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Humans of Oxford | Erin Umek: Captain of concessions

By Kevin Vestal, For The Miami Student

It's game day and Erin Umek is ready for battle. Two hours before the football team takes the field, Erin walks down the hill to Yager Stadium, flashes her lanyard at the gate and signs in at production.

While Erin was in high school marching band, her mother worked concession stands to pay for uniforms and fees. Now, in her senior year at Miami, it's Erin's turn to take charge.

Donning a stylish red apron, Erin divides money between four cash registers. Meanwhile, the rest of the concession staff trickles in, reporting for duty. Popcorn must be boxed and the soft pretzels aren't going to salt themselves.

Erin's ragtag army consists of Men's Glee Club and Collegiate Chorale members. As Chorale's president, it is Erin's job to recruit enough members before games. The faces may change each week, but Erin always makes sure things run smoothly.

She adopts a Russian accent as she greets some of the late arrivals. With setup complete, Erin assigns her crew to their battle stations as the concession stand's metal doors roll open and a small line begins to form.

"Hi, what can I get for you?" Erin asks.

"I'll take a hot dog and … a Gatorade."

"Red or blue?" Erin replies as the girl behind her reaches into the freezer.

Once the customer makes up their mind, Erin hands over their food and change before pointing them in the direction of the red condiment table. Seconds later, another hungry customer asks for nachos and candy.

Between orders, Erin and her crew sing and dance along to Beyoncé and the Backstreet Boys, not so subtly advertising for their upcoming winter concert.

While morale remains high, Erin's supplies are dwindling. Nevertheless, the orders keep coming.

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Just before the halftime rush, reinforcements arrive in the form of hot chocolate and several aluminum trays filled to the brim with hot dogs and pretzels.

At last, the third quarter is over and the concession stand closes its metal windows. The crew takes a break to chow down on leftover food before Erin gives the order to start cleaning up so they can go home.

The football team may not have been victorious today, but Erin earned a solid commission that will come in handy when her choir goes on tour in May.

In the meantime, Erin returns to her apartment to lay down on the floor and enjoy a cup of tea, a relaxing contrast from the craziness at Yager Stadium.