Like millions of other people around the world, I am a big fan of one of the UK’s most popular exports, the Champions League. But while I love watching and playing soccer, I never thought that working at the House of Commons would allow me to become familiar with the League itself, never mind give me the chance to play.
One of the perks of working for Christine Russell is that she holds a position in the Labour Government as a Parliamentary Private Secretary in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Because of this I have sat in on a number of meetings including one held to discuss the Globalization of Football (soccer), as well as a meeting that explored options for raising the profile of Basketball in Britain (they have discovered that people actually like basketball!).
The meeting that impacted me the most, however, was a briefing session by the Football League on the work that they do to strengthen their local communities. For example, in order to promote education and encourage kids to stay in school, some teams invite students to take Friday classes with a lecture by a player inside their stadium, on the condition that the students were present in school on Monday through Thursday. Programs like this have increased attendance dramatically. Like a Corporate Social Responsibility unit in a company, the Football League must see that by supporting education and helping their neighborhood’s children, they are not only strengthening the community, they are also gaining lifelong fans. I am happy to learn that sport can reach beyond the field, court, and diamond and really do well by the people it touches.
Finally, I always look forward to Tuesday mornings because that is when I play soccer with the Parliamentary Football League. Besides the fact that it is fun to run around and play soccer, it is hilarious to join Members of Parliament, Ministers and their staff away from the world of business suits and see who goes in for dirty tackles, hogs the ball, tugs shirts, or scores sweet goals.
Anna is spending the 2009/2010 Parliamentary year in London, interning at the British House of Commons for the Honorable Christine Russell, Labour MP for the City of Chester. Throughout the academic year, Anna is sharing her observations about working in a foreign government so they can be chronicled in the CAS e-NEWS.