March was meant to be a big month for us here at LAPS.
We had our Ahead of the Game event series set up and ready to go, held at 3 iconic sports stadiums across the country.
Villa Park → London Stadium → Hillsborough
We’re a remote and somewhat distributed team so not only are events chances for us to get together, they’re our best opportunity to meet our members at scale and show them different ways of preparing for life after professional sport. The events gather employers and educational establishments in one place, enabling athletes to meet people who can offer them a way forward, look them in the eye and hear what they’re all about.
Following the advice at the time, our Villa Park event went ahead, but as the world of football began to react to COVID-19, several teams decided the day before Ahead of the Game that they weren’t going to come. Another pulled out on the morning.
There’s no suggestion that this was the wrong thing to do – it just left us and our speakers and businesses who were attending scrambling a little as the event was somewhat sparsely attended later on. The rest of the event series was cancelled and suddenly, March was looking a little barren and the future uncertain.
Uncertainty is part of an athlete’s career – you never know when it might end, when someone better might take your place or when injury might strike. And as we know, sport is a microcosm of life played out in hyper speed. Sport is more immediately dramatic than real life, it heightens our emotions and feelings, it draws us in, gets us on our feet celebrating, and sometimes it smacks us in the face.
At the moment, we’re collectively reeling from one of those smacks in the face. We’re at home, uncertain about what the future holds, not just in sport but for all of us, for our society and way of life as a whole.
We’re uncertain at LAPS too. But for the moment, we’re going to do the best we can for our members. And the best thing we can do now is serve them online.
Starting today, we’re running a series of online webinars with a mix of speakers. Some are athletes talking about their transitions into work. Some will be employers, telling us what opportunities they have for professional athletes to explore, some will be educational institutions and some will be more practical sessions with specific skills and takeaways that can be actioned immediately.
In some ways these sessions are reactive, a response to circumstances. But we’ve been planning this sort of initiative for some time. It’s hard for us to get around and serve all our members – from Cornwall to Scotland. On our platform, we can help them all at once. So that’s what we’re going to do.
So for now, while you’re at home, doing right by everyone else, do right by yourself and make the best of the situation. Start thinking about what the future might look like. Jump on one of our sessions, listen to the speakers and ask them questions. Tell us what you want to learn about and we’ll do our best to make it happen.
This week we have:
Gail is going to share her story and give athletes actionable advice on navigating their transition away from sport. She’ll also talk about which qualities athletes possess that businesses find appealing and how to uncover them.
The University Campus of Football Business have loads of great courses for those who want to continue working in the sports industry, whether that’s as a coach, in the media or on the corporate side. They’re going to speak to our athletes about the options available to them.
Nisha is a qualified coach, working with high performance athletes and executives. She’s running a session on how to sharpen your winning mentality to succeed on and off the field.
Come and check in with Ben and Hannah – this is a super informal drop-in session where you can come and ask us anything about LAPS, chat about what you’re up to and see if there’s some way we can help.
Derrick is a former college and professional American football player turned author and athlete transition specialist – he’s going to teach us how to ‘transition like a champ’!
If you’re an athlete and want to join in – head to our events page and sign up to the sessions – free as always
If you have a workshop you’d like to run or a story you’d like to share with our members, then get in touch