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Interns reflect on time with Menace

The Menace's 2010 Intern Team (College, home town): Cody Voga (Buena Vista, Jewell), Mike Rodewald (Iowa, Ft. Dodge), Nicole Dillenburg (Simpson, Urbandale), BJ Stokesbary (Simpson, Nevada), Matt Claassen (Simspson, Newhall), Matt Moran (Drake, Oak Forest, Ill.), Ryan Thielen (Drake, Omaha, Neb.) -- Not Pictured: Doug Lang (Iowa, Urbandale).
WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – Operating a sports team is no easy task. Each employee has an important role, from the owner to the interns. The Des Moines Menace hired two full-time interns for the 2010 season; BJ Stokesbary, a junior at Simpson College, and Matt Moran, a junior at Drake University. In addition, the team hired a staff of part-time interns to assist on game days.

BJ Stokesbary (left) – Operations Intern
Stokesbary is a former goalkeeper for Simpson College and will become a member of the Simpson coaching staff this fall. He knows anything and everything there is to know about the game of soccer – I can attest to that after sharing a cubicle with him for the past two and half months. He consistently brought that passion for the game to the Menace every day this season.

“My passion for soccer fuels the energy; you have to enjoy doing what you do,” Stokesbary said. “There is really no better job than soccer twenty-four seven.”

Stokesbary has taken on plenty of responsibility since joining the Menace. He was in charge of all statistics on game day and did a phenomenal job coordinating the largest Menace camps in franchise history.

He  said he has learned an immense amount since joining the Menace staff because of the variety of tasks he had to accomplish. As the operations intern on a small staff, Stokesbary filled nearly every void necessary, whether it was setting up Valley Stadium, making program inserts or “wearing the Maniac suit at Principal Plaza on a scorching afternoon.”

Stokesbary also handled one of the most difficult tasks for the Menace. He traveled to every single road game with the team, aiding them in any way possible while still providing Twitter updates for Menace fans. Stokesbary said the team’s first road trip of the year, to Springfield (Mo.) on May 15, was the most memorable. The Menace won that game 3-1, with two goals coming after the 90th minute. Clark Bradford tied the game in the 66th minute, and Stokesbary said it was the goal of the season.

“Bradford’s goal against Springfield was probably the best moment,” Stokesbary said. “It was a half-volley from the 18 (yard mark), and it was amazing.”

Stokesbary hopes to carry what he learned from the Menace to whatever lies next in his life.

“Paying attention to detail, always being organized,” he said. “And always being prepared for what will happen next.”
Matt Moran (right) – Public Relations/Marketing Intern
As the person assigned to write this story, I thought it would be odd for me to interview myself and write this in profile format. So, I’ll use this space as a small column about my time with the Des Moines Menace.

I was a little skeptical at first when accepting the position, because to be honest I am not a hard-core soccer fan. I love the game, don’t get me wrong, but I am just a casual fan. I thought this might hinder me at first.

But then I was introduced to the world of how a sports franchise works. I had no idea how much work and what kind of things went into how a team operates. One week I came to work on Tuesday and because of a last-minute cancellation, I had to go to Kansas City with the team on Wednesday to film the game. Oh, actually that happened to be my first week in the office – and my first day on the job.

Another week, in early June, I spent my Sunday night pondering about how much I needed to get done during the upcoming week. The U.S. vs. England World Cup game was the following Saturday and I was thinking of how to write a story to connect the Menace with that game.

Well, that story never happened. On the following Tuesday night I volunteered to drive three players to Detroit so they could obtain Canadian visas to play at Thunder Bay. Needless to say, that was probably the furthest thing I expected to happen that week when I was thinking about work on Sunday night.

But that’s the world of sports. Expect the unexpected. If there is one thing I learned about working for the Menace, you have to be ready for everything. One minute you may be typing on a computer and the next you’re packing your bags for Detroit.

That’s what was great about working for the Menace, though. With a small staff, you’re thrown right into the fire when you start. When you think “internship,” perhaps you see a college kid filing papers, folding envelopes and getting his bosses coffee. Instead, I was writing press releases, announcing games as the public address speaker and coordinating feature stories which got hundreds of hits on the Web, thanks to Menace fans like you.

I wouldn’t change it for anything. I am extremely glad the Menace decided to hire me, and I had a fantastic time working for the team. I learned so much and can’t wait to take the skills I have obtained into the real world.

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