Volunteering at EHF Men’s 18 Handball Championship 2016

Sports

Good morning/day/weekend!

Around this time last year, I published my most successful non-movie related article on the topic of volunteering. Well, today, I’m continuing the tradition and writing about the behind-the-scenes inner workings of another sports event. As usual, the article will focus on my personal experience of the event and won’t be completely objective or universally truthful.

For the past week, I’ve been lucky enough to volunteer at EHF Men’s 18 Handball Championship in Lithuania. This was the first event of this kind for European Handball Federation since the new age group system has been introduced. The championship has been simultaneously held in 3 countries: Bulgaria, Georgia, and Lithuania. The winners of that part of the championship that was held in my country were the team from Israel, who won the final against Italy. The 3rd place went to Austria after they defeated the national youth handball team of The Netherlands.

After working as a team attaché for 2 weeks last year, I was quite sad to find out that I won’t be managing a team during this championship. Instead, I was supposed to be helping the officials of the EHF which seemed kinda sweet deal too. However, by the end of the first of the event, my job  became obsolete and I didn’t do much in terms of helping the local and foreign organizing committees.

Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy the championship. I loved spending some quality time with my volunteer friends, which I only see a couple of times per year. However, in terms of the actual volunteering, I felt that I didn’t do much. I was really looking forward to the experience of working with sports professionals from an international federation, but instead, I was just kinda picking up the trash because I didn’t want to just sit there.

The main problem I had, concerning volunteering in this particular event, was the fact that there weren’t any clear lines of communication between the organizers and the volunteers and only a small portion of the volunteers actually did some meaningful work. A proper training session wasn’t held and I felt that the organizers were thinking that since all of the volunteers had previous volunteering experience, they will know what to do. I wish that they would have put more trust in us/me and actually given clearer orders. You can only do so much on your own intuition and I don’t really think that it is up to a subordinate to constantly seek for tasks. Then again, the volunteers, me definitely included, could have asked more questions. This was probably an obvious example of miscommunication and two parties not knowing what to do with each other. I will definitely learn from this whole unfortunate thing.

In the end, I can’t be that mad with the organizers because they did thank us for helping with the event and gave us commemorative gifts and Thank You notes/certificates. I did, however, felt that I didn’t really deserve any of it. Then again, I came to the championship every day and was always ready for work.

Speaking about handball as a sport – I wasn’t familiar with it at all. My background is in swimming and running, so handball was a completely new territory for me. I don’t know if I am completely sold on it as an enjoyable sport but I will definitely give it another shot – will either watch it or ask for one of my friends, who (I think) used to play handball, to teach me the basics.

Bellow, I will include some photos from the event, a picture of the volunteer’s T-shirt and the thank you gifts and any other random bits. In addition, here are the links to the pages of the European Handball Federation, the Lithuania Handball Federation, the actual event, and the Union of Sports’ Volunteers of Lithuania.

Have a great week!

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Olympic day 2015

Sports

Hello!

Some of you might know that I am a sports fan. I have been swimming for 10 years and have been participating in running and cycling competitions these past 3 years. I also really enjoy being in a spectators position: I will literally watch anything from basketball to chess.

Olympic day is an annual international celebration. The festive event is always held in a different city of a country during the month of June. This happens all over the world.

This celebration tries to educate people about different types of sports and advertises healthy lifestyle. This year, the Olympic Day in Lithuania took place in my city – Kaunas. The event started like the real Olympics start: with the passing of a torch and the symbolic fire lighting. In addition, posters with Olympic rings were hanging everywhere, so that they were visible at all times.

There was a wide variety of activities to choose from: attendees could try their hand at archery, basketball, volleyball, football, could exercise at Cross-fit booth, learn about fencing or wrestling. They could compete in a cycling, climbing or running competition.

I chose the running. The organizers offered  3 distances: 5 km or 10 km and the Olympic Mile Run. I picked the last one and ran the symbolic distance of 1,928 meters. The weather was really hot and dry, so these few kilometers were hard work.

I also appreciated the fact that the Paralympic sports were also included and represented in an equal manner.

I really enjoyed this celebratory event which was held mainly in Azuolynas (Oak Tree) park by the statue of Darius and Girėnas (they introduced Lithuanians to a lot of different types of sports during the Inter-War period, despite being famous pilots. Fun random fact: I attend high school which is named after them in honor of their achievements).

The organization was great and the mood was really happy and upbeat. Everybody were so energetic and optimistic. This event really brighten up my city and its citizens. All the participants received commemorative T-Shirts, so all of us looked like a giant team: united, happy and full of life. If only for one day.

Have a productive week! I have my last exam on Monday and then the summer will officially start for me too. Bye!