It takes more than passion to dive into a sports career
To keen sportsman Sean Patrick Moore, one of the most important aspects of life is to experience it.
"It is important in life to be a participant and not just an observer. Sport holds so many valuable lessons for personal development, working within a team, achieving goals and accepting the losses as well as the wins," Moore says.
As managing director of Elite Step Asia, Moore focuses on sports marketing. He thinks it is important to recognise that sports should not be the be-all and end-all of one's life and one has to have a balance of interests and passions.
"Although I do follow sports closely, my passion is for rugby which I have been playing since I was 12, which for an American is quite rare. What appeals to me about rugby is that it is the ultimate team sport - everyone pulling together to achieve a goal. I think that is why rugby is so popular as a corporate sponsorship category, as the game really personifies the keys to achieving success on an organisational level," Moore explains.
He came to Hong Kong in 1997. His first job was with a public relations firm promoting luxury goods, which he says gave him a great insight into living and working in the city, having to work on luxury watches and jewellery projects. But he confesses that he prefers a muddy rugby weekend to a high-end fashion launch.
Later, Moore joined a company whose flagship contract was the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens.
"I really wanted to be involved in this great rugby event, so I made it my goal to pursue this involvement and the rest is history," he recalls.
Moore's Elite Step markets many major sporting events, including the Hong Kong Sevens. He believes there are many challenges in marketing and organising events no matter what the scale.
"The Hong Kong Sevens, as a major international event, also offers major international challenges and I think the most challenging year for me personally was in 2003 with the advent of Sars," he says.
"I remember seeing the first news reports about Sars and felt that it was something we would need to address with our clients, the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union.
As the situation deteriorated, we lost two international teams who decided not to participate and had to find reserve teams."
Moore says it is the challenges that make events worthwhile and he gets his satisfaction from a sense of closure at the end of an event. He believes sports event marketing and management is a great field to be in, especially if one has a love and interest for sport.
And as far as qualifications are concerned, Moore adds that "qualifications are primarily innate. I don't think you can 'learn' the essentials like passion and commitment that are required."
Three-time Olympic swimmer Sherry Tsai Hiu-wai agrees.
"You don't need qualifications or any type of experience in sports. It's all about passion and commitment. To me, every day is a challenge as I have to cope with injuries and times of failure," she says. Tsai represented Hong Kong at three Olympics, three Asian Games, four East Asian Games, and won Hong Kong's Best Swimmer award four years in a row between 1998 and 2001.
The star swimmer, now a local television presenter, started swimming at the age of 10, got selected to the Hong Kong Junior Squad at 11, represented Hong Kong from 12, and broke a record for the first time at 13.
Besides passion, Tsai knows a thing or two about perseverance. To young people hoping to enter this field, her advice is "enjoy the many challenges and never give up".
- You need challenges to do your best work
- You need to constantly come up with new ideas
- Be creative and take an interest in all kinds of sports, events and people