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FortKnightley: The Opportunity of Sport

Felsted’s Director of Sport Blog ‘FortKnightley’ looks at sporting issues that are relevant today and will leave you all with something to think about. Follow on Twitter @dirfelstedsport 

The Opportunity of Sport

‘You're not going to achieve anything if all you want to focus on is sport’. These very words have ultimately driven me personally now for many years and in some ways possibly haunted and challenged me more than I have appreciated. As a young man back in 1986 I no doubt gave the impression that being a professional footballer was more important than the trigonometry homework that had potentially not been given the attention it deserved or certainly required. However, this comment suggested that sport wasn’t really important and it made me extremely determined to prove to the doubters, if indeed they really were doubters, that opportunity existed in sport. 

The opportunity of sport certainly existed back in the 80’s and it could be argued in many ways the real opportunity of sport has always existed. We can explore how the globalisation of society has opened doors that never existed, but that would be to ignore the opportunities sport has always provided. Is the real value of sport the people you meet on your journey, the friendships, the learning to win and lose, the challenge against others, the elements, yourself, the ecstasy and the devastation? The opportunity to be physically and mentally tested each time you train or play is equally true for amateur and professional sportsmen and women and is certainly an area missed by those who hang their boots up. 

So is the opportunity of sport that lured me in all those years ago the same today in this ever shrinking world? In the current climate I feel that we will really see what sports brings a community, region, nation and world, as taking something away tends to highlight the value of something. It certainly seems a more viable option to make a career out of sport today than 35 years ago with so many sports now professional and offering great riches as well as great opportunities. 

The less well financed sports also, if successful, can receive Sport England funding for athletes. However, the risk and reward is also greater than ever with more chasing the dream and as a result more missing out. That said, if you have to make it does this fear of failure act as the key driver to success? (This might be a topic for another blog) If you can, you can benefit from a backup plan as careers in sport are getting shorter rather than longer in most cases. It is this back up plan that has also opened doors for many with the sporting industry bigger than ever and the avenues open to be involved in sport plentiful. 

Whether you follow the traditional teaching and coaching route or the less conventional entrepreneurial routes of business or now the saturated on-line fitness industry the opportunities are plentiful and very often exciting. 

Whether playing or pursuing an alternative career in sport it can certainly be argued that sport offers many opportunities. So gone are the days where you can be accused of dreaming about a career in sport as, whether playing or following one of the many other routes to stay in touch with sport as a career, this career can certainly exist. This is not to say that a sound knowledge of trigonometry will be a disadvantage!  

Charlie Knightley
Director of Sport