Volunteering is voluntary, unpaid work / benefits for other people. It might seem that anyone who wants to help, regardless of the level of sports knowledge, can help during sports events.
Looking at volunteering and volunteers from the perspective of several years, I see two different approaches. On the one hand, it is a willingness to participate in volunteering, spend time in an interesting way and meet people. Sport or the competitions themselves do not matter much, it happens that people even openly say that they are not interested in it. The second approach is interest in sport and the desire to be closer to a specific event.
In fact, a combination of these motivations is the perfect solution. If someone focuses only on being closer to the event, ‘watching the match’, they will simply not be a good volunteer. Anyway, this approach is easy to sense during recruitment and recruiters are very sensitive to it. During the activities you can’t always just watch the competition, if that’s what you care about the most – go as a supporter.
Ok, combination of approaches. So what about people who are not interested in sport at all and don’t know anything? Can they volunteer at events? They can and are, the truth is, it’s not that easy to check. Should they? Hmm… This may sound a bit controversial, but I don’t think so. Or maybe it’s better to say that it depends.
Firstly: on the rank of the event.
The more important the event is, the more responsible the job is and the knowledge about sports may be useful.
Secondly: on the function and tasks performed. This is the key point.
If we are acting as an Information Service, then we should know the city, travel options and / or the hall. We can learn the hall layout during training before the competition. Knowing the city from the perspective of an inhabitant can be very useful, also when working as a driver.
Computer skills and interpersonal skills will be most important in the Accreditation.
In these places, you can easily act without knowing who is playing (or even why?).
In a few other roles, however, such knowledge about sports is simply essential. It is not about the ability to say by heart every rule, medals from 20 years ago or the height of players, but about general orientation.
When helping in Ceremonies or Media, you need to know how long a match or competition lasts, whether there are breaks, etc.
Who is playing with whom, what is the arrangement in the table, what are the chances – this can help in planning the next steps and actions.
When helping with the Media or Antidoping, it is worth recognizing at least some of the players so that you can efficiently invite them to a conference or for control.
I do not even mention the role of the Team Guard, here the basic knowledge is just indisputable.
And why am I at all talking about this topic?
Several times I encountered cooperation problems during working resulting from such lack of knowledge. And it was uncomfortable for both parties (including this “not knowing volunteer”).
What do you think about it? Is your interest in sport necessary, helpful or actually irrelevant in sports volunteering?