As a little girl I always remember my mom talking about how when she was a little girl she loved to go watch “The Big Red Machine” in Cincinnati. Her fond memories of Johnny Bench and Pete Rose always peaked my interest in the sports industry and inspired me to study marketing. Little did I know that some day, Dayton would have its very own piece of sports history and that I would have the honor and privilege of being a part of it for two historic seasons. While completing my masters degree and Sports Management Certificate at Wright State University, I was very lucky and blessed to have the opportunity to work for such a great staple in the Dayton region, the Dayton Dragons.
I have learned so much over the past two seasons and have gotten to do things I thought were only possible outside of the Dayton city limits. Meet Archie Griffin, check. Meet Ervin “Magic” Johnson, check. Chauffeur Hall of Fame sports writer Hal McCoy around, check. Witness sports history being made as the Dragons break the streak for most consecutive sell outs in ANY sport, double check!
My experience there is beyond words. The perception and intended purpose of the function of an intern sometimes has a stigma attached to it. When I told people I had quit my job to pursue higher education and to be able to do this internship, I was perceived as crazy, especially in the current economy. However, the invaluable knowledge and experience I received by being a part of the Dragons team was priceless beyond words. I started in an intensive learning process which involved learning the core values of what makes this team so successful and supported by the Dayton community. I was able to assist in planning and executing various events at the park, give VIP tours to various sponsors and guests, researched ways to make various programs better, learn outside of the box marketing techniques and directly provided unsurpassed customer service to our fans. All of this while being 15 minutes from home right here in Dayton.
The Dayton Dragons are just one of the many things I love about Dayton. My experience at Wright State University, another priceless gem of Dayton, the ability to be able to afford to raise a family here some day, coupled with the ever changing and growing amount of shops, restaurants, music and arts is why I chose to make Dayton my home.
This article was submitted by Brooke Johnson-Leppla, who interned with the Dayton Dragons as a student at Wright State University where she is currently an academic advisor.