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Take in Local Sports When on Vacation

Take in Local Sports When on Vacation
Photo: Brett Myers/Youth Radio

By Dr. Cliff McCain |

If you are on our site, more than likely you enjoy sports of some type. We all have our favorites – local high school, college alma mater, or closest professional team. But branching out into the world of sports can enhance your enjoyment and appreciation even more. One of the best ways I have found is taking in sports while I am on vacation. It has given me a deeper understanding of sports or programs that are not in my normal wheelhouse of viewing.

I have a couple of personal examples I can share. First, on a trip to Seattle, we saw that the University of Washington gymnastics was hosting a match. It was a cold and wet day (yeah in Seattle, rain!) so we decided to drive over and give it a try. We did not know the ins and outs since the schools we work for do not compete in gymnastics. We learned quickly and got into the atmosphere. Now, we still watch gymnastics on television and feel like we know more about what is going on behind the scene. Another example occurred recently when we spent some time in New Mexico. A friend got us some tickets to see the University of New Mexico play basketball in “The Pit.” I had always wanted to go since the infamous North Carolina State victory in the 1983 Final Four. It was a great experience seeing the different traditions and being involved with the local team.

If you enjoy sports, that may be enough for you to try vacation-time sports. But there are some other benefits to trying these events on vacation:

  1. You may pick up new ideas to bring back to your school or team. People in sports are always borrowing from each other. But we usually are borrowing from people we see all the time. Trying these new sports can give us a new pool of ideas to choose from.
  2. You can enjoy a sporting event without the pressure of a win or loss. Sports are competition and losing is a fact of life. But getting into this type of sporting situation alleviates the pressure and lets you just enjoy the game. We usually pull for the local team on a visit, but if they lose, we are still going to enjoy our vacation!
  3. It is a way to build your network.  The coaching or administrating sports relies heavily on others in the profession. Whether it scouting reports from other coaches or getting plans on how to run an event, the ability to reach out to others is crucial to success. If you go to one of these events, try to make a connection with someone. I always take my card and try to meet a couple of people. If possible, I will follow up with them later by email. In sports, you can never have too many friends.  Use this opportunity to find someone to join your circle!
  4. The main reason to take in a local sporting event is the simplest – It is fun! You are involved in sports so watching live sports is your thing. You are just doing it at a new location.

I am not saying to drag your family to every sporting event around the world and give up family time. You need to take a break from it at times. Especially if you work in it year round as do I. Just look for opportunities when they present themselves. We are heading to Ireland in May and I am already eyeing the series of rugby championships in Dublin that week. Let the games begin!

Cliff McCain works as Assistant Director of Academic Enrichment in the athletic department at the University of Mississippi. He spent two decades working as a coach and administrator at the secondary education level. McCain holds a doctor of education degree in higher education and master’s degrees in history and educational administration


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