Why You Should Spend More Time Thinking Life Lessons In Sports


Villanova Athletics

     People participate in sports for various reasons. Some play for just for fun, while others love competition.  No matter why you play, life lessons are learned in each of the situations throughout your playing career. This week’s guest is Marissa Avanzato. Marissa is a Media Relations Intern for the Villanova University Athletics program.  Some of her responsibilities include being the main contact for hockey, tennis, rowing, and secondary to baseball.  She writes stories, updates statistics, and is actively involved with the athletic program’s social media accounts.  I connected with her last week through the #YPSportsChat.

     Marissa played softball in college and has used those life lessons to help her adjust and thrive in her current role at Villanova.  Playing a sport in college is extremely challenging, especially softball. Softball programs typically play over 30 games. You must be proactive with your school work, communicating with your professors on a daily basis. 

  According to a Harvard Business Review article from 2014, (https://hbr.org/2014/10/research-more-than-half-of-female-execs-were-college-athletes) more than 50% of female executives participated in collegiate athletics.  We speak with Marissa about the following . ..  

  • Skills developed playing softball which she uses now
  • Her thoughts on being a female in a male dominated industry
  • Resources she uses to stay current and up to date on topics related to her field


Nick Cipkus: What did you learn from playing softball in college that you have used with you in your current role?

Marissa Avanzato: Playing a sport in college has helped me develop time management skills. I was always on a schedule and on the go. Now working as a Media Relations Intern at Villanova, there’s always work that needs to be done within a specific time frame, including hard deadlines. Playing softball in college has definitely shaped me to be the person I am today. Being on the other side of an athletics program makes it even more enjoyable. I can relate to student-athletes and I want them to achieve just as much as they want to. I know what they are going through and I love to show their successes any way I can.

Nick Cipkus : Why did you choose to work in the sport industry knowing it would be challenging being a woman?

Marissa Avanzato:  I have always been around sports knew I wanted to work in the sports industry. I actually did four years of work study in my athletic department in collegeand it finally hit me my senior year that, “I wanted to stay working in college athletics.” I have a lot to bring to the table with my knowledge of various sports and I think it’s very important to have a female figure in all sports departments. Women can bring a different aspect to the table. I wasn’t concerned about being a female when I first decided to work in the sports industry, I just knew I wanted to make an impact.

Nick Cipkus: What are 2 or 3 resources you use to keep up to date and learn about the sports business?

Marissa Avanzato: I follow various teams, industries and companies on twitter to stay up to date and in the loop. I receive emails from D1 ticker every day, which gives me updated information about intercollegiate athletics. I also read CoSIDA and NCAA news every day to stay in the loop.

      I am fairly certain Marissa is not the only one who has reaped the benefits of playing sports in college. Time management is one of the traits she developed. What did you learn from playing college sports?  We would love to hear your story. 


  • Marissa has been working in sports since she was 16
  • She was a softball pitcher in College 


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