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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M pitcher Chris Cortez (10) reacts during Texas A&M’s game against Oregon at the NCAA Bryan-College Station Super Regional at Olsen Field on Saturday, June 8, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
One step away
June 8, 2024

Column: My experience as a volunteer for the Houston Super Bowl

Photo by provided
Angel Franco

When I first heard that the Super Bowl was going to take place less than 100 miles from College Station, I did the first thing most sports fans do – pray that your team is one of the last two teams still playing come the new year. Granted, my Chicago Bears were nowhere near the big game, but a girl can dream, right?

The process of becoming a volunteer took almost a year. It began March 2016; I was sitting in class mindlessly scrolling through Twitter and I saw an article in the Houston Chronicle that the Houston Super Bowl Host Committee was looking for volunteers to help with the festivities. Being the huge sports fan that I am I jumped at the opportunity to not only boost my resume but still be able to experience the Super Bowl.

Throughout the summer there were several emails sent to my inbox regarding interviews and background checks. Finally, in September I had to make the 90-mile drive down to Houston for an interview. Despite a flat tire on 290 (in the middle of all that construction) and a mild panic attack, I had one of the coolest experiences and interviews ever.

When I arrived to Volunteer HQ we were greeted by Andrew Newman, the director of the volunteer program. He guided us through a presentation and told us what he envisioned for the festivities before we headed up to our individual interviews. Mr. Newman is a pro — he was an integral part of the London 2012 games, so I knew then and there this was going to be a once in a lifetime experience. 

As the months drew closer to the game, the anticipation began to grow. After Christmas break I once again drove down to Houston to pick up my uniform and NFL-issued credential. Even now that the events are over, it’s surreal to see my name on a NFL credential; never in my wildest dreams did I think that would happen. That’s my dream job – covering the NFL for a media outlet, so to see that just makes me giddy and excited to see what could be possible down the road.

I got to meet some of the coolest people Houston has to offer in the volunteers. Adrienne, Christiana and Colin, I’m talking about y’all — thanks for tolerating my weirdness and (almost) mental breakdown when I saw the 1985 Chicago Bears Super Bowl Ring for the first time.

Alongside them and thousands of other volunteers, we got to welcome people from all over the country and world to Houston. We were the first people they saw when they walked through security as we greeted them with questionable dancing and singing skills along with maps with all that Super Bowl Live had to offer.

I interacted with different kinds of people — people who have different backgrounds and beliefs, but came together for a common interest: Sports. I’m not one to get too political but with all the disagreement and turmoil currently going on in our nation, I was happy and hopeful to see and experience this. I think Nelson Mandela perfectly said what I am trying describe when it comes to unity and sports:

“Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to the youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where there was only despair. It is more powerful than government in breaking down racial barriers.”

My experience volunteering for the Super Bowl was everything I hoped and more. I was in awe by the magnitude of the event. Not many people get to experience an event like this, but I am sure glad I did.
Angel Franco is a telecommunication sophomore and Sports Editor for The Battalion.

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