The share of people who match the stereotype of a geek is relatively big in floorball. The reason is pretty simple. However, these guys might be floorball’s secret weapon.
When I moved to Germany eleven years ago I was a bit surprised. Actually, in a certain extend I was overwhelmed, too. Many of the young „club officials“, managers, referee instructors, youth coaches, equipment wards, waterboys (or sometimes even all combined) were… well, how to say… geeky.
Still unfamiliar with this term? Let me google that for you. A geek is supposed to be “an expert or enthusiast dedicated to or even obsessed with a hobby or some intellectual persuit“. Unfortunately to some a geek is just a “peculiar person, overly intellectual, unfashionable or socially awkward”. A weirdo, one could say.
The first time I met my then new club manager, I tried to guess his real life job. He might be some very competent accountant, I thought. In fact he was a very competent programmer. The second thing I would have guessed. His set up was more comfortable then fashionable, his ways were a bit precarious. He couldn’t recommend me any bar in town, because he hadn’t been neither drinking alcohol nor was he going out in the evenings.
He explained me his tasks in the club. Beside his regular job as a competent programmer he was responsible for budgeting, memberships, licenses, website, logistics and all equipment. Furthermore, he was coaching three youth teams. My jaw dropped.
He didn’t mean to brag. He just wanted me to know, how things worked. He spoke very cautiously explaining me every single string in the structure of the club. Then he grabbed into his bag and handed me over a bulk of forms to fill out.
I thought this might be some German attribute, some fetish for “Ordnung“. But in the following years I met similar people from various other. So dedicated and hardworking that the clubs couldn’t run without them. I got the impression, that this breed of a developer might be pretty common in floorball.
Actually, it’s a very precious breed. Yes, these guys might have their struggles in a socially aggressive environment and they suck in small talk, the currency of every locker room. Many of them failed in their previous attempts to become a valuable or valued member of a football, handball or hockey club. Some because of missing athletic, others because of missing social skills.
But who cares? Geeks are dedicated, focused and highly qualified. They are used to struggles in the role of an outsider. Because many of them work as freelancers, they are flexible and used to organizing a tight schedule. As geeks are often situated in some kind of creative or innovative industry, they know how to deal with stress and they are open for new paths.
These are important reasons why floorball needs those guys, especially in developing floorball countries. There’s a lot of work to be done. It’s an empty field, where geeks and underrated folks find their position without having to deal with chauvinistic alpha leaders that keep their hords closed. So if other sports spit these guys out, we should reach after them.
By the way, after a team mate read the draft of this blog he asked me how many articles I had written this week. Seven, I answered. He smiled and responded: “Sounds a bit obsessed with an intellectual pursuit to me”.