Mary Helen Sprecher 2014-07-03 04:04:37
In Praise of Trying Something New Maybe it’s part of being involved in the sports industry, maybe it’s some kind of a subliminal bucket list or maybe it’s just a symptom of having too much curiosity at any given time. Whatever it is, I simply can’t resist trying new sports. You hold a free skill clinic, a demo or an open house for a sport I haven’t tried yet and I’m all over it. I’m not alone in this; many of us were drawn to this profession because of our interest in and love of sports – and it’s the challenge of continuing to put on highquality events that keeps things fresh for us. The love of learning new sports (and learning in general) is part of who we are, and it makes us good at what we do. It’s something that came to mind when I was looking at the sports we are covering in this issue. Many of them are growing because more children – and more adults too – are trying them for the first time, finding they like them and getting active and involved. Lacrosse, one of our featured sports, is a great example. It is growing every year. The explosive participation in, and the consequent increase in offerings of, obstacle races and novelty 5Ks is covered in the article on running. MMA is on the uptick as well. Another emerging sport? Pickleball, discussed in Executive Insights. Haven’t heard of it yet? Trust me, you will. At some point, every sport – and every sports issue – was new on the radar in our industry. Not every sports issue is necessarily good, of course. Case in point: Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), about which Dr. Marc Leavey writes, is a threat to athletes, and it’s up to us to learn how to prevent it from taking hold. But for every negative, there is a positive. Need to get more support to make an organization tick? Harness your volunteer power; the great article in this issue can help you do so. And if you have been thinking about instituting a stay-to-play policy, you can learn all about it here. Why not make it a goal this summer to try something new? Whether it’s a badminton tournament at your neighborhood picnic, an open house put on by a local cricket club or something else entirely, you’ll find a new challenge, meet some great people and gain a new perspective. Putting on an event in a new city? Ask about having your athletes offer a demo or a clinic for local residents. (Hey, you may be in for some media coverage as well; check out the article in these pages). Many sports are ‘try and buy.’ The potential to grow them is out there. And if a sport winds up with a new participant – whether it’s someone who came to watch our demo, or whether it’s us because we were willing to try some other sport on for size – that’s a mark in the win column. MARY HELEN SPRECHER, managing editor of Sports Destination Management, has been a technical writer for more than 20 years with the American Sports Builders Association (ASBA), the national association of designers, builders and suppliers of materials for athletic facilities. She has worked in meeting and convention planning for non-profit associations and previously was a staff writer for a Baltimore, Maryland, newspaper. She is a graduate of the Institute for Organization Management, a professional development program of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and has taught meeting planning and event management courses in the continuing studies program at Goucher College, located in Towson, Maryland. Her freelance writing includes coverage of topics in the areas of fitness, health, sports medicine and special education.
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