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Ashley Mainwaring - managing my life and placement year at London Sport


Can I commute three hours to and from work in London everyday and travel  another 45 minutes to hockey 3 days a week and not completely burn out trying to fit in some type of social life?!

This thought didn’t really occur to me when I started working for London Sport at their House of Sport offices in Borough. People say that starting a new job is tiring enough (especially for someone who loves at least 10 hours of sleep per day!) but combining that with a long commute into London was a bit more exhausting than I thought!

As I have time on the tube each day (the second part of my journey), one morning I started to think about how strange commuting on the tube actually is. In life, we actively avoid close contact with people, but it’s as if these norms of personal space are forgotten once we reach the underground! It’s easy to pick out the irregular travellers, those that can’t quite believe how busy it is or quietly tut to their friend when that one extra person is pushing to squeeze on just to arrive at their destination a minute early.

I enjoy watching people on the tube, seeing what they wear, where they might be going and what they might be doing…meeting a friend maybe, going to an interview, having a music practice (which must have been the case for the 5ft girl with her cello – why else would you optionally join the chaos of the rush hour commute?!)

I’ve probably read 50 pages from about 20 different books while communting just through looking over peoples shoulders. Most of them I can’t remember anything about but it passes the time and helps avoid any eye contact with others!

There’s different groups on the tube: the rushers, the “I’ve got loads of timers” and the ones that seem to have their life fully sorted out! These people are specialists, they arrive not too early to be waiting around nor too late to almost miss the train and will often read or put in some headphones because they know exactly where they need to go and how long it will take.

Running off the train and realising I have 8 minutes to get home, get changed and leave to go to hockey training, makes me realise I’m probably not one of these people!

It’s not that I enjoy the rush but it’s what must be done if I want to go training! I sometimes come home and just think why am I doing this, feeling constantly tired and rushed all the time for the sake of a sport! (if any sportsperson doesn’t think this occasionally they must be lying!)

But we managed! And what it has made me realise, is not to stop doing what you love when you start work or an internship or placement year, because you can always make it work – even if you’re running home from the station to make hockey training, or you get home so late that you can only manage to scramble together 6 cheddars and a yogurt for dinner – you have time and the tiredness and rush is worth it!

This made me start to think, as I’ve moved from university life into working life, how the meaning of time varies based on your life at that time, the people you see or the hobbies you engage in. You look down at an assignment at university due in a week and think I have no time! You look up at the scoreboard and see there’s 3 minutes left of the game and think “there’s loads of time to score the game winning goal! You look at your best friend who you haven’t seen in a couple of months and even a whole day isn’t enough time to catch up! You look ahead to your final year at university and think wow what little time left I have of 2 for £1 jagerbombs and lay-ins and you look ahead and think actually we have so much time to spend doing exactly what we want to do; whether that’s running to catch a train for work, running to defend a goal or spending time with friends and not running at all.

So, when I think back to that question: Can I do all of these things and still have some down time – the answer would be absolutely, but don’t expect it to be a smooth ride!

Nothing worth having comes easy.


Ashley is our current Project Support intern, with us for her year in industry as part of her undergraduate degree. If you’re looking to get a foot-in in the sports industry, we have more placement opportunities commencing in June 2018 – take a look here.


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