Tue 28 January
From a hotel room in Hull to the tunnel at Wembley Stadium - being part of Team 13 has been an experience to remember! My name's Ben Thompson and RLWC2013.com has asked me to document my journey as a Volunteer for Rugby League World Cup 2013.
I started my volunteering journey well over a year before the tournament began. I knew the tournament was well on the way, and through social media heard they were looking for volunteers. As an avid Rugby League fan, I was eager to get involved in any way.
I’d have been delighted to have done anything. I’m sitting here right now with my girlfriend and she is trying to name “rubbish jobs” I could have done, and I would seriously have done them all. Pumping up the balls? YES! Cutting the grass? ABSOLUTELY! Litter picking? If that’s Cameron Smith’s bag of cheese and onion then great!
The organisers later published a list of all the roles available (none of the above made the list unfortunately) and one really caught my eye - Social Media Journalist.
Immediately I submitted my application and soon had an interview set up at a swanky hotel in Hull.
I really wanted to impress. I wanted the chance to live blog & live tweet games from the press boxes, at games involving the best players in the world, the chance to go along to post match interviews and press conferences, and the chance to see how the media and journalists work on a matchday.
Luckily that interview went well and a few weeks later a role as Social Media Journalist was mine.
I couldn’t wait to get started, meet other volunteers, find out what I’d be doing and what games I’d be working on. And when I did find out what games I would be working on - what excitement!
Games involving England, France, PNG and Tonga to name a few, but the one on the list that stood out was the Semi-Final double header at Wembley Stadium.
That day would provide a fitting finale to my experience, but so much happened before then.
I first got a taste of what to expect when I was asked to help out as a Social Media Journalist at the Super League Magic Weekend.
I was lucky enough to be able to live tweet the Hull derby on the first day, a match packed with controversy which was a real eye opener - as was the post match press conference I attended later! Heated is a gentle way of describing it.
Next, the prospect of helping out at RLWC2013 got real. The induction event was where I first met others who would also be volunteering.
If you attended any of the matches at RLWC2013, you will know how incredibly friendly, happy and helpful members of Team 13 were. And it’s infectious, let me tell you.
Everyone I met that day couldn’t wait for the event to start, and the best thing was the fact there were so many different people from so many different backgrounds.
I was chatting to one fellow Team 13 member who was just as excited as me at the prospect of rubbing shoulders with the superstars of the game, and next to a lady who had never been to a game of Rugby League in her life! But she was just as thrilled to be at the upcoming games after volunteering at the London Olympics.
After that day it became apparent that RLWC2013 was coming - and coming soon - especially as we picked up our rather stylish electric green polo shirts and bright blue hoodies. If we were going to volunteer, we were going to do it in style!
The next time I put that dashing uniform on was it was for my very first shift.
Find out how I got on in Part 2...