An Interview with Boston’s Sports Star – Thomas Taole
Q. What made you choose sports as a career?
Ans - “I grew up playing soccer, my dream was to be a pro soccer player but I broke my leg, and sadly, that was the end of Thomas the player. Luckily, I could still follow my passion using a different path. In addition, this was the beginning of Thomas the coach. My passion for sports was the reason I chose this career”.
Q What formal qualification did you attain to enter this field?
Ans - “At the beginning I had a love of and passion for sports, and I completed little sports workshops at the age of 18, in Sports Administration and Soccer coaching. I did it with SASA-South Africa Soccer Association. Today they called it SAFA. These workshops helped me get started during my foundation years. But what made the big difference to my status was the Sports Management Diploma that I did in 1995 at Boston Campus - this did kick start my career as a professional in the field.”
Q What does your job entail?
Ans - “My job entails developing the sports programs in accordance with the AfrikaTikkun strategy. Train the trainer in Sports, Life skills for players, fundraising for the programs and developing partnerships with the Federations of the sports that we complete in”.
Q What do you do in an average day?
Ans - “In an average day I start at my desk either at the Head office where I am based or the Centre where I will be working on that day. I check emails and answer urgent ones. I plan for my day. Then I meet with the team to go plan their day, as far as coaching the kids in the afternoon. We like to review the last session - both the good and the bad - and plan forward as we try to do better than the last sessions”.
Taole tells us that what he enjoys the most is travelling – his is not a static job. “It’s also meeting different people, youth, and sports stars. In addition, I have great flexibility in my job – I work 9-5 but in different spaces and each day is different. On top of all of this – I love what I do!” according to Taole he has hit the jackpot –“ Getting paid to do what you love is so awesome – basically this is my hobby, so getting paid to do this is a bonus!”
We asked Taole if there were any negative aspects to his job. “Well, this is a competitive industry. In addition, not everyone takes sports seriously. The government and professional clubs can treat athletes and managers with no respect- compare this to Europe and the USA and we can see where South Africa is lacking”. Taole lists highlights of his career as travelling to the UK with a team of triathletes. In addition, “Winning a race in USA with another team was extraordinary moment. My graduation in Sports education as a Higher Education qualification was definitely something to treasure at Boston Campus. The first in the family to achieve that. “
Q What does Taole believe are the three most important attributes that his position requires?
Ans - Fitness of body and mind, patience, and subject knowledge. “You need to know your subjects so knowledge is the key and that is where Sports Education like at Boston College is fundamental”.
Taole says that his job is to “empower young and old in sports development, and to identify talent in the youth – and above all – to keep them active for life”. What are his life tips?
• You need both experience as well as training in this field.
• You need to be a people’s person with great communication skills.
• Contribute to fundraising activities as well as your day job – I am the Sports Director of the Organisation so I need to ensure my salary!
• As some wise man once said, “Be passionate about what you do and you will never have to work another day”.
• Sometimes talent alone is not enough – get a diploma or degree in Admin, Coaching and/or Sports. This country has high unemployment; you need to have something more to offer.