USG's Fall 2021 Reflection Scholarship Winner Essay, by Hannah Conlisk
Hannah Conlisk has been a USG member since the fall of 2022. She is a great example of being a light for Christ in the sport industry!
Winning Fall 2021 Essay by:
Hannah Conlisk - Daytona International Speedway
Guest Services & Information Coordinator
"With the exciting highs and thrills come the difficulties and sacrifice when working in the sports industry. I have been blessed to begin working in sports straight out of college and in my short time as a professional in the industry, I fully understand the struggles, battles, and challenges that Christians face.
The industry, no matter what sport, presents a necessity for busyness, something plaguing the world today. The hours in both preparation and event execution can be long and hard and often leave myself and other individuals wanting to do nothing but rest in what little free time is available. Therefore, I see forfeiting of intentional time to loved ones, God, and those in our lives. It’s a challenge to separate work time and personal time, often a compromise to values as work expectations grow exceedingly large.
Additionally, I do believe the industry can present a focus on gaining the world because of the time commitment it takes to be a sports industry professional but also the fight to move up the chain. There is a constant struggle to be promoted which initiates a need to aim higher and find immediate results in work. This conundrum often involves putting morals, beliefs, and values behind.
I believe the necessity for detailed time commitments solely dedicated to working and the industrial pressure to move up the ladder shifts the focus from God’s blessings and opportunities to a priority in gaining the world. Therefore, in a race to be at the top and prove worth within a company or a team, morals and values fall.
After graduating from The University of Iowa in December 2020, I had an expectation to land a job in the desired field in the desired location, working with the desired sport team. Unfortunately, with the COVID-19 pandemic along with my timetable, I was rejected many times and failed to advance after many interviews. For a while, I became extremely discouraged and wondered what God’s plan was for me.
I responded by shifting dependence from myself to Him and praying He would grow a trust in me to be dependent on Him and not my future. I have always had lofty goals for myself and didn’t hold myself short when aspiring to work in the sports industry. God continued to be faithful despite my doubt and discouragement and I moved down to Daytona Beach, FL where I became an intern in the Guest Services department at Daytona International Speedway.
I never imagined, planned, or prepared to apply for a guest services position as much of my experience was in marketing, communications, or production, but in hindsight, I see His faithfulness throughout. As in Tony’s interview, I faced significant lows in my trials of finding a job within the industry and attempting to work my way into a desirable position.
I now see from Tony’s interview and his experience in the industry, I can use my position to glorify God in the way I interact, communicate, and experience event days with fans and coworkers. My job revolves around positively impacting fans to enjoy their experience and what better way to glorify the Lord than through kind actions and intentional reach.
Additionally, I can make known my faith in the Lord and use that as a catalyst for sharing the gospel while working long hours and long days. Through wearing a USG bracelet, I have had the opportunity to answer a coworker’s question regarding the significance of USG and Romans 12:2. In taking a step back and realizing the perfection of God’s plan, I see that God placed me in a position with coworkers and management that allows me to talk about my faith and encourages conversation.
As a professional in the sports industry, I have begun to understand the challenges of working in an industry that demands your time, energy, focus, and commitment. Through my experience with USG along with God’s continual faithfulness, I can take on this challenge while not compromising a relationship and dedication to God.
Like Tony Dungy, I see the power my impact can have on others in the industry as sports affect a wide variety of people across the globe. The challenge of shifting my focus from the world to God will be an ever-present battle but with God anything is possible. Freedom from the pressures of this industry comes when I lay my wants and needs for achievement and success at the feet of the cross and surrender the good and the bad to Christ."
Thank you, Hannah, and congratulations!
The Spring 2022 Reflection Scholarship announcement is right around the corner!
Our team looks forward to hearing more encouraging and uplifting stories from this next round of our scholarship program.
Click here for more information on our Scholarship Program.