Tuesday, 10 January 2017

"An Evening with Wayne Madsen" - A Final Year Module Assignment & Project

It's hard to believe we're already in the final term of our Sport Management degree. It feels like only just the other day I started this blog, yet the best part of three years has already passed since that very first post!

"An Evening with Wayne Madsen" - A Final-year project
It's been an interesting journey thus far albeit a lot of fun along the way too. No doubt the opportunities offered to us to gain experience in the field by being involved in live projects and events have not only been extremely valuable, but also most enjoyable.

Our most recent project involves the development and delivery of "An Evening with Wayne Madsen" which we are hoping will be a tremendous success. It's Wayne's Testimonial Year and all the proceeds from the event will be donated to his trust. We've been very fortunate to have the full support of Wayne and his Committee Chairman, Richard Gerver.

Wayne Madsen in action for Derbyshire
The event, which will be held at the University of Derby on the 26th of January, starting at 7pm, will involve a Q&A chaired by BBC and The Sunday Times cricket journalist and broadcaster, Elizabeth Ammon (LegSideLizzy), an auction as well as a prize draw. Wayne will also be talking about overseas cricketers and the impact it has on the English game, his life outside of cricket as well as leadership. The leadership talk in particular should be very useful to students and the general public as it's an attribute we all strive to master in our quest to reach our highest ability, whether it be on the sports field, the classroom, the office or as a parent/mentor.

If you would like further information regarding the event or would like to purchase a ticket, please visit Eventbrite or by clicking here. For a limited time you could benefit from a 15% discount by using the Promo Code BLOG1 and stand a chance of winning a two-night break for two people to the 5* Hilton Vilamoura resort in Portugal. 

Hilton Vilamoura Golf & Spa Resort, Algarve
Please also feel free to donate to the event page - every bit helps! Especially if you can't actually attend the event, event a pound or two will help make it a great event. If you want to double your chances perhaps of winning, it might be a good idea to share this with your friends too - you never know, one of them might just be kind enough to invite you along should he or she win it! I'm certainly available and I've got my golf clubs ready! 

Finally, please also follow and like the event Twitter and Facebook pages and we hope to see you at the event.  

Thursday, 10 March 2016

"You are who you surround yourself with"

Do you remember your parents tell you as a teenager or earlier not to hang out with that boy - he's bad news? Or even that girl for that matter? I guess at the time it's hard to see things through someone else's eyes but as we grow older and wiser we begin to see things from a slightly different angle. One or two of us may also have heard the "cliché" "You are who you surround yourself with". Well perhaps there's a little more truth to it than just another old cliché.

It's easy to follow, we do it every day. Whether it's purchasing a fashionable product, following our beloved team or even doing it because your best mate is - it happens all the time. That's not to see there's anything wrong with it, but you have to start questioning ourselves when it starts having a negative impact. Not just in our professional lives but also our personal lives. It is so easy to be influenced by what our closest friends do or in the workplace or classroom, the leaders.

Perhaps that cliché has been a little bit like water off a duck's back with me for thirty odd years too many, but I've always believed in the "journey" being a learning curve all the way. Perhaps no surprise that I only joined university at 37! I have always had a hunger for learning, even in senior management I tried to learn new things, styles and great qualities off other people, every day.

So how does this "You are who you surround yourself with" change who you are? Surely you are who you are and being the strong one, there's no way others will change you! Well let me tell you, it can happen without you even realising! There are certain less attractive qualities in life unfortunately which can spread like a plague. Negativeness for one..... Ever heard someone always having something negative to say about something or someone? What's your reaction? Do you agree with him/her at the time or do you challenge it? Sadly I have seen so many people take pleasure in the sorrow of others..... The Germans have come up with a great name for it.... "Schadenfreude" which literally means "harm-joy". Do you really want to be surrounded with friends of that nature? How often would you hear someone talk badly of someone else yet when you see the two of them together, they seem like great mates? Do you think there's any chance he'll be saying something bad about you? Probably not, because you don't have any faults right?? Lucky you!! Or perhaps rather unlucky you.

There are an endless amount of negative qualities I could waste my morning on but let's not do that. I rather want to focus on positives and why we should concentrate being surrounded by people who's positive outlook on life rubs off on us. Take the work place for instance..... That manager who walks in every morning with a huge smile and who greets everyone by their name, the one who asks you how your weekend's been and if your little boy won their football match! The guy who takes time in getting to know you and therefore remembers every worker's name. Or your colleague who has no problem in sorting out a problem you caused and who ends up working an hour longer than expected despite still having to put food on the table at home, but does it because she cares. Isn't it great when we are surrounded by happy, good people. people who care, people who help others, not expecting a favour in return but because they care. What is life without love?

Isn't it time we focus on being that manager walking in with a smile, taking a minute to ask how we're doing or that lady staying on an hour later? Isn't it time we start caring about one another and be positive about things, enjoying seeing others succeed rather than gaining pleasure in someone else's failure or bad mouthing a mate? If we start spending time with people who care, those who are driven to succeed without harming others being the driving force, those who carry a constant smile on their face and those who don't mind opening a door for another, instead of those spreading a negative plague, I can promise you, the work place, the classroom, the bar, the house, the world would be a much better place. I have seen people change in a space of a year in front of me, I myself have experienced a change, it is so easy. It's not easy changing those people spreading a negative plague and sometimes being the leader of positiveness have no impact, but instead of leaving them behind, perhaps get them into that positive circle and one by one they too may eventually change.....

Friday, 12 February 2016

Stay ahead of the game by staying on top of things.

One of the easiest things in life must be the ability to put things off! Well, it certainly has been the case for me over the years. That moment when you decide, "I can do this later"..... I suppose we've all done it, some maybe more than others. It goes back to my blog last year, "Where do we find the time?" and time management. It is about prioritising things in order of importance and finding the balance between what we want and what we need.

As we are into our second half of the degree, things are slowly but surely beginning to get busier with a workload  which quickly builds up. Homework, presentations preparations, group work and communication, our own business plan and a live event are only some of the things we need to stay on top of and if we allow ourselves to put things off, we will be creating a massive workload which might be too hard to handle later down the line.

It is therefore essential, and I have made it my goal, to do whatever I can can to complete any task, or make as much progress on any given task, as soon as I can. Not only should it make the entire job easier, preventing me from having to race against a deadline, but it is easier to remember what was said in class. I know it might sound easier said that done, but even an hour set aside after a lecture, could make a huge difference. So far so good..... let's hope I can keep it up and stay on top of things.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Research Methods Presentation

It's hard to believe it was only around 15 months ago we were introduced to SPSS! Today we presented on our results we submitted and now I even know the difference between ANOVA tests and t-tests, homogeneity of variance and Shapiro-Wilk tests, degrees of freedom and scale of measurement as well as Sphericity and Greenhouse-Geisser tests. Who would have thought!

I've always enjoyed working with numbers, in particular statistics, so it's rather nice that this element of research is part of our course. At least it tests our brain somewhat and it's amazing how much one can learn when you put your mind to it! I remember how most of us pulled our noses up to to SPSS saying it doesn't apply to us, but I also remember one of our lectures saying, "get an understanding for it and it will become one of your best friends"! I can see the truth in it, and I actually can't wait to put it into practice next time I do a research project.

I enjoyed working with Jodie and we're both quite happy with how our presentation went. Of course there is room for improvement but I'm really happy with my own progress with regards to confidence in presenting without any notes - even used the laser on the clicker - as well as understanding which test to use with different types of data and interpreting the results, including what to do when assumptions are violated.

Onwards and upwards from here, so thank you Jodie and thank you Andy Field!

Sunday, 29 November 2015

A dream project, please let's make it happen......

Please donate by clicking here - your help will go a long way

Ever since making the decision to permanently move abroad seven years ago, I've had a dream of helping others accomplish what I was blessed with shortly after turning nineteen; An opportunity to visit and play cricket in England, the place it's believed to have been practised more than 450 years ago. Leaving the shores of Africa in 2008 wasn't easy, nor was it back in 1996. Although some similarities exist - a new adventure and both on the back of cricket - there were two big differences; Not knowing if we'll ever return and leaving everything behind. It's a sacrifice nobody understands unless you've experienced it yourself.

Many days I ask myself whether or not is was the right thing to do, how life would have been had we not made that decision? Not many days go by without me carrying a heavy load of guilt on my back for making a selfish decision - a decision that I thought would offer us a better opportunity, better career, better education for our children and a safer environment. At the time I didn't think about what I took away from others - grandchildren away from their family, children away from their parents, family and friends and the opportunity that the cricket academy I started seven years prior provided to children from all backgrounds. It's sometimes a bitter pill to swallow.

Things may not have turned out the way I'd hoped and although I may never quite understand why, I will always believe things happen for a reason, albeit not always easy to accept, it can often steer you on a different route with unexpected and perhaps better outcomes. Who'd have thought I'd be in full-time education at the age of thirty nine? Who'd have thought I'd be standing pitch side in front of 32,000 singing fans during kick off at an English Football match and that I'd have fallen in love with Wheelchair Basketball, being a Team Liaison for Italy? Who knows the reason we get knocked off our path sometimes, the important thing is to get up and make the best of what we're able to while we can.

It's for that reason I've decided to focus on the dream I mentioned right at the beginning. Being involved in the Academy back in South Africa not only gave me lifelong memories but it provided something to the community which we could all share, enjoy and benefit from. Sport development has improved vastly over the past decade and many young people from all corners of South Africa are given an opportunity to compete on the world stage nowadays. Cricket has also transformed into a very wealthy sport and can be very financially rewarding for those who make it onto provincial level, especially in the IPL. Kids from all backgrounds, no matter how poor, therefore have an opportunity to set themselves up for life through doing something they love.

The project I'm looking to start however, is aimed at those who probably won't make it that far. It's aimed at young people who just aren't quite good enough to represent their country or even province but who have a passion and love for the game like no other, like what I had when all I wanted to do was come to England and play cricket every day. Although I had the passion, the biggest problem standing in the way of relishing my dream was being able to fund it. I was very lucky though - the help I received from the community and years of savings made it possible. Not everyone is that blessed..... I want to help make that possible for some and offer them something they will never forget.

I'm hoping to raise enough money to be able to offer two cricketers a six week visit to England next year, during which they'll receive coaching, play matches, a visit to Lord's and enjoy some British culture. This might well be the only ever time they get such a chance - who knows, it might even jump-start their career in the sport. Although I'm planning a number of fundraising events, this will not be possible without generous support from businesses and individuals. I must therefore ask if you'd please be so kind to support this campaign by clicking on the link to help make someone accomplish a dream and by making even a tiny donation. 

No matter how small, your contribution will go a long way towards making this dream a reality. The biggest challenge is getting every single person reading this to donate something. Too often we think, "Nah, I can't be bothered", "my tiny contribution won't help" or even worse, "I'll do it another time" - then we don't. Please, act now. What is one less £3 spent on something this month or even week? 

By donating something and sharing this with your friends via email, Facebook, Twitter or whichever way you can, could eventually help offer these guys the best six weeks of their lives.

Let's make this possible, together, please. Your help will be gratefully appreciated, thank you.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Are we losing our manners?

If there’s one thing I can’t stand, other than lies and stealing, it’s someone not showing manners. Growing up as a kid there was no option. It was as necessary as the air we needed to breathe. You wouldn't dare show disrespect, not least to your elderly. I remember how it was the norm to call someone around ten years or so older than you “aunt” and “uncle” – not just those related to you. It was called respect.

Many of us change as we get older. Some for the better, some for the worse unfortunately. I know I myself have changed but one thing I've tried really hard to hold on to, is manners. It’s so easy and it doesn't cost anything. Luckily there are millions out there who still have amazing manners and it’s always so pleasing to see.

I've always been very proud of my little girl, Jessie’s, manners and it’s always pleasing for a parent when someone praises her for it. She has a golden heart too and the two often goes hand in hand. Just the other day she illustrated this once again when walking pass a homeless man in the city, she asked if she could give her hot dog which she hadn't even taken a bite of yet, to the man. She stood there watching him from a distance with genuine care and I could see how happy she felt that he had something to eat.

Wouldn't the world be an amazing place if every person in this world showed the same amount of care to others? We quickly forget our purpose on this piece of land. It doesn't even belong to us, yet we’ll fight over it, tell others we have more right on it than what they have. I sometimes think as individuals we give up too easily because we think we can’t make a difference. That there are too many people out there not sharing our beliefs and principles. I think that’s where we go wrong…… I do think there are more well-mannered and caring people on earth than there are baddies. But we’re too caught up in our own thing and worry too much about ourselves. We think we can’t change the world – as individuals I'm sure we can’t, but we can change individuals and as one we can go a long way to changing the world. There’ll always be evil, but it will have little impact if it only makes up for 1% of the globe.

Back to Jessie….. I was struck this morning by a one liner Skype message I received from her in reply to me trying to arrange a time for us to chat. We haven’t been able to talk all week and all of last week neither, and I've sent her a few messages trying to arrange an appropriate time to talk. Of course I was delighted to wake up finding a message of hers on my Skype but unfortunately my mood was dampened straight away when it read “I can’t I'm going to chestifer”. No good morning papa, how are you? Just a one liner. It’s not how I know my little angel so it’s quite deflating. I did manage to quietly laugh about the chestifer which I presume was meant to be Chesterfield, lol.

It’s not the first time and I've spoken to her about the importance of being respectful and to show manners at all times, even on a social chat platform and she listened at the time. She had a very old mobile phone then and she blamed it on the fact that it takes forever for her to write something, which I could sympathise with. One wouldn't normally encourage 9 year old children to communicate via that platform but society is changing, kids are quickly becoming more IT intelligent at a younger age and it provides the best form of communication for us – we just need to stay on top of it with regards to safety as well as the method we communicate in, not forgetting manners.

It then made me think….. Are we living in a time where social media has become so dominant that the speed of which we write to one another is causing us to put things in short, emotionless sentences, if we could even call it a sentence? Are we sending messages across to one another that misinterpret ourselves or is it becoming such a habit that we actually forget how to communicate with each in a proper, well-mannered and respectful way? As technology moves forward, society seems to go backwards. I'm not sure if that’s a good thing.

I've not been able to speak to her since, although I did reply with a very polite message reminding her not to forget her manners even in a message. When there are miles between you and your daughter and she only sees you one or two days a fortnight at most, it becomes even more difficult to be the “bad parent”, nagging, and it’s a risk you take because you want to do everything in your power for her to love you and not give any reason for her to dislike you but hopefully one day she’ll appreciate it and realise you did it because you love her more than anything and just want her to grow up being the beautiful, wonderful and caring person she is. “I hate telling you off my angel as much as you hate being told off, I promise you. Papa loves you to the moon and back my skapie xx”.

Friday, 13 November 2015

Research Study

I'm currently busy with a research project for DCFC on the match day experience for the core fan. Besides the findings hopefully benefiting the club, it also forms part of my Advanced Sport Management in Practice module assignment this year. One of the many amazing things about the course is the opportunity of working with so many great organisations being presented to us. Derbyshire County Cricket Club, Derby City Council (Derby Velodrome), Team Derby, Sporting Futures and Derby County Football Club have all opened their doors to us giving us a chance to run a live project through conducting research for them.

I could easily have chosen every single organisation, but unfortunately we could only pick one, having had to design a research proposal for three of them. Having studied some existent literature I felt I could probably be of most benefit to the marketing department of DCFC, looking at what it is that fans feel could improve their match day experience through both a quantitative and qualitative study. Hopefully the club will take the findings on board and together we could improve the experience of going to the iPro even more! If you haven’t done so already and you attend Derby’s home matches, please help us by completing the short survey which might have popped up on this screen or by clicking here or if your mobile device doesn't support it, click here.