“I had no desire to be having this battle with this faceless man on the soccer field anymore”: Exploring the Ethics of Sporting Retirement

in Sociology of Sport Journal
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  • 1 University of Waikato
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In this article, I examine the relatively youthful sporting retirement of four athletes from popular Western team sports, namely soccer, ice hockey and rugby union. Drawing on studies of sporting transitions and retirement (e.g., Denison, 1997; Douglas & Carless, 2009; Sparkes, 1998; Sparkes & Smith, 2002; Stambulova, Alfermann, Statler, & Côté, 2009; Wylleman, Alfermann, & Lavallee, 2004) and Foucault’s notions of games of truth and ethical self-creation, I argue that these athletes’ decisions to retire from sport were based on a refusal to accept the subject position proposed to them within their sports and, subsequently, these sporting transitions formed acts of ethical self-creation. My conclusions reveal an as yet under-explored interpretation of sporting retirement in which the process of retirement forms part of an attempt to recreate an ethical self.

Crocket is with the Department of Sport and Leisure Studies, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand.

Address author correspondence to Hamish Crocket at hamishc@waikato.ac.nz.
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