Heroes of Sport – The Groundskeeper

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Summer is in full swing and the first kick off of the World Cup is but moments away.  But while the football titans of all nations are engaged in fierce competition for the honour of their nations, let's spare a thought for some of the real heroes of sport; the humble Groundskeeper (or Groundsman/woman).

Come rain, come snow, come wind, come shine, it is on the backs of these hard working champions that all the great sporting memories of ours and previous generations was built.  Whether self taught, career garderners who moved into the sporting world or graduates from an online sports course, each one is an unknown hero of athletes everywhere.  

Every World Cup final had a pitch that had to be meticulously tended to.  Every Wimbledon was won on a professionally maintained court.  Not nearly enough credit is given to the amazing and dedicated work these men and women perform to keep sporting facilities in great shape. That’s why we feel the time is right to recognize the reasons why Groundskeepers are the unsung heroes of the sporting world and offer five great reasons to thank yours the next time you come off the pitch.

#1 They Keep Things Fair

Home field advantage is a very real thing.  The more individual nuances a particular pitch or court has the more a home athlete might have an edge over a visitor if they know where the bumps and nooks lie.  That’s why it is essential the Groundskeepers act as arbiters of fairness, ensuring that both sides of a playing field are as equal as possible in quality and condition so that players are playing each other, and not the course.  

#2 They Keep Things Safe

There’s a huge range of possible threats and dangers to athletes and sportspeople, even in the more benign sports.  Poorly maintained, an athletic field can become overrun with harmful flora or infested with harmful fauna, such as insects or rats. An attentive Groundskeeper is always on guard for the first sign of these creeping menaces and is knowledgeable about how best to get rid of them.

#3 They Keep Things Pretty

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and while it’s safe to say that your average football fan won’t notice if the pitch is pretty and well maintained, they’ll certainly notice if it looks badly kept, and then doubtless blame it for the failings of their team. Groundskeepers must have an eye for aesthetics and, for those maintaining certain places such as golf courses, are often called upon to implement their gardening skills to create a fantastic horticultural experience on the course.

#4 They Keep Things Clean

Even more genteel spectators at a cricket match at Lords are capable of producing an immense amount of rubbish.  Meanwhile, grass is a living organism that must be cared for in the face of possible disease and even artificial turf and solid floors must be kept in good condition to avoid risk or harm to athletes and spectators.  It may not be glamorous, but just think what it would be like if nobody bothered to clean up the old beer cans and burger cartons after a match. 

#5  They Keep Good on Their Word

Groundskeepers do a lot of hard manual work, mostly without supervision.  As such, they must be trusted, not only to do the job, but to do it well.  From small community five a side pitches to great national stadiums, the pride of communities, clubs and even countries, is at stake from the work done by a humble groundskeeper. 

Groundskeeping as a Job

It’s safe to say, then, that Groundskeeping is a field of work that will always be in demand so long as people enjoy sports.  Like many careers in the sports field, it marries together a love of sport with the skills and knowledge needed by a horticulturalist and gardener.   Groundskeepers must be flexible – their role requires them to adapt to all manner of challenges, but can enjoy immense satisfaction from watching a match and knowing their work made it all possible.   

If you’re thinking of a career change and are considering groundskeeping, ADL offers a range of courses suitable to the aspiring Groundskeeper.  Our Horticulture and Turf maintenance courses are ideal starting points for anyone thinking of getting into this hands-on role and for those a little more specialized we run a focussed sports turf management course that builds on the information learned in our regular turf course and focuses it for sports use and is suitable for all types of sports fields from football to cricket, rugby and much more. 

If you're thinking of a career in sport, think ADL! 
 
 
 

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