BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION, Texas (FOX 44) – There are two things that make Paige Zizka stand out among her coworkers in the Texas Rangers front office – the bright pink blazer she wears on the field, and her use of the word “howdy.”
Zizka is an intern in the promotions department at Arlington’s Globe Life Field, and is one of a handful of Aggies helping to manage the World Series-bound team. She wants to everyone to know it.
“I answer every email, every text message, every phone call with ‘Howdy.’ That’s the biggest thing I’ve taken from A&M … and I brought that to the Rangers,” she said. “I don’t care how important the email is, I don’t care if we’re on the biggest world stage, I will always say ‘howdy.’”
Zizka is a sports management senior and long-time student worker for Texas A&M Athletics. She has been with the Rangers since March, managing fan engagement opportunities such as prize giveaways and the Jr. Rangers Kids Club and helping coordinate on-field activities like the national anthem and first pitch.
“Anything and everything that goes on during that game that isn’t the actual playing or coaching, that’s what we’re in charge of,” Zizka said. “Most recently for the postseason, I directed giant flags coming out onto the field, an honor guard coming out to center field, and I’m standing right there in the middle, running all of it.”
As the Rangers head to their first World Series appearance since 2011, Zizka is getting ready to finish her internship on a major high note – helping put on one of the biggest events in all of sports. She still remembers how she felt on Monday, when her team defeated the Astros to secure its spot in the championship.
“I was sitting in my living room in College Station when we won the ALCS. My roommate’s boyfriend is a big Rangers fan, and the rest of my roommates are Astros fans, so we were all on the edge of our seats,” she recalls. “After the game, I ran out into the street, we did a champagne shower, and I said, ‘OK, let’s get to work.’”
Despite her newfound enthusiasm for pro baseball, Zizka says she’s always been a football fan at heart. Growing up in Katy, Texas, she became interested in an athletics career after covering sports for her student news team, following the school’s football squad all the way to the state semi-finals.
She already had her sights set on A&M, where she planned to major in business. But after an exciting season supporting her team from the sidelines, she decided to study sports management instead.
“A&M has one of the best sports management programs in the U.S., so I was like, ‘OK, this is the perfect place for me,’” Zizka said.
As soon as she got to campus, she got to work, taking a job with the athletic facilities team, helping with upkeep and operations at Kyle Field and other Aggie sports venues. An athlete in her own right, Zizka also joined the A&M cycling team, which she led to a national championship just last year.
On top of all that, she still found time to complete internships and build relationships with a network of sports managers across the state.
After a chance interaction on social media with a senior member of the Rangers’ management, Zizka ended up sending over her resume, landing a gig with the team soon after. Since then, she’s been traveling back and forth from College Station to Arlington, making the most of the unexpected opportunity.
Eight months later, as Zizka wraps up her internship and prepares for the next chapter of her career, she hopes she can set an example for younger students, showing aspiring sports management majors just how much they can do with the degree.
For now, Zizka is focused on doing everything she can to support her team, as the Rangers attempt to pick up their first World Series title. The whole organization will be under a lot of eyes and a lot of pressure — but Zizka says that’s exactly what drew her to this career in the first place.
“Last night I drove straight from College Station to the stadium, and seeing ‘World Series’ painted on the field, there’s no other feeling like it,” she said. “I love this kind of stuff. I love the big moments, the high stakes. Everything I’ve done in my past — pressure washing Kyle Field, folding tablecloths, all the little stuff — this makes it all worth it.”