For most young athletes, there’s a moment when they realize that they don’t have the athletic ability to play their sport professionally someday. For many, this is where their hopes of someday working in sports comes to an end — and that’s fine, but that doesn’t have to be the case.
There are many careers for those of us who may not be athletically gifted enough to play beyond our youngest years (anyone else get cut from the high school golf team? No? Just me?), so let's start with the obvious ones.
First of all, there’s coaching.
This is probably the most obvious option, as it allows you to be in charge of the team and spread your chosen sport to a new generation of athletes. There are also so many different levels to get involved in, that it’s easy to pick the best option.
For some, coaching their child’s youth team is enough to scratch the itch. If that’s not enough, options range from coaching high school sports to dipping a toe into the college and maybe eventually move up to the professional ranks.
Journalism, broadcasting and communications
For those of us who may not be qualified to coach sports — certainly the group I fall into — there are options like this one. Journalism, broadcasting and communications are all great options for those interested in getting involved with the teams and covering their day-to-day actions, without actually being a member of the team.
Serving as the communications official for the team is probably the closest you can get to the team without being a member of the coaching staff or on the roster. It provides the opportunity to to travel with the team and handle all media duties, from compiling stats to mediating press conferences to writing press releases for distribution to the media covering the team.
Being part of the media covering the team isn’t all fun and games — the tight deadlines, unusual hours as well as responsibility to ask the tough questions and hold entities accountable can ultimately turn a lot of people away, but it is an important job.
Team videographer or photographer
There are too many options to go into heavy detail with here, but another cool option is to become a team videographer or photographer.
All teams need to produce their own video packages, from start-of-game hype videos to recap game packages — and someone needs to make them. It's an opportunity to produce fun multimedia projects for the program and for people at the game to enjoy. Programs also need a photographer to make the pictures they can use on recaps, press releases, photos of new hires for press releases and photos of the athletes for their profiles.
A career in sports is out there for anyone looking for it, regardless of what your skill set is. Teams need someone for everything. The thing I like to remind myself is that the athletes are the smallest population of people working in sports.
Cameron Goeldner is a sports beat reporter and photographer for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers men’s soccer and softball but also contributes content for baseball, basketball, football and track and field. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @goeldfinger.