Announcer, Pitcher, Backstage Pass: What you need to turn sports into a career

It started with a game of catch.

“I was thinking, ‘Why can't I just do this during a game?’ I had played on the club baseball team at Bradley. I wasn't a star or anything, but I was always an above average pitcher.”

Senior sports communication major Skye Gillespie is no stranger to the thrilling roar of a crowd of superfans. Still, he felt as surprised as anybody when they let him leave the announcer’s booth to man the pitcher’s mound.

“Everything's all about having fun,” Gillespie said of his time working with Georgia’s semi-pro Macon Bacon baseball team. “What's more fun than having your announcer go out and pitch an inning to a sold-out crowd?”

But his brainchild would take a substantial amount of clever convincing to get past his higher-ups. However, having already leveraged his way across the country and into the announcer’s booth with his response to their online ad, he was confident.

“Sometimes you just have to talk things into happening,” Gillespie said.

Crediting those who bought into his communication style, Gillespie is proud to be a student at an institution that understands what he’s about.

“I just have a very unique personality. And Bradley kind of bought into that personality and they helped me grow.”

But Gillespie is far from done with growing. Instead, he’s thrilled for the brand new wave of experiences he’ll have through Bradley University’s Hollywood semester.

“This has been, I'll say, a surreal semester,” Gillespie said. “Bradley is only about an hour away from my hometown, so on the weekends, I'd usually go home and hang out with my family because I'd always get homesick.

“And then all of a sudden, I'm packing my bags, heading to Georgia, then the season ends, and I have one week back in Illinois before I have to drive out to Los Angeles.”

One 29-hour drive later, Gillespie headed into Tinseltown and secured his internship requirement at Fox Studios.

“Coming from Le Roy, Ill., there are only 3,600 people in that little farm town of mine. And then I'm walking into the Fox Studios and I'm walking past guys like Michael Vick and Rob Gronkowski – a lot of these big names that were my role models growing up.

“And it's just such a different atmosphere out here in Hollywood and the Hollywood semester, it provides you with so many opportunities you never thought you'd have.”

— Jenevieve Rowley-Davis