hard being a woman in a man’s world.   

WSR

Did you play any sports in school?

COURTNEY

I played some basketball in high school and some intramural flag football but my biggest role in playing sports has been as an official…a female official.
This season marked my 4th season as a basketball official with the public schools
In Oklahoma City and my 5th season overall in the sport. I started as an intramural basketball official when I was a freshman in college. For three seasons, I officiated flag football and even officiated at the NIRSA National Flag Football Tournament. In addition to that tournament, I officiated several regional NIRSA and ACIS basketball tournaments.


I got into officiating at the local schools in Tuscaloosa, Alabama during my sophomore year at the University of Alabama. Since then, I’ve officiated little league, middle school and even up to the varsity boy’s high school level. Basketball is my favorite sport to officiate. I did try my hand at softball, but didn’t like to be behind the plate. Basketball is by far the toughest sport to officiate. Decisions must be quick and strong; an official cannot waiver with their decision.

WSR

Can you explain what NIRSA and ACIS are?

COURTNEY


NIRSA is the National Intramural-Recreation Sports Association (This was for Intramural (tournaments between different universities) Flag Football and Basketball. I participated as an official/referee.)

ACIS is the American Collegiate Intramural Sports (This is another Intramural organization. I participated with them in a basketball tournament as an official/referee.)

WSR

Are you still active in officiating basketball?

COURTNEY
                                                                                              
Yes. I officiate/referee basketball in Oklahoma City for the local school systems. I am a registered Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association (or OSSA) basketball official and I am connected with the Tinker Officials Association (or TOA). In Tuscaloosa, I was a registered basketball official with the Alabama High School Athletic Association.

WSR

What are your responsibilities for the Oklahoma Redhawks?

COURTNEY

I am the Group Sales Account Executive I schedule groups of all sizes to attend any of our home games from churches to corporations to Scouts to family reunions.  Any group of more than 25 people,  they will most likely go through my department and me.                                                                                                                           

I also am in charge of scheduling the annual Scouts in the Outfield for both the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts. This requires two nights during the season in which a brave coworker and I sleep in one of our suites. We actually don’t sleep much as we are constantly watching all of the little Scouts on the field. The group sales department is also in charge of scheduling schools to come visit the ballpark on one of our Field Trip Days. We provide each student, teacher, and parent a meal with his or her paid admission.                                                                                                                       

 My department also books groups for our luxury suites. During the game groups with picnics or suites can expect to see us several times from the time the gates open. If the group needs anything, it’s our job to get it to them in a timely fashion. 
It is my job to make sure that one night is a memorable experience that will keep the company coming back to the park each year.
   
WSR

What is the most difficult part of your job?

COURTNEY


The most difficult part of my job has involved two different aspects. The first of which has been the economy. While it is easier to justify a one-night group outing over season tickets, no one can justify any outing when the company is near bankruptcy. The other difficult part is the high turnover. Each season’s staff has the potential of being very different than the season before. This, however, is a part of minor league baseball. Just like the players, we are all trying to reach the next level.

WSR
What do you love most about your job?

COURTNEY

I love the people. I love sharing my passion with all of our fans. No matter how bad my day is, it always ends at the ballpark. And when we’re in season, it usually ends with a baseball game.

WSR

If you could ask any woman in baseball one question, who would that be and what would you ask?

COURTNEY

Kim Ng. She is the Assistant General Manager for the Los Angeles Dodgers.  What advice would you give young women like me who dream of being at the big league level’s front office?

WSR

Who were your mentors?

COURTNEY


My parents. Both parents were sports writers when I was born. They raised me to appreciate the beauty of sport. They also taught me that I could be anything I want to be as long as I worked hard, stayed in school and got good grades.

WSR

Do you have a favorite baseball film?  A favorite baseball book?

COURTNEY

My favorite baseball movie is a League of their Own. But Field of Dreams and Major League are not too far behind. My favorite baseball book (it is sitting at my desk right now) is Watching Baseball Smarter by Zack Hample. I highly recommend it to any type of baseball fan.

WSR

What advice would you give to a young woman considering a career in baseball?

COURTNEY

Start young. Be a batgirl. Get dirty. Get your foot in the door as soon as you can. Take internships…ones that don’t pay; they’ll make you appreciate the ones that do. Talk with your GM. Get to know them. Let them get to know you. Pick their brain as often as possible. Be a team player. Prepare to pull tarp. (This is where the batgirl part comes in. You learn early that the tarp is just a part of the game.) Don’t date the players. (That’s a big one!)

WSR

Do you have a favorite quote?

COURTNEY


“If you believe in yourself, and have dedication and pride, and never quit…you will be a winner. The price of victory is high, but so are the rewards.” –Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant, University of Alabama

WSR

To what do you attribute your success?

COURTNEY

I studied hard and worked hard. I sacrificed for my career, but every sacrifice has been well worth it. My professors at Alabama (especially my Sport Management ones like Dr John Vincent and Dr Ken Wright) helped me prepare for the real world. My GM at the Huntsville Stars prepared me for the world of baseball. Most importantly, my success comes from my parents. The have given me all the love and support for me to reach my dreams.  I can never thank any of these people enough.


WSR

What achievement are you most proud of?

COURTNEY

Getting my degrees. It took a lot of prep work for college and a lot of work in college. Getting my masters at twenty-three was the icing on the cake.

WSR

Are you married?  Have any children

COURTNEY


I am not married, but in a long term, long distance relationship with no ring on my finger.  I have no children.

WSR

Do you follow other sports?  Aside from your team, what is your favorite team?

COURTNEY
I follow a lot of sports. In baseball, the Atlanta Braves are my favorite. I love college football and am a huge Alabama fan. Roll Tide! National Champions 2009!

WSR

What do you do for relaxation after work?

COURTNEY


I watch TV and play with my 3 cats. They keep me grounded and love me unconditionally.

WSR

What is the most memorable game you ever saw?

COURTNEY

It’s a toss up between Greg Maddux’s hour and half game, any of Chipper Jones crushing the Mets and my first MLB game. I watched the Orioles and Cal Ripkin take on Chipper Jones and my Atlanta Braves. The good news was Ryan Klesko hitting a homer. The bad news was the Braves lost 22-1, but Cal did go 6-6…a career high. (I actually attended the Braves/Orioles game.)

WSR

What are your long-term goals?

COURTNEY


Secretly, I want to be the commissioner of baseball. (Move over Mr. Selig!) I’ve got a long way to go for that, but the main thing I want now is to be in the media relations department of a MLB team. (Dream team: Atlanta Braves)



Courtney White is the Group Sales Account Executive for the Oklahoma City
Redhawks. They are an affiliate of the Texas Rangers.


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