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Paternal Closeness in Adolescence: The Association of Sports and Gender

Tom R. Leppard and Mikaela J. Dufur

Recent research suggests positive associations between shared recreational activities and father–child relationships for young children. We extend these ideas to adolescents and to recreational activities in which the father’s participation might be limited to audience membership. We use the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health to evaluate whether an association exists between adolescent sports participation and paternal relationships, focusing on the adolescent’s perspective, and whether these associations differ for boys and girls. Findings show positive associations between sports participation and closer relationships between fathers and adolescents. Sports participation was more important for boys’ relationships with fathers than girls’. We discuss our findings in terms of contemporary shifts in gendered norms and conclude that gender may remain salient in how sport participation can promote father–child relationships.

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Volume 38 (2021): Issue 4 (Dec 2021)

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Fear, Anger, and Loneliness: Emotional Pain and Referee Attrition in English Grassroots Football

Paul A. Potrac, Edward T. Hall, and Adam J. Nichol

This interpretive study provides original insights into the socioemotional experiences that contributed to referee attrition in English grassroots football. Data were generated using an online survey (n = 251) and in-depth interviews (n = 20) with former referees. Using complementary symbolic interactionist and relational conceptualizations of identity, social interaction, and emotional pain, the analysis addressed the participants’ interpretations of their problematic encounters with the various significant others (e.g., coaches, managers, players, spectators, and administrators) that comprised their respective social networks in grassroots football. Importantly, the participants described several emotionally painful issues related to match day environments, disciplinary proceedings, and deployment and development processes that simultaneously coexisted alongside and exacerbated one another. The findings present important implications for those individuals and governing bodies who are responsible for referee retention.

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Wrestling With Jello: “Good Dads” and the Reproduction of Male Dominance in Children’s Baseball

Travers and Jennifer Berdahl

Despite being formally all-gender, children’s baseball in Canada and the United States remains highly male dominated. We draw on the autoethnographic fieldwork of Travers as a queer/trans volunteer coach to demonstrate the social processes that reproduce male domination among coaches in children’s baseball. We employ the theoretical lens of doing/redoing/undoing gender to demonstrate the enactment of a hybrid form of masculinity we term “Good Dad Masculinity.” Good Dad Masculinity reproduces male domination in children’s baseball as a de facto highly gendered organization wherein girls, women, and nonnormatively gendered people of all ages are peripherally included, at best. As Good Dad Masculinity reproduces male domination while appearing to embody and endorse gender egalitarianism, resistance to it is akin to wrestling with jello.

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Opportunities Denied: The Divergent Resonance of Opportunity for Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Hockey Players With the Now-Disbanded Beardy’s Blackhawks

Mika Rathwell, Robert Henry, and Sam McKegney

For 25 years, the Beardy’s Blackhawks were Canada’s only U18 AAA hockey team located on and operated by a First Nation. The team encouraged young, Indigenous athletes to take pride in their cultural heritage and offered a sense of belonging and acceptance while also providing an opportunity for non-Indigenous players to play in such an environment. In 2019, the Saskatchewan Hockey Association made the decision to eliminate the Blackhawks from the league, describing their removal as a need to address “league concerns” related to billeting and younger player development. The purpose of this article is to analyze differences in how opportunity is understood and experienced by final-roster players (2019/2020 hockey season) and past alumni and, particularly, how it diverged across racial and cultural axes. What is found through semistructured interviews is that the concept of opportunity shifts between Indigenous and non-Indigenous players: Whereas Indigenous players tend to view opportunity in relation to cultural pride, non-Indigenous players view opportunity primarily in relation to future hockey opportunities. We argue that specific elite sporting opportunities that are characterized by Indigenous values are needed for a greater and more diverse range of Indigenous athletes to succeed in elite sport.

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Sport or Party? The University Sports in Paraná

Jeferson Roberto Rojo

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Canadian National Sport Organizations’ Responses to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission: Calls to Action and Settler Silence

Yasmin Rajwani, Audrey R. Giles, and Shawn Forde

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 2015 Calls to Action identified societal measures necessary for a successful reconciliation process between Indigenous peoples and settlers in Canada, five of which were specific to sport. Half a decade after the Calls to Action were published, the response by national sport organizations in Canada has escaped scholarly attention. Through a lens informed by settler colonial studies, the authors employed summative content analysis to examine the ways, if any, in which national sport organizations in Canada have implemented relevant Calls to Action. The results indicate a lack of response by most national sport organizations which, we argue, represents settler silence.

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Gender Parity, False Starts, and Promising Practices in the Paralympic Movement

Nikolaus A. Dean, Andrea Bundon, P. David Howe, and Natalie Abele

Although women have been a part of the Paralympic Movement since its inauguration, they remain underrepresented in almost all aspects of parasport. Noting these gender-based discrepancies, the International Paralympic Committee and several National Paralympic Committees have made commitments to address the issue of gender balance across the movement. Guided theoretically by feminist and disability sport scholarship, this article explores the various initiatives and strategies implemented by the International Paralympic Committee and National Paralympic Committees to address the issue of gender parity. Through 29 qualitative interviews with Paralympic athletes, organizers, academics, and journalists, our study illustrates that initiatives and strategies implemented by these organizations have affected women differently based on a range of social, cultural, and political factors.

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“I Can’t Because I Am a Man”: Masculinity, Manhood, and Gender Equality in Sport for Development

Eva Soares Moura

Despite the growing body of feminist research investigating the relationship between sports initiatives and gender development goals, the literature to date has almost exclusively focused on female participation within sport for development programs. The purpose of this paper is to examine men’s behavior and provide novel insights into the perspectives and roles of men in sport for development work. This paper draws upon 11 months of ethnographic research undertaken between 2017 and 2018 in two organizations in São Paulo, Brazil, which use football as a tool to empower women. The findings reveal the diversity of roles men play in gender equality efforts and indicate issues men face, specifically the impact of ideas of manhood that hinder their ability to support broader social justice. The author ends the paper by outlining the necessity to explore masculinity and manhood in more depth to broaden the current understandings of the limitations and potential of sport for development initiatives to change the traditional model of male dominance and, consequently, have a more profound effect on gender equality.

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“I Just Don’t Wanna Deal With the Headache of People Fighting Over the Internet”: A Study of Sponsored Female Climbers’ Digital Labor

Katariina Rahikainen and Kim Toffoletti

Drawing on data from a qualitative study of sponsored and professional female climbers, this article offers a timely examination of the digital labor undertaken by women seeking to forge identities and livelihoods in sport. Female climbers are increasingly turning to social media to generate visibility and sponsorship opportunities in response to the changing social and commercial imperatives of sport, yet the perspective of participants is lacking in existing academic research. The theoretical framework of “athletic labor of femininity” is deployed to explore sportswomen’s decision making when producing social media content. This study departs from previous investigations by considering the sociotechnical aspects of platform algorithms in female climbers’ efforts to remain visible online, and attempts to avoid controversy that can deter followers.