“So, You Want to Work in Sports?”

by Joanne Mattern. Ages 8 to 12.
211 pages.

The sports world is huge.

As Joanne Mattern notes, “For a select few, becoming a superstar athlete is a dream come true. However, that isn’t the only way to carve out a career in sports.”

In addition to players, there are coaches, referees, trainers, P.E. teachers and many more positions. There are youth sports leagues, school teams and professional organizations.

Mattern interviews young people who hope to have a career in sports and adults who are established in a sports field. She asks about education, training, daily routines and the best and most challenging parts of the job.

One interesting “rookie profile” is Elizabeth Bennett, a swimmer at Sacred Heart University in Connecticut. She swims competitively, but her goal is to become a physical therapist, a medical specialty. So she chose a college that allows her to follow both interests.

There’s also a spotlight on Ed Hochuli, a popular National Football League referee. Hochuli played football through college, then studied to become a lawyer. But he never lost his love of football. So in his free time, he started working as a ref, first in youth sports and eventually in the NFL. Now you might spot him at the Super Bowl!

Mattern doesn’t rule out kids being able to have a career as an athlete, but she gives a realistic look at what the odds are. For example, the NFL has 32 teams, but there are about 200 college football teams in the highly competitive Division I. There’s simply not enough room for most college athletes at the professional level. So, Mattern says, kids are better off expanding their view of what a sports career is.