“You will never find a husband if you pick that subject”
“It’s not a real degree”
“So I guess you’ll be a PE teacher or work in a leisure centre”
Welcome to the types of comments you have to put up with on a regular basis if you choose a sports degree….
A bit rich considering the sheer amount of intelligence and precision that goes into commercial, professional and grassroots sport, politics and business.
So why are some people still so quick to write it off as soft?
I admit, this is a touchy subject for me. I’ve put up with these types of questions from friends, family and even people I hardly know. It’s got less and less now that I’m building my career, but as you can imagine, it’s a bit of a slap in the face to be told that something you worked hard for apparently isn’t even worth the paper it’s written on.
Let’s put one thing straight. My course was not easy. I did sports science with management at the best place for it in the UK. I needed AAB to get in. It was hardly 3 Cs at a middle of the pile university. I didn’t come out with a first because it was easy. I came out with a first because I tried flipping hard, and put my passion and enthusiasm into getting the most out of my learning.
A degree takes hard work and commitment. I had some of the best years and I love being able to roll out what I learnt….how Bradley Wiggins could go from track to Tour, developing government sports policy, physiological adaptations to training, getting inside the mind of the sporting elite, benefitting from an olympic legacy, whether you should bother with supplements….
So where would we be without people with this kind of specific knowledge?
How do top athletes get to where they are? Not without an exceptionally intelligent team behind them providing them with specific training programmes, analysing every move, keeping them mentally in check, helping them to improve their technique and optimally fuel their body for high performance.
How do progressional clubs operate? With a solid sports business mind behind them, getting the most for the club, players and fans AND running it as a profitable operation.
Who writes sport policy? Who was responsible for getting the Olympics, Rugby World Cup and the World Athletics Championships to the UK? And making sure they run smoothly and create a lasting legacy?
Not people who spent their degree ‘just messing around and doing sport all day’ I mean I may have spent some time jumping into foam pits but there was an awful lot of complex theory.
I know I’m not using my degree. But my choice didn’t stop me for applying for and getting jobs that I’m sure people thought wasn’t within reach for a sports degree. My tutor at university specifically said he was going to use me as an example for worried parents who were uncertain about their son/daughter’s choice of degree. It doesn’t mean you are limited to being a PT, teaching or running a gym. Sport is becoming increasingly important as an industry and commercial opportunity in its own right. And it needs people who have both brains and passion. And can put them together. Whilst running marathons in their spare time. You want dedication, leadership, resilience, decision making and teamwork ability? Pick someone who plays a sport.
PS I also haven’t found a husband but that’s a story for another time. And probably isn’t really because of my degree.