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Maria T. Allison

This paper explores the process of social change and problems that arise in the study of such change in play, sport, and leisure domains. After outlining major theoretical perspectives utilized to describe and explain the nature of change in society, the paper describes several myths, including myths of trauma, unidirectionality, deviance, and semantic illusion (Lauer, 1973), which have inhibited the study of change. Drawing from examples in play, sport, and leisure domains, the author suggests ways in which the study of change can be better integrated into our research consciousness.

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Maria T. Allison and Carrie Meyer

This investigation used qualitative techniques to identify and analyze the experiences of elite female tennis professionals and their perceptions of their competitive years and subsequent retirement from the sport. Through a system of networking and snowball sampling techniques (Babbie, 1986), 28 athletes who had played on the professional tennis circuit were contacted and asked to complete an extensive semistructured questionnaire; 20 completed questionnaires were returned. The questionnaire asked players to recount their earliest expectations and goals in competitive tennis, their experiences and perceptions during their most competitive years, and their reasons for and reactions to retirement from the tour. In general, results indicated that the athletes did not find disengagement from their competitive years traumatic, but rather found it as an opportunity to reestablish more traditional societal roles and lifestyles.