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Gary Alan Fine

Team sports typically depend for their meaning on the existence of a season—a string of games which, taken together, constitute the basis of success or failure. Further, teams are organized into leagues that compete against each other to see which team will gain the highest ranking, that is, which team can win one more game than any of its competitors. In this analysis, based on a 3-year participant observation study of five Little League baseball leagues, I suggest some ways in which teams sports has a historical focus. Specifically I point to the important role of statistics and records, the role of collective expectations in constructing the meaning of a season, and the role of important games and events in structuring recall. Seasons are structured like plays or novels in that they have beginnings and climaxes, or at least definite endings that can be referred to after the season. The essence of sport is not exercise, but memory.

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Gary Alan Fine

Despite the tendency to think of leisure activity in terms of personal preferences, leisure can also be understood in terms of the ability of organizations to provide resources for participants. Drawing on the resource mobilization approach to social movements, I outline a theoretical approach, labeled Provisioning Theory, which attempts to explain how leisure organizations use resources to attract and retain participants. Organizations must mobilize “fun” for members if they are to continue over time and the leisure activity is to increase in popularity. After describing how Provisioning Theory applies to a voluntary leisure subculture (mushroom collecting), I examine two special cases of the provisioning of resources: games that are “owned” or controlled by a corporation (Dungeons & Dragons) and voluntary sports activities organized with multiple levels of authority (Little League baseball).