An exploratory and inductive study was conducted of the relationships between sport and personal memory. A diverse sample of 132 people were asked to recount their single clearest memory of sport. Analysis of the responses indicates that such memories are common and often very detailed and salient for the respondents. The characteristics of the memories are presented, six themes are identified and summarized, and the memories are related to four hypotheses derived from studies of the sociology of memory. Our memories of sport link us not only to the institution but also to significant group relationships and important episodes in our lives. These memories are also connected with our sense of self and reflect current orientations toward sports.
Joseph F. Healey is with the Department of Sociology and Social Work at Christopher Newport College, Newport News, VA 23606.