Kaylee Golden was ready to go bat in her third year as director of marketing and community relations for the Quad City River Bandits.
She spent nearly every waking moment since the end of last year’s season planning for the 2020 season.
Then she got thrown a curve ball in May, falling victim of the many layoffs that hit the sports industry hard at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
The announcement came out of left field.
“Our ownership group when this whole thing happened had been reiterating there wouldn’t be layoffs, etc, etc.,” she said. “When it happened, it was very, very unexpected. It hit me like a ton of bricks.
“I had seen a lot of people in the sports industry lose their job. I’m 100 percent not alone in the sports industry or country, obviously. But it was still kind of a hard thing to accept.”
Golden, a 2014 Hall High School grad, hurt for all the people in minor league baseball, especially with the contraction talks that could lead to the elimination of many teams.
“This could have been their last season and they didn’t get that goodbye like they were hoping they would," she said.
Golden has returned home to Hollowayville to regroup and weigh her options, waiting for that next Golden opportunity. With a degree in communications and marketing from St. Ambrose University, she would like to stay in the sports industry, but knows that won’t come easy.
“I don’t think the sports industry will even be hiring, for at least a year or longer,” said Golden, who interned with the River Bandits the summer before her senior year at St. Ambrose. “It even got worse this past week with Minor League Baseball cancelling its season and another wave of layoffs.
“I think it will get worse before it gets better. You know, I’ll see what I can find from there. If I don’t get back in that world, I enjoyed my time in it. Down the road, it would still be something I’d be interested in doing.”
The job with the River Bandits was a lot of fun, she said, while it lasted.
“It was a ridiculous amount of hours, but I enjoyed it a lot,” she said. “This season would have been kind of redemption season after we had the flood of last year and lost quarter of our season or more. It hit the team hard, because we lost so much revenue last year.
“But it was fun. I wouldn’t change anything. Obviously I would still love to have my job. At the end of the day, it was a great experience and I learned a lot.”
Golden has almost gone through withdrawals having put so much time in to her job.
“Losing your job is something no one ever teaches you about,” she said. “I did all the social media stuff, so there’s no such thing as a day off. It’s like your whole life revolves around it and to have to change that so quickly was kind of hard. So it’s kind of a muscle memory I’m still trying to break.
"You never know how to handle that kind of stuff, but it’s a learning experience. And I think it helps you grow.”
Golden has found her new puppy, Jo Jo, an 11-week-old chocolate female lab, to be a nice therapy dog.
“She definitely helps. She keeps me busy,” said Golden, who is lined up to return to Hall as an assistant volleyball coach this fall under new head coach Darcy Earley, her former teacher and coach.
Kevin Hieronymus is the BCR Sports Editor. Contact him at email@example.com.