In sports, just like in pretty much every other branch of the massive entertainment industry, it’s the stars who are always in the spotlight. You barely ever hear of the speech trainer, the makeup artist, the costume designer or the other people behind the cameras but you know the actor X who played the role Y in the movie Z.
The same thing happens in sports. While there are plenty of career options for casual sports fans at sports clubs and teams, people that are vital for the performance of the team or an individual athlete, it’s the athletes themselves that steal the show. So, let’s spare a thought to all the men and women who make all this possible.
Sports are not the safest thing to do – the possibility of an injury is very real and felt in full by many athletes doing their thing. And when this happens, it’s up to the people beyond the spotlight to minimize the damage and get the athletes back on their feet as quickly (and safely) as possible.
Think about all the people who work hard to keep your favorite athlete in top form – athletic trainers, physical therapists, massage therapists, sports nutritionists, and people with similar tasks – as well as the ones who take care of them when they suffer an injury: sports doctors, medical assistants, and their likes. They all work together to make sure the athletes perform as expected and that, if something bad happens, their time spent sidelined is as short as possible.
While coaches do get some attention from the media, their time spent in the spotlight is short, almost insignificant compared to the athletes themselves. Now think about the fact that they have an entire team behind them to make sure the athletes perform at their best – assistant coaches, administrators, instructors, and their likes. They are responsible not only for the athletes’ peak form but for their strategy as well.
The people you don’t see
If we look behind the professionals working directly with the athletes, we’ll find even more people who contribute to the smooth functioning of sports – these are the people who you absolutely never hear about but you always see their handy work.
There is a person who operates the scoreboard, showing the current standings during a match. There are people who clean the grandstands before and after an event. There are people who wash and clean the athletes’ equipment. There are people who clean the locker rooms, mow the lawn, draw the lines.
A recent statistic has shown that almost 1% of all the employed workforce in the European Union was involved with sports in 2018 – that’s about 1.7 million people. The share of athletes in this number is minuscule – all the others are working to make your experience, as a sports fan, as satisfying and smooth as possible.