It has been 10 years to this day that I was sitting in my Broadcast Media Writing class writing my “About” page for the website we were supposed to create. On January 29, 2015 I was writing about my internship experience and other experiences, as I was just in the process of trying to get a job in my area of study. That was not an easy thing to do at the time. Now, the date is January 29 2025, I am 31 years old, and I can write about what I have accomplished, instead of what I hope to accomplish in my future. My about me page 10 years ago said I wanted to work in the public relations field, in the sports world. I also said how I would eventually like to become the President of Communications for a sports team. I haven’t reached the level of President as of yet, however, I have had a successful career in the public relations field so far.
Upon graduating from York College of Pennsylvania in May of 2015, I applied to a couple of graduate schools. I was accepted into a couple of schools, but I ultimately decided to attend Point Park University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where I obtained my MBA, with a focus in Sports, Arts, and Entertainment Management. While I was completing my masters I worked several part-time jobs in the public relations and journalism field. These jobs helped me hone my craft of writing so I could achieve my dreams of climbing the latter of the public relations career ladder.
Several of my jobs while completing my masters degree included working for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette as a sports writer, the Pittsburgh Power as a Media Relations Manager, and Point Park University as a Social Media Manager. These positions not only helped me develop my skills, but they also gave me the opportunity to make valuable connections with people in the career field who could help me get where I need to be, and who had connections with people in the types of organizations that I wanted to eventually be in. One of my professors, Dr. Marietta, used to work with the Pittsburgh Pirates before he went into teaching. Upon graduating from Point Park University in May of 2017, I applied for a job with the Pirates as a Public Relations Manager. Dr. Marietta ended up calling in a good word for me, which I didn’t know about until after the fact. Both my experience plus the recommendation from Dr. Marietta ended up sealing my fate and I was awarded with the position. I began my job with the Pirates in June of 2017, making a salary of $35,000 a year, with benefits. That’s actually not that bad for my first “real” job in the career field.
In addition to landing a dream job, I had regained control of my life and lost 150 lbs. to better my life. I felt great about myself and this was the first real time I truly felt that my dream was coming true. I was working in the professional sports world, for an MLB team. This was where I needed to be. My duties as a Public Relations Manager included writing all of the press releases. I was able to get one-on-one interviews with Pirates stars like Andrew McCutchen. I was also able to meet famous people all around Pittsburgh. Any time the Pirates joined forces with the Pittsburgh Steelers or Penguins, I was there to help organize events and handle media relations for all of the athletes with the local media. I was standing with legends like Lynn Swann and Mario Lemieux, as well as legends in the making such as Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Troy Polamalu.
Life was going great for me at this time. My professional life was booming, but this doesn’t come without a bit of humility and humbleness either. There are few things that are worse than humiliating yourself, and one of those things is humiliating yourself in front of someone you’ve had a “crush” on since you were 14-years-old. That’s right… I’m talking about Sidney Crosby. It was December 20 2021, I was still working with the Pirates, and them along with the Penguins and Steelers hosted a formal fundraising dinner at the Hilton hotel in Pittsburgh. It was just an ordinary black tie fundraiser where athletes such as Sidney Crosby, Ben Roethlisberger, Andrew McCutchen, and more, were serving dinner to those that bought tickets. All the money was donated to the organization “Play for Pittsburgh.”
For the fundraiser, I was put in charge of making sure everything ran smoothly. Something that was included in that was telling the players when each course was to be delivered to the tables. Everything was running as smoothly as can be, but it wasn’t meant to last. Veal Parmesan was the entre for the evening, which can be delicious, but also messy… very messy. I gave the cue for the athletes to deliver the entrees. When it appeared that all of the athletes had left the kitchen to deliver their meals, I walked in the kitchen. I walked around the corner and… *SMACK*. I felt an object slam against my stomach and land on me as I fell to the ground. I lay on the ground for about ten seconds, before I felt what landed on me. Yep… It was Veal Parmesan. I thought “this moment couldn’t get any worse…” but like most things, I was wrong. I looked up to see a man, dressed in a suit, who had a look of horror on his face. You probably already guess what was going to happen by now, and you are most likely right. The man standing over me, who was carrying the tray of food was… Sidney Crosby. I couldn’t believe this was happening to me. It’s like those dreams where you’re standing in the middle of a public space, wearing nothing but your underwear. However, this was worse… much worse.
I was inches away from a man who I have had a celebrity crush on since I was introduced to the sport of hockey and became a huge fan when I was 14-years-old. Everyone has that one celebrity crush and mine was Sidney Crosby. I would have rather been standing in the middle of Heinz Field, wearing nothing but my underwear, but I was here instead. After I snapped out of my horror I felt a hand grab mine and help me up to my feet, as the tray and plates, which were now without food, fell to my side. “I am so sorry.” As I got to my feet I realized the person speaking of me was Sidney. I didn’t even look him in the eye… I was SO embarrassed. I just looked down at my black dress, which could now pass as red from the pasta sauce. I was in a trance, until I heard someone speaking to me. “Are you okay?” Sidney asked again. I then snapped out of my trance and tried to brush off my embarrassment. “Yeah… Yeah, I’m okay. It’s no big deal.” Sidney shook his head. “No, it is a big deal. I’m so sorry. I was trying to get out there to deliver the food and came around the corner too quickly. I should have been more careful.” I just stood there and then my public relations specialist kicked in. “I think we should tell the cook to make four more servings of Veal Parmesan.”
I was in the public relations zone at this point, until I heard laughing. It was Sidney. “What?” I asked. He just laughed again. “I just dumped four servings of Veal Parmesan on you and you’re worried about the cook making more?” I just laughed. “Yeah, I guess I am. Because since you dumped four servings on me, that means four people out in the dining room won’t have their food.” I just chuckled a little. “Well, that’s my job. Plus these diners paid for their food… donated to a good cause.” I just brushed what Veal Parmesan I could off of my dress and started to walk back to the kitchen. “Hey, why don’t you clean yourself up and I’ll go and tell the cook to make four more dishes,” Sidney said. I just paused and looked down at my dress. “Okay, thanks.” Sidney headed towards the cooking area, while I went to the washing station.
After a little scrubbing I managed to get out most of the veal, but you could still tell my dress was no longer black. I was still scrubbing when Sidney walked back. “Did you get it all out?” he said. I shrugged. “Most of it. But it’ll do for now.” Sidney nodded. “I told the cook and he’s working on the order now.” I nodded. “Thank you.” I continued scrubbing. “I really am sorry about that,” Sidney said. I just laughed. “It’s okay. I needed a story to tell all my family, friends, and coworkers. And boy will they get a lot of laughs out of this.” Sidney smiled. “Where do you work?” I just was in disbelief. I… ME… I was having a conversation with Sidney Crosby. There are millions of girls across the United States and Canada who would kill for a moment like this. “I work for the Pirates as a Public Relations Manager.” Sidney nodded. “That’s pretty neat. Have you ever thought about a job in the NHL or for an NHL team?” I looked up. “That’s actually been my goal and dream since I was in junior high.” Sidney smiled. “Well good news. The Director of Public Relations at the Pens is retiring and we need someone to replace her.” He had my full attention. I couldn’t stop listening. “Would you be interested?” he finished. “I felt like I was going into shock. “That would be… amazing. But how would I even get an interview?” Sid pointed towards the door into the dining room. “Come with me.” I suddenly felt dread. I was going to be meeting someone… Someone important, and I would be meeting them while wearing tonight’s entrée on me.
Sidney led me to a man, Caucasian, bald, with glasses. “Hey Tom, I would like to introduce you to someone. This is…” I never actually introduced myself to Sidney. I reached out my hand to shake the mystery man’s hand. “Carrie Whitmore sir.” Sidney nodded. “Carrie Whitmore. This is Tom McMillan, President of Communications for the Pens.” I just smiled. “Nice to meet you sir.” Tom nodded. “Nice to meet you too Ms. Whitmore.” I noticed Tom was then looking at my dress. “Sorry about my appearance tonight Mr. McMillan. Had a little accident.” That’s when Sidney laughed and explained the whole situation. After Sidney finished telling him the story, Mr. McMillan just laughed. Sidney then explained that he thought Tom should consider me for the Director of Public Relations position. Tom was very intrigued and talked with me for a good half hour about the position. After the night was over, Tom asked for my contact information and said he would be in contact with me soon. I thanked him and then before the night was over I saw Sidney again. “Thank you so much Sidney. You don’t know how much this means to me.” Sidney smiled. “No problem. I hope you get the job. We need someone who can keep up with the Pens, and you seem like that kind of person.” I just smiled. “Thank you. Well I better start ending this event. Long night ahead of us yet.” Sidney nodded. “I understand. Well I hope I’ll be seeing you in the offices of the Pens soon.” He said this as he held out his hand. I smiled and held out my hand, shaking his. “I hope so too. Nice to meet you.” Sidney smiled and nodded. We both then turned and went our separate ways to finish our duties.
One week later, I was called by Tom McMillan and… I got the job. I left the Pirates organization and was moving on up. I have been the Director of Public Relations for the Penguins for more than three years now and it’s been going great. Now… there is an opening for a Vice President of Communications position with the Pens, and I am applying for it. I’m sitting in my office at Consol Energy Center right now getting ready to leave for my interview. I will have to let you know what happens, but you’ll have to wait for part two to find out though. Until then, I want to thank you for reading. This is Carrie Whitmore signing off.