Love Sports, But Can’t Play? How You Can Get Involved
Most people have at least one sport that they love — whether it’s football, soccer, basketball, or even the growing e-sports. Sometimes, you can’t play the sport you love for one or a number of reasons. Whether it’s fitness, health, or availability, there can be some insurmountable barriers to physically playing the sport. That doesn’t mean you can’t get involved, however. There are actually a few ways you can be active in sports outside of physically playing!
Volunteering at Games
Perhaps the easiest way to get involved with local sports is to volunteer during local games. Many schools need help to make gamedays run smoothly, opening up many opportunities for you to get involved. One advantage, especially for busy seniors out there, is that most of these only require a time commitment of a few hours on gameday. At the same time, you’ll be out of the house, on your feet, and playing one of many vital roles to ensure that student-athletes can play the sport they love.
Many schools need help to make gamedays run smoothly, opening up many opportunities for you to get involved.
The volunteer role you take on can vary depending on the school’s need, time commitment, and your abilities. For example, if you’re a retired police officer, working gate security for the high school football games, collecting tickets and keeping things under control, may fit you like a glove. That’s not to say you need criminal justice experience to work the gate, though! Another popular volunteer option is running the concessions stand. Usually, you don’t need exquisite culinary skills to help out. If you can handle money and be a friendly face, that’s usually enough. Some communities like to flex their cooking muscles by having a potluck, where everyone provides a specialty.
If you’re healthy enough to keep up with the players (to a certain degree) and know the rules of the game like the back of your hand, you could give refereeing a try. By refereeing, you’re taking one of the most important jobs in any game and keeping the match under control and safe for the players. When volunteering to become a referee, it helps to have some experience with the sport. Many sports have certifications for referees to show that they have the proper amount of knowledge to uphold the rules of the game.
By refereeing, you’re taking one of the most important jobs in any game and keeping the match under control and safe for the players.
There are two important factors to note for anyone interested in this option. First, you’ll want to have thick skin. Think of all the times you or someone you know has yelled at the ref on TV. While many people are politer in person, you’ll still get the occasional parent or player that has an issue with your call. Be prepared for this. Also, the best refs are those that can keep up with the game, so they can watch for infractions. Make sure you’re fit enough to properly perform your job.
The way you can stay the most active in sports, without actually playing yourself, is to coach. Coaching is an excellent way for you to pass on your love and knowledge of your favorite sport to a new generation of players. While this option is perhaps the most involved and time consuming, it’s probably the most rewarding one, too. As a coach, you’ll be giving vital guidance, not only in the sport, but as a role model to your team. You’ll foster positive attributes like teamwork, sportsmanship, and leadership. Your team will learn lessons from you that’ll stay with them for a lifetime.
While coaching is perhaps the most involved option on this list, it’s probably the most rewarding one, too.
Whatever age or skill level you choose to coach, your help may be sorely needed. In some cases, the need for willing coaches is so strong that teams will take parent-volunteers, even if they’re unqualified or unknowledgeable about the sport. While this is commendable for a parent to volunteer to help their child play, if you’re able to offer guidance and are qualified, you’ll make a much more positive influence on the players.
For this reason, we suggest that, if this is a route you’re interested in taking, you should seek out a coaching certification and educate yourself. This will help you be a better coach and a better mentor, and it’ll help the players become better at their sport. Luckily, no matter what sport you’re coaching, there are always ways to become certified and educate yourself.
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Sports are an excellent way to exercise while having fun. If you’re at an age where they become a bit too exhausting, or you’ve simply decided it’s time to hang up your cleats, you can still get involved with a sport you love. If your doctor says you’re healthy enough to take part, we think it’s an excellent idea! Whatever role you take on, your help is needed and appreciated, and you’ll be supporting the next generation of athletes in your community.