Working from home but different
Adam Bates recently told us about how he came to be a sports commentator working from home. Today he talks about the downsides and his sporting heroes:
Are there any negative aspects about working from home in your profession?
On the whole, working from home is a fortunate position to be in and I wouldn’t change it. The only difficulty comes when trying to affirm to others that, although I am at home without a shirt and tie on, I’m still working on something important that has to be done.
If somebody asks if I want to go out or if I would like to join housemates for dinner etc and I say “sorry I’ve got to do my prep for a commentary”, I’m concerned it’s perceived as a shun because I’m just in my room sitting at my computer.
Working often strange hours (sometimes it can be a nocturnal profession) exacerbates this as I’ll be working in the evenings and all weekend. Friends have come to comprehend it perfectly though and they’re small problems on the grander scale. I still find time to have fun.
Were you involved in the Olympics? Paralympics?
Only in so much as I bought lots of tickets! I was hopeful of being part of the BBC’s radio reporting team, but after leaving them, it materialised that it wasn’t their policy to take on freelancers. Gutted! Putting plans into motion already though to make it to Rio de Janeiro.
Who are your sporting heroes, and have you ever met them?
Unsurprisingly, my favourite sporting idols have been those behind the mic. As well as a unique former Derby County commentator Graham Richards, I was always captivated by the passion of Formula 1 commentator Murray Walker. At one point, he kindly agreed to me visiting him at his home for an interview for a radio project. You often hear anecdotes of how when people meet their icons it turns out to be a disappointment.
That certainly wasn’t the case here. He couldn’t have been more generous with his time as he rather eccentrically answered all my questions while bouncing on a medicine ball (you know those space-hopper type things).
He gave me valuable personal advice and then insisted on driving me the 17 miles to the railway station rather than me paying for a taxi. There will never be another one like him.
What’s your ultimate ambition, and could you achieve it while still working from home?
I have two major ambitons: to broadcast on some of the biggest sporting events in the world (i.e. the Olympics, the tennis Grand Slams and the FIFA World Cup) and to travel. The two go hand in hand.
It’s hard to imagine how much prep you’d have to do working from home in covering an Olympic Games, though it would also be important to get out and about and meet the protagonists themselves, because the most intriguing stories aren’t ones you can find on a search engine.
Working from home will always be an integral part to my career though, as preparation is everything and it’s a privilege to be able to work much of the time in my pyjamas.