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Meet the Magic Staff: Melanie Curtsinger & Elizabeth Brett

August 17, 2011

ORLANDO -- In a brand new feature on OrlandoMagic.com, we will go behind the scenes and learn more about those who help this franchise flourish on a daily basis.

In the first edition, we check in with Melanie Curtsinger and Elizabeth Brett, two key members of the Magicís Communications Department.

Curtsinger and Brettís primary responsibilities include generating publicity for all of the Magicís on and off the court initiatives, facilitating media arrangements for home games, producing the game program and assisting in the publication of the media guide.

They also help facilitate media interviews and player appearances, serve as a staff writer and copy editor, travel with the team as the PR representative to away games, NBA All-Star, etc, and much more.

The Communications Department serves as the liaison between the media and the team, so they are fortunate enough to work with the players and coaches on a daily basis during the season.


1) What has been your most memorable experience since you started working for the Magic?

RESPONSE

Curtsinger
There have been SO many memorable experiences Iíve had with this team in the 5+ years I have been here full-time, but the one that sticks out the most is just the entire 2009 NBA Playoffs. Winning the Eastern Conference Finals and beating the Cavs was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I remember being down on the court right behind the team while Commissioner Stern gave our team the Eastern Conference Finals trophy Ė the amount of pride in that building, and seeing firsthand everyoneís hard work paying off was just amazing. The days that followed were equally unforgettable, from flying out to LA with the entire Magic staff to watch Game 2 of The Finals to hosting three games back here in Orlando Ė the electricity around the entire city of Orlando was unparalleled and itís something I hope to experience again with this team soon!

Brett
Two memories really stick out when I ask myself that question:

The first occurred during the 2010 playoffs while I was a Magic intern for the communications department. It was Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals and we were in a must-win situation against the Boston Celtics. It was such a dominating and powerful victory and I never felt my blood pumping so hard. I felt like I could go out on the court and play myself! The momentum was in our favor in what turned out to be the final game in the historic Amway Arena.

The other great moment was the entire experience working the 2011 NBA All-Star game in Los Angeles. I had just become a full-time Magic employee and it was a huge welcome into my new world. The trip consisted of working up to 21 hours a day, getting almost no sleep, running from here to there and back again, piling up experience after experience, all while having the time of my life. I was involved with every single event during that weekend and had the opportunity to work with all the All-Stars as opposed to just the Magic players, which is what my normal Magic duties consist of. Seeing all of their personalities was an experience in itself! Those were two experiences I will never forget for the rest of my life!




2) What is the best aspect about working for the Magic?

RESPONSE

Curtsinger
This organization is top-notch; we have the best ownership in all of professional sports, and I can truly say, from top to bottom, we are a family here. I love coming to work every day and getting to watch basketball, talk basketball, write about basketball, etc. At the end of the day, there will always be ups and downs on the basketball court, but one thing that never changes is the pride that I have working for this organization. Maybe itís clichť, but it is true that if you really do love what youíre doing, you never have to work a day in your life!

Brett
When my boss asked me the other day how was I liking working full-time for our organization (itís been a little over nine months now after my year-and-a-half stint as an intern), I smiled, thought for a second and tried to get my message across to him the clearest way I knew how. I told him that I couldnít be any happier, I loved my job and I felt like I was going to summer camp every single day while somehow getting compensated for it! Donít get me wrong, this job is no vacation. There is a lot of hard work and A LOT of time that goes in to my job. In fact, I am here so much during the season, maybe that is why it feels like summer camp! What I meant by my comment was that while we are putting in the long hours, working holidays and weekends, we are working for such a wonderful organization in such a fun and caring environment. There are always contests and fun activities going on and I feel like I have a second family here with the Magic.

I love my organization, owners, my coworkers and my department. We all truly feel that we are on the same team. Point me to any other job where you arrive at work at 9:00 a.m., work nonstop all day and all night and then leave at 1:00 a.m., (16 hours later) with a smile on your face, ready and excited to do it all over again. Iíd be thoroughly impressed if you could. This job is always thrilling and exciting and in the end, I love basketball (Iíve played competitively my entire life) and my full-time job is basketball!




3) If you could play any sport professionally, what sport would it be and what position would you want to play?

RESPONSE

Curtsinger
Well I would have to say basketball of course, because that has always been my favorite sport and I have played it my entire life. I was always taller than other girls my age, so I was always stuck at the 4 or 5 position, but I see myself as a 3 because Iím a shooter! But if I could pick any other sport to play professionally, it would be between tennis and swimming. I always wanted to be in the Olympics when I was young, and Iíve followed swimming since I was a kid (since the days of Gary Hall, Jr.). Similarly, I grew up watching Wimbledon every summer and always aspired to be like Pete Sampras. I have visited Wimbledon on a tour before, but I still have a life goal of seeing a match there live!

Brett
Being that my dream as a precious yet naÔve young girl was to be the first woman in the NBA, Iíd have to go with that. I would be a deadly shooting guard and, because this is a hypothetical which gives me more room to dream, I would also be one of the best and most dominant dunkers in the league. While we are on the subject, I wouldnít mind being a safety in the NFL either!




4) Growing up, who was your favorite professional athlete?

RESPONSE

Curtsinger
I followed mostly the University of Kentucky growing up, but my favorite professional athlete was Reggie Miller of the Indiana Pacers. I became a big fan of his once I reached my teen years. Heís a shooter like me, and he has one of the most fluid touches I have ever witnessed. I even got my older sister to be a fan of his too, and we bought matching jerseys and made the three-hour drive to Indy to watch him play a couple times. Itís funny that I actually get to work with him some now, and I still get excited whenever I see that heís coming to Orlando to cover one of our games!

Brett
Growing up, I was an avid basketball player. I spent all my time after school and homework shooting hoops, mimicking moves from my favorite players (I developed my fadeaway and jump shot from endless hours of playing NBA Live) and lowering my hoop as I competed in my own slam dunk contests after watching and re-watching all my personally recorded NBA dunk contests via VHS. With all that said, surprisingly I would have to go with Dan ďThe ManĒ Marino. While basketball was and is my life, I also grew up with Miami Dolphin season tickets never missing a game, barring the occasional Monday Night Football Dolphin game confliction with one of my own high school basketball games. I grew up cheering for and watching the best quarterback to ever play the game (I am free and open to any and all debates regarding my previous statement), so choosing him as my favorite athlete was a no-brainer!




5) What advice would you give to others who hope to one day work for a professional sports organization?

RESPONSE

Curtsinger
Never give up! Itís corny, but true. If you have a passion for it, just work as hard as you possibly can to set yourself up for success. Often times to even get a professional sports internship, which is how most people end up working for a professional sports team, you have to have years of experience on your resume already to even get considered!

Once†you figure out what career path you want to go down, volunteer with your collegeís athletics department, do summer internships and network as much as you can to get your name out there. While I do not believe that you have to ďknow someoneĒ to have the chance to work for a professional sports organization, I DO believe you have to be a hard worker and that you have to have a passion for what it is that you are doing. Even though I work for an NBA team, there is still a lot of work that goes into my job, and people tend to forget about that!

Brett
I would say that nothing is impossible. Your dream job can one day be yours as long as you are willing to put a lot of hard work, time and dedication towards reaching that goal. Because sports have been such a huge part of my life from as early on as I can remember, I knew that once I got to college, I had to find some way to be involved outside of being a participant. I walked into the University of Floridaís communication department as a freshman, willing to do anything for them to get some experience. I started out as a student volunteer right away and was as involved as they would let me be. Each year, they would give me more responsibility allowing me to grow, learn and gain more experiences. I also volunteered for the Southeastern Conference and other events outside my school.

A lot of people who reach out to me for advice are about to graduate college and want to know how they can get into the sports industry with no prior experience. It is such a challenge at that point to start from scratch and my biggest piece of advice is to get as involved with your schoolís or communityís sports organizations as you can, even if at first you donít receive the most glamorous assignments. Volunteer as much as you can and complete as many internship experiences as you can so by the time you graduate and are ready to look, you already have tons of experience on your resume. And at the same time, you have developed quite a network of people from all your experiences who can end up helping connect you to the right people in order for you to take that next step. Experience is key and the earlier you can start, the better!!!!