From the ground up | Celebrating success beyond titles

Swire Shipping Fijian Drua players before the captains run at the HFC Bank Stadium in Suva on Friday, June 02, 2023. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

Congratulations to all the schools who have qualified for finals in their respective sports — from rugby, netball and other sports activities which take place in Term Two.

Schools which haven’t should not despair, they have the opportunity to do it all again next year.

Remember, while trophies or titles are the most celebrated, they aren’t the only measures of success.

Sustainable success is taking time to build things right from the ground up, and there are numerous examples in world sport to support this.

When you look at the different sporting competitions at school-level, you can clearly see that there is a development pathway laid out for student athletes in the different sports, be it rugby, rugby league, football, netball or others.

For athletes, there’s a clear opportunity to progress from school-level into national age-group teams, which is great to see.

But too often, when we think of development in school sports, we only think of it in terms of players or athletes.

There’s also a great opportunity for sporting bodies and schools to create similar pathways for students to become quality administrators.

Not every student will be a successful player / athlete. But the beautiful thing about our industry is that it is for everyone – athletes and non-athletes alike.

In Fiji, sports is a multi-million dollar industry with many career options for young people both on and off the field.

When you look at different sports and at the various competitions that are run, there’s an obvious gap between those playing the sport and those are running it. Sporting bodies should work with schools to engage students to become administrators.

Create the interest and get the work started early, so when our talented students leave the school system, they are ready to join the sports body. Ideally, a plan would be in place to get interested kids to help manage teams.

We could be using our brightest or most willing students to create budgets, plan logistics, design uniforms and gear, do match day preparations at venues or perform other tasks.

This would also be a great way for them to put the theory they learn in Maths, Accounting, and home economics into actual practice.

Let’s build interest and capacity among students to become administrators for their chosen sport after they leave school, similar to how we do with athletes.

Students who may not be athletically inclined but brilliant at managing a team should get involved early and stay involved after school.

Imagine the creativity and innovation that our young people will bring to the sport they love as they graduate alongside their playing colleagues.

The level of trust and collegiality would be remarkable.

And we can be proud that we’ve not only prepared a new generation of players and athletes, but a new generation of administrators ready to take on the reins in the future.

At the Fijian Drua, we will soon offer an internship program for students and young people to become involved and learn what it takes to manage a professional sports organisation.

This includes the Commercial aspects, including marketing, promotions, ticketing, sponsorship management and fulfilment, operations, match day activities as well as Finance and general administration.

  • SHANE HUSSEIN is the Head of Commercial and Marketing for the Fijian Drua. The views expressed in this article are not necessarily the views of The Fiji Times.

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