Did I choose Sport or Sport choose Me?

Anyone who has read my bio or my “Train Like a Pro 2016” posts may notice that I’m a Sporty person with an interest in all things activity, fitness and leisure. However things haven’t always been this way…

Many people claim that over a lifetime you experience “lucky breaks” or “perception altering experiences” as a part of fate and steering you towards your true and often better path, providing you are willing to accept it and put the effort in. Up until and including the age of 14 I had been set on pursuing a career as a maintenance engineer or electrician, following in my dad’s footsteps and having a knack for excelling in Physics and Maths (Including taking my Maths GCSE a year early). But in Year 10 or the equivalent of the 9th Grade I was chosen by the school to be part of the Adidas, Adi-Star Young Ambassador Programme alongside two of my schoolmates. Why me? Why choose a Skinny, 8 stone when wet kid who is neither fast nor strong or adept in any particular sport having bounced in more sporting directions than a Rugby Ball? The answers to those questions may never be answered even though I suspect it was due to my current and predicted grades and that I had been better at the mental side of sport. However it was only after a lot of deliberation that I decided to take the school up on the offer as being a Lazy-Nerdy child with an allergy to summer grass I could think of better ways to spend a couple of my school holiday days.

With the course I became qualified as a Sport’s leader and umpire/referee in a variety of sports, given the responsibility of helping to run local and county Primary School Sport Events such as the Sainsbury’s Summer School Games, meeting many high profile Sporting Figures…still not enough to convert me towards a life in Sport. It was at this point that I became interested and invested in the Football Manager games (Including Premier Manager and Championship Manager), which made being a Premier League Coach or Manager be a very realistic career choice, at least an attractive choice in theory with the opportunity to just take a few coaching courses and maintaining my interest in Football Tactics delusionally being enough to get to that goal.

Over the following year I had been nominated as captain of my school’s house for Sport’s Day and the year long House Cup competition. Within PE lessons I became a go to guy for leading teams to victory despite theoretically having the weaker team’s, if I could do it here, I could do it anywhere, surely? That Sport’s Day has gone down as historic with my House not winning the competition for seven years, finally storming to a tense one point victory over the house captained by my best sporting friend… and not only did we win it that year, we won it the two years after with such dominant displays that the house was disbanded at the start of this school year. Following my GCSE’s that summer, the sporting friend and I worked as PE teachers for 6 weeks, teaching my own lessons, sorting equipment and having a friendly relationship with my fellow students, this opened up another window of opportunity for a future career in sport.

The first year of Sixth Form, a slow year for sport at the school with only two real large events, both coming at the end of the period with a continuation of the AdiStars programme all the way through. The first major event came in the form of the AdiStars national conference with six others from my school, meeting even more illustrious sporting figures and winning two of the three competitions between the attending schools. The second, possibly the greatest practical achievement of my sporting life came as the head of creating, running and captaining the school at the Sixth Form Olympics; creating a time table of 27 events over four different events over one day with four schools competing with around 200 students attending. I hand-picked each squad for each event, even competing myself in the Volleyball and Badminton where we came 1st and 3rd respectively. In the time I wasn’t playing I was officiating as well as mingling with various teachers from the other schools, motivating and supporting all of my schools’ participants. Everything had culminated in a perfect assembly, we had won, with a record amount of points and point margin with the school able to be crowned champions with 6 events remaining, the joy of receiving that trophy with my best friend in front of everybody is never likely to be beaten.

At this point in school life I had to begin choosing where to go to University and consider my other post 18 options, then I only had two ideas in mind; study Football Studies at Southampton Solent University or Nutrition at the University of Kent. But once again life served me a curve ball…literally as at a University Fair, my mates and I spotted that people had been given miniature footballs and as sports nuts unable to resist playing around we found where these footballs and in order to get one we needed to register our interest in joining a university around a 300th of the size of all the others with only 100 students in each year of study. Back then it sounded preposterous and minute but after the information they had sent me, the prospect of studying Sports Business from industry experts within the confines of a Premier League Football Stadium…later forming the University which I now call home.

The final year of Sixth Form I had been placed in another position of power as Head Boy as well as being in control of student sport following the successes of the Sixth Form Olympics. However with it being an academic based year the only opportunities for sporting competition were to captain the school’s Volleyball and Rugby Seven’s sides to wins in a couple of competitions, completing my record of being unbeaten in any competition where I have been captain another item which will never be broken.

That brings me to where I am now. Sports Business and Coaching student at UCFB Burnley, coaching young coaches in the local area, running a weekly football tournament as University Intramural Sport President (In control of all sport contested within the University) and as of the next academic year I will be in complete control of establishing and running the University’s Rugby Union team as Chairman, Coach, Marketeer and Player combined. Today I secured a placement at a second tier Rugby Union team for the summer within their Marketing teams as they attempt to improve upon their already profitable venture.

With this, who knows where life shall take me. As for the other two who started the AdiStars journey with me four and a half years ago; one is now a semi-proffessional footballer who works at a Sport’s Centre, my sporting best friend is a highly qualified football referee studying PE Teaching at Liverpool John Moores.

 

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