“They are used to the traditional ways of doing things”: Older Men’s Experiences of Curling’s New Rationality

in Sociology of Sport Journal
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Curling was perhaps once the sport the least associated with discipline and athleticism, instead having a reputation for drinking and smoking, an ethos prizing conviviality over competition, and a structure enabling amateurs to compete at the highest levels. However, during the gold-medal-winning performance of Team Brad Jacobs, a group of muscular young Canadian men, at the 2014 Winter Olympics, the public and media began celebrating changes in the sport that were already well under way. As curling enters a new era of rationalized training, fitness, and professionalization, this paper draws on interviews with older male curlers in two mid-size Canadian cities, and Ratele’s work on tradition, to ask what has been lost. Participants often embraced curling’s new emphasis on physical fitness. However, they also worried about the diminishing traditions of sociability, sportsmanship, and accessibility within the sport.

The author is with the Department of Sociology, St. Thomas University, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada.

Address author correspondence to Kristi A. Allain at kallain@stu.ca.
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