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Timothy J. Curry and Robert M. Jiobu

The importance of competition and other motive statements in explaining gambling behavior is an important but controversial issue. This study operationalizes several types of motive statements related to sports participation, and then, in a novel methodological strategy, applies these as independent variables in a causal model of sport betting among college athletes. Based on questionnaires from 492 athletes at three colleges, findings showed that competitive and extrinsic motives for sport predict sports wagering. This is the case even in a multivariate equation that includes several control variables drawn from previous studies of gambling in the general population.

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Suzanne Laberge and Yvan Girardin

White and Curtis’ recent papers (Sociology of Sport Journal, 1990, 7, pp. 347-368; International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 1990, 25, pp. 125-141) claiming a difference between Canadian Anglophones and Francophones in achievement values are critiqued. Two particular concerns are at issue. The first bears on the relationship these authors make between competitive sport participation and competition/achievement values. On that score, attention is focused upon some epistemological and methodological inadequacies. It is further argued that a conservative ideological perspective is implied in the inferring of achievement values from competitive sport participation. The second point challenges the idealistic conception conveyed by the authors’ contention that “studies outside the domain of work, on people’s ‘voluntary’ orientations to leisure activities, may more clearly show language group differences in achievement values.” Instead, it is proposed that sport practices are determined by the given social structure in which social agents live and by its specific social history. It is contended that an hermeneutical approach would be a more adequate alternative to the cross-cultural study of values differences.

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Matthew Juravich and Brian M. Mills

-and-done” rule associated with drafting amateur basketball players in the NBA as an exogenous policy shock impacting team composition and competitive balance outcomes in the NCAA. As noted in previous work, recruiting spending and strategy can have important implications with respect to team-level performance

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Susan S. Levy

Using a qualitative design, the purpose of this study was to investigate the personal meaning of competition to the female mountain bike racer. Interviews were conducted with nine female mountain bike racers of varying levels of experience, and were designed to elicit information relevant to the athlete’s understanding of her experience of competition, as well as, the personal meaning she attached to that experience. The codification of participant responses resulted in the identification of eight main themes including self-fulfillment, perceived competence, social support and camaraderie, health and fitness, joy of the experience, focus and self-control, external benefits derived from racing, and goal-direction. The findings of the study were, in general, supportive of the components of meaning posited by Personal Investment Theory (Maehr & Braskamp, 1986). Practical implications from this study include developing strategies for increasing the meaningfulness of the competitive experience for females in order to promote participation in physical activity.

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Rylee Dionigi and Gabrielle O’Flynn

Physical performance discourses are concerned with improving fitness and competing to win or achieve a personal best. Older people are commonly not recognized as acceptable or normal subjects of performance discourses because they are traditionally positioned as weak and less able. Yet the number of older people participating in physically demanding competitive sports is increasing. The purpose of this paper is to use a poststructural framework to explore how Masters athletes use performance discourses to define their participation. Interviews and observations were conducted with 138 participants (ages 55–94) of the 8th Australian Masters Games. The findings indicate that performance discourses work both as a medium for redefining what it means to be an older athlete and for re-inscribing normalized constructs of the acceptable older athlete.

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Karla A. Henderson and M. Deborah Bialeschki

The purpose of this research was to explore the meanings of women’s involvement in physical recreation. Although much has been written about girls’ and women’s involvement in competitive athletics, less is known about the everyday physical involvement of women who are committed to fitness activities, recreational sports, and/or outdoor activities. Data from indepth interviews were collected from 29 participants in physical activity. A process of “constant comparison” was used to develop conclusions about the social psychological meanings of physical recreation. Physical recreation was analyzed in relation to three themes: the setting and structures associated with physical activity, the worth of physical activity, and the means for negotiating opportunities for participation. The gendered meanings associated with physical recreation provided further social psychological and sociological understandings of the recreation choices and multilayered reality of women’s lives.

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Debra Gimlin

While violence among the fans of competitive sports has received much scholarly attention (e.g., Elias & Dunning, 1986; Giulianotti, 2005), far less has been written about aggression targeted at community athletes like public runners. Yet accounts of such harassment figure prominently in runners’ own narratives. This article explores the phenomenon of runner harassment through these accounts and my own experiences as a long-time public runner, drawing first from the literature on fan aggression and second, from sociological work concerning behavior in public places more generally (e.g., Gardner, 1980, 1995; Goffman, 1963). It argues that jogger harassment can be understood in relation to the particular bodily form that running takes—that is, to the sweating, disheveled, panting body of public running—which both violates rules of public vs. private bodily display and signals an unacceptable degree of “involvement” (Goffman, 1963) in the activity and, ultimately, the self.

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Timothy Jon Curry

This study examines the effects of winning a college letter on the sport identity of athletes participating at different levels of competition. The sample consisted of 276 male and 229 female athletes drawn from similar teams from three colleges in Ohio. The colleges were affiliated with the NCAA Divisions I and III and the NAIA. It was hypothesized that winning a letter would strengthen the sport identity, and that athletes participating at the higher level of competition would have the greater sport identity. Results confirmed both hypotheses. In addition, the sport identities of male and female athletes were compared. Importantly, no significant gender differences were found in the rating of sport importance, hours spent in sport, and the social relations obtained through sport. Men, however, showed greater competitive motivation and women greater identification with the role of athlete.

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Melanie Lang

It has been suggested that child safety discourses are creating an environment in which safety from abuse defines every act of adult-child touch as suspicious, resulting in adults who work with children being positioned as ‘risky’ and child-related settings becoming no-touch zones. Research on the impact of these discourses on coaches is limited and there have been few attempts to theorize coaches’ behaviors to better understand how child safety concerns impact on their practice. Focusing on coaches’ avoidance of child touch, this paper uses a Foucauldian perspective to explore coaches’ embodied disciplinary and emancipatory responses to child protection discourses in competitive youth swimming. It also discusses the implications of coaches’ apprehension about child touch on swimming practice and young athletes.

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Alan Klein

The Oglala Lakota basketball teams of Pine Ridge Indian Reservation are one of the most competitive programs in the state of South Dakota. They are, however, competing for state honors in one of the most racist climates in the country. My ethnographic study looks at how the Lakota navigate these perilous waters. Using Turner’s view of performance; and Scott’s theories of cultural resistance, I have characterized Lakota basketball as ‘engaged acrimony.’ Teams representing subaltern communities may use sport to carve out spheres of resistance that force those socially more power communities to grudgingly acknowledge the momentary reversal of the social order. Additionally, in these symbolic victories the Lakota craft narratives of victory that fuel cultural pride and further their resolve to withstand the racist climate they live in.