Saturday, August 2, 2008

The University's World of Opportunities: Student Tackles N.Y. Giants Training Camp

University of Albany student Brittany Scott, who is earning a graduate degree in psychology, is working at the New York Giants summer training camp on the UAlbany campus.

Being around professional athletes is nothing new to UAlbany ’08 grad Brittany Scott. Her father played goalkeeper for the NHL's New York Rangers and Los Angeles Kings and Brittany herself, former team captain of the University at Albany-SUNY women's lacrosse team, is a current member of the Canadian National Team. Still, she is awed by the opportunity to be up close with another set of professional athletes – the Super Bowl XLII champion New York Giants.

Scott is a staff member of the New York Giants preseason training camp. But having her favorite NFL team on her home campus is more than just a bragging right for the Baldwinsville, N.Y. native. For Scott and 31 other students, it is a unique opportunity to work next to the likes of Super Bowl MVP quarterback Eli Manning and wide receiver Plaxico Burress on a daily basis. It's anything but the average summer job.

Two weeks before camp, which runs July 17 through August 17, students turn the campus into a professional training ground. This involves a lot of sweat and grunt work. The University's SEFCU Arena is transformed into the Giants locker room. The whole surface is covered with 25 rolls of protective matting, each 1,500-2,000 pounds apiece. Students help unload 12-14 tractor trailer trucks, each about 50 feet long and brimming with Giants equipment.

After the players arrive, students help with security and crowd control as the Giants practice. Escorting the players to and from practice always means a chance at some small talk, Scott said.

"There aren't too many schools in the country that offer this," said Kevin Galuski, assistant director of athletics and director of operations for the camp. "It's a great opportunity for young student athletes and young students in general to be able to work with a pro sports team. It’s something they can take with them in the future."

Scott, now a graduate psychology student at UAlbany, said she enjoys the fun atmosphere of her job and its convenient location on the UAlbany campus, which is why she’s making this her second year working at the camp. "I have learned how much is put into professional teams and how many people it takes to get everything done," Scott said. "It's interesting to see a sports team run as if it's a company."

On average, the camp -- in its 13th consecutive year on the UAlbany campus -- has attracted more than 30,000 spectators each year. Students may have their work cut out for them this summer though, as a record crowd is expected to see the defending Super Bowl champions.

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