Alyssa Otis and the Boston Celtics. A Torrington to Beantown story of success.
BOSTON: As she delivered a family pack of tickets to a happy group that included a couple of kids, the magnitude of what she was doing hit her when several of them asked her for her autograph.
Alyssa Otis, the pride of Torrington, is a young lady who always had her eye on the prize during her years as a three-sport athlete with the Raiders, was handing out those tickets as a member of the Boston Celtics marketing department where she is currently working as an intern during her senior year at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island.
“I couldn’t believe they wanted my autograph,” Otis said, “It made me feel very much part of the team.”
If she had her wish, she would be helping the 2-3 (their current record in the NBA) Celtics in a much different way, the way in which she positioned herself to secure the position itself.
“When I went to interview with the Celtics,” Otis said, “I told them I wanted to be part of their team, the team on the court. I think it got their attention and allowed me to show that I was not afraid of any challenge.”
Not being intimidated by things, no matter how big, has always been part of the Otis mantra.
Her days at Torrington High School were memorable for any who knew her or covered her exploits on whichever field of competition she was involved in.
That included soccer, basketball and track, each of which she exceled in but perhaps her best made have been on the pitch where she haunted Naugatuck Valley League teams with an uncanny ability to find the net from high over her opponents.
One of her head coaches, Mario Longobucco, heaped high praise on his former forward for her ability to find a crossing ball with her head and direct it into the net.
“She was, by far, the best player in the air I have ever had,” Longobucco said, “She just knew how to position herself to maximize her chances of scoring a goal.”
Her ability in the air also led to a scary moment that occurred during her freshman year when she went up for a ball with teammate Sarah Royals and left an unusual souvenir with her friend.
“My tooth broke off during the collision and ended up in Sarah’s head,” Otis said, “It was a very scary moment because there was an awful lot of blood and they had to stop the game.”
Both players were eventually fixed up and the teammates, who have been friends for as long as they can remember, continued to be threats to any team that was unfortunate enough to give up a corner kick to the Raiders.
Royals, who went on to have a tremendous career in college at the University of Albany, had the ability to put her corners directly on net, giving her teammate and friend much to work with in the three years they played together.
Ali has always had a tremendous supporting cast around her for everything she undertakes including mom Laurie and dad Brad along with her older brother Brett.
Pictures and memories from days spent on one of the families favorite places, Martha’s Vineyard are always front and center and have been for years, including back to when Otis and Royals became friends when they were about 6-years old.
“I’ll never forget the time Sarah and I were on the Vineyard with our families,” Otis said, “We were waiting to get onto the Flying Horses ride when I bit Sarah in the arm.”
So the teeth thing started at an early age it seems.
None the less, the duo would team up to create some of the best highlights in three sports during their time together at THS.
On the hardwood, Otis, a lefty, was as relentless as she was around the net when it came to getting goals accomplished.
“Her desire to win is what set her apart,” Raider head coach Mike Fritch Sr. said, “She used her athleticism to excel at everything she did. She never took a day off. She was a strong individual and the kind of athlete every coach wants to have on their team.”
It was commonly known back during her days at THS that Otis was stylish both on and off the court. She would arrange her clothes each morning to match whichever particular nail polish she was going to wear that day.
Her head basketball coach thought that described how his player was able to separate one world from another.
“She worked hard on the court,” Fritch said, “Bu then she would just as hard at being a young lady and she did it very well.”
The Celtics gig is certainly one that made one member of her family especially happy and validated something he had been telling young Ali for years.
“My grandfather (Edward Fedor) had been encouraging me to watch the NBA for the longest time,” Otis said, “He would tell me to take in the game, know the players, know the game. I’m not sure how much of that I did in high school but of late I have come to know the players and how they play very well.”
Her marketing internship, which ends in January, has been nothing short of a thrill for Otis who has taken the bull by the horns and run with it.
Never one to be short on confidence, this opportunity is tailor made for the former Raiders whose smile would always light up a room before, during and after games of any sort.
Her job is not your typical, ‘can I get you a coffee” one within the Boston organization.
Thanks to a very supportive boss named Kara Hutchinson, Otis has been able to shine while watching how the entire operation churns.
“Kara has told me to watch other professionals at work,” Otis said, “And try to model myself after the best qualities I see in each.”
Helping on social media platforms is a natural for this generation and Otis is using her knowledge of those vehicles to insert her ideas into the overall game plan and the reception has been very positive.
“I’m able to give my opinion,” Otis said, “And they value it.”
When she finishes her time with the NBA franchise, Otis will her last semester at Roger Williams and as part of their Strategic Marketing Team, tackle another large task, this one that could land the team on the national stage.
“We have been challenged to come up with a new marketing campaign for the Snapple brand,” Otis said, “Within the highly competitive drink industry, Snapple is looking to re-launch the brand.”
The team will have to come up with a new campaign and if accepted at the first level, will land the school group in Orlando, Florida for the next round of competition.
A win from there and the Rogers and Williams team would witness their ideas launched on a national basis.
Don’t count out any team that has Otis on it to not be right in the thick of things.
Winning breads winning and one thing we know for sure is that this young lady is a born winner.