On the Ball: Want a career in sports? There’s plenty to choose from

Lifestyle Tuesday 01/November/2016 17:54 PM
By: Times News Service
On the Ball: Want a career in sports? There’s plenty to choose from

You might not always be the one smashing a sumptuous volley into the back of the net or scoring the final point in a game, but you could be the doctor checking up on the LA Lakers players to see if everyone is shipshape after the final whistle has been blown.

Or Manchester United, as it was in the case of Dr Zarshis Avari. A recent graduate of the University of Sydney, Dr Avari was part of the medical team that shadowed the Red Devils when they travelled Down Under for their pre-season preparations in 2013.

“Physiotherapists show the players the correct techniques of various exercises to prevent injuries and they’re also the first port of call when a player does get injured,” he explained. “I learnt the importance of teamwork and communication. The players have an entire team of doctors who all work together in ensuring that the players are in peak physical condition at all times. Being a supporter of the club didn’t help, though.

“Sometimes I would tend to forget what I had to do so I would just stare at the player in a blank fashion,” he recalls. “The player would know what was going on because they’ve seen that reaction a lot of times.

“I really wanted an autograph,” he adds wistfully. “I was even thinking of sneaking one in but my professional side told me ‘you might get thrown out’.”

Sports science is a field that is evolving across the globe, and the Modern College of Business and Science is set to introduce Oman’s first sports science course come January 2017.

“We want this course to help people reach a level where they can live off of this,” explained Dr Aleksandar Djordjevic, the Director of the Centre for Continuing Education at MCBS.

“Sports is a big industry, and not just having the knowledge in your legs but in your head as well, means there is a plethora of opportunities for people,” he said. “With this course, you have a window of opportunities to be supportive in many jobs. You could be a coach, a sports consultant for clubs and it’s a nice addition to sports journalism.”

One of these jobs is sport marketing, a role that Saurabh Advant thrived in when he worked at Dubai Sports City.

As a social media executive, Advant worked personally with former Real Madrid and Spain legend Michel Salgado and his Spanish Soccer School, as well as the ICC Academy, run in direct conjunction with the International Cricket Council.

“When you are working with such people, you cannot look at them as if they are sports stars because that comes in the way of your job,” he explained. “You have to think about them as another human being. How would they be as a boss, how would they be as a dad?

“This is a job where you have to dedicate yourself completely to work, you cannot think of what you are going to do in the evening because you never know when you might be called in,” adds Advant, who also worked at the Els Club, a golfing club part-owned by South African golfer Ernie Els.

“In the Middle East, where the weather is not often great, you have most golfers teeing off at about seven in the morning, so you need to ensure you are there by 6:45,” he revealed.

While my colleagues have chosen different fields of sports to get involved in, my passion for writing took me the way of journalism. I am extremely fortunate to be doing what I do, and there have been some brilliant memories along the way.

I am honoured to have met so many superstars, including former Arsenal legend Fredrik Ljungberg, Pakistan’s Azhar Mahmood and Shoaib Akhtar, Dutch footballer Edgar Davids, legendary Argentina midfielder Javier Zanetti, the world’s number one badminton star Saina Nehwal, and even FIFA’s Vice President, Prince Ali of Jordan.

I honestly believe that being part of sports is the closest you can come to playing it without actually doing so, and what unites everyone mentioned in this article is a love for sport. Deep down, most sportspersons are really genuine people, and I am so glad I am now part of this world.

It’s been a job that has seen me up at 6am to travel to a match, that’s seen me leave work at 3am after covering a game live, one that has made me cancel plans because I am needed to provide live website commentary, and so many other fond memories that I will forever cherish.

And some people have the nerve to call this work.

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