The Appreciation Series: Athletes

While you’ll usually find me highlighting great businesses, today I wanted to take some time to highlight an amazing group of people.

When I was a kid, I played in different organized sports leagues, like hockey or baseball. Typically, the coaches were the dad of someone’s kid and from time to time it was the mother. Often, the parents were just doing it to volunteer and spend time with the kids, and in many cases they didn’t know much about the sport. In general, they were simply there to organize the practices, meetups, etc.

Fast forward about 40 years, and my daughter who is part sporty girl is involved with a number of sports including soccer, volleyball, and track and field. Maybe it’s just good fortune, but in many cases the coaches and organizers are either varsity, Olympic, or professional athletes in those sports. As I’ve gotten to know these coaches over the last few years, I’ve found myself with a newfound respect for their level of commitment and the amount of time, effort, and money they put into training to get to the elite level they are at.

While there are professional athletes in dozens of sports, unfortunately there are only a small number of sports where professional athletes are able to make a living playing their sport. Too often, athletes have to supplement their passion for sport with another job to pay the bills.

Over time, I’ve had the chance to learn about the way these athletes work and think. From their dedication and pursuit of perfection, getting up before the sun to train, facing long days at the office followed by long days at the sports complex, recovering from injuries and not letting injuries slow down other aspects of their lives, it’s been a real eye opener as to the enormous task athletes face on a day-to-day basis.

As a general suggestion to employers, many of the skills that athletes have learned are certainly transferable to different jobs and careers. Time management, patience, discipline, and self-confidence are only a few of the many skills that most athletes possess.

While athletes may not necessarily have previous experience at a particular job, given all of the other characteristics and assets they can potentially bring to the table, they should without a doubt be considered in the hiring process.

Over many years of being involved with sports, from playing in sports leagues myself, to cheering on my daughter, I’ve come to the conclusion that sports can certainly make you a well-balanced and versatile person.

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