My name is Mandisa Lau, and I am in my third year of the Bachelor of Recreation and Leisure Studies. I completed my placement with Brock University’s Centre for Sport Capacity (CSC) where I served as the team lead for a pilot program called the Sport Support Team (SST).
“Curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought it back”
The expression “curiosity killed the cat” is often used to warn people that being curious can get them into trouble, but the rewards or risks may be worth it. As I reflect upon my experience, I realize that I may have not completed my placement with the Centre for Sport Capacity (CSC) if it had not been for curiosity. As a matter of fact, growing up I was not very athletic and often despised sports. However, recently learning about the psychosocial benefits of sports, I am more open to the idea of participating and or researching the topic. Thus, when the opportunity came up with the CSC, I was more inclined to learn what it means to enhance sport capacity.
This blog outlines my reflections, key skills, and the Brock Competency that I have acquired as a university student completing my 60- hour fieldwork placement at the CSC.
A major part of my role involved working with other students and my supervisor towards a common goal, which was to enhance the capacity within local Niagara sport organizations.
As a result of pursuing a fieldwork placement in sport capacity, an area that I am not familiar with, and asking questions to increase my knowledge, I developed the competency “Be Curious“. This competency refers to exploring new ideas, opportunities, and sources of knowledge, as well as demonstrating a commitment to lifelong learning. Furthermore, curiosity helped me to develop personal and professional skills such as collaboration, innovation, and inquisitiveness.
During my time as the Sport Support Team Lead, I developed three skills- collaboration, innovation, and inquisitiveness.
As the Sport Support Team Lead, I guided and mentored sport management students. Though many supervisors/team leads may start from a place of “here’s how I do it”, I started with a true interest in others.
By collaborating with students outside of my program, I gained new perspectives and insights. Not only did this change the nature of the interaction, but it helped to build relationships with my peers and my supervisor which led to a great working collaboration. Moreover, I gained insight into the importance of interdisciplinary work and even considered what my future career might look like if I were to pursue a position in the sport industry. My goal is to enhance my collaboration skills by gaining exposure to opportunities requiring interdisciplinary work, such as pursuing an executive position in the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences student association at Brock University.
During challenging times, it was important that I remained optimistic and used my innovation skills to respond creatively and overcome constraints. For instance, at the beginning of the winter semester when provincial guidelines put a pause on sport practices, my fellow peers and I were uncertain if we had enough time to gain sufficient hours and experience within the semester. Thus, it was important to be open to new ideas and understand that there is more than one way of doing things. Besides challenging times, innovation skills are crucial as this may help an organization refine problems, capabilities, and strategies. I can improve my innovation skills by translating conflicts that arose during the placement as learning experiences and self-reflect on everything that happened.
An inquisitive personality refers to always inquiring, and always asking questions . In fact, being inquisitive also requires you to be reflective of what you’ve learned from other people. Thus, an inquisitive interaction is an intentional one. By nature, we are so used to focusing on ourselves, but researchers have found that the more we focus on ourselves, the harder it becomes to look at another perspective . For instance, through interactions with local sports partners and students, instead of presenting the information, I asked open-ended questions which all were guided by curiosity.
Moreover, inquisitiveness is something I’ve improved over the years by gaining more self-confidence and asking questions when necessary. When I begin my professional career, I hope to model what that means and how it is practiced as a leader with an inquisitive nature.
As I reflect upon my time at the CSC as the SST Lead, I am extremely thankful for the opportunities present to not only refine but develop transferable skills that will aide as I move into my last year of my degree. Furthermore, I want to thank Dr. Stevens for her continuous support and guidance through this semester as well as my fellow peers in the Sport Management program for joining the SST.
Lastly, I would highly recommend the SST to anyone looking to leverage their personal and professional skills as well as gain experiences in community and non-profit sport organizations!