It all started 7 years ago, when I was assigned the role of Sports Director at my earstwhiie religious(Church) center, however, nothing could be achieved as I got accepted into one of the prestigious Tertiary institutions(Federal University of Technology, Akure) in my country(Nigeria) at that same time. Although the dream had been subdued as time passed on, it lingered on still.
Fast forward to September 2019, the dream stirred up its head once again, and I was able to attain the position of Sports Director whilst serving my father's land( a compulsory one year program for all Tertiary Institution graduate who are below the age of 30) in Kwara State. The dream was clearer, the idea was set(An "Inter Primary School Athletics Competition" which was aimed at developing sport from the grassroot), plans laid out, and with the help of my team members, we set on to achieve this plan.
Fortunately for us, all the schools we discussed our idea with were very much interested in participating in this competition, however, as we all know that almost every project requires finance, and thia was were our problem sprouted from. Only a few of the sponsors we got across to funded the project, and with us having less than a quarter of the fund for the project, we had to terminate the project.
POSITIVES:DURING MY SERVICE YEAR
Although, things didn't work out as planned, I was still able to achieve a little with my team members. Here are some of them:
1) Organizing Of Football Friendly Games: Since I was appointed as the Sports Director where I was serving, I was saddled with keeping the legacy passed on to me by my predeccessors. I made sure everyone partaking in this compulsory 1 year of National Service at my locality and who were also interested in playing football were incorporated into the team we had on ground, and we also took part in friendly matches against well known football clubs in that locality.
2) Revival Of Sporting Activity At My Place Of Primary Assignment(PPA):
The first time I got to my PPA, I noticed the students were only engrossed in academics, there was nothing like sports in their activities, although, I got to know later that the sport activities were canceled due to some reasons(can't say they were tenable though). This didn't settle down well with me, and with time and cooperation of other members at my PPA, we were able to incorporate sports back into the school time table. It was a difficult one at first, but we came out successful.
1 year later and my dream of managing(I actually bagged a B. Tech in Project Management Technology, but I wanted to create a niche for myself in the Sports industry) a Sport project lingered in my heart still.
The opportunity finally came when I got to another branch of my religious place of worship(Church). Funny as it might seem, the dream in stilled in me 7 years ago returned back to its origin(Church).
The Pastor in charge supported me, and I built a new team, but a smaller one this time. My template for my failed Sport Project was still very much with me, but we did some few adjustments to it which included the "Athletics Competition" being held then to be changed to a "Table Tennis Competition". Also their was no age limit to this as the aim this time was to see "how sport activities could affect the development of the Church".
1) Discouragement: Unlike the "Inter Primary School Athletics Competition" which was accepted by all the schools we reached out to, the potential competitors that we thought will be ecstatic about this "Table Tennis Competition" showed very little interest. I believed they felt sport shouldn't be incorporated into church activities. Well I assumed we were going to face something like this, but it came so hard that I had almost giving up on the project as a whole.
This is were working as a team(A great team) comes into play. When things like this hit you, you definitely will have people in your team who will be there to keep you going, which is very much unlike you working alone.
2) Lack of Cooperation From Some Stakeholders: At times, humans feel some ideaa should generally come from them, and if this doesn't happen, they withdraw their support from individuals who bring up these jdeas. I definitely experienced this as well.
I scaled this hurdle using 2 tricks, a) Getting more intimate with them and providing areas where I feel they could be of help, and b) Ignoring completely those who were still not ready to accept my friendly offer so they dont have a negative psychological effect on my performance.
3) Fjnance: This is definitely a major issue when managing projects, in short, let's say you can't do away with it in life as a whole.
The fund we got was pretty low as well compared to what we budgeted for. However, unlike with the "Inter Primary School Athletics Competition" where I backed out, I stayed through with this, another positive effect of having an amazing team.
Although everything didn't come out as planned, we were able to manage the changes that occurred, ensuring we satisfied everyone involved. The winners where satisfied, every competitor enjoyed themselves, and accurate account on how sponsors' fund were utilized was made available to the sponsors who were also satisfied.
My team and myself also felt lot of joy, or should I say I was the happiest of them all seeing my dream come to reality.
I beleive this is just the beginning. My first goal have been achieved, now, I look forward to this event being an annual competition whilst I work on executing more sports event project nexr year.
Loads of ideas are still out there to be achieved, I believe with the right team, and funds, they surely will be executed.
To everyone who made this dream a reality from my parents, to my team members, to our sponsors, to our indirect influencers, and very other people I can't remember. Thanks and God bless. I love you all.
My biggest thanks hors to God hikslef for giving me the enablement to achieve this. I know next year will be better because "MY GOD IS GOOD".
I remain your humble Sports Activist and Football Analyst, Ibukun Ikuyajolu Ope.
Feel free to drop your comments and opinions, they will be greatly appreciated.