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One of the reasons I am in sports

Last year I had the opportunity to be part of an international group of Managers in Sport, participating in a higher level of sports management course. It was one of those moments that I realized that the potential of sports is so high, that it opens doors. Doors which normally are closed based on religious, cultural and political reasons.

During a dinner I sat next to Tere from Costa Rica and Joel from Eritrea. It wasn’t until Joel showed me a military pass stating that he is a soldier, that I got involved in their conversation. I learned that five years after Eritrea got independent, and the war began against Ethiopia, every man in Eritrea was obliged to join the army. Joel told us he was one of the soldiers, but he didn’t answer Tere’s question whether he also killed people.

Tere spoke very negative about the war, and clearly stated to don’t understand why people still own weapons or even start wars. She described her peaceful situation back home and told us that her country doesn’t even have an army.

I expected that Joel would leave the conversation for what it was, but he surprised me by asking Tere with a smile the following question: “How would you feel if your neighbor country started a war, for the simple fact to get access to the harbor and the ocean?”

He explained us the motives behind the war, and got Tere really thinking. She said later that in principal she is against any war, but that she understands now why Joel has fought for his country. We continued talking about sports, and how Eritrea tries to use sport to give the youth some alternative opportunities for the future.

I later realized that if it wasn’t for sports, we wouldn’t have had that dinner and interacted about this topic. I felt fortunate to have been there and especially grateful to be working in sports. I have different reasons that I choose for sports, like helping athletes, and being on a daily basis involved in a healthy and positive environment.

But the secondary reasons were not so obvious when I made this choice. The humanitarian effects of sports, connecting cultures and social development are aspects that make it even more challenging and interesting.

Are you in sports? If so, please share your motives with all of us.


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  1. I am in sports beacuse I am the parent of an athlete. I want to know about everything he does, everything he takes, what makes things like injuries happen, how to get the injuries better I am involve with my son sports life from he was 4years old and he was winning championships. Now he is soon 17 and well look up to in my country.

    My biggest challenge now is for him to get the right treatment when ever an injury occurs.

    Thank you for writing.

  2. 1. i am into sports because i love to teach children/adults the correct way of playing the game and let them acquire an ability useful throughout their life for health, fun, social or competition. i teach/coach swimming and just finished my level 2 swim coach certificate under wsca-pilipinas.

    2. how to convince parents of their role to support their kids and not to meddle as “coach wannabes” or act as “stage parents”. and also, how to convince more kids to join in a healthy sport activity like swimming.

    yours in swimming


  3. Remco

    I have been in sports for many, many years. Indeed I have been around sports as a very small child. My father encouraged us and played with us in the yard, around the house in Gasparillo, South Trinidad.

    At the age of nine I was signed up as a member of the TEXACO Sports Club where my father and all my older brothers were members. As a result I had the opportunity to attend every subsequent edition of the Southern Games, considered at the time the largest and most exciting sports event in the Caribbean. These Games features athletics and cycling and brought together the best in the world as well as local athletes and cyclists.

    I was an athlete at the primary school level then on to the secondary school. I competed in football, cricket, athletics and cycling, represented the school in athletics and football.

    I became interested in sports administration and management in 1980 and has been that way ever since.

    My life in sport has now been some 50 years.

    I have found sport most interesting. Cultures are experienced and we come to the recognition that as separated as we are by water we are very similar in more ways than we are always willing to admit.

    There are issues that however impact our experiences. Sport is a reflection of the world in which we live and nothing can change that.
    While we admire the capacity for sport to facility sharing and cultural exchanges we must admit to the retention of racism in parts of the world impacting sport. We reciognise the discrimination of all sorts, including against women.

    In some instances sport remains an opportunity for some to suggest their dominance over others. Some are anxious to show that size matters even here in our Caribbean where we are all considered small by the rest of the world.

    I believe in the value of sport and its capacity to aid in the building of character. However, I can never lose sight of the fact that the sport arena remains one of the areas where international conflict continues to be staged.



  4. Hi Remco,

    Always been involved in sport (swimming) as athlete and technical official and now administrator…

    Professionally, getting athletes from the Pacific properly prepared for the London 2012 Olympic Games is the biggest challenge right now..


    Dennis Miller
    Executive Director
    Oceania National Olympic Committees

  5. My Dear Remco,

    This is your friend Henry from Tanzania,
    First before I tell why I am in Sports, I would like to congratulate you for your passion for sports management, keep it up it is inspiring. I wish I could contribute more, however, the situation in Tanzania is a bit different in that there are very few sports management professionals in country of 45 million people, so the few of us have to work a lot to support the sports industry, leaving very little time for free writing. I promise wherever possible to drop a line or two.

    Now back, Why am I in sports? To be honest Remco, I don’t have a definite answer, but like you I also tried music when I was at school, played the bass guitar, way a Deejay at college, but all this time sports took the bigger share, Football, Volleyball, Table tennis and Basketball. Of these Football took the biggest share, by then we did not have the Premier league, the highest was the first Division. (Reason why my MEMOS project was on Football). I went to a medical School to study Pharmacy, and Football followed me,as captain of the college football team, and even now football keeps being a part of me, I guess I am in sports because we are inseparable.

    Cheers and best wishes.
    Keep in touch

    your friend

  6. Dear Remco,

    Why am I in sports?

    Sports is for me a passion…it’s in me and i in it…

    …I started doing what i’m still doing (sport admin) for no pay back in 1991 before joining the NOC ten years later…even if i no longer work for sports, i will still be doing it for no pay…

    Biggest challenge at this moment?

    Completing the country’s first MEMOS Project…which i believe will cause a “national awakening in favour of sports as a tool for nation-building”…

    • You know where to find me, If you need any help with MEMOS

  7. I am a owner of a team and I am a coach. My biggest hurdle right now being in Canada is having skateboarding looked upond as a sport. I have set up teams in a# of schools so they can compete. I am the first national team for Canada. So I am passionate and love the sport and want it seen in a positive light!

    Thanks for your interest


  8. Dear Remco,

    I have been a sportsperson and have represented my State and University in various All India Cricket tournaments across India. I was also elected by peers as Sports President of Patna College during my under graduate days. So, sports have always been part of me. After hanging up my boots due to injury in 2001, I have worked in different business verticals in the last 10 years. Over the years I have gained experience in Retail Operations, Strategic Business Planning and Execution Management and Product and Concept Marketing experiences.

    In 2011, I decided to come back sports and contribute my part in Sports Development. I am grateful to sports for making me a confident professional with a positive attitude towards my work and team. I have written a small description; please check the link in my blog with tile:”What Sports Has Taught Me”: http://devjeetc.blogspot.com/2011/12/what-sports-has-taught-me.html

    In August 2011 I joined a sports company SEDIL, at that moment I was working in Bank as Branch Manager. At present I am working as Marketing Services Manager at Sports Education Development India Limited, a sports company. I am responsible Marketing & Communications; and Strategic Business Development and Partnerships for my company.

    Now, it is going to Sports and Sports all the way. I want work where my heart is.

    • Hi Devjeet, thank you for visiting.
      You’re website also seems very interesting to follow.

  9. I read your article, which is very interesting. I particularly like your statement “that the potential of sports is so high, that it opens doors. Doors which normally are closed based on religious, cultural and political reasons”. You are absolutely correct as if it was not for sport, we probably will not be communicating and sharing our experiences.

    I am a sports volunteer since the beginning of 1971. I was an athlete, participating in all sports at school and university level. My best sport was Water Polo in which I represented my country, Malaysia, at the 1965, 67 and 69 Southeast Asian Games and the 1970 Asian Games.
    I became an elected volunteer official of the Swimming Association. I was also involved in the Olympic Council of Malaysia as an volunteer and since 1978. I retired from my job with the Government in December 1990. Since November 1992, I was the elected Honorary Secretary of the Olympic Council of Malaysia, which is what I am doing as a full-time volunteer, with no salary or allowance.

    Why and how I got involved with sports management? The main reason is that when I was an athlete, many volunteers provided opportunities and contributed to my participation in sport in general and in Water Polo in particular. Without their voluntary contributions, I would not be where I am today. Thus, when I retired from active sport participation at international level, it was natural and fair for me to contribute back to the next generation, what the earlier generation had contributed to me. This system of one generation contributing to the next generation, like a form of relay, is and should be way how sport should be developed. Voluntary, passionate and dedicated involvement, for fun, friendship, unity, understanding, fair play, challenging oneself, etc.

    My biggest challenge is to set an example to other retired athletes to volunteer their time and services for sports development, especially to the youths of my country. With the world becoming more mercenary and commercial, and life being more hectic and time consuming, and the over emphasis and concentration on elite sport and elite athletes, general sports participation at grass-root level has been slowly reduced. Hence we have to work harder to convince and persuade the public at large, families and youths to participate in sport for their love for sport, the fun and the friends they meet.

    Best regards,
    Sieh Kok Chi

    • Thanks for you comment. You have quite some sport experience, and I like the fact that you are not trying to motivate the younger ones.

  10. I attended the first course on sports administration in 1990. I cannot remember how I got know about it. Between then and 2001 I had some sport leadership responsibilities including that of being a coach or administrator. Then in 2001, I was invited to training to be a national course instructor and have been one since.

    During my involvement in sport, one thing has always troubled me. The one thing that has troubled me is the way the various sporting bodies have always transacted their business. I have felt that sport governance displaced by these bodies could improve. This becomes clear when one listens to stories of infighting among the board members, board members and athletes.

    Most of the fights of board members impact negatively on the athletes and many eventually leave sport. These fights at closer inspection are due to lack of sport leadership skills.

    These observations have kept me interested in getting involved with sport with the hope to positively influence the way sport is run.

    My biggest challenge is that I depend on my NOC to conduct sport leadership courses. If the NOC board deems fit to run the courses they are run if the board feels otherwise courses may not run. If and when the courses are made available for sport bodies, the popular sport bodies (football, athletics and others) consistently send to these courses junior people who are not themselves elected board members. This makes it difficult for these individuals to effect change in the organisations they represent because they are not board members.

    I am hopeful that things will change for the better these notwithstanding.

    Good morning.

    • Dear Mpholo,

      I really feel where you are coming from. Good Governance is not always practiced in sport organizations, and when there are courses organized, many times, the sitting officials should participate. Instead, they send junior, who don’t have any influence in changing sports.

      Thank you for commenting

  11. Dear Remcot
    I am one of new program director for ASMC from Iran. I am in sports because my husband was in NOC before than me. But now I love study on Olympic movement and I work in our NOC for 15 years. I want to know about experiences of Sport Management in other countries. I believe we have some of common problems therefore we can help together.
    Many thanks of you

    • Nice meeting you Nahid.

      15 years in sports is a respectable period ! I am sure that you have lots of experience to share.



  12. Dear Remco,
    I am very happy to have had the opportunity of interacting with you.

    Without any history os practicing sport as an athlete,I got involved in the Olympic Committee quite accidentally since 1990. Ever since, I have had the chance to attend sports events abroad on various occasion and passed MEMOS in Lausanne few years ago. Simultaneously with my present job I have also been teaching English for years as it is my major. Acting as an sports administrator,I am filled with pleasure to play a small role for the very cause of sport initiated by late Pire Baron de Coubertin,the founder of the Modern Olympic Games.

    As for your second question,now I am doing my best to leave a positive image from our Olympic Committee to the world over by observing the Olympic Charter and its principles i.e.respect,friendship and excellence.

    Seyed Saeed Eftekhari

    • Thank you Seyed,

      It is always nice to meet someone from the Olympic family !


      • I am more focussing on administrators, but will send you an email

  13. The talent that is in you never let it be taken away by anything or anyone before you archive,Let it be your future life if you truly believe it can help you. Dream to your capacity

  14. Im a male of 25 years,fully committed to sport from a young age, my focus now is on administration, as i get an opportunity to give back to many young people whom are not getting fair chance to reach higher level of participation and reach the proffetional level. im a South African im currently involved inSoccer, Rugby, Cricket,volleyball and swimming. should any of you have any chance for me to up grade my knowledge and give back to our young people i would appreciatesuch an opportunity. I would love to be part of an exchange programe. I love sport alot im very gifted on this field

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