The thing I love most about the sports travel industry isn’t the events themselves, or the people who put them on or close the sale. What I love most about the industry are the grinders. The ones who are the boots on the ground, ensuring the event booked plays out as expected. As part of Connect Sports’ advisory councils, I was in Anaheim, Calif., last week and had the chance to sit down with some of the best and brightest within the services side of the industry. Zack Davis (Louisville) and Michelle Haider (Milwaukee) provided fantastic feedback from the services side, one not often given its just due. Matt Robinette (Virginia Beach) was recently promoted to sales, however he said he wouldn’t be able to “give up my events,” thus he’ll still have a hands-on approach. That’s the spirit of the top services reps within CVBs. The events aren’t just a job to them; they own part of them. The event coming off without a hitch – or without hitches being seen – is how they define success. We all remember the events we participated in when we were kids. I can vividly remember soccer tournaments from Sioux Falls, S.D., to Tampa, Fla. What I can’t remember is seeing the hustle and hard work exuded by those on the services side of my tournaments. I had no clue it was a big deal to get my team to that event. I just knew I loved them. That’s the beauty of the services members of CVBs. Just like a referee, they’re best when you don’t notice them. In this industry, the sales people are often most celebrated; heads in beds still reigns supreme. However those on the inside know full well what it means when an event is executed to perfection. They get their forklift license to help save rights holders money, as Robinette does. They put the fires out without the athletes noticing, even when there are seemingly endless flames. So the next time you’re at an event, or you close the sale of a big tournament and your bosses are calling you a rock star, remember the only way the event is truly a success is if the services team is up to snuff. As Robinette said, the event coming back to his community is a direct result of how well he does his job. The pressure is there, as should be the gratitude.