Day in the life of a Sports Officer

I often dread the question “What do you do for a living?”  I’m a doctor, no I’m a lawyer, no I’m an electrician/ engineer/teacher/etc… it’s never quite that simple.  I’m a Sports Officer.

I’ve been working in the Sport Industry for over 10 years and had a variety of titles along the way.  Duty Manager, Program Officer, Sport & Programs Coordinator, Team Leader and now in the U.K my first official role is ‘Sports Officer’.  No matter the title I often get asked what exactly it is I do?  Upon recently attending a live recording of “Roast Battle UK”, I got called up on the stage during a break in order to be made fun of by some of the comedians.  I answered the classic job question with a simple “I work in the Sports Industry”, I figured by giving a vague and unconvoluted answer I would be less open to insults…  Jimmy Carr had other ideas.

This all led me to write up a blog; ‘a day in the life of a Sports Officer’, working at Barn Elms Sports Trust.

The majority of the work as a sports Officer, and in my previous roles for that matter, is administration.  It’s the behind the scenes work that nobody thinks about.  A lot of it is replying to emails with regards to enquiries and bookings.  Pitch Availability, tennis courts, school bookings, athletics etc.  Once these bookings are checked and confirmed there’s a process that we need to go through; save all correspondence and booking forms, add the booking in the system, create an invoice etc.  It’s nothing too strenuous, just time consuming, and needs to be done in a certain way so all the other staff are on the same wave length. The rest of the administration work is based around finances, checking your income and expenses based on the budget and seeing whether you are meeting targets.

The day to day management of the site is the most important aspect, the pitches and courts are the bread and butter of the organisation and without them you don’t have a business.  It’s imperative the pitches are regularly checked and ‘walked over’ to ensure they’re ready for the days actions.  With the wet winters in the U.K, allowing unlimited use would have the pitches ruined within a week.  We need to check where teams and schools can play/train to give certain pitches a rest.

There is then the set-up for the morning and afternoon sessions that take place.  Moving and setting up goals, rolling nets up and down, putting up netball poles, taking down tennis nets and the setting up of change rooms.  We also need to cater for any last minute bookings or pitch requests from schools.

The weekend involves a whole new level of commitment, it’s a day spent out of the office doing the ‘dirty work’ so to speak.  Car Park duty is of utmost important due to limited availability.  We are then out and about checking if teams are training/playing in the correct areas and pitches.  Sweeping up inside and out while also partaking in regularly litter picking and cleaning up.  There is taking payments for bookings and the athletics track while generally liaising with teams and ensuring you’re providing an outstanding level of customer service.  We always get the classic “Why do we need to pay to use the Athletics Track?” Well, why do you need to pay to visit the cinemas?  Or to use any other site?  SHOULDN’T LIFE JUST BE FREE?  The simple answer is there are expenses associated with the track and the site in general.  We charge just £3 per session or you can buy an annual pass, it’s  just a compulsory donation to the trust.

The next level of work is tasks that aren’t done daily, usually just when required.  Marketing and promotion of specific areas of the trust (such as athletics track, cricket nets or tennis courts), looking at ways of adding new business, blogs, dealing with contractors/suppliers, financial management and compliance with Health and Safety regulations (including risk management procedures).  Then there is dealing with the large scale events such as school sports days or major tournaments.

So that’s it, a very basic run down of the work as a Sports Officer.  I don’t work in the sport industry for the recognition, or the pay (what pay?), or getting to work weekends and late nights.  I work in the sport industry because I love it.  Sport brings people together from all walks of life, when children are out on the pitches there’s no racial discrimination or prejudice, just kids having fun!  I get to see first hand the profound and positive impact sport has.  Simple put, it makes people happy.   I grew up playing and watching all types of sport and now as an adult I get to work in the industry that has had the biggest impact on my life.  It’s not always glamorous, but i go home happy and that’s what is most important!



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