As a young start-up company, we know how important it is that we offer you something different. And while we believe that our app is a unique resource for organising, discovering and participating in sport, we want to do something more. So, in a new series of blog posts, we’re asking the team to talk about Hoops and their careers.
This week, communications officer Andy Donley talks about swapping journalism for our exciting start-up.
Last summer was an exciting time for me.
Based in Salford, I worked on the BBC Sport team covering the Rio Olympics, writing medal reports, news and live blogs as one of the great sporting events unfurled before me.
Working from 6pm to 4am for 13 days over the two weeks of the Olympics, there wasn’t much I missed, from Usain Bolt’s history-making sprint dominance to Britain’s record medal haul.
I even wrote the live blog for Michael Phelps’ last race – the man who retired with the most Olympic gold medals ever.
Six months later, I turned away from journalism and rocked up at Hoops, with little idea of what to expect.
It was a gamble. And fortunately, it’s paid off.
My new job @Hoops_App: Talking to people in sport about why YOU should get active too.
— Andy Donley (@AndyDonley) January 25, 2017
“Being a sports journalist is pretty cool…”
Growing up and all through university, I never considered journalism as a career.
I knew I wanted to do something around writing – my degree is in professional and creative writing, which is something of a giveaway – but journalism wasn’t exactly a passion.
But when I got thrown into the deep end and asked to interview former England cricketer James Taylor on a work experience day with the Nottingham Evening Post, I was sold.
As a sports fanatic, being a sports journalist is pretty cool.
You watch sport, speak to sports people and write about it. What’s not to love?
But the industry is changing. Social media means news happens instantly, newspaper readership is falling and overexposure has numbed sports people to journalist questions, meaning interesting answers are a rarity.
There are still some great sport writers operating at the moment, but below that the job is becoming increasingly similar to copywriting, except you work nights and weekends.
No one really knows what the future of journalism holds. Which is why I have jumped at the chance to try my hand at something different at Hoops.
“I knew straight away that Hoops was on to something”
While at the BBC, I worked with Get Inspired, BBC Sport’s department for motivating people to take up sport.
I met some brilliant people, most memorably a gentleman who had multiple sclerosis, but refused to stop playing golf.
It made me realise that while people are most interested in reading about Premier League footballers, the stories of everyday people are often much more interesting – and much more inspirational.
When Jonas explained to me how Hoops works, I knew straight away that it could be used as a tool for good.
If we can help people to discover sport through the app, then why not try to inspire them to get active with our marketing, social media and content output?
So far the job has been incredibly rewarding, meeting and interviewing people like Eric Douglin and Chris Arthey with remarkable tales of individual resolve and real passion for sport.
That has also helped me rediscover my own passion for playing sport. So you see guys, Hoops really does work!
— Andy Donley (@AndyDonley) May 28, 2016
“Hoops can help people to change their lives”
With the addition of Cath to our team as a social media ninja, we’re really growing and evolving the way we speak to people – and I hope that continues to happen.
We’ll be looking at new ways of telling people’s stories, with video and social media lives working alongside this blog.
And as more people use the app, hopefully we’ll meet more people with stories to tell.
Hoops was originally created to solve a problem, to help people to organise sport.
But there is so much scope for it to go beyond that, and to be a real force for good in the fight to get more people playing sport.
Through working around the issue in my last two roles, it has become a real passion of mine.
Hopefully, as Hoops continues to grow, I can grow with it and help people to use it to change their lives.
Hoops is now available in app stores, so you can use us to find opportunities for any sport or fitness activity you can think of. Simply click here to download the app for Android, and here for iOS – or search for Hoops Connect.
Just because Hoops is out, it doesn’t mean that our work ends. In fact, it’s only just beginning. So, if you want to keep up with how we’re driving the app forwards, click here to subscribe to our emails, and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Medium and even on Spotify. We’re everywhere, and hopefully we’ll be on your phone soon too!