North Adams, MA- MCLA Men's Soccer Alumni, Jason Mlodzianowski, is featured in the ECAC Spotlight this week as the ASA S. Bushnell Intern. Mlodzianowski was a four year letter winner and captained the team during his senior season. Below is the excerpt from the interview:
Five Questions with Jason Mlodzianowski
Asa S. Bushnell Sport Administration - Championships Assistant
1. Tell us about your background that led you to earning an Internship with the ECAC.
I have been involved with athletics as long as I can remember. My father was a physical education major, so I guess I inherited the gene from him. As a professional, I have developed a very broad perspective of college athletics. I've been involved in a variety of college athletic settings from small Division III athletic departments such as MCLA to large departments like UConn. Those experiences have really developed me for the ECAC internship because I have learned to appreciate and value the big and small aspects of sports alike. I'm not a fan of one particular sport as I truly enjoy the learning opportunities each one provides to the student athletes. I'm a big believer that physical education is at the base of college athletics. As long as you keep that building block in mind, you are doing your job.
2. What was your most memorable moment(s) as a member of the men's soccer team at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts?
Aside from the actual games played on the field it is hard to focus on one particular memory, but I will never forget the long drives in the MCLA vans to games. Being with teammates for several hours, there were a lot of good and bad times on those road trips. When we won, the rides home were a lot of fun, but when we lost they were possibly the most miserable few hours you could spend with a group of people. I liked the road trips because they built camaraderie. Cramped into a seat with two or three people next to you for a few hours, you were forced to learn a lot about your teammates, even the ones you may not have been too fond of. They were also a good time for self-reflection; I learned a lot about myself on those quiet ride homes after a loss. It was a good time to take a moment to celebrate your successes and work on identifying and improving your weaknesses.
3. What do you like about intercollegiate athletics?
I enjoy the educational aspect of college athletics the most, particularly at the Division III level. College athletics is all about providing a learning experience for the student-athlete. There are countless teaching points that a player encounters in their four years of eligibility that cannot be experienced by any other aspect of college life. For me, it is how well a student athlete is prepared for post-graduate life that really defines the success of an athletic department. I like being involved in creating and improving new learning tools for student athletes, so being able to be part of these experiences is very rewarding.
4. What have you learned so far about your ECAC Internship?
It has been a really great opportunity that I feel very fortunate to be part of. I have been involved in the interworkings of a conference office that has a very large and diverse membership base. It is really neat in that I have participated in many sides of college athletics such as marketing, communications and competitions since I started in September. Everyday there are new opportunities for growth that I try to take advantage of. My supervisors and coworkers provide an environment that is very conducive to learning. Working in the championships department, I have developed a better understanding of the state of intercollegiate athletics, particularly in Division III. Seeing the vast differences in competition, geography, philosophy and finances among schools is an interesting aspect of the job. I have the opportunity to facilitate competition between schools at opposite ends of the spectrum in some instances, working with selection committees and handling the declared teams process. It's a diverse learning experience which makes it a lot of fun.
5. What hobbies or special interests do you have?
Personal life is an extremely important aspect of having a professional career. I really embrace that philosophy by getting away from sports when I'm not at work. Trying not to be the typical sports fanatic, I have stepped out of my comfort zone and picked up the guitar over the last few years. Playing music is something different and new that I really didn't think about earlier in my life. I'm no Dave Matthews or even Raffi, but it's fun and gives me a daily challenge.