The broad purpose of this paper is to contextualize the meaning and evolution of competitive sport participation among the aged by describing the life story of a senior aged participant. We used narrative inquiry to examine the integration of sport into the life course and continuity theory to examine the evolution of his life story. Continuity theory proposes that individuals are predisposed to preserve and maintain longstanding patterns of thought and behavior throughout their adult development. Based on this theory, we suggest that continuity in successful competitive sport involvement for this participant may represent a primary adaptive strategy for coping with the aging process. Successful involvement in sport appeared to mediate past and continuing patterns of social relationships, the development of personal identity, and a general propensity for lifelong physical activity.
David J. Langley is with the Department of Physical Education at Indiana State University, Terre Haute, IN 47809. Sharon M. Knight is with the Department of Health Education at East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27858.