Today I had the amazing opportunity to listen to one of my favorite athletes of all time, Brian Dawkins, speak in person. For those unfamiliar, Dawkins played for Clemson in the 90s and spent 13 seasons as the heart and soul of the Philadelphia Eagles. I think he would only be rivaled by Allen Iverson as the most beloved athlete in Philadelphia of all time. There was no question that growing up he was one of my favorite players, with his iconic spirit, passion for the game, and dramatic entrances. Though I admit I never knew of his Clemson background growing up, now that I love Clemson so dearly it makes him pretty much the perfect favorite athlete for me. Just his image brings back memories of the heydays of the Eagles with Donovan McNabb, Brian Westbrook, 4 straight NFC Championship Appearances, and Super Bowl vs. the Pats.
Clemson has created an award in his honor, the Brian Dawkins Lifetime Achievement Award, which is why he made the trip back to Clemson this weekend. While he was here, he came to speak to Marketing majors about Sports Marketing. Since retiring, he has become an analyst for ESPN. That's not too applicable for giving advice to those of us searching for jobs to break into Sports Marketing, unless that advice is "have a Hall of Fame career and ESPN will contact you as soon as you retire," but BDawk is a great speaker who has a bright future in coaching, I'm sure. It was interesting to hear his perspective on endorsements, because as marketing students we don't often hear about it from the athlete's/celebrity's point of view. He also had great all-around pieces of advice, such as leadership, dealing with people who are difficult to work with, patience, and motivation. Mainly, though, I was happy that we were able to hear some of his stories, pick his brain about goings on in the NFL and just be able to speak to someone that I've idolized for so long.
Although my career aspirations are changing in front of my eyes, it was still a cool reminder of why I chose Sports Marketing as a major in the first place. Being able to hold a conversation with such a public figure while simultaneously fangirling inside was certainly a college and even life highlight for me.