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Sport Stadiums and Environmental Justice (1st ed.)

Adam G. Pfleegor

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Mother-Coaches’ Experiences of Policy and Programs: “Whoever Wrote This Policy Doesn’t Understand What It Means to Be a Mom”

Jesse Porter, Dawn E. Trussell, Ryan Clutterbuck, and Jennifer Mooradian

In this paper, we explore the lived experiences of mother-coaches who, while coaching, navigate policy and programs aimed at promoting gender equity. Specifically, this study took place within the context of an amateur national, 10-day multisport games event in Canada. Using critical feminist narrative inquiry, 14 mother-coaches (apprentice, assistant, or head coach), representing eight different provinces, and 10 different sports, participated in this study. Three themes were constructed that call attention to the Canadian sport system broadly, as well as the 10-day multisport games event specifically: (a) performative policies and gendered assumptions, (b) programs that are band-aids for a “shitty culture,” and (c) a pathway to nowhere for mother-coaches. The findings complicate the hegemonic work–family conflict narrative, suggesting that mother-coaches’ advancement, opportunities, and quality experiences are impacted by the current heteropatriarchal culture and structure of sport that these programs and policy are rooted in.

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Barriers to Leisure-Time Physical Activity Among Women of Rural Gipuzkoa: A Mixed-Methods Approach

Olaia Eizagirre-Sagastibeltza, Uxue Fernandez-Lasa, and Oidui Usabiaga

Background: Women, particularly those with young children, engage in less leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) than men. Additionally, mothers living in rural areas have more difficulty participating in LTPA than those in urban areas. The aim of this study was to analyze the challenges faced by mothers of rural areas of Gipuzkoa in LTPA participation, from a feminist perspective. Methods: A total of 129 mothers (age 41.5 ± 5.9; 45.7% inactive) with young children completed the Gipuzkoa Women’s Physical Activity Questionnaire. Concurrently, four focus groups were organized in four different municipalities, in which 19 mothers of young children participated (13 were inactive). Barriers were classified based on the socioecological perspective. Results: The most frequently mentioned intrapersonal barriers were lack of time due to work and caregiving, age-/pregnancy-/motherhood-related health issues, and a feeling of rejection toward LTPA. The most relevant interpersonal barriers were a lack of partners to do LTPA with and a lack of spouse support. The main environmental barriers were related to the shortage of facilities and activities suited to their needs and the rugged terrain. Conclusions: Mothers of young children living in rural areas face barriers twice over: because they are women and mothers and because they live in a rural environment. It therefore seems important to consider their perceived barriers to design, develop, and implement strategies to promote LTPA among this population group.

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Mentioned, Quoted, and Promoted: How Sports Journalists Constructed a Narrative of Athletes’ Value in the “Name, Image, and Likeness” Era

Shannon Scovel

Using theories of framing and agenda setting, this study explores how journalists covered women athletes during the first week of the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s new “name, image, and likeness” (NIL) policy. Athlete representation during this first week was critical, as it established precedent for which athletes, according to media members, held value and were worthy of publicity. The findings from this study show that journalists focused their reporting of NIL on U.S. male athletes, although women athletes such as Olivia Dunne, Haley Cavinder, and Hanna Cavinder were also frequently mentioned in relation to their large social media following, lifestyle, or appearance. Overall, reporters generally promoted a male-dominated NIL agenda, one that undervalued women athletes and minimized their potential role as sporting celebrities in the college sports space.

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Self-Reported Performance and Hormonal-Cycle-Related Symptoms in Competitive Female Athletes

Johanna K. Ihalainen, Sinikka Takalo, Katja Mjøsund, Guro Strøm Solli, Maarit Valtonen, Marja Kokkonen, Anthony C. Hackney, and Ritva S. Mikkonen

Introduction: The present scientific consensus is that the menstrual cycle (MC) and hormonal contraceptive (HC) cycle only influence performance trivially. Nevertheless, athletes perceive changes in performance that they associate with different phases of their hormonal cycle. Methods: A total of 959 female athletes completed a questionnaire, of which 750 were included in the present analysis. The questionnaire included questions about demographics and experiences of the MC and HC (symptoms, perceived impact on performance characteristics). Results: In total, 55% of athletes reported a natural MC while 45% reported HC use. Meanwhile, 56% of all athletes reported a decline in perceived performance during the bleeding or inactive phase, whereas 26% of all athletes reported no changes in performance over their hormonal cycle. All athletes reported an average of 10 ± 7 symptoms during hormonal cycles. The naturally menstruating (NM) group reported more symptoms than the HC group (p < .05). The most frequent symptoms reported were abdominal pain, bloating, and mood swings. Only 7% of all athletes (4.1% in NM and 11.3% in HC) reported an absence of any symptoms. Quantity of total symptoms was associated with a perceived decrease in performance (R 2 = .138, p < .05). Hormonal cycles had the greatest negative effect on mental performance with 37% reporting a large to very large effect. Conclusions: Perceived negative effects on performance were similar in both NM and HC groups while perceived mental performance (e.g., mood and attention) appeared to be most affected by both MC and HC.

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Volume 38 (2024): Issue 4 (Jul 2024)

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“They Seem to Only Know About Bleeding and Cramps”: Menstruation, Gendered Experiences, and Coach–Athlete Relationships

Anna Goorevich and Sarah Zipp

Menstruation is a barrier to women’s sport participation through stigmas, silence, a lack of coach and athlete education, discomfort in communication, and risk of menstrual disorders, especially at nonelite levels. This study provides a qualitative and quantitative, poststructuralist feminist examination of the barriers and facilitators to positive coach–athlete communication and relationships around menstruation. The aim of the study is to create a gender-responsive model of coaching about menstruation. An online questionnaire was completed by 494 athletes aged 16 years or older. Utilizing poststructuralist feminist theory, qualitative and quantitative analysis highlighted women athletes’ experiences with menstruation, particularly surrounding coach–athlete communication. The results illustrated the heterogeneity of menstruation experiences, with athletes’ previous gendered experiences leading them to resist and/or uphold traditional, masculine-centric gender norms in sport. Most athletes experienced negative menstruation symptoms, but many did not speak with coaches about menstruation, highlighting menstruation’s current position as a siloed topic in sport, usually reserved just for women coaches. Athletes did not discuss menstruation due to discomfort, coach ignorance, menstruation stigmas, and fears of consequences. Athletes largely agreed coaches knowing and discussing menstruation would bring benefits, such as performance improvements, stronger coach–athlete relationships, and erasure of menstruation stigma. Overall, barriers to menstruation discussions include stigma, antagonism and pessimism, and maintenance of a masculine norm. A model of gender-responsive coaching around menstruation is proposed for coaches and sport organizations, which promotes integration and proactivity, tolerance and trust, and protection of athlete voice and agency.

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Superstars Really Are Scarce: Shohei Ohtani and Baseball Attendance

Christopher T. Imbrogno and Brian M. Mills

We estimate the superstar effects in Major League Baseball, focusing on a particularly unique international athlete, Shohei Ohtani, using a fixed effects panel regression with multiway clustering. Ohtani’s scarce talent as both a pitcher and a hitter provides the potential to have outsized influence on demand at home (superstar effect) and away (superstar externality) games, providing new marketing opportunities for the league. We compare Ohtani’s impact on attendance with other top pitchers, particularly after large attendance drops attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic, suggesting that his superstardom played a key role in bringing fans back to baseball games. Results revealed a large attendance externality, especially after the pandemic, that increased away attendance by up to 40% in 2021 specifically (and up to 20% overall). We propose that Ohtani provides an opportunity for Major League Baseball to leverage a recognizable face of baseball and leverage superstar value that was previously shown to be in decline.

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Team Identity and Environmentalism: The Case of Forest Green Rovers

Elizabeth B. Delia, Brian P. McCullough, and Keegan Dalal

Despite consumer concern over climate change, research on environmental issues and sport fandom has focused more on organizational outcomes than on fans themselves. Recognizing fandom can be representative of social movements, and social identity and collective action are utilized in an intrinsic case study of Forest Green Rovers football club supporters (who also identify with environmentalism) to understand the extent to which the club represents a social movement, and whether Forest Green Rovers’ sustainability efforts encourage pro-environment actions. Through interview research, we found supporters’ team and environmental identities cooperate synergistically. Forest Green Rovers is not just representative of environmentalism but has become a politicized identity itself—a means to act for change on environmental issues. We discuss implications concerning identity synergy, team identity as a politicized identity, perceptions of success, collective action, and cognitive alternatives to the status quo. We conclude by noting the unavoidable inseparability of environmental issues and sport consumption.

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Head Game: Mental Health in Sports Media

Mahdi Latififard