By Andrew Ramspacher, firstname.lastname@example.org
At first, Jared Conners thought about making it work. He went as far as scheduling a flight for right after the game, allowing him enough time to return to the office on ample sleep.
“But then,” Conners said, “I was like, ‘Wait a second, what am I doing? I of course have to stay for the celebration.’”
Conners was an All-American lacrosse player for the University of Virginia who continues to play the sport on a professional level. On Sept. 24 in suburban Philadelphia, he, along with former Cavalier teammate Matt Moore, helped lead the Archers Lacrosse Club to the Premier Lacrosse League championship.
The post-game antics were typical of any pro team that had just won a title. The Archers mobbed each other, were presented a trophy and then sparked a night-long party by popping bottles of champagne.
But unlike what you might see following an NBA or NFL championship, the festivities came to a close after just one jubilant evening. No parade, no White House visit.
In fact, Conners, after delaying his flight out of Philly, was at his day job in Boston by 8 o’clock the next morning.
“I got probably like an hour and a half to two hours of sleep,” he said.
It’s the blessing and curse of holding down two enjoyable jobs at the same time.
Conners, who has UVA degrees in both Psychology (bachelor’s) and Commerce (master’s from the McIntire School of Commerce), is on the securitized product sales team at Barclays. Moore, who has degrees in both international relations (bachelor’s) and public policy (master’s from the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy), is a Pricing Analyst for Northrop Grumman in Baltimore.
Prominent members of national championship teams at Virginia, the pair of 25-year-olds were also first-round picks by the Archers in recent league drafts.
They now get paid to play the sport they’ve loved since they were kids – but at a modest $30,000 salary. Boosted by their UVA pedigrees, however, they’re both able to have gainful employment elsewhere.
“I don’t want to sound corny,” Conners said, “but going to UVA really transformed my life and set my life on a great trajectory.”
No matter how busy that life gets.
The Premier Lacrosse League, regarded as the world’s best pro lacrosse league and home to many former Hoos, is uniquely structured. Though this is changing next year, the league has operated with none of its eight teams being attached to a particular city. The teams instead have gone on summer weekend tours throughout the United States, playing each other as part of quadruple-headers in cities as far east as Fairfield, CT, and as far west as Seattle.
For the Archers this season, it was a 14-week schedule that began in Albany, NY, on June 3 and ended last month in Chester, PA.
In between all that travel and all those games, Conners and Moore, like others in the PLL, managed to keep a steady day gig.
“It’s definitely tricky,” Conners said. “It’s tough. I don’t want to create any negativity by trying to balance both jobs, so communication is a huge part in laying out my schedule for my Barclays job before the season starts. It was like, ‘Hey, these are the days I’m going to be traveling. Here’s my setup.’”
Aside from a preseason, league-wide training camp in Albany, teams only practice with each other once a week, usually the Friday before a game. The nature of Conners’ Barclays job, however, requires him to be available on all business days.
“So I get into the city we’re playing in Thursday night, and I work remote Friday during the day,” Conners said. “But at some points, I either have to step off the desk and join a team practice or film session. And at other points, I have to tell the coach I can’t join the practice because I’m in the middle of some stuff with work.
“It’s really finding that balance with each side. It’s a continuous pulse-check of how everybody’s doing.”
During the week, Conners and Moore typically get in their eight-hour workday and then head to a field or a gym to stay in shape for their upcoming weekend tasks.
Moore, who left UVA as the lacrosse program’s all-time points leader and is now a two-time PLL all-star, says the grind is similar to his student-athlete experience on Grounds. He’s been well-prepared for a demanding schedule.
“It reminds me of college because you don’t have time to mess around and be lazy,” Moore said. “UVA taught me so much about time-management skills. I’m not rattled by what I’m doing. Performing under pressure is what I’m used to.
“People at work ask, ‘How do you do this?’ And I just tell them, ‘I did it for five years [at UVA]. It’s all I know.’”
When Conners clocked in at Barclays on the morning after winning the PLL championship, he was delighted to not only receive applause from his colleagues, but to sense their gratitude for his effort to make it back so soon after the celebration.
They watched him win on national television the day before. Now, they were seeing him back helping his other team.
“That was the reaction I was hoping for, because I wanted to show that I take this job very seriously,” Conners said, “and I can continue to balance lacrosse with this very professional setting here at Barclays.”