Although I don’t have an epic story about moving across the country or choosing between being a member of Stretch and a paralegal for a prestigious law firm, I did have an unique path to the gold standard of streaming that is Stretch Internet.
In the early stages of my upbringing I was heavily (and exclusively) involved in three things: playing/ watching unhealthy amounts of sports, acting and performing at local theaters, and impressing girls. I was pretty good at 2 of the 3 (you figure out which two).
So in my attempt to answer the burning question every adolescent is faced with – “What do I want to do with my life?” – I figured I’d try to combine my passions and become a sports broadcaster. I decided to take my talents to Tucson and enrolled at the University of Arizona. While in college, I hosted a sports radio show, did play-by-play for Arizona baseball and football, interned at the local NBC affiliate for three years, and started my own TV show about Arizona Athletics (that was eventually sponsored and shown throughout the campus). By the time graduation rolled around I was riding high. I was ready for the real world and convinced I was going to be co-hosting Sportscenter (and yes I did have a list of about 25 catch phrases ready for any highlight thrown my way).
Needless to say, I wasn’t called by Bristol and after three months of Xbox, I finally had a job offer from FOX Sports Arizona to work as a production assistant. It wasn’t exactly what I was hoping for, but I thought it could be my way into the business.
The job didn’t pay much so I started looking around for other jobs to make some extra money and to keep my roommates (and by roommates, I mean parents) off my back. A family friend of ours kept talking about a sports broadcasting company owned by one of his best friend. I was immediately intrigued and quickly got in touch with Ryan at Stretch Internet, to see what his broadcasting company was all about. Fortunately for me, he was looking for some part time help and asked if I wanted to meet for an interview.
While the job wouldn’t involve any play-by-play opportunities, I wanted to find out more about this “streaming” business, so I decided to meet with Ryan about the possibility of being a part-time broadcast studio technician.
I received an email from Ryan with the Stretch address and he asked me to be there promptly at 9 a.m. I left my house in plenty of time and entered the address he sent into my GPS. I wasn’t paying much attention to where exactly it was taking me, but I was following the soothing computerized voice turn by turn. As soon as the GPS stated, “destination”, I looked up only to see four pieces of wood being held together by rusty nails and an old blue tarp as a roof. This couldn’t be right.
I didn’t know whether to turn around and drive home or somehow knock on the door without collapsing the “building”. I decided to call Ryan and make sure Stretch wasn’t a coverup for a some sort of black market exchange center. I told him I was at the address he gave me and didn’t see any office centers in sight. He re-read the address to me and it was all correct… except for the fact that I was in Phoenix, not Mesa. Awesome.
Ryan told me he would call me in the next couple days to re-schedule. Of course, I did not expect a call back from him since he probably thought I was some directionally challenged kid with an 8th grade reading level. But he must have realized I went to U of A (not ASU) because he did call me back. We were able to have our sit-down interview and I have been working with Stretch for the last 8 months as a part time employee.
In July, I was offered a full-time position here and didn’t hesitate to accept it.
Now that you know my story, my name is Ben Gabrielson. I am a graduate of the University of Arizona, but born and raised a die-hard Nebraska football fan. I can quote every Chris Farley movie ever made and watch as much college football as possible.
I look forward to getting acquainted with all of our clients and helping Stretch Internet further it’s success.