Tausha Reed didn’t know the first thing about kickball in January, when she started her internship with the Mid-Missouri Kickball League. But she’s learning.
“I actually had to ask if there was an outfield,” Reed said, with a laugh.
What Reed, a senior marketing and public relations major at Columbia College, did know was more important: writing, social media strategies, experience using the Google AdWords service to optimize targeted marketing.
Those are the sorts of things Reed will be doing for the Mid-Missouri Kickball League during her internship this semester. She can be an all-star off the field.
“There are so many different things that I’m going to get experience on,” Reed said. “I’m working to find sponsorships, looking to find enrollments for the teams, a little bit of event planning. I’ve made a lot of flyers, getting practice with PR writing, doing press releases. It will be a wide variety of experiences.”
Reed and her fellow intern, Columbia College senior communications major Lauren Goldberg, are using their time with the Mid-Missouri Kickball League to get a glimpse into what they can expect in the professional world after they graduate. Goldberg got the internship through Columbia College’s Grossnickle Career Services Center, and Reed heard about it through her public relations class.
Goldberg says she will be involved more on the event planning side of things, helping put together the league’s fundraisers for the Columbia-based Welcome Home organization for homeless veterans and the Central Missouri Humane Society. She served a similar internship with the Dickerson Park Zoo in Springfield, Missouri, over the summer, but she says this semester will give her unique exposure to being on the ground floor of planning the league’s events.
“At the zoo, a lot of the events are already planned. So it was just being there day of, doing the logistics of it, being that point of contact and helping with set up and tear down,” Goldberg said. “This one, it’s doing everything from beginning to end. It’s different in that aspect but, as far as the skill set goes, you still need to have that customer service, those marketing skills.”
The Mid-Missouri Kickball League (midmissourikickball.com), which is entering its second season, is the brainchild of Adriana Nieman, Senior Coordinator of Communication and Technology for the Columbia College Division of Student Affairs, and her husband, Louis. The two first met on a kickball field when they both lived in St. Louis but, upon moving to Columbia, couldn’t find an adult kickball league to replicate that experience.
So they created their own. They registered their new company, recruited 65 players to fill four teams, developed a website, logo and branding identity, wrote their own rulebook, rented out a soccer practice field for games, and they were ready to go.
“We’re looking for anybody that is able to kick a ball,” Nieman said. “This is a platform for people to just hang out and have fun. We’re playing with a giant rubber ball. So let’s all laugh at each other.”
Nieman says the demographics of Columbia make it an ideal setting for an adult kickball league, with an active population full of young professionals and recent graduates. Teams are required to have at least 14 players each and, if you want to play but can’t find a team, you can sign up as a “free agent” and get paired with a team that needs a player.
The season starts March 4 and fits eight games for each team into six weeks, with playoffs to follow. Last year, the local chapter of Team RWB, an organization that helps veterans meet through physical and social activity, took home the title.
Nieman says Goldberg and Reed will be invaluable resources to the league this spring, as they earn experience that will help them get a start on their careers.
“Once you graduate, people want you to have experience. If you don’t get it in college, you have to get it once you leave,” Nieman said. “We’re treating them as full-time employees. If anything, I’m going to give them too much work.”
That’s promising news to the interns, who are looking for real-life experience.
“With kickball, it’s knowing how to do something different. So it’s having that experience to put on my resume,” Goldberg said. “In the event planning field, experience is really what they look for. So this will help me get to where I want to be.”
Check out some photos from the Mid-Missouri Kickball league below: