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Social Dimensions of Canadian Sport and Physical Activity [1 ed.]

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Social DimenSionS of canaDian Sport anD phySical activity


Jane Crossman LakeheadUniversity

JayScherer Universityof Alberta


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Canada Cataloguing in Publication

Crossman, Jane, author Social dimensions of Canadian sport and physical activity / Jane Crossman, Lakehead University, Jay Scherer, University of Alberta. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN





Jay, authorII.Title.

GV706.5.C76 2014306.4830971C2014-905540-4

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1[WC]



This book is dedicated to Paulene, Heather and Emma.

This page intentionally left blank

Contents Prefaceix


Sport in

Acknowledgments xiii




Don Morrow


1Perspectives of Sport

on the

and Physical


Social Activity



Doing History44 Sporting Traditions in Early Canada46


First Nations Gamesand Contests46


French Conquests47

Jane Crossman andJay Scherer

British Traditions47

Sociology as a Social Science 5

Horseracing and the Garrisons49

Origins of Sport Sociology7

Industrialization and Technological Changes50

Defining Sport: Powerat Play


Waysof Looking at Social Phenomena

Sporting Equipment Evolution52


The Sociological Imagination12

Montreal: The Cradle of Organized Sport53

Amateur Idealism54

Social Structure14

Transitionsto Commercial MassSport56

Agency and Power14

Entrepreneurial Interests56


The Hero/Starin Sport57



State Sport60


Critical Thinking




Suggested Readings17

Critical Thinking Questions62


Suggested Readings62


References 62 2Sociological


of Sport


Ian Ritchie


UnderstandingSociological Theory: General Themes and Historical Contexts19

Social Facts:Emile Functionalism

Durkheim and Structural


Classand Goal-Rational Action: Karl Marx, Max Weber,and Conflict


Understanding Everyday Experiences: George Herbert Meadand Symbolic Interactionism31

Critical Social Theories: Cultural, Feminist, and Critical Race Studies33

and Social Stratification64

Rob Beamish Sport and Social Stratification:

Terms 65 Social Inequality:

The Canadian Profile67

The Top 1%68 Factors Contributing to Economic Inequality69

Stratification in CanadianSport: Early Studies71 Class and Social Inequality:




Karl Marx74


Max Weber75

Critical Thinking

Classand Social Inequality:


Some Preliminary

Suggested Readings41







Pierre Bourdieu78 ClassAnalysisunder Giddensand Bourdieu 79

Gender-BasedRulesin Sport128 Lesbianand GayIssues129

Classand Sport: Current Patterns of Engagement81

Feminism and WomensSport130 The Transformation of WomensSport132

The Escalating Costof Sport83

Conclusions 134 Critical Thinking Questions134 SuggestedReadings135 References135

Conclusions85 Critical Thinking Questions 86 SuggestedReadings87 References 87


and Racein Canadian Sport


7Children, Youth, and Parental Involvement in Organized Sport138

VictoriaParaschak andSusanTirone

RalphE. Wheeler, JayScherer, andJaneCrossman

Ethnicity and Sportin Canada 91

Socialization141 The Organizationof Minor Sport143

The Conceptof Ethnicity 91 Diversity Theories92 Immigration Trends94 Ethnic Minority Peopleand Sportin Canada 96 Ethnicity, Poverty,and Accessto Sport 97 Discrimination98

Raceand Sportin Canada 99

Factors Determining Childrens Involvement in Sport146 Controversiesand Issuesin Childrens Sport148

The Conceptof Race99 RacialPatternsin CanadianSport 100 Raceand Ethnic Relations 103 WhitestreamSport104 Doing Race,Doing Racism 107 Race-StructuredSport Systems108

Ethics and Fair Playin Youth Sport:Is Winning Everything?148 Sport Specialization150 Dropoutand Withdrawalfrom Sport151 Riskof Injury in Childrens OrganizedSport152 ParentalInterference153 The Role CoachesPlayin Youth Sport155

Conclusions 110 Critical Thinking Questions111 SuggestedReadings112 References 112


Gender, and Sexuality


MaryLouiseAdams Clarifying Our Terms117 Social Construction: A Frameworkfor Thinking About GenderNorms119 Is Sport Reallya MaleThing?120 FemaleAthletes in Sport Media122 Sexand Gender Differencesin Sport

Publicly Funded Community Sport and Recreation Organizations143 Local Sports Clubs144 Service Agenciesand Special-Interest Groups145 School-BasedSports145 Other Youth Sport Organizations145

Conclusions158 Critical Thinking Questions159 SuggestedReadings160 References 160



JasonLaurendeau 123

Conceptualizing Deviance165 Devianceand Otherness166

SeparateEventsfor Menand Women124 Sex Testingin Sport125 Transgenderand TranssexualAthletesin Sex-SegregatedSport126

Social Control169 Devianceon the Field of Play171

Sport Typing127

Drugsin Sport173



DeviantizedBodiesand Embodiments168

Deviance Offthe Field of Play175 DeviantizedSports and Sporting Identities 177 Conclusions 178 Critical Thinking Questions179 Suggested Readings 179 References180 Endnotes 182




StacyL. Lorenz Theoriesof Violence184 Violence and Masculinity: A Historical Perspective 187 Contemporary Sporting Violence190 A Framework for Understanding Violence in Sport193 Crowd Violence197 Conclusions 199 Critical Thinking Questions200 Suggested Readings201 References201

10Sport and Physical Activity in Canadian Educational Systems205 Tim Fletcherand DuaneBratt The Natureand Purposesof Physical Education in CanadianSchools206 A Glimpseatthe Past208 Curriculum 209 Learners and Learning211 Teachersand Teaching213 History of Canadian University Sport215 GenderEquity216 Athletic Scholarships216 Doping 217 Hazing218 The Challengeofthe NCAA219 AlumniFunding Model221 AcademicAchievement222 Student-AthleteLife223 Conclusions 224 Critical Thinking Questions225 Suggested Readings225

References 225 Endnotes 229


Media, and Ideology230

Jay Scherer The CanadianSports-Media Complex 235 The Early Daysof Canadian Television235 A NewSport Broadcasting Order?238 The End of Viewing Rights for Canadians? 240

TheIdeological Roleof the Media241 (Re)presenting Sport241 Genderand Sexuality243 Militarismand Nationalism246 Raceand Ethnicity247

SportsJournalism and New Media248 Conclusions 252 Critical Thinking Questions253 SuggestedReadings253 References 253 Endnotes 256


Politics, and Policy257

Jean Harvey Sport as a Sitefor Political Resistance258 GovernmentInvolvement in Sport261 Defining Some Key Concepts262 Reasonsfor StateIntervention in Sport264 The SportPolicy Context266 Recent Policiesand Programs267 Sport Support Program269 The Athlete AssistanceProgram271 The HostingProgram272 Other Policies, Programs,and Regulations272

Issues and Controversiesin CanadianSport Policy 273 Conclusions 275 Critical Thinking Questions275 SuggestedReadings276 References276


Business of Sport277

Brad R. Humphreysand MosheLander The Structure of Professional Team Sports278 ProfessionalTeam Sport Leagues in Canada278



LeagueStructure280 LeagueFunctions283 Teams 285 Pricing 289 Labour Relations291

Fans: Constructingthe Global Consumer?313 Conclusions 314 Critical Thinking Questions316 SuggestedReadings317 References 317 Endnotes 319

Fans 292 Attendance 292

Sports Leaguesand Public Policy


Facility Subsidies293 Subsidiesfor Canadian Teams294

International Issues: The Olympic Games 295 The Olympicsandthe IOC295 Biddingand Costs296 LegacyEffects297 Conclusions 298 Critical Thinking Questions298 SuggestedReadings299 References 299


and Sport300

David Whitson Globalization: A Conceptual Overview301 The New Sporting World Order305 Professionalizationand Globalizationin the Sports Labour Market307 CorporateStrategies:The Promotion of Sports Product 311




and the Future320

Brian Wilson Drivers of Social Changeand Implications for the Future of Sport and Society321 Governance 322 Globalization 327 Technology 332 Environment 334

How Sociologistsand Others Can Drive Social Change337 Strategiesfor Change337 Conclusions338 Critical Thinking Questions339 SuggestedReadings339 References 339 References 343 Index


Preface Manyof ourstudents whostudythe social dimensionsof sport and physicalactivity inevitably bring their own perceptions of whatthese popular practices are all about. Yet,in manyinstances, after completing one or two sociocultural and historical courses,their perceptionschange quite remarkably. Forexample,studentslearn that the opportunities to participatein sport arent equitable;that the control of sportis in the handsof a minority, manyof whom are white malesof affluence;that racismin sport still existstoday even though it maynot bereadily apparent when watchinga contest ontelevision or reading aboutit online; that powerful economic and political forcesshape whatsport is today and whatit mightlook like in the future; and that the massmediaact asafilter of what wesee and how weseeit. AlthoughSocialDimensions of CanadianSportand PhysicalActivityhasa deliberatelydistinctly Canadianfocus, welive in a worldthat hasneverbeen moreinterconnected.Indeed, what happensin the world of sport outsideour bordersinfluences sportinside our borders. Canadianshave, historically, embraceda widerange oflocal sport and athletic heroes,in addition to consumingcopiousamountsofsportscontent from our Americanneighboursvia the massmedia.Today, moreand moreCanadians follow not onlythe majorleaguesof North Americansport, but teams andleaguesfrom aroundthe world,including the mostpopular Europeansoccerleagues.Forgenerations, meanwhile,immigrants havebeen bringingtheir sportsandtheir waysof doing physicalactivity to Canada.Assuch, weare not simply a carbon copy of another country or an amalgamationof countries. Weare uniquely Canadian and, overtime, wehaveshapedour own culturalideologiesand our own waysofinterpreting and playingsport,sometimesin competingand contradictory ways.

THE COnTEnT OFTHE TExT SocialDimensions of CanadianSportand PhysicalActivitycontains 15chapters. Becausethe chapter sequence hasbeen purposelycoordinated, werecommend that the chapters be read consecutively. However,since their content is so distinctive, it is possibleto read the chaptersin an altered order. Eachchapter concludes with relevant Critical Thinking Questions,SuggestedReadings,and References. In thefirst chapter, Drs.Jane Crossmanand Jay Scherer provide an introductory foundation for understandingthe social dimensionsof sport and physical activity from a Canadianperspective. They describehow pervasivesport is in Canadiansociety and outline terms that will be usedthroughout the text, such associologicalimagination, agency, socialstructures,power,ideology,and hegemony. In the secondchapter, Dr.Ian Ritchie presentsa rich overview of sociological theories that set the foundation for understandingthe social world, and morespecificallyfor our purposesthe world of sport. Sinceit is impossibleto presenta completeinventory of the myriadsociological theories, hefocusesonfour majorones: Durkheimsfunctionalism, Marxsconflicttheory, Meadssymbolicinteractionism, and critical socialtheories(cultural, feminist, and critical racestudies).



Chapter 3, Dr. Don Morrow condenses Canadian sport history from the 15th

century to the present day. He highlights the people who have influenced our sport history (First

Nations, French, British), as well as the existing social conditions, power rela-

tions, and developments that have had such a profound effect on shaping the development of sport in Canada. Highlighted areindustrial and technological sporting equipment, transitions to commercial

changes, the evolution of

masssport, and the impact ofthe entrepre-

neurial spirit. Dr. Rob Beamish, author of Chapter 4, addressesthe inequalities opportunity that exist in sport today. Theories of social inequality

of condition


are outlined as well as

current patterns of class and sport. He points out that in Canada weendorse an unequal, performance-based rewards system. Successis linked, for example, to proximity to facilities, gender, social class, and physical ability. In

Chapter 5, Drs. Victoria Paraschak and Susan Tirone explore issues of racial and

ethnic discrimination in Canadian sport. They point out that sport provides opportunities to feel pride in ones own cultural heritage. Unfortunately, the system is structured sothat some individualsthat

is, those of white European heritagefeel

Poverty and access are key components that prevent ethnic participating in sport in

more pride than others. minority people from fully

Canada. The need to create equal opportunities in sport for all

Canadian people (e.g., through race-structured sport systems) is afundamental

message in

this chapter. In Chapter 6, Dr. Mary Louise Adams helps us understand the current issues relevant to gender, sexuality, and sport and posesthe question: Is sport really a malething? does not shy away from controversial topics such asseparate events for sex testing in sport, and sport typing (certain sports are male


menand women,

only). Issues for athletes

who are transgender, transsexual, gay, orlesbian are also discussed. In

Chapter 7, Drs. Ralph Wheeler,Jay Scherer, and Jane Crossman outline the cur-

rent sport system in

Canadafor children and youth, including

school, community,


private agencies. Critical issues and concerns related to organized sport for children and youth are described and include reasons for the high rate of dropout, ethical issues, sport specialization, risk of injury,

parental interference,

and coaches influence.

Solutions to

remedy the problems posed are offered. Chapter 8 by Dr.Jason Laurendeau focuses on sport deviance. Hedescribes how deviance is conceptualized and differentiates deviance on and off the field

of play. Hecovers

timely topics such as drug usein sport and risk sports and points out that deviance arises out of an overly enthusiastic adoption of aset of expectations that characterizes particular activities. Dr. Stacy Lorenz, author of Chapter 9, addressesthe fact that sport is replete


violence. Theories of violence are explained along with a historical overview of how vio-

lence in sport hasgrown in our society. Whoencouragessport violenceis a question he broaches to help the reader better understand contemporary trends in sport violence com-

mitted by both playersand fans. He also discussesgenderand genderrelations asthey relate to violence.

In Chapter10, Drs.Tim Fletcher and DuaneBrattconsiderthe relationship between sport and educational institutions


Canada. They describe the nature and purposes of

physicaleducationin the public school systemand howthe curriculum hasevolved. The challenges and issuesinherent in Canadian interuniversity



sport are outlined andinclude

gender equity, athletic scholarships,

doping, hazing, challenging the

NCAA, alumni

funding, and academic achievement. In Chapter 11, Dr.Jay Scherer explains the influence, extent, and powerthe mediahave in shaping what weknow and how wethink.

He outlines the historical development of the

televised sports-media complex in Canadaand points out that sports mediaare replete with symbols of nationalism and militarism and other gender and racial ideologies. Sportjournalism and new mediatechnologies that will change how weview andinterpret sport are alsoincluded. Dr.Jean Harvey,in Chapter 12, focuses on the marriage between politics and sport. He provides a historical overview and reasons for the Canadian governments intervention in sport. The author outlines current federal sport policies that include programs such as the


Assistance Program, Hosting Program, and the


Fitness Tax

Credit. Also included is the controversial topic of funding for high-performance


versus massparticipation sport. Chapter 13, written by Dr. Brad Humphreys and Professor MosheLander, delvesinto the ever-changing and multifaceted business of sport. They cover the structure and functioning of professional leagues such asthe NHL, CFL, MLB, NBA, NFL, and MLS. Under the auspice ofthese cartels, they address a host of issues such asthe costs and revenues to the owners, reserve clauses, free agency, collective

bargaining agreements, work stop-

pages, payroll caps, ticket pricing, revenue sharing, and facility about the costs to bid on and subsequently

host the


subsides. A discussion Games concludes this

chapter. Students with an interest in the economic side of professional sport willfind this chapter afascinating read. In the penultimate chapter, tion affects sport along cultural,

Dr. David Whitson lends a keen eye to how globalizapolitical,

upside and downside to globalization, tions and the global sports labour

and economic lines.

He discusses both the

homing in on the power of transnational


market. He points out that, thanks to electronic


professional sport is now marketed and consumed around the globe in fascinating contradictory



Dr. Brian Wilsonframes the final

chapter on the future of sport on four overarching

categories that have been associated with majorsocial changes: governance, globalization, technology,

and the environment.

He makes 11 predictions based on the social trends

from the above four categories and describes waysto useresearch and theory to inform intervention. On behalf of all the contributors,

we hope you enjoy reading this bookand


morethat it provides you with a sound basisfor understanding the social dimensions of sport and physical activity from a uniquely Canadian perspective. Jane Crossman and Jay Scherer

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Acknowledgments Thecompletion ofthis text would not have been possiblehadit not beenfor the willingness of the contributors to share their expertise. To each of them

we extend our sincere

gratitude and wetrust that readers will appreciate their knowledge, insights, and wisdom. The authors and contributors

greatly appreciate the advice and guidance of our col-

leagues in their review of the text and the


Marc Belanger, Vanier College Graham Fletcher, University of the Fraser Valley Susan L. Forbes, Lakehead University Peggy Gallant, St. Francis Xavier University Fred Mason, University of New Brunswick Barbara Ruttenberg, Concordia University

Susan M. M.Todd, LangaraCollege Also, wethank Pearsonfor their willingnessto publish thisfirst edition. Specific thanks go to

Matthew Christian,

Pearsons acquisitions


who kick-started


project; Christine Langone, our ever-cooperativeand motivating developmental editor; and Leanne Rancourt, our thorough, attention-to-detail

copy editor.

Wearegratefulfor the ever-presentsupport of ourfamilies in Canadaand NewZealand, without whom this book simply would not have been possible. Jane would like to thank through

Dr. Brent Rushall for his mentorship and cheerleading

her career and Dr.John


her research partner,

who, through

his deft

research and writing skills elevated the quality of their published papers. She extends special gratitude to Paulene McGowanfor her feedback and constant encouragement. Jay would like to thank those individuals gogical insights and teaching


who have generously shared valuable pedawith him over the years, including:

Whitson, Lisa McDermott, Judy Davidson, Steve Jackson, Brian


Wilson, and, especially,

Vicky Paraschak.

Jane Crossmanand Jay Scherer


Contributors EDITORS Dr. Jane Crossman is a Professor Emerita at Lakehead University whereshe held several administrative

positions throughout

her career including

Chair and Graduate Coordina-

tor of the School of Kinesiology. She taught graduate and undergraduate coursesin sport sociology, research

methods, and mental training.

Janes research, which pertains to the

newspaper coverage of sporting events and the psychosocial dimensions of sports injuries, has been published in a number of scholarly journals.

She has edited three books: Coping

with SportsInjuries: Psychological Strategiesfor Rehabilitation (2001) and Canadian Sport Sociology, Editions 1 (2003) and 2 (2007). Jane contributed a chapter to the book The Sport Scientists Research Adventuresin gratification

which she gave insights into the challenges and

of being a researcher. Jane is on the editorial board of the Journal of Sport

Behaviorand regularly reviews for a number of journals and texts in the fields of sport sociology, sport psychology, and research methods. During sabbaticals, Jane has been a Visiting Professor at the

Universities of Exeter and Brighton (UK), the

(New Zealand), Victoria

University (Australia),

and the

University of Otago

University of Ulster (Northern

Ireland). Jane enjoys exercising a border collie, golfing, andfiction

and nonfiction


Dr. Jay Scherer is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation at the

University of Alberta where he hastaught sociology of sport coursessince

2005. His primary research interests include cultural studies of sport andleisure; globalization, sport and public policy; and sport and the media.Jays research has been published in a number of scholarly journals,

and his mostrecent book (with

Public Broadcasting,and Cultural Citizenship: Signal Lost?(2013). enjoys cycling, running, and cross-country skiing.

David Rowe) is Sport, Outside of the office, Jay

Heis an avidfiction

suffering fan of the Toronto Blue Jays and the Edmonton

reader and along-


COnTRIBuTORS Dr. Mary Louise Adamsis a Professor in the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies and the Department of Sociology at Queens University sport and culture, the sociology offitness,

where she teaches courses on

and contemporary issues in sexuality.


the author of Artistic Impressions: Figure Skating, Masculinity andthe Limits of Sport (2011) and The Trouble with Normal: Postwar Youth and the She writes on issues related to the history of sexuality,

Making of Heterosexuality (1997). queer and feminist social

ments, and on gender and sexuality in sport and physical activity. started


She has recently

work on two new projects: an oral history with feminist sport activists on the

legacies offeminism in contemporary

womens sport and a historical cultural study of the

meanings of walking. Dr. Rob Beamish holds a joint


in the

Department of Sociology and the

School of Kinesiologyand Health at Queens University. Duringthat time, in addition to histeaching and research responsibilities, he hasserved asthe Associate Dean(Studies)


and two terms as the Head of the Department of Sociology. Dr. Beamishs research centres on high-performance

sport as a form of work and specific issues related to


labour, and classical social theory. In addition to numerous articles, book chapters, and encyclopedia entries related to social theory and sport sociology in general, and the use of performance-enhancing substances in particular, he is the author of several books,including

Marx, Methodand the Division of Labor: Fastest, Highest, Strongest: The Critique of

High-Performance Sport (with Ian Ritchie);

The Promise of Sociology: The Classical Tradi-

tion and Contemporary Sociological Thinking; and Steroids: A New Look at PerformanceEnhancing Drugs. Dr. Duane Bratt is a Professor of Political Science and Chair of the Department of Policy Studies at Mount Royal University.

Heteaches public policy and international


While his primary research interests are in nuclear energy and Canadian foreign policy, he also writes on sport policy. This includes a recent research project that led to the inclusion of physical literacy standards in practitioner,

he is the

Albertas daycare accreditation standards. Asa sport

National Resource Person and Chair of the LTAD committee for

the Canadian Lacrosse Association. Dr. Tim Fletcher is an Assistant Professorin the University.

Department of Kinesiology at Brock

Histeaching and research interests are in physical education pedagogy and

teacher education. In particular,

his research focuses on waysin which teachers under-

stand the connections between their teaching identities, Much of his recent

work has used self-study

practices, and student learning.

methodology, including

the co-edited text

Self-Study of Physical Education: The Interplay of Scholarship and Practice (forthcoming 2014) with Alan Ovens from the was awarded a Young Scholar Education in Dr. Jean

University of Auckland in

New Zealand. In 2014 he

Award from the International

Association for Physical

Higher Education (AIESEP).

Harvey is a Professor at the School of Human Kinetics at the

Ottawa. Heis also the founding

University of

director of the Research Centre for Sport in

Society. His main areas of research aresport policy in


Canada and abroad as well assport

in the context of globalization. Jean has published extensively both in French and in English in

multiple refereed journals.

Heis also the co-editor

with Lucie Thibault of Sport

Policyin Canada(2013) and co-author of Sport and Social Movements(2013). Dr. Brad Humphreys is a Professorin the ment of Economics at

College of Businessand Economics, Depart-

WestVirginia University. He holds a PhD in economics from Johns

Hopkins University. He previously held positions at the University of Illinois Champaign and the

at Urbana-

University of Alberta. Hisresearch on the economics of gambling,

the economics andfinancing

of professional sports, and the economics of higher educa-

tion has been publishedin academicjournals in economics and policy analysis. He has published morethan 80 papersin peer-reviewed journals in economics and public policy.

Hetwice testified beforethe United States Congresson the economicimpact of professional sports teams and facilities.

His current research projects include an assessment of

the informational efficiency ofsports betting markets,an examination ofthe effect of new sports facilities

on urban residential


projects, an assessment of the causal

relationship betweenrecreational gambling and health outcomes,and an evaluation of the value Canadians place on Olympic gold medals.




Moshe Lander is a Lecturer at Concordia


He holds a Mastersin

Applied European Languages and is a PhD candidate in Economics. winning teacher, having spent mathematics, andfinance

Heis an award-

mostof the last two decadesteaching economics, statistics,

at postsecondary institutions


Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec.

Mosheis known on campus as muchfor his unique presentation skills and his appearance as he is for his extremely dry wit and linguistic time in the classroom teaching, esquesummer retreat in

dexterity. Though he spends much of his

Mosheloves to spend his down time either at his pictur-

Hapolonia orin Flin Flon, Manitoba, watching the annual migra-

tion of fake tootie birds. Dr. Jason Laurendeau is an Associate Professor in the the

University of Lethbridge.

Department of Sociology at

Hereceived an undergraduate degree in

Mastersand PhD degreesin Sociology from the

Kinesiology, and

University of Calgary. His research and

teaching interests include deviance and social control, sport and embodiment, gender, risk, fatherhood, and autoethnography. journals, including

His work has appeared in a number of scholarly

Deviant Behavior, Sociological Perspectives, Sociology of Sport Journal,

Journal of Sport and SocialIssues, and Emotion, Spaceand Society.Jason enjoys a number of sport and leisure pursuits, including cycling, and swimming.

cross-country skiing, hiking, backcountry camping,

Heis also active in hislocal community and an avid traveller.


dedicates this chapter to the memory of Rosco. Dr. Stacy L. Lorenz is an Associate Professorin Physical Education and History at the University of Alberta, Augustana Campus. Hecompleted a bachelors degreein

History at

Augustana University College, a mastersin History at the University of Western Ontario, and a PhD in History at the University of Alberta. Heteaches in the areas of sport history, sociocultural

aspects of sport and physical activity, sport and social issues, and sport and

popular culture.

He also coached the mens basketball team at Augustanafor eight years.

Stacys research interests include newspaper coverage of sport, sport and local

and national identities,

Canadian culture.

violence and

mediaexperiences of sport,

masculinity, and hockey and

He has written several book chapters and published articles in such

journals as Canadian Journal of

History of Sport, Journal of Sport History, Sport History

Review,Journal of CanadianStudies,and Journal of Sport & SocialIssues. He has also written a number of newspaper articles about issuesrelated to sport, society, and culture. Dr. Don Morrow is a Professor of Kinesiology at

Western University.

His academic

teaching and research interest areasare Canadian sport history, sport literature, ture and concepts of exercise history, integrative Heis the author of eight textbooks, including

health/medicine, the

mostrecent third

Canada: A History (2013) and numerous academic journal

body cul-

and health promotion. edition of Sport in

articles, an award-winning

teacher, a past-president of the North American Society for Sport History, and an elected Fellow of the

American Academy Kinesiology and Physical Education.

Dr. Victoria Paraschakis a Professorof Kinesiologyat the University of Windsorwhere she teaches sociology of sport, government and sport, social construction

of leisure, and

outdoorrecreation. Shereceived a bachelors degreefrom McMasterUniversityin 1977, a masters from the

University of

Windsor in 1978, and a PhD from the

University of

Albertain 1983. The primaryfocus of herresearchis Aboriginal peoplesin sport andin physical cultural practices more broadly. In 1999 she took a years leave to work with



seven different

Northwest Territories sport and recreation organizations and establish a

direction for the new millennium. She looked at the creation of health services for the Canada Games held in

Whitehorse, Yukon, in February 2007, examining the interfaces

between sport and public health perspectives on such services as part of a health services legacy for these Games. Her work focuses on power relations, social construction, and the creation, reproduction,

or reshaping of cultural practices through the duality of structure.

She is currently expanding which includes fostering

on that framework

to incorporate

a strengths perspective,

practices of hope that enable individuals


work together to

achieve broader collective goals. Dr. Ian Ritchie is Associate Professorin the Department of Kinesiology at Brock University. Ian received his PhD in Sociology from


Green State University,

where he studied classical and contemporary sociological theory. sport sociology and sociology of the include


modern Olympic


Heteaches courses in

Games.Ians research interests

drug usein sport and the history of anti-doping rules,

media,gender, and various aspects of the

Olympic Games.In addition to several chapters

in edited volumes, he co-authored (with

Rob Beamish) the book Fastest, Highest,Stron-

gest: A Critique of High-Performance Sport (2006) and is currently the history of the

modern Olympic Games. Aformer

writing a manuscript on

Canadian varsity rower and coach,

Ian now enjoys long distance trail and marathon running,

golfing, cycling, curling, and

various outdoor travel-related activities such as hiking and camping. Ian lives in Fenwick, Ontario, with his wife and three children. Dr. Susan Tirone is the Associate Director of the College of Sustainability at Dalhousie University.

Her administrative

duties involve

ity and Society program, a multi-disciplinary

overseeing the Environment,


undergraduate program with an enrolment

of over 600 students each year, and she is the academic leader of the RBC Sustainability Leadership Certificate program offered by the College of Sustainability.

She co-teaches a

problem-based learning course in the College, drawing upon current and topical sustainability issues in the local community

to inform

discussions about how people in their

various roles as employers, volunteers, consumers, and engaged citizens contend with the sustainability

problems weface. Susan is interested in how communities sustain their

populations by welcoming new and diverse groups of immigrants.

Shefocuses her studies

on the formal and informal social support networks that facilitate

a welcoming environ-

mentfor new immigrants. contribute



Some of her research has delved into how sport organizations new immigrants

to communities


Canada. She is cross-

appointed in the Faculty of Health Professions at Dalhousie University

where she has

taught since 2001. Dr. Ralph

Wheeleris an Associate Professorin the School of Human Kinetics and Rec-

reation at Memorial University.

Hereceived his PhD from the

1998. Hisresearch and teaching interests include

University of Alberta in

pedagogy of teaching and curriculum

studies. Ralph wasasuccessful varsity and club swim coach and his CIS teams went undefeated in fifth


University Sport competition for four years and wasranked as high as

in the CIS national team rankings.


Coaching Certification

He also served as provincial coordinator for the

Program. Ralph has served on many provincial


national committees promoting physical education and sport, and in 2006 he wasawarded




Certificate of Honour from the Provincial Physical Education

standing contribution to the profession. A passionatefly fisherman, disappear

Council for his outhe has been known to

for weeksinto the Labrador wildernessin pursuit of the king of sportfishthe

Atlantic salmon. Dr. David Whitsonis a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Political Science at the University of Alberta. Heis co-author

of Game Planners: Transforming Canadas Sport


Donald Macintosh), Hockey Nightin Canada: Sport, Identities, and Cultural

Politics (with

Richard Gruneau), and

Writing Offthe Rural West: Globalization, Govern-

ments,and the Transformation of Rural Communities(with

Roger Epp), as well as numerous

articles on global events and the globalization of sport and culture. In retirement,

he con-

tinues to enjoy cycling and skiing and watching the world of sport. Dr. Brian

Wilsonis a sociologist and Professorin the School of Kinesiology at the Univer-

sity of British Columbia. Heis author of Sport & Peace: A Sociological Perspective(2012) and Fight, Flight or Chill: Subcultures, Youth and Raveinto the Twenty-First Century(2006) as well as articles on sport, social inequality, and youth culture.

His mostrecent

environmental issues, media,social movements,

work focuses on how the sport of running is usedfor

peace promotion in Kenya and on responses to golf-related environmental




Chapter 1 Perspectives onthe Social Dimensionsof Sportand Physical Activityin Canada Jane Crossmanand Jay Scherer

Take afew momentsto think about the importance of sport and physical activity in your life.

Sport provides opportunities socialization


Mark Spowart/Alamy

Blend Images

Pete Saloutos/Brand

X Pictures/Getty





For thousands of students enrolled in kinesiology, education

human kinetics, and physical

programs across the country, the practices of sport and physical activity

so pervasive that they are widely taken for granted as a part of the rhythm lives and also indelible earliest childhood

elements of the fabric of Canadian society. For many of us, our


settings or informal


of their own

our first athletic

experiences in organized sport

experiences at the playground or in school.

popular and pleasurable everyday topic of conversation

Moreover, sport is a

among ordinary

Canadians of

all ages and is widely regarded as a common sense social lubricant.

We habitually

cuss the chances of our favourite



Hockey League (NHL)

playoffs, the performance of our fantasy football


making the

team, the latest scandal rocking the

sports world, how the high school soccer team is performing, or the latest tweet by a sports personality. Sport is intimately

connected to the

dian society (e.g., the

social institutions

of Cana-

media,the education system, and various levels of government).

Canadians are inundated on an unprecedented


with images and stories of sports and athletes that now air

number of specialty sport channels (such as TSN and Sportsnet)

that are part of the BCE and Rogers telecommunications well aware that the Internet

has a never-ending reservoir

empires. Students of sports-specific

will be

sites offer-

ing live feeds, recent and past game results and statistics, and continual insider information about teams and players. Online fantasy leagues, meanwhile, allow sports fans to control the destiny of their nience.

Most city

newspapers still


knowing that

winning Games in

a significant

percentage of readers purchase or subscribe to fact

audiences. Following

goal for the




devote an entire section to sports (in print and

newspapers for the sports coverage alonea sizable and predictable

millions of

teams and chosen players at their

not lost on advertisers in search of

Sidney Crosbys overtime gold-medal-

mens hockey team at the 2010

game watched by 26.5 million

wireless and wireline networks carried the

Winter Olympic


mostcalls and text


messagesin its history.

In sum, sport is an extremely popular social phenomenon that has exploded in visibility and popularity in the last 30 years. Of course, we arent

merely a nation that follows sports.

Many parents devote huge

amounts of time, energy, and moneyso that their children can participate in organized sport. Provinces, mindful of the declining fitness levels and soaring obesity rates of children and youth, are taking a hard look at extending the number of hours per week devoted to physical education.

Canadian colleges and universities offer a widerange of intramural

and interschool sports for both women and men. Some baby boomers now reaching retirement age arespending significant amounts of their leisure time actively involved in their favourite sport or physical activity.

The number of sporting activities and leisure pursuits

availableto Canadianshas expandedradically overthe past 50 years. Wehaveapproximately 2,500 arenas, 1,300 curling rinks, and more than 2,300 golf courses. The 2013

GoodlifeFitness Toronto Marathonsawroughly 12,000 peoplecrossthe finish line. Many of these activities are morethan sports played for the fun of friendly competitiontheyre

also popularsocial and cultural events. In addition, manygroupsthat have historically beenleft out of the sport equation are now

finding moreopportunitiesto participate.Forexample,the 2014 WinterParalympicGames in Sochi, Russia,had 585 competitors from 45 countries. The 2014 North American Indigenous



Gamesheld in Regina, Saskatchewan, had 6,000 competitors. Cleveland, Ohio, home of the 2014 Gay Games,welcomed morethan 10,000 athletesfrom morethan 65 countries. Unprecedented numbers of girls and women now participate in a host of sporting activities they were once excluded fromespecially

sportsthat traditionally emphasized aspectsof physicality for

boys and men,like wrestling. Still, while there is no doubt that the opportunities to do sport have expanded across Canada,there remain significant and enduring issues of inequality between menand women,rich and poor, and along racial and ethnic lines that continue to structure sporting experiencesfor Canadiansin different ways.For example, according to the latest research paper on sport participation rates released by Canadian Heritage(2013): 1. Sport participation rates acrossthe country continue to decline. 2. The gender gap in sport participation

hasincreased, and menare morelikely to par-

ticipate in sport than women. 3. Sport participation rates decrease as Canadians get older, yet the participation rates of young Canadians are declining faster than that of older Canadians.

4. Higherincome earners are morelikely to participate in sport than less affluent Canadians, and household income

decisively influences



in sport. 5. Sport participation

of non-Anglophones

is declining, and established immigrants

participate in sport less than recent immigrants. There are other obvious disparities as well. For example, female athletes are still regularly marginalized and under-represented by the

media and society at large. Furthermore, in

2013 women comprised only 21 of 101 active membersof the International

Olympic Com-

mittee (IOC), and in 2011 women held only 15% of head coaching positions in Canadian Interuniversity

Sport (CIS).

Yet, while all of these observations are important

and point to

the fact that interest and participation in sport and physical activity are related to a number of standard sociological variables (gender, race, social class, age, geographic location, education levels, etc.), they dolittle to addressthe wider sociological significance of these seemingly obvious facts. Instead, it is


to ask, as Hall, Slack, Smith, and

Whitson(1991) did over two decadesago, are patterns of maleandfemale participation in sport products of social structures that favour and empower menin innumerable


Whatis it about the classstructure of Canadian society that perpetuates unequal classrelations and unequal accessto sport participation?

Why do older Canadians continue to

struggle to gain accessto various sports facilities? These questions and many others connect the study of sport to the study of change andresistancein relations between dominant and subordinate groupsin society. Whenthese questions are asked, and when research uncovers interesting lines of analysis and further investigation,


that to study sport sociology is not just of interest to a few fans but something that is important to the understanding of Canadian society. (Hall et al., 1991, p. 20)

In this respect, while sport continues to offer a host of opportunities and pleasurable

experiences,including fun and relaxation for millionsof Canadians,wewouldbe naiveto believe that the world of sport is devoid ofthe problems, social issues, and unequal power

relations presentin oursociety. Moreover,sport regularly makesthe headlinesfor all the wrong reasons: Discriminatory




practices, exploitation





of athletes, labour disputes, drug












captain Athlete

of the of the






and the



use,sexualabuseandassault,gambling,andthe habitualglorificationof violence which arebyproductsof anindustryfocusedon promotinga hypermasculine spectaclefor profit. Indeed,it seemsasthe rationalization of sport continuesto increase, moralconduct decreases whileother waysofimaginingsport areobscured. Thesociologicalanalysisofsport and physicalactivity providesstudentswiththe opportunityto askthought-provokingquestionsusingconceptsandtheoriesthat emphasizesocial asopposedto individual causesandthat pointtowardstructuralsolutionsto problems identifiedin sport (Hall et al., 1991,pp.1112). Forexample: n

Whyhasparticipationin sport historicallybeenstratifiedby age,gender,race,and socioeconomic status? is a power and performance modelof sport privileged over alternative waysof playing and doing sport?


leagues with high rates of concussionsand otherinjuries (e.g.,the Canadianand National Football Leagues)still existin two decades?



Whydo so manycities invest significant amounts of public funds in world-class sports arenasandstadiums? do countriesspend billions of dollarsto hostthe Olympic Games?


the Canadian government investin high-performance sport(e.g.,the Ownthe Podiumprogram)atthe expenseof programs that couldincreasemass participation?


do gay menhesitateto come outin professionalsports environments?




Crucially,in raising thesetypes of difficult questionsand political issues,the sociology of sport is going beyond a concern with phenomena within sport. It is seeking to demonstrate the significance of sport to some ofthe central problems ofsociology: the explanation of structures of class,gender,and racial inequality, as well asthe processes through whichsocial changeis achievedand circumscribed (Hall et al., 1991, p. 12). Thus,the chaptersin this text will emphasizethat sport is not simply areflection or mirror of society but, asJean Harvey(2000) (author of Chapter12) notes,a worldin its own right, with its ownlife and its own contradictions (p. 19). It is alsoimportant to recognize,though, that assportis shapedbythe social worldaroundus,soit activelyshapes the social world. As weshall seethroughout this textbook, whilesport is asocial practicethat is shaped by broader powerrelations that benefitsomeindividuals and groups morethan others,it alsoenablesindividuals and groups with varyingresourcesto reproduce current practicesorresistthem. Onthis latter note,students often walkinto their first sociology of sport and physical activity course with preconceivedideas about the world of sport and howit works.For example,becauseof the predominanceof black athletesin certain sports, we maybelieve that racism nolonger existsin sport, orthat black athletesarenaturally gifted. Or,thanks to ourregularexposureto hockey, we mayhavecometo acceptthat fighting is simply part ofthe game. Still, even our mostacceptedbeliefsand normalizedvaluesneedto be held up for critical reflection and analysis, whileall of the sportsthat weplay and enjoyand the institutions that they are connectedtoneed to berecognizedassocial and historical productsthat havebeen madeandremade by Canadiansoverthe courseof manydecadesagainst the backdropof arange of cultural struggles.Studentsofsport sociology needto look critically at sport to better describe,explain, andimprove it, but alsoto engagein broaderprocessesof social changeandtransformation. Atits veryroot, then, the sociologicalstudy of sportis afundamentally creative and exhilarating practicethat canreveal newinsights and lines of analysisthat contributeto the understandingof contemporary Canadiansociety.


AS A SociAl


Sociologyis one of the social sciences, along with economics, anthropology, political science, and psychology.It is the disciplinedstudy of humansocial behaviour, especially the investigation of the origins, classifications,institutions, and development of human society on a globallevel (Henslin, Glenday,Pupo, & Duffy,2014, p. 5). Sociologistsare interested in social interactions that take place between humans,groups,and societies. They examinethe waysin whichsocial structures, powerrelations, andinstitutions (e.g., family, social class)enableand constrainindividuals and groups;they are concerned with the social rules andideologiesthat not only bind peopletogether, but alsoseparatethem. Yetasthe Englishsociologist Anthony Giddens(1987) noted,it mustalsobe emphasizedthat sociology cannot be a neutral intellectual endeavor (p. viii). Rather,it is a critical examination of the contemporary social situation with the underlying goal not only to understandsocial phenomena but to improve society. Becausesociologyis concerned with our behaviour associal beings,subdisciplines haveemergedthat are broadin scopeand diversein nature. Oneof those subdisciplinesis called sportsociology. Sportsociology examinesthe relationship betweensport andsociety and studiessport as an ever-presentpart of social and cultural life. Sportsociologistsstudy humans/agents













involved in sport (e.g., athletes, coaches,fans, team owners),the institutions and social structuresthat affect their sport experiences(e.g., education, media,economics,politics), and the processesthat occur in conjunction with sport (e.g., social stratification and mobility,deviance,violence,inequality). Someofthe aims ofthe sociologyofsport include: nto







examine critically the role, function, and meaningof sport in the lives of people andthe societiesthey form; describeand explain the emergenceand diffusion ofsport overtime and acrossdifferent societies; identify the processesof socializationinto, through, and out of modernsport; investigate the valuesand normsof dominant, emergent,andresidual cultures and subculturesin sport; explore howthe exercise of powerandthe stratified nature ofsocieties placelimits and possibilities on peoplesinvolvement andsuccessin sport as performers,officials, spectators, workers,or consumers; examinethe wayin whichsport respondsto social changesin the larger society; and contribute both to the knowledgebaseof sociology moregenerallyand alsoto the formation of policy that seeksto ensurethat globalsport processes areless wastefulof lives andresources.(ISSA, 2005)

Sport sociologists are also concerned with the links betweenthe structure of organizedsport and dominant cultural ideologiessuch as class,race, sexuality, and nationalism. Indeed, one of the mainroles of sociologists is to disentangle the complex relationships betweenindividuals andtheir social world (Naiman, 2012, p. 2). Wechallenge long-held mythsand common senseassumptionsaboutthe world of sport and, by doingso, seekto makeit betterfor all those involved. An overview of whatsport sociologistsactually dois listed below: 1. Serveas experts to government agencies,public enquiries, and commissionsin areas such as drugs,violence, and health education,thus contributing to their reports. 2. Act as advocatesfor athletes rights and responsibilities by providing researchfor groups whoseekto challengeinequalities of gender,class,ethnicity, age,and disability, particularly with respectto access,resources,andstatus. 3. Promote human development as opposedto performanceefficiency modelswithin physicaleducation andsport science. 4. Encouragebetter use of human and environmental resources, thus ensuring that there is asporting future for generationsto come. (ISSA, 2005) Its important to emphasize,then, that sport sociologistslook for extrinsic or structural and historical explanations to explain social behaviour and social issues. Onthe other hand, psychologistsexamineintrinsic explanationsto explain individual behaviour. However,is it enough to considerintrinsic factors and personal choices by athletes to explain the systemic useof,for example, performance-enhancingdrugsin manyprofessional sports? Ordo weneedto considera host ofstructural issuesand,indeed, the increasing rationalization of high-performance and professionalsport in relation to values of competition and the significant financial rewards(sponsorship and salaries) on offer to



contemporary athletes asdecisivefactorsthat contribute to these patterns? Alternatively, whyshould weconsider banning performance-enhancingdrugsat theselevels if their use is endemic(i.e., is it cheatingif everyoneis doingit)? Finally, whyarethe debatesassociated with drug usein sport so heavily moralized whenthe useof other performanceenhancing drugsis normalizedin other occupationsandindustries andactively encouraged and promotedin relation to other aspectsour personallives? Students will be wellaware, for example,that other performance enhancers(i.e., Viagraand Cialis) are habitually promoted during popularsports broadcaststo reach maleaudiences. Becauseweseekto both understandand denaturalizelongstanding assumptionsand beliefs,in addition to engagingin political dialogueand debateon howto improve contemporary sporting practicesand culturesin Canadiansociety, the sociology of sport is a complex, controversial, and often challenging pursuit. Moreover,sport sociologists pose difficult questionsabout social problems andissuesthat are not always answered.It is, however,afascinating endeavourso muchsothat it canfoster stimulating discussionon a widerange oftopics andideas. In so doing, the chaptersin this text will regularly ask youto reflect on your own sporting experiences and, indeed, hold up your own practical consciousness for critical reflection. By practical consciousnesswe meanyour accepted beliefsall of the things aboutsport and Canadiansocietythat you maybetacitly awareof without, attimes, being ableto givethem direct expressionor explanation. Your practical consciousness is shaped by your experiencesof doing, consuming, and interacting with varioussocial structures,institutions, andideologies;these arethe experiencesthat frame the possibilitiesyou canimagine in sport and beyond. However,your practical consciousness is far from simply reflective of dominant interests and beliefsit is alsosubject to ongoing refinement (hence, practical), especiallyas you encounter new experiences,ideas, and information. Assuch, practical consciousnessis neverstatic. Actionsand experiencessupporting practical consciousnessstrengthen it, while new actions and experiencescan challenge our assumptionsand makeus question varioustruths about what weoncetook for granted. Forexample,a power and performance modelbasedon competition, domination of opponents, rationalized rules, and scorekeeping by adults is widely understood as a common senseand normal wayfor children and youth to playsport in the eyes of many administrators, coaches,and parents, whothemselves often grew up playing similarly structured sports.Indeed, your own practical consciousnessmayhavebeenreinforced over years of engagingin these types of sporting experiencesthat have now simply come to seem natural (and, of course,regularly pleasurable,thrilling, andfun). Still, is this the only waythat youth sport can bestructured? Or,arethere alternative waysof structuring sport according to different valuesand principles? Beforerevisiting these ideas, though, lets first briefly considerthe origin of the sociology ofsport andsome of the issuesassociated with defining sport.


of Sport


Theacademicstudy ofsportsociologyis relatively new,andscientificresearchin the field only emergedin the 1960s.From 1965to 1969, Kenyonand McPherson (1973) ofthe University of Wisconsinpublishedaseriesof articles devotedto the sociology of sport, positioningit firmly within the positivistic perspectiveof science (Sage,1997, p. 326).In the late 1960s













the annual meetingsofthe American Alliancefor Health,PhysicalEducationand Recreation included asessiondevotedto the sociologyof sport (Dance wasaddedto this organizations title in 1979).In 1976,this sameassociationfounded the Sociologyof Sport Academywith the purposeof coordinatingand promotingthe study ofsportsociology(Sage,1997). The 1960sand 1970sconstituted animportant time for the development ofthe study ofsport sociology. Duringthat time there was muchunrestin North America,particularly withregardto the involvement ofthe UnitedStatesin the Vietnam Waras wellasthe civil rights movement.For example,in 1968, during the medalpresentation at the Summer Olympic Games in Mexico City,two blackathletes,John Carlosand Tommie Smith, made a gloved black powersalute, thereby usingthe global visibility provided by the Olympic Gamesasa vehicleto broadcasttheir anger withthe plight of black Americansand unequal racerelationsin the United States.Thisresistantgesture wassymbolic ofthe imbalance of societal powerthat prevailed not only for black Americans,but alsofor other minority groups.Sport wasnoexception. Sportsociologistsunderstoodthat it wasnolonger enough to simply describeand celebratesport and variousathletic accomplishments;instead, they neededto examine and explain how varioussocial institutions transform sport and,likewise,howsport can beusedto transform broadersocial structuresagainstthe backdropof a range of cultural struggles,pressingpolitical debates,andsocial movements. Withinthis context, an organizedsocietyfor the study of sport sociology(which later becamethe North American Societyfor the Sociology of Sport[NASSS]) emergedafter a Big Ten Symposiumin 1978. The missionstatement of the NASSS wasto promote, stimulate, and encouragethe sociological study of play, games,sport and contemporary physical culture. In 1980,the first NASSSconferencetook placein Denver,and subsequently several Canadiancities have hostedthis annual gathering. NASSSpublishesa peer-reviewedjournal entitled the Sociologyof SportJournal. Aninternational umbrella group called the International Sociology of Sport Association(ISSA) wasfounded in 1965. TheISSA holdsannual conferencesand publishesa peer-reviewedjournal entitled the International Reviewfor the Sociologyof Sport. Otherinternational journals in which sport sociologistscommonly publishinclude the Journal of Sportand SocialIssues,International Journal of Sport Communication,Sportand Society,LeisureStudies,and Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health.Somesociology andsport management journals also publish articles with asport sociologytheme. Therefore, whilethere are a host of various national andinternational organizations associatedwiththe sociology ofsport,it is vital for studentsto understandsport within the context of Canadiansociety while also makingconnections to continental and,indeed, global patterns andforms of social organization. Theorganizationof Canadiansociety has manysimilarities with the United States;however,there are alsosignificant differences betweenthe countries. Canadianhistoryis, of course,substantially different from that of the United States,andthere are uniquesocial relations (between Anglophonesand Francophones, Aboriginal and Euro-Canadians,etc.) that point to these enduring distinctions. Canadiansalso havecompeting visions of the roles and structures of government, vastly different commitments to the provision of social services including universal healthcare, alongstanding history of public broadcasting by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporationand Radio-Canada,and, attimes, radically different visions offoreign policy. It should be nosurprise,then, that significant aspectsof the organizationand structure of Canadiansport are different comparedto sport in the United Statesand,indeed,



other parts ofthe world. Ofcourse,asJay Schererand David Whitsonnotein Chapters11 and 14, Canadianshavealwaysfollowed the North American majorleaguesin significant numbers(in addition to NCAA football and basketball). As well, weare moreinterconnected with the rest of the worldthan ever before.In 2014,for example, we watched Germany winthe FIFA World Cupin RiodeJaneiro with 32 nations qualifying; Martin Kaymer(Germany) and Michelle Wie(United States) winthe US Open Golf Championships;and Novak Djokovic(Serbia) and Petra Kvitova (Czech Republic) winthe singleseventsat Wimbledon.Soto claim that Canadiansport is a unique entity thriving on its own without any externalinfluences wouldbe naive andinaccurate. There are, however,undeniably unique elementsin Canadianlife and culture, and sport continues to play asignificant role in providing a range of symbolic meaningsand valuesthat areimportant to Canadiansand are part of the ongoingstory that wetell ourselvesabout who weare and whatit means to be Canadian.Forexample, wintersports are often thought of as distinctly Canadiancultural forms, especiallysportslike hockey,curling and, perhapsto alesser extent, cross-countryand alpineskiing and snowboarding.In manyneighbourhoodsacrossthe country the boardsgo upfor outdoorice rinks, and when the weathergets cold enoughsurfacesand backyardsareflooded to makerinks for thousandsof Canadiansto playshinny on. Sport has, moreover,the capacityto represent our communities and indeed our nation on the worldstage. In the 2010 Winter Olympic Gamesin Vancouver, Canadawonthe mostgold medals(N = 14) ofthe 82 nations competing and wasthird overallin medalcount. Boththe womens and mens hockeyteams wongold overtheir USrivals, and Sidney Crosbyssudden-death overtime winning goal, referred to by the Globeand Mailnewspaperas The Shot Heard Around the World

Alexandre Bilodeau,

Canadian freestyle skier,

wasthe first

medal on home soil in 2010. He won a second gold Cameron



Canadian to

win an Olympic gold

medal at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games.













(March 1, 2010, p. A3) becameanindelible Canadian memoryand provided a newgeneration of Canadianswith their own Paul Henderson moment (Globe and Mail, March 2, 2010, p. 4), a reference to the iconic 1972 Summit Seriesbetween Canadaand the Soviet Union. Thesevictories (and others,like Alexandre Bilodeausgold medalin the mens mogulsthe first gold medalfor Canadaat an Olympic Gamesheldin our country) havebeenmythologized in Canadianculture as part ofthe story of who weare and what we value as a country. Similar feats and stories wereexperienced in the 2014 Sochi Olympic Gameswhen Canada wongold medalsin mensand womens hockeyand curling, womens moguls, freestyleskiing, bobsleigh,and mensspeedskating, to nameafew. Thesheer popularity and visibility of these sporting events and physical activities that bring together moregroupsof Canadiansthan other aspectsof culture suggeststhat they areimportant features of everydaylife in Canadaand contribute to a distinctive Canadianculturalidentity. Still, even our mostcherishedidentities and normalizedsporting practicessuch asthe national sport of hockeyarefar from simply natural extensions of the Canadianenvironment, while even the definition of sport hasbeen widely debated and contested.




At plAy

The meaningof the wordsport hasevolved overtime, and until recently sport hassimply beenunderstoodasan activity that requires physicalexertion. Forthe purposesofthis textbook,sport shall be defined asanyformally organized,competitive activity that involves vigorousphysical exertion orthe execution of complex physicalskills with rules enforced by aregulatory body. An examination of the components of this definition is worthwhile. First, in order for the activity to be competitivethe organizational and technical aspects mustbecome important, including equipment and systematictraining protocols. Second,the rules of the activity mustbecomestandardizedandformalized by aregulatory bodythat oversees rule enforcement. What wearetalking about,in short, is the institutionalization ofsport and the rationalization of both sportstraining and the sports organizationsthat sponsor training, and under whoseauspicescompetition occurs (Hall et al., 1991, p. 14). Nonetheless, eventhese broad,generalideas do not necessarilyprovidea neatsolution to whatcounts assport. Forexample,arechessboxing(an 11-round matchconsistingof alternaterounds of boxing and blitz chesssessions)or competitiverock-paper-scissors contests sporting events?The World ChessBoxing Organizationandthe WorldRockPaperScissors Society maythink so; others maynot. Alsoconsiderthe made-for-TVcoverageofthe World Seriesof Poker.In hisarticle Sport or Nota Sport?PotIs Split on Poker, Mike Dodd(2006) considersthis question.ESPN(the Estandingfor Entertainment) nevercalled pokerasport. Certainly,a mentalcomponentis requiredto playpoker,butis there a physicalcomponent? Somepoker players,such as DoyleBrunson,age72, arguethat thereis becauseofthe length oftournaments:The last tournamentI won,I played18 hoursoneday,16 hoursthe next day and 16 hoursthe last day. Thats prettytough (Dodd, 2006, p. 13C). Onthe other hand, someathletes mightobjectto the useofthe wordspokerandsportin the samesentence.Bryan Clay,the 2004 Olympicsilver medallist in the decathlon,feelsthat the wordathleteandthe wordsport aregettingso watereddown (Dodd, 2006,p. 13C) Eventhough the IOC hasnt recognizedpoker,it doesrecognizeanother cardgame:contract bridge.



Instead of focusing on the endless(but often enjoyable!) debatesand discussionsover the definition ofsport,it is moreproductiveto considersome ofthe ideas associatedwiththe concept of social construction and how both organizedsport andinformal waysof playing haveemergedoverthe courseof manyyears.In so doing, we willfocus not only onformal practicesassociatedwithsport, but alsoonthe lessformalizedaspectsof physicalactivity that areimportant for millionsof Canadians.Byinformal sport, we meanphysicalactivities that areself-initiated with nofixed start orstop times. Informal sport hasnotangible outcomes such as prizesor ribbons, and victory and reward are not dominant featuresin this form of activity (e.g.,children gettingtogether after dinnerto playagameof pickupbaseball,playing agameoftennis with aroommate, goingfor around of golf withthreefriends,rock climbing, or windsurfing). Hereweareinterestedin the socialsignificancenot only of prominentforms ofsport in Canadianculture (e.g., NHL hockeyand the CFL), but alsoof gamesof pickup basketball,shinny, the beerleaguesof old-timer hockey,softball, and all ofthe otherinformalactivities that areimportant and popularpartsof Canadianculture and everydaylife. Sport (formal and informal) is sociallyconstructed,as are all of the meaningsabout sociallife that shapethe worldin which welive. Thatis, sport hasbeeninvented andreinvented by generationsof menand womenfor a widerange of purposes.Sport alsoshapes andis shaped bythe social worldaroundus,and becausesportis asocial constructit can be changedand given different forms and meaningsovertime andfrom placeto place(i.e.,it can besocially reconstructed).Indeed,it scarcely needssayingthat a certain activity that is consideredto beasport in one culture or subculture maysimply not be consideredasport in another culture or another era.In other words,the debatesabout defining sport are less important than studying the social relations and distributions of political and economic resourcesthat have meantthat some gamesand physical pursuits havebecomeinstitutionalizedfeatures of Canadianlife while others have not (Hall et al., 1991, p. 15). Together,all of theseideas point toward the importance of embracinga critical sociological outlook that emphasizesthe role of social construction in all of ourlives; human beingslive in websof meaningthat they themselves havespun. Indeed, even our most naturalizedsocialrelations (money, democracy,the legal system,etc.) andtaken-for-granted identities needto be understoodas historical and cultural constructsthat are constantly changingas weinteract with each other and withsocial structures.In this respect, we will focus on makinghistorical and comparativeconnectionsto illuminate how varioussports andtheir related meaningschange,but alsoillustrating the significance ofsport and human agencyin processes of broadersociohistorical reproduction andtransformation.

wAyS of looking

At SociAl


In the study of sociology, there are different waysof looking at social phenomena: micro, macro,and global. The three levels of social structure are not necessarilyin opposition to each other. Rather,they are waysof looking at social phenomenafrom different perspectives. 1. Microstructuresare intimate, face-to-face social interactions with, for example, friends, family, work colleagues,teachers, and coaches and how they influence society. Thesearesmall groupssuch as a curling foursome, bowling team, or the board of a childrens soccerleague. Peopleparticipatein microstructuresfor personal













reasons and becausethey tend to be emotionally deep and enduring An example of a microstructure is a child from a single-parent family

(Brym, 2014). who looks to

his softball coach for guidance in dealing with a problem heis experiencing at home. 2. Macrostructures are larger than

microstructures and represent social relations that

occur outsidea personsinner circle. In this text, we will beconcerned primarily with macrostructures, focusing on the relationship tion, politics, and the

of sport to institutions

such as educa-

media.Inequities in sport asa result of sex, race, ethnicity,


socioeconomic status will bethe focus in other chapters. 3. Global structures,

which are larger than

nations, cultures, and societies. communication,

macrostructures, are relations


As a result of advancements in transportation


sport has globalized. Even though the worlds population is growing

at an alarming rate, asaresult of advancements in transportation our world has,in fact, shrunk. Today, the Internet

and communication

has madecommunication

of every-

thing sport-related instantaneous, and teams and their fans can travel quickly to competitors venues thanks to morerapid

modesof transportation.

Examining social phenomena from a global perspective can besocially important. In light

of the 2013 building collapse of a clothing factory in Bangladesh that killed 1,127

workers and left 2,500 others injured, there is increased concern about the practices of sporting goods companies that outsource the manufacture of clothing and sporting goods and employ cheap labour in developing countries.

Sociologists, and more specifically

those who study social dimensions of sport, have not only studied the events that led up to this disaster but also offered solutions so that it

will hopefully never happen again.

Chapter 14 of this text deals with how globalization haschanged the world of sport in the 21st century. It is important to remember that all of these structures can bestudied relationally


need to be understood as historical products that have been madeand remade by genera-

tions of menand women whoarethemselvesthe productsof those verystructures.

The Sociological Imagination In 1961, American sociologist

C. Wright Mills coined the phrase sociologicalimagination,

which is the ability to go beyond a persons immediate life issues and troubles and connect them to societys broader characteristics, including

macro-and global structures. In other

words, what seems to be a personal concern, upon social analysis, is actually a broader social and public issue. For example, if a child cannot participate in hockey because his or her family cannot afford the increasing costs of registration,

equipment, and transporta-

tion required to play in organized hockey leagues, this is clearly a personal trouble and

private matter. However,the root causeofthe familys private problem could bea downturn in the economy whereboth or one of his parents has beenlaid offfrom work resulting

in a reduced householdincome. The costs associatedwith the structure of highly professionalized minor hockey leagues would be prohibitive for hisfamily and many others, thus

pointing to a muchbroaderpublic issue associated withincome inequality and the class structure of Canadian society.

Threekinds ofsensitivitiesareassociatedwithsociologicalimagination: historical,comparative, and critical.



Historicalsensitivityis an awarenessthat brings even the smallest details

of personal experience into the larger frame of history. It is also an awarenessthat to truly understand the sporting present, we mustalso understand the past. Withthe de-emphasis of history in our educational system, the importance of a historical perspective has been marginalized across Canada over the course of the pasttwo decades. Clearly, alack offull appreciation of Canadian history leaves us vulnerable to simply repeating the mistakesof the past. However, by neglecting our history and an analysisthat stressesthe reality of sociohistorical change, wealsorisk accepting present realities

and social relations as natural asopposed to

social and historical constructs that have been continually

madeand remade by generations

of menand women against the backdrop of a range of cultural and ideological struggles. The importance

of having historical sensitivity is, of course, one of the


why this text includes a comprehensive chapter about sport history (Chapter account of the Edmonton


1940, played over 400 games and lost only 20Ann development

of womens basketball in

Hall (2007) outlines the historical

Canada against the backdrop of debates over

gender-based rules and broader changes to around the

Canadian society. The Grads played games

world (often to remarkable crowds) and became, in

ambassadors for the city of Edmonton. the importance



Oilers and the

many ways, unlikely

many Canadians

of the team, and when most people think

Edmontons nickname, the teams that they likely think franchisesthe

3). In her

womens basketball team that, between 1915 and

may be unaware of

of the City

of Champions,

of are the citys professional sports


Eskimos. Indeed,



Canadiansit is simply impossible to imagine a contemporary female professional team (or league) like the Edmonton


would havelevels of visibility and financial remu-

neration on par with the world of maleprofessional sports. In other words, we maysimply take for granted that the current structure of professional sport is distinctly gendered. Comparative sensitivity is learning according to different

about how sport has been socially


meanings and forms in various cultures. Not only do welearn about

other cultures, but as a result of comparative sensitivity

wecome to appreciate and respect

diversity and the range of waysthat sport and physical activity have beeninstitutionalized and socially constructed around the world. Indeed, one of the

many values of attending

university is that students live and study with people from other cultures and, hopefully, develop an appreciation of cultures other than their own. Sometimes North Americans take a myopic view of the world, particularly those who havent travel and experience different cultures.

the best way or our sports are the only onesthat is that in the World

hadthe opportunity to

Wecan often adopt the attitude that our matter.


Worthy of note, in this respect,

North American majorleague baseball,the championship competition is called Series even though teams from only two countries vie for the title.

simply understand the

North American versions of gridiron football

Or we may

asthe only way of

playing a sport that has numerous codes (associations of football/soccer,

rugby unions,

rugbyleagues,etc.) and hasbeeninstitutionalized in dramaticallydifferentformsin various cultures around the world. A comparative awareness, like historical sensitivity,


grants usthe perspectiveto be open to newideas and possibilitiesand encouragesusto recognize, once again, that there is nothing

natural about sport or social relations in

Canadiansociety. Finally, critical sensitivity is a willingness to think and act critically.

Certainly there is

muchto celebrateabout sport: cross-countryskiing on perfectsnow, achieving a personal best time, the team you support




winning the championship.






However, our job as sport





sociologists is to examine sport from a critical and analytical perspective so that improvementis realized and social relations are transformed. Students of the social dimensions of sport and physical activity should develop a sociological imagination

so that they can understand how their personal problems link

broader public issuesthat ariselargely from power imbalances in our social structure. sociological imagination how change occurs in

gives students the opportunity to think critically

to This

about sport and

Canadian society in relation to the concepts of structure, agency,

power, and hegemony.

Social Structure Social structures are the patterned relationships that connect different parts of society to one another (from individuals to the entire society of economic structures, political structures, structures of gender and race/ethnicity,

and structures of sexual relations).

Social structures set powerful limits and boundaries within which welive our lives that often appear to be quite naturalthey

become limits

viduals and groups give meaningto them andinteract can facilitate

or restrict

the capacity of individuals

unconsciously) to act. Importantly,

and boundaries when indi-

with them. Structures, in this sense, or groups (either

structures are also transformed

consciously or

when weinteract


them; that is, our actions are enabled and constrained by structures and those actions can, in turn, reproduce and maintain those structures or transform and produce new structures via social change. Finally, social structures are often categorized asrules and resources. Byrules we mean both the internal

assumptions and ideologies embraced by men and women as common

sense and the external laws, regulations, and policies that set limits and possibilities with respect to how wecan act in our social lives. Resources, meanwhile, are divided into three main components: financial


material (equipment,

property, etc.), and human

(other agents).

Agency and Power Agencyis the ability of individuals and groupsto act independently in a goal-directed manner and to pursue their own free

choices. Sociology, in this respect, involves


attempt to understandthe degreeto which human agents, whetherindividual or collective, are constrained to think

and act in the waysthey do (Gruneau, 1999, p. 1). Power

is the capacity of a person or group of personsto employresourcesof different typesin order to secure outcomes (Gruneau,

1988, p. 22). In this sense, power can be under-

stood as alevel of control or prestige of one group over another as an exercise of agency, or the

ability of an individual

ers (Naiman, inevitably

2012, p. 6). Power, of course, implies the existence of power relations and


Groups and individuals

accessto resources (financial, (internal

or group to carry out its will even when opposed by othdiffer in terms of power with respect to

material, and human) and to benefits derived from rules

and external). In Canada and indeed around the world, the Occupy Movement

drew our attention to unequal power relations along the lines growing gap between the political


of social class and the

wealthiest 1% of Canadians and the influence

and economic levels and the other 99% in our country.


they wield at

The Idle

No More

movement, meanwhile,cast a critical spotlight on the continuation of unequal power relations between Euro-Canadians and Aboriginal peoples and the historical significance of colonization in Canada. Despitesignificant gains by the womens movement, feminists continue to draw our attention to the unequal power relations between men and women,including the underrepresentation of womenin positions of economic, political, religious, and military power. Wewantto follow Rick Gruneau(1988, p. 22) by suggestingthat there are at least three notable measuresof the power of different social groups that needto befully consideredin the sociological analysisof sport. They arethe capacityto 1. structure sport in preferred waysand to institutionalize rules and organizations,

these preferencesin sports

2. establishselective sportstraditions, and 3. define the range of legitimate sports practices.

practices and meaningsassociated with dominant

Its important to emphasize,again,that sport is asocial practiceshaped by broaderpower relations and that it benefitssome individuals and groups morethan others.Indeed, to have powerand achieve aresult orsocial change, one needsaccessto arange ofresources andfavourable rules. For example,considerthe debate overthe exclusion of womensski jumping at the 2010 Winter Olympic Gamesin Vancouver.In 2006,the IOC rejected an application by the International Ski Federationto include womensski jumping at the 2010 Olympic Games.TheIOC claimedthat womensski jumping wasnot yet fully establishedand did not deserveto be an Olympicevent. In responseto this decision,a group of 15female ski jumpers took legal action againstthe Vancouver Organizing Committee(VANOC) on the groundsthat a publicly funded sporting competition that included maleski jumping but excludedfemalejumpers wasin violation of the Canadian Charterof Rightsand Freedoms. The womenarguedthat ski jumping wasnot a newevent andthat VANOCs decision wassimply representative of along pattern of discrimination againstfemale athletes (e.g., a womens marathon wasnot added until the 1984 Olympicsin Los Angeles;up until then female athletes weredeemedto betoo frail to participatein such a strenuous event). Whileadmitting that the decision wasdiscriminatory, the judge ruled that the IOC (and not VANOC) had exclusive control over the decision, and thus VANOC could not be held accountable. Moreover,the decision acknowledgedthat becausethe IOC exists as an international nongovernmental organization,it wasnot subject to the constitutional laws of Canada. Asaresult, the womenlost their case(and further appeals) and wereprohibitedfrom participating in Vancouver.

Hegemony Finally, an overridingtheme throughout this textbook is hegemony,which comesfrom the Greek word Hegemoniameaningleadership. The Italian political theorist Antonio Gramscidevelopedthe theory of hegemony(which will be outlined in moredetailin the next chapter)to drawattention to some of the effectsof dominant ideologies andideasin the maintenance(or challenging) of various powerrelations in society. Byideology, we













meanaframework of beliefsthat guides behaviour.In particular, Gramsci wasinterested in understanding how varioussocieties with obvious unequalpowerrelations andinequalities (class,race, gender,etc.) wereconsensuallyheldtogether. For Gramsci,the ability of dominantindividuals and groups(with morepowerandresources)to establishideological systemsof meaningsand valuesthat justified those variousinequalities ascommon sense wasa vital stepin the maintenanceoftheir positionsof moralandintellectual leadership. Gramcisideas about hegemony,for example,force usto consider all of the waysin which our daily experiencesin sport and beyond becomea part of our everydaypractical consciousness,a common sensethat offersusnormal aspirationsand waysoffeeling, as wellas orthodox ideas (Hall et al., 1991, p. 45). Historically,the common sense belief that sport wasbyits very naturea masculineendeavourrestricted the opportunities of girls and women(and, by extension, boys and men)to participatein various physical activities. Indeed, to this day a particular vision of masculinitybasedon aggression,violence, and emotional stoicism, whatthe Australiansociologist R.A. Connell (1990, 2005) has called hegemonic masculinity,is culturally exaltedin competitive sport andin broader Canadiansociety.It is a dominant vision of masculinitythat manyboysand menconsent to assomething that is entirely natural and self-evident, even while hegemonic masculinity is being perpetually challenged,reinforced, and reconstructedin relation to other forms of masculinity and femininity. Thus,the valuein Gramscisapproachis that it politicizes our analysisabout culture andsport in Canadiansociety andforces usto recognizethat what weunderstandas our practical consciousnesscannot really be understood without referenceto social structures within which particular cultural practicesare privileged, and particular vocabulariesor motivesare presentednotjust asright but as natural (Hall et al., 1991, p. 45).

conclusions Over50 years ago,in his classictext Beyonda Boundary(1963), the renowned AfroTrinidadian historian and social theorist C. L. R.Jamesposeda powerful questionabout the sport of cricket in the WestIndies: What dothey know of cricketif all they knowis cricket? James wasinterested in examining WestIndian national culture and society (education, family, class,race, and colonialism) through cricket, the sports history, and his ownlife as a cricketer and commentator on the sport. Reflecting on his own experiencesin the sport, and using his ownsociologicalimagination, Jamessimply recognizedin hindsightthat Cricket hadplunged meinto politics long beforeI wasawareofit. Indeed, for Jamesthe sport of cricketits salience, discipline, representational power, and contested meaningsplayed a decisiverole in the broaderanti-colonial struggle of an emergent WestIndian society onthe brink ofindependence. LikeJames,the practicesof sport and physical activity have plunged Canadiansfrom acrossthe country into a widerange of historical and contemporary political struggles, perhapslong before being fully conscious of those powerrelations and social structures. And,like James,sociology of sport studentsin Canadacan poseasimilar question,albeit in aradically different context, that speakspreciselyto the importance of the sociological



imagination as a wayof thinking and methodof sociological analysis:What do weknow of hockeyif all weknow is hockey? Manysociologists paint arather gloomy picture of sport in Canadiansociety, especially in light of enduringinequalities and a widerange of social issues,and certainly it would be naive and irresponsible to ignore the range of issuesthat needto be addressed and mendedin varioussports across Canada.Still, its important to recognizethat sport provides millions of Canadians with pleasurable,exhilarating, and enjoyable waysof spending time and powerful understandings of community. Equally important, even though involvement in sport and physical activity has manyimbalances and injustices, Canadiansfrom acrossthe country areinvolved dailyin a complex dance of reproducing and resisting a host of social structures and powerrelations, and are subsequentlytransforming not onlysport and physical activity but Canadiansocietyitself. Thegood newsto leave you with at this chapters end is that some of the problemsthat exist are being addressedthrough an awarenessoftheir existenceand a willingnessto find solutions. The processesof personaland social transformation starts here with you, the student of sociological dimensionsofsport and physical activity.

critical thinking


1. Discussthereasonswhyacourseinthesociologyofsportandphysicalactivityshould be part of an undergraduate curriculum in a kinesiology/human kinetics/physical education/sportscience program. 2. How doessport sociology differfrom sport psychology? 3. Provide examples of the three notable measuresof the power of different social groupsthat needto befully consideredin the sociological analysisof sport. 4. Discusswhatis meantby the phrasesport (formal and informal) is socially constructed. 5. a. Usingyour sociological imagination, how wasa personalissuethe exclusion of womens ski jumpingintimately connected to a host of public issues of social structurein Canadiansociety and beyond? b. Howdidthosestructuresfacilitate andrestrictthe agencyofthe womenskijumpers? Useeachofthe three measures of powerin your answer. c.

Whatresources did the women need to challenge both VANOCs and the IOCs rules?

d. Whatrules workedin their favour? Whichonesdid not? e.

Whatrole did genderideology playin this debate?

Suggested readings Giddens, A., & Sutton, P.W. (2013). Sociology. London, Gruneau, R.(1999).

Class,sports, andsocial development. Champaign, IL:

Gruneau, R., & Whitson, D.(1993). Toronto,

UK: Polity Press. Human Kinetics.

Hockey nightin Canada: Sports,identities, and cultural politics.

ON: Garamond Press.

Mills, C.W. (1961).






New York, NY: Grove Press.









Naiman, J. (2012).

Howsocieties work. Halifax, NS: Fernwood.

Whitson, D., & Gruneau, R.(2006). Artificialice: Hockey,culture, andcommerce.Peterborough, ON: BroadviewPress. Zirin, D.(2013). Gameover: Howpoliticshasturned the sports world upsidedown. New York, NY: The NewPress.

references Brym, R.J. (2014). We the people:Societyin question.Toronto, ON: Nelson. CanadianHeritage.(2013). Sportparticipation2010: Research paper.Retrievedfrom http://publications. Connell, R. W.(1990). Aniron man: Thebodyandsomecontradictions of hegemonic masculinity. In. M.A. Messner& D.F. Sabo(Eds.), Sport, men,andthe genderorder: Criticalfeminist perspectives (pp. 83114).

Champaign, IL:

Connell, R. W.(2005). Dodd, M.(2006,

Human Kinetics.

Masculinities(2nd ed.). Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

April 30). Sport or not asport? Potis split on poker. USA Today, p. 13C.

Giddens, A. (1987). Socialtheory and modernsociology. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press. Gruneau, R.(1988).

Modernization and hegemony: Two views on sport and social development. In

J. Harvey & H. Cantelon(Eds.), Notjust a game: Essays in Canadiansportsociology(pp. 932). Ottawa, ON: Universityof OttawaPress. Gruneau,R.(1999). Class,sports, andsocialdevelopment.Champaign,IL: Human Kinetics. Hall, A.(2007). Culturalstruggle andresistance: Gender,history, and Canadiansport. In K. Young & P. White(Eds.), Sportandgenderin Canada,(pp. 5674). Toronto, ON: Oxford University Press. Hall, A., Slack, T., Smith, G., & Whitson, D.(1991). Sportin Canadiansociety. Toronto, ON: McClelland & Stewart. Harvey,J. (2000). Whatsin a game?In P. Donnelly (Ed.), Takingsportseriously. Toronto, ON: Thompson Educational Publishing. Henslin, J. M., Glenday, D., Pupo, N., & Duffy, A. (2014). Sociology: A down to earth approach (6th Canadian ed.). Toronto, ISSA (International

ON: Pearson Canada.

Sociology of Sport

Association). (2005).

About ISSA.

Retrieved from issa.

James, C.L. R.(1963). Beyonda Boundary.London: Stanley Paul & Co. Kenyon, G., & McPherson,B.(1973). Becominginvolved in physicalactivity andsport: A process of socialization. In G. L. Rarick(Ed.), Physicalactivity: Humangrowth and development. New York, NY: AcademicPress. Mills, C. W.(1961). Thesociological imagination. New York, NY: GrovePress. Naiman,J. (2012). Howsocietieswork: Class,power,andchange. Halifax, NS:Fernwood. Sage, G.H.(1997). Physicaleducation, sociology, and sociology of sport: Points of intersection. Sociologyof SportJournal, 14, 317339.



Chapter 2 SociologicalTheoriesof Sport Ian Ritchie

Sociological theory is the foundation of the discipline of sociology in general andits particular understanding of sport and physical activity in sport sociology. This chapter introduces four majortheoretical perspectives: structural functionalism, conflict theory, symbolic interactionism, and critical social theories. Thetheories offer competing perspectives but at the same time occasionally complement

one another in their attempts to answer questions

A young girl working in a cotton

United States. Child labour


activity demonstrate that the perspectives often raise serious challenges to many common


assumptions about sport.


Lying at the foundation

of sociology is theory.

theory: contexts

Theory is the central tool that sociolo-

gists useto understand the human world around usin general, and more specifically for sport sociologists,

the role that sport and physical culture

play within that


to understand

during the early days of the Industrial

sociological and historical

was one

of many hardships the first

about the nature of social and cultural life. Examplesfrom the study of sport and physical

Understanding general themes


in the early 20th century in the




of Congress Prints and Division[LC-DIG-nclc-01336]

In simple terms, sociological

theory is a proposition

or set of propositions

nature of the social world and peoples roles or active engagement in that ever, theory is in the

about the world. How-

many ways not so different from the fact that people theorize


world around them all the time, in the sense that they ponder various aspects of

social and cultural life, or perhaps just think

about the conduct of other people around

them in their everyday lives. Theory,

then, is a continuation

of something that is universal to human beings:

Their attempt to explain the social world around them to themselves and to gain a better understanding of their personal lives in turn. For example, myths have always played an important

role in human cultures in that they explain to people the nature of their role in

the greater scheme of things. But even our mostcherished and taken-for-granted social anthropologists remind us, and contrary to the literal really stories that are based not only on fictionalized factual ones.

or exaggerated accounts, but also on

Wecan find an example of this bylooking

that the sport of hockey provides afictionalized its history, even though


meaning of the term itself, are

nofurther than

Canadatoday, in

or exaggerated account of the country and

hockeys mythology often refers to real people and real events,

such as great wins or great players (Gruneau

& Whitson, 1993).

However, what sets serious theory apart from everyday ideas about the world is the fact that sociological theories selves through words, they

must ultimately

a process of verification

be accountablethey

must prove them-

with the facts of the social

must withstand the test of systematic verification,

world. In other

whether in the form of

facts and statistics or simply careful and systematic observations about certain aspects of social life. refinement

Good sociological

and rigorous


debate, and it

withstands the test of time through must be provable through


careful observation

and systematic verification. Sometimes the results are contrary to common perceptions or common Whenthe term common senseis used,it typically practical judgment.

However, here the term is meantin the moreliteral

that there are often ideas that peopleperhaps Einstein, though, once said that Common by age 18,


meansthat someone is using sound and many peoplehave

meaning;that is,

in common.


senseis the collection

of prejudices acquired

which points to the problem with this kind of senseit

is quite often wrong.

Weaccumulate ideas through various sources as wegrow, Einstein suggests, but that does not meanthose accumulated sets of ideas are accurate or a true reflection

of the


around us. So one of the first points about sociological theory to keepin

mindis that it does not

always support common sense notions about the nature of the social world. Asimple yet profoundly important

example comes from sport.

One myth that has been perpetuated

over time is that sport is, to use afamiliar expression, asold asthe hills. In other words,

people havealways practisedsport in the same wayovertime. Asan important corollary to this,

many believe that the

Olympic Gameslikely

ential example of organizedsport in moderntimeswas Greece when it



and influ-

basedon the modelof ancient

wasrevived bythe Frenchman Pierre de Coubertin in the 19th century.

However,solid historical evidence,informed by theory, hasshown that sport in ancient Greece had far

more differences than it did similarities to sport today. For example, the

ancient Greeksadopteda winner takes all approachthat far outweighed our owntoday. In ancient



Greece, extremely violent actsin wrestling werecommonplace and victorious


and often in fact becauseof their violencewere

equivalent to godsthemselves (Public

Broadcasting Service, 2004). Canadian sport histo-

rian Bruce Kidd (1984) points out that the act of cowardice

held up as almost the

modern handshake would have seemed an

because of the dramatically

different approach the ancients took to

their sport (p. 76). Besidesthe challenges that sociological theories and the discipline of sociology as a whole often bring to some common understandings of sport, there are afew other important points to keep in

mind before considering the theories themselves. First, the theo-

retical perspectives offer not only an interpretation also offer interpretations

of social conditions at present, they

of history. Events in history are interpreted

according to the

tenets of the particular theory, or in other words, theory will guide the mannerin which events of the past are viewed. Historyis not thought of asastatic accumulation of facts but rather a dynamic set of events, and the interpretation ered important us to think

is guided by theory.

of events or what facts

Also, each of the theoretical

are consid-

perspectives encourages

about and evaluate social conditions asthey currently are by putting those

conditions into historical context. In other words, wecan learn alot about the waythings are today by looking back and placing events in their proper historical context. You will find that

many of the authors of chapters in this text remind us of important

elements of

Canadian sport history so that we might better understand current issues. The discipline

of sociology itself should be thought

Whilethe events that lay the foundation out. The first


event was a series of democratic revolutions that led to the emergence of

democratic institutions the

of in this historical

of sociology are many and complex, two stand

and various forms of government; the revolutions in France and

United States in the late 18th century are the


examples. These

changes brought about the idea that governments are responsible to people and that people as citizens can actively play a role in the affairs ofthe state. Sociology emerged in part to consider these changes and to contemplate the newly envisioned role of democratic institutions

and peoples relationship to those institutions.

event wasthe Industrial Revolution. So important

The second, moreimportant,

wasthe development of industrial soci-

ety to the emergence of sociology that the discipline in its earliest days was more or less defined as the study of the causes and consequences of the Industrial dramatically changed the wayin

which goods were produced and people laboured. But it

also brought new social problems:

massexoduses of people from rural settings to urban

centres, miserableand often dangerous working andliving conditions, vastinequalities

Revolution, which

newforms of crime,

between the rich and the poor, and a general sense of alienation or disaf-

fection caused by the dramatic changes in peoples lives. Out of these two historical contexts, sociology emerged to consider two

main ques-

tions or issues. Thefirst wasthe issue of social problems. In light of the hardships wrought

bythe Industrial Revolution andthe full emergenceof capitalism,the earliestsociologists were concerned with how to create a social order that could resolve some of the funda-

mentalproblems:food production and distribution in growing cities,lack of clean water, poor hygienic living conditions, the physical hardships from long hours of strenuous work

in factories, child labour, vastinequalities betweenthe rich and poor, and soforth. These issues, of course, continue to plague ustoday to varying degrees.

The secondissue pertains to community, authority, andtradition. As peasants were lifted from their land to work in cities aslabourers, assmall

manufacturers werereplaced





by big companies, as urban living

quickly replaced rural life, questions arose as to how to

maintain and develop authority structures in the new social order, how to provide people with a sense of community in light of rapid changes, and how to answer questions regarding the loss of rural and religious traditions

as society became more secularized.


should the new social order be organized and established? What wasthe role of individual citizens in relation to newly emerging state-run institutions

and forms of government?

Whatsocial bonds would unite people in newly emerging urban communities? These were some of the important

questions the first sociologists attempted to answer. Again, these

questions continue to be asked and sociologists continue to try to answer them, even if some of the issues of community,

authority, and tradition

have changed, especially in the

context of globalization (see Chapter 14). The theories

weare about to consider should not bethought

in a constant dynamic state in which debate and refinement lead to their change and evolution. is to look for the one that is right; theories that have attempted to


of asstatic, but instead

haveled and will continue to

at first in reading accounts of theories

however, that search will likely



makeall-encompassing universal claims usually fall short

in one way or another. Instead, each theory should be thought

of as having certain

strengths that help explain certain elements of the social world, but also weaknessesor areasit does not consider. Importantly, sociological theories all havein common a political

motivation to under-

stand the nature of the social world around usto makeit better for everyone. This motivation dates back to the historical foundations

of the discipline itself and the first questions

and issuesit addressed,as discussedearlier. One of the natural consequences of this political motivation is that the theories often point to the many problems that exist in the social world. Thiscritical element of the theories should in no way overshadow sociologys recognition of the many waysin which sport and physical culture moregenerally can play an active and positive role in human life. Identifying

problems, however,is a necessarystepin


the positive aspects of physical activity and sport available for as manypeople as possible. Finally, the theories discussed here do not by any meansrepresent a complete inventory of sociological theories. The discipline offers a dizzying array of perspectives, and they continue to grow. However, what follows provides a concise summary of major perspectives that have guided thinking

in sociologys past and continue to guide thinking

rently, that havelaid the foundation and that


of sociological inquiries in sport and physical activity,

will put into context the various topics in the chapters that follow.

presented here are also very general and, in

The theories

mostcases,there is a diversity of morespecific

perspectives that fall within each. Assuch, they should bethought of asgeneral guidelines as opposed to theoretical formulae


which sport can simply be plugged. Having said

that, all sections will quite naturally include a discussion of the application

of theories to

sport using both generalexamplesbut also onesspecificto Canada.

Social FactS: Emile Durkheim Structural FunctionaliSm Thefoundations of structural functionalismoften


referred to synonymously asfunctionalism

are very old and can betraced to elements of ancient Greekthought and, much morerecently, British social philosophy (McQuarie, 1995, pp. 12).



Charles Darwins theory of evolution

had an important influence on the theory, and the earliest functionalist theorists equated social processes with biological or organic ones, claiming that society operates according to principles similar to that of animal life and the mannerin whichthat life developsand evolves. The mostimportant basicfunctionalist

and influential

tenets was Emile

figure to develop and morefully express these

Durkheim (18581917).

tics and social life generally, Durkheims

Whileactive in French poli-

most noted accomplishments

wererealized in his

active reforms of French education, and he is generally recognized as the father French sociology.

During his lifetime, the new discipline of sociology


was not generally

respected in higher academics, and Durkheim should be credited with working to gain its respect.


Durkheim as being the single mostimportant

discipline (see Beamish, 2010, pp. 123166;

early founder of the

Loy & Booth, 2002, pp. 4143).

The essential elements of Durkheims theories on social life can beseen in what many consider to be his mostimportant

work, Suicide: A Studyin Sociology, published in 1897.

Suicide, a classic of social science research, gives us not only Durkheims sociological view of the act of suicide, but ultimately an indication

of his moregeneral account of sociology,

asthe subtitle of the book suggests. Durkheim makes what appearsto bethe counterintuitive

claim that the act of suicide is

much morethan just a personal act of agency by an individual. Suicideis, instead, asocial act and in fact operates according to social laws. Durkheim referred to any human activities ofthis sort associalfacts, by which he meantany phenomena that operated according to social rules orlaws independent of any oneindividual.

Hisnotion ofsocial facts wasthe basisfor Durkheims

moregeneral vision of how human social life should bestudied. As he clearly states, [s]ociological

methodas we practice it rests wholly on the basic principle that social facts mustbe

studied asthings, that is, asrealities external to the individual

(Durkheim, 1951, pp. 3738).

This point of view sets Durkheim dramatically apart from common ideas about suicide, particularly in his own day. He challenged two cide in the late 19th century: individual

major waysof thinking

about the act of sui-

psychological views about the

motivations of the

suicide victim, and Christian religious thinking that thought of the act asasin against God. Durkheim collected aremarkable inventory

of statistics on suicide rates across Europe.

After collecting his data, Durkheim observed that suicide rates followed identifiable patterns. For example, men committed suicide at significantly Protestants

more than

Catholics, unmarried

wealthy people, interestingly, theme:


higher rates than women,

more than

married people, and

morethan poorer people. Durkheim recognized a common

Levels of social integration across categories of people significantly

chances of a particular individual Bysocial integration,


impact the

committing suicide or not.

Durkheim meantcommon ties or bondsthat hold peopletogether

and give them a common outlook and afeeling ofsolidarity. suicide variesinversely with the degree ofintegration

Asstated clearly in his own terms:

of the social groups of which the indi-

vidualforms a part (Durkheim, 1951, p.209). Thus,for example, while menandthose who are wealthy might achieve greater autonomy and independence, such personal gains


comeat acost ofreducedintegration andsocial bonds,andthus a greaterchanceofsuicide. Durkheim and other functionalist


who followed

him in the 20th century

expanded upon this essential notion of the role of social integration to develop a much more general and complex theory

of society. In general, structural functionalism


society asa complexsystemin whichall ofthe differentelementsofits structure workto promote stability and solidarity within that system. The essential elements of the theorys



view of



society can beseenin the two terms in the name of the theory. First, society hasa structure, which meansit has astable and persistent pattern of elements, including institutions, terns of interpersonal function


behaviour, and values and norms. In terms of function, all elements

or contribute to the overall stability of the structure of society (Parsons, 1961).

For understanding sport, functionalism

has been important

in terms of considering

several vital functions sport serves to wider society. Also,the theory was dominant in the discipline of sociology when the specific subdiscipline of sport sociology wasfirst developing in the 1960s and 1970s. According to the structural functionalist

analysis, sport func-

tions to develop group bonds, to encourage a sense of community, and to integrate people into societys dominant values. Sport also acts as a significant

agent of socialization and

helps children in particular develop solid social skills. In addition, sport functions as positive entertainment

and as an escape valve from some of the

morelaborious aspects of

everyday life. Finally, it is often argued that sport functions to deter youth and others from deviant and antisocial behaviour (Loy

& Booth, 2000, 2002).

Following Durkheim, Alan Ingham (2004) refers to public sporting events asserialized civic ritualsin

other words,sport acts asquasi-religious events in whichideals of communities

become represented and reaffirmed. Regardless of whether our team is winning or losing, Ingham says, the faithful seem compelled by an abstract force, larger than themselves, to go and worship at the shrine (p. 27). Sport,in other words,actssymbolically to represent what is important for communities and ties the people in them together. further than the ritualistic

Canadiens worshipat their respective shrines In one of the

Wedont haveto look

mannerin which fans of the Toronto Maple Leafsand Montreal to understand Inghams point.

moreintriguing recent applications of functionalism

to sport, authors

Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski in their book Soccernomicsclaim that soccer actually helps curb suicide rates. Building directly on Durkheims Suicide,the authors cite statistics from several countries to demonstrate that during periods of intense international titions like the feelings


World Cup, national suicide rates drop. The authors surmise that intense

of belongingness,


with attendant




enhances social cohesionand the strong common bonds necessaryfor social life. Interestingly, supporting a point

madebyIngham above, Kuper and Szymanski also point out that

winning is not a necessary outcome for suicide rates to improve;

win or lose, its the man-

ner in which the intense feelings generated in rooting for the team pulls that

matters(Kuper In

Canada, wecan think


of the many waysin which sport plays a crucial role in the

of a common sense of nationhood.

Athletes supported under Sport Canada

serve as both a meansto enhance nationalism and a common identity, acting asinternational manceat the

people together

& Szymanski, 2009, pp. 253266).

ambassadors. Following

Ben Johnsons

while simultaneously

world-record medal perfor-

World Track and Field Championships in Romein 1987, Minister of Statefor

Fitnessand AmateurSport OttoJelineksaid (ironically, in retrospect)that Ben Johnson, doing what hes doing for Canadiansin Rome,is probably worth morethan a dozen delega-

tions of high-powereddiplomats (Beamish & Borowy,1988,p. 11). And,of course, many Canadians can vividly recall the outpouring of nationalism following

Sydney Crosbysfinal

goalto give Canadathe gold medalat the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver. Whileit dominated sociology bythe mid-20th century and influenced the first research

onsportin the 1960sand 1970s,structuralfunctionalismthen declinedin influence becauseof severalflaws. Crucially,the theory wascriticized for what wasseen asits inherent conservatism.



In particular, structural functionalism suggeststhat all elements of society are viewed as necessary and goodfor the simple fact that they exist to reinforce the overall structure of the system as a whole. But surely not all elements of social systems are justifiedit

is questionable how

poverty, violence, crime, institutionalized racism or sexism, and many other social problems can be thought of as positive elementsin asocial system. Thelow point for functionalism

came when Kingsley Davisand

Wilbert Moore(1945)

argued that classinequalities are inevitable components of social systems and play important, even positive, functional stratification

roles. Their proof wasbased on their observation that class

has existed in all social systems and, they argued, it

wassimply necessaryto

reward those whospend time and effort training and working in jobs that are moreimportant for society as a whole with greater compensation in the form of status or wealth. Critics pointed out that even if there wassome truth in this claim, it by no meansjustified the often hugeinequalities or discrepancies in terms of status or pay. The mostsuccessful and highly paid professional athletes come to mindright away: Whilethey mayprovide great entertainment,it is difficult to justify their

multimillion-dollar salaries given their questionable utility

or usefulnessto society otherwise. The DavisMoore thesis drew the proverbial line in the sand in debates about sociological theory. Statements such astheirs eventually led to the downfall of functionalist theory and the rise of competing perspectives that attempted to account for the existence of social problems and inequalities in


and goal-rational


max Weber, and conFlict Like structural functionalism,

much morerealistic ways.




some of the central tenets of modern conflict sociology are

very old and can be traced back to ancient times.

However, the theorys

form owesitself to the work of Karl Marx(18181883)



more modern Marx wasborn

in Trier in the Rhineland (in what is now Germany), and in his earliest years asa student he became interested in the study of law and philosophy beforeturning to journalism,

his attention later

political activism, and writing social and political critiques.

itics and involvement sometimes forcedfrom

Hisradical pol-

in workers organizations were partly the causefor his migration Germany to France and eventually England (Beamish, 2002).

Marxsought to develop a social theory that understood the emerging capitalist around him and, at the same time, actively help create social conditions that moreegalitarian and democratic.

Marxs political commitment


would be

was dueto a large degree

to the harsh conditions of life, discussed earlier, encountered by a majority of people in the emerging industrial society. Hisfamous words[t]he

philosophers have only interpreted

the world,in various ways;the point, however, is to changeit (Marx, 1972, p. 109) remain a clear and decisive reflection

of his political commitment.

The uniquecharacteristicsabout Marxsanalysisofsocietyand whatlay atthe foundation of his ideas werethreefold: first, his recognition that economicconditions formed the baseor

foundation ofsociallife moregenerally;second,hisability to synthesizeand expandhisobservations regarding the basic economic conditions of social life into a more general theory

regardingthe natureofsocial,cultural, andindividuallife; andthird, hisobservationsregarding the important role socialconflict playedin social and cultural life and the history of societies.

Theidea that economicconditionslay the foundation for sociallife is really at the core of Marxs theory.

Marx observed that throughout

history different economic forms shaped





social systems and, in turn, peoples lives within those systems. Hereferred to these forms as the modes of production. Within each modeof productionand

Marxstudied manyin human

history, including ancient society, feudalism, and capitalismMarx

also observedthat classes

emerged basedon their ability to wrest control over economic resources and the


producing goods. This, Marx observed, hadled to a state of conflict between the respective groupsin each case. The opening lines of The Communist Manifesto,one of the mostimportant political documents in

modern history, state this clearly:

The history of all hitherto existingsocietyis the history of classstruggles.Freemanand slave, patrician and plebeian,lord andserf, guildmaster andjourneyman, in a word, oppressorand oppressed,stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now openfight, afight that eachtime ended,either in a revolutionary reconstitution ofsociety at large, orin the commonruin of the contending classes.(Marx & Engels,1948,p. 9) While Marx wasinterested in various modesof production throughout

history and the

conflicts that emergedfrom them, the capitalist modeof production drew the lions share of his attention

and work. In his mostimportant

work, Capital, published in 1867,


attempted to explain in scientific terms the mannerin which the capitalist modeof production worked (Marx, 1977). His central insight is that capitalism, in its unyielding drive to create profit, produces two separate classes:capitalists whorealize the profits and surpluses from the system, and workers who do not. However, the strength of the capitalist productionone

unlike other modesof productionis



workers appearto be acting

freely and oftheir own choice. But Marxclaimed that workers do not in fact realize their full potential becausetheir labour is alienatedlabour; that is, labour that ultimately benefits those who profit from it. he does not fulfill

As Marxstates clearly: work is externalto the worker. . . consequently, himself in his work but denies himself. . . . His work is not voluntary but

imposed, forced labour. It is not the satisfaction of a need, but only a meansfor satisfying other needs (Marx, 1963, pp. 124125). the classsystem within the capitalist

Marxs dual insights regarding the production of

modeof production and the alienation of the worker

would manyyearslater be central to both

Marxist and conflict-based analysesof sport.

Wewill return shortly to the influence of Marxon conflict theory; however, a second major influence

comes from a theorist

who many consider to be the third great figure

(besides Durkheim and Marx)in the foundation

of sociologyMax


Weberis today associated with the discipline of sociology; however, becausethe discipline wasin its infancy during histime, of his life. in

Weber wasformally associated with it only nearthe end

Histraining came in law and economics, and hetaught in several universities

Germany in those disciplines; however, his knowledge base was derived from several

other disciplines, including

philosophy and history.

and AlanIngham (2002)both simply, Weber

Assport sociologists

Hart Cantelon

of whom weredeeplyinfluenced by Webersworkput

wasa superior thinker

(p. 64).

Justlike wecan get a glimpse oftheir respectivetheoretical positionsby understanding

Durkheims Suicide or

Marxs The Communist Manifestoand Capital, so too through

whatis arguably his mostimportant work, The ProtestantEthicand TheSpiritof Capitalism, we can start to understand


Well versed on the varied waysin which

religion hadimpacted different societies at different periodsin time,

Weber madethe

specific claim in The Protestant Ethicthat a value system that emergedin the 17th century



in Protestant sectsin the United Statesled to a dominant, and ultimately successful, form of capitalism.

While Protestantism and the capitalist economy had been emerging in

other locations

around the globe,

Weberclaimed that the Puritans in the


northeast developed a specific value system out of the original teachings of 16th-century Protestant reformer John knowing

Calvin, who had preached, among other things, of Gods all-

ways. Being all-knowing,

Calvin claimed,

God predestined certain dutiful fol-

lowers to be chosen to go to heaven. However,followers could not ever be certain of their ultimate acceptance into

Gods grace, so the bestthey could do wassearch for signs.

The belief in predestination one that

wasthe foundation

of the Puritan sects value system,

wasconducive to the development of capitalism,

particular interpretation

of predestination,

one that

everyday activities and beliefs, wasthat followers

Weberargued. The Puritans

manifested itself in terms of their

mustprove their loyalty to God bylead-

ing an asceticlifestyle; in other words,loyal followers demonstrated their acceptance into Gods grace by leading lives of duty, hard work, and abstaining from such as alcohol consumption, gambling, pleasures of the flesh

worldly pleasures

and, interestingly,


rial goods. The connection between the belief in the necessity to lead an ascetic life and the economy camein the form of the calling wasthe development of personalfulfillment and, importantly,

the reuse of material rewards, including

toward the work in a rational

and disciplined

hard work could not be used toward course that

(Beamish, 2010, pp. 191194). through the commitment

The calling

of ones life to work

direct financial

ones, back

way. Wealth accumulated based on ones

worldly possessionsfor their

own sake, because of

would have contradicted the essential belief in the importance

of leading an

ascetic life. It could, however, be put back into the calling and the disciplined hard work of the believer. As Weberexplains in an important

section of The Protestant Ethic:

the religious valuation of restless,continuous workin a worldlycalling, asthe highest meansto asceticism,and at the sametime the surest and mostevident proof ofrebirth and genuine faith,

must have been the most powerful conceivable lever for the expan-

sion of that attitude toward life

which we have here called the spirit of capitalism.

(Weber, 1958, p. 172)

Over time, the emphasis on hard, rationalized

work became common even if, as Weber

points out, the original religious source of that value system disappeared. Two things are important


Weberstheory regarding the development of modern

capitalism. First, it is important to note the difference between

Weberand Marxin terms of

their respective interpretations of the development of capitalism. Unlike Marx, who emphasized the structure of the economy,

Weberput an emphasis on the important role that ideas

(religious onesin this case) play in human affairs and in human history. Second, and more importantly

with respect to the understanding of modernsport,

Weberbelieved that ascetic

Puritanismandthe economicvaluesystemthat emergedout ofthe 17thcentury ultimatelyled to a greater emphasison what hetermed goal-rational

action, or human action involving the

mostcalculated(rational) meanstoward achieving a particularend (goal) (Beamish,2010, pp. 175179;

Cantelon &Ingham, 2002, p. 65).

Wesee this sort of action every dayin our

lives, aspeople makecalculateddecisionstowardsatisfyingpersonaland professionalobjectives. At one level it is an approach that we mightsimply passoff asmaking sense; in other words,

we mightaskourselveswhyanyone wouldconductthemselvesdifferently. Butfor Webergoalrational action can entrap peopleinto alimited

wayof thinking andleading their lives.





Wehave to look nofurther than the realm of sport to find examples of goal-rational action.

High-performance athletesthe

onesthe general public tends to look up to asthe

epitome of athleticism and whatsport is supposed to be aboutundertake monthly, and year-by-year training regimens in

which virtually

daily, weekly,


movement and

workout is carefully calculated in relation to the other ones to achieve ultimate, longterm goals, such as winning rational

Olympic gold. But in placing such great emphasis on goal-

action, other possibilities for sport, such as emphasizing the play element in


movement and the sheer joy and liberation that uninhibited


we often see in childrens spontaneous playget

Wewill return to other implications Both

movement can pushed to the side.

of Webers work momentarily.

Marxs insights into the role of class conflict


Webers into the role that

religious ideas played in the development of capitalism formed the base of conflict theory more generally, although

Marxis really the moreimportant figure. The central difference

between Marxs analysis and the one of conflict theory is that the latter developed a much broader and encompassing definition USsociology in the postWorld

of conflict,

especially asthe theory

WarII era (McQuarie,

was adopted in

1995). Conflict wasrecognized as

being much more ubiquitous in society, beyond the conflicts between the capitalists and

The the

German 1972






to as goal-rational

enters the stadium

Games in action


of its rival Federal


as much as the




the emphasis

War. Today,

of Germany on what

many of the features

during Weber of

Canadas high-performance sport system are essentially the same as(former) East Germanys. APImages



working classesas Marxsaw them. Examplesinclude conflicts between workers and middle managersin industrial settings, between authority figures and subordinates in


different bureaucratic organizational contexts, or between political elites and citizens or secondary-level


communism, or for that

membersin totalitarian

matterin liberaldemocratic

political regimes, under socialist societies.

Some overarching questions or issues flow from and the moregeneral conflict tribute to or reinforce common

sense for

Marxs and

Webers central insights

modelthat followed from them. First, how doessport con-

class and other power structures in society? many of usto think

While it

maynot be

of sport as reinforcing classinequalities

forms of power, sport hasin fact played an important

role in

or other

Canadas history in this

regard (Gruneau, 1983). In hislandmark book The Strugglefor Canadian Sport, for example, Bruce Kidd (1996a) demonstrates that the active political power struggles between various groups during the period between the two some of the


elements of the

World Warscreated the foundation for

Canadian sport landscape.

businesscartel, the National Hockey League(NHL),


wasparticularly successfulin setting

the agenda for Canadian sport. However, Kidd demonstrates that this did not come without a cost: the handful of ownersall


successful, but their successcame at the

expense of other vibrant sporting traditions, including under the direction of the

a successful womens organization

Womens Amateur Athletic Federation.

Also, amateur leaders, whoin general supported middle- to upper-classsporting clubs and the elite men who made uptheir

membership, actively usedsport to control


class people. This fact is perhaps best embodied in the statement by amateur leader Roxborough in

Macleans magazinein 1926: A


nation that loves sport cannot revolt

(cited in Kidd, 1996a, p. 50). In other words,sport wasused as an active diversion to keep workers in line

so they would not challenge the authority

supported the interests of bossesin turn: [s]ocial pany loyalty

could be inculcated

(Kidd, 1996a, p. 50). Interestingly,

of bossesand politicians


obedience, labour discipline, and com-

amid the joys and excitement attempts to control

of a well-played game

workers lives were met with resis-

tance: a vibrant workers sport movement during the 1920s and 1930s usedsport as a means to fight for workers rights. now it is important

Wewill return to this example later in the chapter; however, for

to recognize the fact that conflict

based on class differences helped

shape the organization and define the meaningof sport in A second issue that arisesfrom conflict theory is the

Canada(see Chapter 3). mannerin which conflict and

change occur within sporting organizations and practices. Donald MacIntoshs and David Whitsons The GamePlanners: Transforming CanadasSport System(1990) is a classic example of this.

The authors demonstrate that during the development of the government-run

and-funded sport system from the 1960s to the late 1980s, particular political objectives combined

with an emerging cadre of sport professionals

determined the direction of the

sport systemto meettheir own interests and agendas. Asa result, despitethe fact that the first legislation supporting government involvement in sport in 1961 called for support for

sport at both the high-performancelevel andthe everydaygrassroots level, the former has completely overshadowed the latter because high-performance sport satisfied the political

and professional objectives of those within the system. One majorand, asthe authors argue, unfortunate consequence is there has been very little support for grassroots efforts to

support mass recreation and sport at the local level. Asecondconsequenceflowing from Webers account of goal-rational

action is that, as the federal sport system developed,





physical education programs changed to reflect the need to produce performances at the national and international


In the model of professionality

that now dominates Canadian physical education, the

young sport scientist or sport manageris encouraged to see his or her job asthe production of performance . . . and is seldom seriously introduced to the social and political questions that surround the concentration

of resources on elite sport. (MacIntosh


Whitson, 1990, p. 120)

Macintoshs and

Whitsons analysis continues to have direct relevance today. Interest-

ingly, as there has been increased support for the federal high-performance sport system over time, participation rates and activity levels of Canadian youth haveshrunk. The third issue stems both from capitalist

modeof production and

Marxsidea about the alienation of the workerin the Webers analysis of goal-rational action. Some conflict

theorists have claimed that sport has produced an alienated experience that overemphasizes the unquestioned rational

approach. In Sport: A Prison of Measured Time, French

social and political theorist Jean-Marie

Brohm (1978) gives a classic condemnation

sport and, in particular, the Olympic Games.Sport, Brohm claims, is aninstitutional through

which capitalist classinequalities

has become an unquestioned ideal.



arereproduced and excessive attention to work

Athletes pay excessive attention to the details of time

(thus the subtitle of the book) and the command of space at the exclusion of other forms of physical activity that

might be moreliberating

and fulfilling.

Expressedin his own no

uncertain terms, Brohm claims that sport is the ideology of the body/machinethe turned into a robot, alienated by capitalist labour Rob Beamish (author


(p. 77).

of Chapter 4 on social stratification)

dynamic of sports potential combined with the problem of limiting

has also expressed the that potential under

alienating conditions: If sporting activityis sorich with creativepotentialso robust with opportunitiesfor individualsto exploretheir ownlimits andthelimitations of humanphysicalperformancethe loss of control of the product can have devastating consequencesfor the creative potential of physical activity. . . . rather than realising the full productive potential of the athlete, sport stands against the athlete and builds the power of the marketsinfluence over sport whilerestricting the expressive potential ofthe athletes themselves. (Beamish, 2002, p. 37)

Beamish elsewhere has pointed out that the gradual commodification

of virtually every

aspect of high-level professional and commercial sport comes with consequences, as athletes and sport itself become valued only if they become sellable. Interestingly,


Pierre de Coubertin, when he started the modern Olympic Games, had as part of his goal to usethe Olympic movement asa social platform to overcome what he saw asa creeping crass

materialism in late 19th-century European society. This wasone of the reasons that

for the first 80 years of the existence of the Olympic Gamesthe IOC defended the amateur rule in its Charter, restricting payment of any kind to athletes and perpetuating an ideal of Olympic sportsmen as being true

and pure.

The amateur rule, however, wasabandoned,

and Beamish arguesthat in some waysthis is unfortunate because Coubertins vision was one in which sport would overcome the more vulgar aspects of the materialistic world in favour of something 2009, p. 88).



better: beauty,


and transcendental freedom


It was mentioned at the beginning of this chapter that all sociological theories usedto study sport have a political


Thelegacy of Marxs and

Webersideas and con-

of inequalities and the

mannerin which they

flict theory as a whole is the identification

influence the experience of sport and the promise of an unalienated full expression of physical

movementfor as many people as possible. However, one of the problems sociologists


with conflict sociologys perspective is the fact that it tends to favour broad

sweeping social structures and institutions,

economic onesin particular, instead of the peo-

ple who exist within those structures and institutions. the social world around themtheir

The ability of people to influence

volition or agency,in other wordsdisappears.

But of

course real people do have agency and the ability to influence both their own lives and the nature of institutional

structures around them.

And so it is to the next theories that


turn for a greater consideration of the everyday experiences of human beings.

Understanding george herbert interactionism

everyday experiences: mead and symbolic

Symbolicinteractionism is part of a much bigger tradition in sociology called microsociology, which in general studies and attempts to understand the real-life society.

Microsociological approaches are generally critical


as structural functionalism

emphasis on sweeping structural

behaviours of people in

of macrosociologyor grand

and conflict theoriesbecause

of their over-

processes at the expense of understanding

how people

understand the world around them and interact. The mostimportant individual in terms of the development of symbolic interactionism was George Herbert Mead(18631931).

Meads Mind, Self, and Society wasfirst pub-

lished in 1934 afew years after his death based on a collection of notes taken by students who took and wereenthralled by his courses. The book is considered a classic in sociology (Mead, 1962; see also Donnelly, 2002, pp. 8385; Meadclaimed that

McQuarie, 1995, pp. 188190).

macrosociologicaltheories grossly underestimated the role of human

thought and volitional action. In particular they did not account for the symbolic nature of human thought and the ability of humans to interpret and give meaningto the world around them through language. They also did nojustice to the socialcontext orthe role ofsocialinteraction in determining human behaviour. Thesetwo fundamental insights arethe foundation of Meadsthinking and, combined, the source of the perspectivethat would eventually become known assymbolicinteractionism, coined by one of Meadsstudents, Herbert Blumer. At the heart of Meadstheory is the mannerin which humans develop a sense of self. Whenthe term is usedin everyday language it is usually meantin a purely individual sense, asin myself.

However, Meadpointed out that the self is a dynamic, not a static thing. In

other words, we do not simply have aself; rather, timeit

is an ongoing process. Meadspent

wecontinually developasense of self over

muchtime explaining the development of the

self in children asthey grew, pointing out that children grow through a series of stages,each of which gives them a greater sense of themselves asindividuals

and at the same time a

greater sense of others perspectives and how they think others view them (Mead, 1962). Thelatter point regarding the image others have of a person getsto the core of a second important


Mead madeabout the self.

Meaddescribed two components of the self,





which he called the I and the

Me. Whilethe terms are very simple, the ideas they represent

are much moreprofound. TheI for

Meadis the internal

component of our selfthe

part of

the self that is subjectively experienced and initiates a persons actions in the world. Thisis the part of the self weassociate with our internal feelings, motivations, and general purpose in life.

The Me, however, is the image we have of ourselves that comes from outside of


others view us and how webelieve orthink others view us. Whilethe I is the

subjective experience ofthe self, the

Meis the objective experience. In

Meadsown words:

The I is the responseof the organismto the attitudes ofthe others;the me is the organizedset of attitudes of others which one himself assumes.The attitudes of the others constitutes the organizedme, and then one reacts toward that as an I. (Mead, 1962, p. 175) For Mead,the two parts can be separated at the conceptual level, but not at the reallife level asthey are actually experienced; weconstantly live through and with both the I and the

Me. But what is important


making the conceptual break for

Meadlies at the

heart of his theory and its impact on sociology: The Mecomponent of the self is created from the widersocial world, meaning our very sense of ourselvesis, in essence, at one and the same time, part of asocial identity. Intuitively,

wecan think

of what Meadis trying to suggest bythinking

about our own

day-to-day experiences. For example, we have all seen people who are self-conscious about the waythey are dressed, to the extent that they frequently look at themselves to


sure whatever pieces of clothing they are wearing on a given day are appropriate.


mayalso fix their

hair, or perhaps carry their bodies in particular waysto appear a certain

way. Thefeeling that people have whenthey go through this processrepresents perfectly Meads notions of the self asit is composed of the I and the sense of him or herself is wrapped

cess,in the sense that the person asks How the


up, so to speak, in the presentation of self through

physical appearance. But whois doing the looking the processperhaps

Me. The persons identity


here? Certainly, its an internal

do I look? oneis


But of course the second part of


The imaginary

mirror that

the person is holding up, which generates the external image the person has of him or herself, is the social world itself.

The social world is looking in and has become a part of

the persons personality or sense ofself as he or she learns how to dressand look a certain way,and how to carry or comport Mecomponent of the self

him or herselfin a certain way. This, in essence,is the

Meadis describing. The important

that the self, human identity,

part of Meads analysis is

and even the very act of being conscious of oneself is social.

Meadsoriginal insights and the development of symbolic interactionist led to a collection

of methods for understanding the

perspectives have

meaning that people bring to their

own lives and actions, the lives and actions of others around them, and the complex interaction between peoples everyday lives and the widersocial structure (Beal, 2002). For sports studies, two

majorthemes have emerged. The first is the study of socializa-

tion and the processesthrough

which people are both socialized into sport, and socialized

through sport. Socialization into sport meansthe active process of learning sports rules, codes, values, and norms. Socialization through sport, on the other hand, refers to the lessons that are learned from sport that much of the research in socialization



have some application to wider society. has concentrated,


not surprisingly, on childrens

sport (see Chapter 7), it should be pointed out that socialization is a life-long One example of this is the development through any one of the many adult

of mid-life sports identities,


such asis gained

Masterssport organizations and competitions.


sociologists are only just beginning to understand the experience of sport and physical movement for older adults. The second theme is sport subcultures. Here,research has attempted to understand the processthrough

which subcultural groups form their own unique language, belief sys-

tem, normative structure, and general inner-group identity.

Some so-called alternative

sports, such assurfing, rock climbing, extreme sports, skateboarding, ultimate Frisbee, and others provide interesting

and accessible contexts to understand the process through

which members develop subcultural identities.

However, members of all longstanding

traditional sports develop their own unique language, belief system, and identity

as well.

For example, in his book Menat Play: A Working Understandingof Professional Hockey, Michael Robidoux demonstrates how hockey reproduces dominant notions of manliness or of what it

meansto be properly

masculine through the everyday interactions


other players and coaches, alongside the rough and sometimes violent aspectsof the game. Farfrom what many consider to be the common senseidea that

masculinity emergesfrom

within players, that it is just how they are, Robidoux points out that social factors such as day-to-day rituals play important roles in producing masculinity: initiation only symbolic representations

of the players transformation

rituals are not

on entering


hockey, they are also a meansof divesting the young player of undesirable (that is, unmanly) qualities so asto ensure his new status within the group (Robidoux, 2001, p. 189). Microsociological perspectives have a bright future becauseresearchers have only just scratched the surface in terms of understanding peoples experiences in sport and in the development of sporting identities.

But Robidouxs work demonstrates one of its general

flaws. In his account of how masculinity is produced in professional hockey, Robidoux also points out that

masculine codes of conduct and everyday rituals accomplish something

important in terms of powerrelations in hockey. Specifically, men have beentaught to not rock the boat; that to be a man within the practical day-to-day confines of professional hockey means,ironically,

being subservient to coaches and owners. Ultimately, Robidoux

points out that manliness

is linked to power and money,becausethe status that is achieved

in the sport ultimately benefits those who profit, namely owners. While afew playersachieve great wealth, the vast majority do not (see also Parcels, 2011). Robidouxs workreminds us that to fully understand the social experience of being a hockey player, one mustunderstand the everyday experience alongside the social factors that influence power relations, orin this case players being treated as a commodity in the system of hockey production. emanating from the theoretical traditions of symbolic interactionism


have not always con-

sidered these elements of power, morerecent critical theories in sociology have.

CritiCal SoCial theorieS: Cultural, and CritiCal raCe StudieS


Critical socialtheories arefirst of all a number of theories that have morerecently been developedin the sociology ofsport. Assuch, they should bethought of asworks in progress.

If any generalizationaboutthese theories can be made,it is that they are a combination, reflection, and development of two of the theories mentioned to this point: conflict theory





and symbolic interactionism. Powerandinequality tend to be continuing concerns, but generallycritical theories differ from conflict theory in two majorrespects.First,it is not assumedthat peoplearesimply subservient,passivedupes. Asdiscussedbrieflyin the previoussection, peopleand groupshave agency, meaningthey can control, at least to some degree,the conditions of the worldaroundthem, evenin the face of powerrelations that mighttry to limit them. Humansactively and oftenimaginatively interpret and give meaning to the worldandin doingso challengedominant waysofseeingthings. Peoplecan challenge powerrelationsto evokechangeandto makesenseof their lives whilethey are doing so. Second,these theoriestend to expand notions of powerand authority beyondthat of conflict theory, in particularto an understandingof genderandsexualrelations onthe one hand and race relations on the other. Also,as we will see,the work of theorist Michel Foucaulthasbeenimportant, and his notion of power wasvery differentfrom the one developedout of conflict sociology. Three majorstrands can beidentified within these new and emergingtheoretical perspectives. Thefirst is cultural studies, which itself hasemanatedfrom a number of theoretical strands. Thesecond and third critical social theories are genderand feminist studies and critical racestudies,respectively. Whileculturalstudiesitself encompassesa growing and diversebody of work,certain historical predecessors denotecommon elements. Oneimportant inspiration for the development of cultural studies was Antonio Gramsci(18911937), anItalian social and politicaltheorist and activist who wasarrestedin 1926becauseof hisinvolvement in the Central Committee of the Italian Communist Party. Gramsci wasparticularly interested in the mannerin which powerand control are maintainedin capitalist economiesunderliberal democraticforms of government, both of which werestill in relatively early phasesand under contestationfrom alternateforms of economic planning and political structuresin Gramscis day. Gramsciusedthe term hegemonyto describe how this processhappens. Instead of direct physical control, Gramscibelievedthat the power of dominant classesis maintainedthrough a processof developingconsentamongthe populace.Thiscan occurin astructuralsensein that groupsat different levels of social organization makecompromises with ruling classes, such asis the case whenlabour organizationsconcedeto wageor salary increases,or whenvolunteer organizationscompensatefor socialinequalities byfundraising. But consent also occursthrough a second manner, whenthe ideas that benefit the ruling classesareacceptedand becomecommonsensein the mindsof people. For Gramsci, the processis an ongoing onein which consensusof the peoplealways hasto be wonover. Ascultural studiestheorists Jennifer Hargreavesand Ian McDonald(2000) explain: In

Gramscis formula, it is not simply a matter of class control, but an unstable process

which requires the complete

winning of consent from subordinate

groups. It is, then,


or fixed, but rather diverse and always changing. (p. 50)

Whilepeoplerarely think ofsport as playing ahegemonic role in reinforcing social powerrelations, thereis no questionthat it hasdonesoin Canadashistory.Interestingly, this was morefully recognized yearsago whensocial and political organizationsusedsport much moredirectly for ideological purposesthan they typically dotoday. In the 1920sand 1930s,the WorkersSports Associationof Canadafully realizedthat amateur organizers would happily usesport asa meansto appeasethe workingclasses(Kidd, 1996a). Earlier in this chapter the example of amateur sport leader Henry Roxboroughs comment in



Macleans magazine in 1926 that A nation that loves sport cannot revolt wascited. However,his position could not havebeen morepolitically oppositeto onefrom a workers rights paperthe following year: The whole capitalist class profits by a system that keeps workers excitedly interested in mattersremote from true concerns . . . The brain-numbing

narcotic of the sport-

ing pageis perhaps more deadly to the average worker than the


more active poison of

the editorial page. (cited in Kidd, 1996a, pp. 50, 167)

In these wordsweseethe dual parts of powerat play ascultural theorists seeit; sport is usedboth as a meansof social control but at the sametime the workersrights paper demonstratesthat a certain degreeof agency,orin this caseresistance,is possible. Workersin fact formed their own Workers Olympic Gamesmovementthat at its peakin the early 1930s wasin many ways moresuccessfulthan the regular Olympics,attracting thousands ofspectatorsand participants whilesimultaneously expanding opportunities to morewomen,children, and those past their prime (Kidd, 1996a, p. 155). Asecondinfluence on cultural studies wasthe creation ofthe Centrefor Contemporary Cultural Studies(CCCS) in Birmingham, England,in 1964. Whilethe Centrestarted as a meansto studythe history of the English workingclass,cultural studies asit became definedat the Centredevelopedovertime andspreadinternationally to include both the culture and structure of classin manyother countries andthe influence of peoples experiences with popularforms of culture,including sport, and howthose experiencesintersect with power and class(Hargreaves & McDonald, 2000).Importantly, one of the central goalsof the CCCS wasto take all elementsof cultureseriously. Traditionally, culture had beendefinedandimplicitly recognizedto behigh culture, meaningrefined arts andthe strict reserveofthose whocould appreciatethem (painting, music,literature, andsoforth). However,the CCCS expandedthis definition to include elements of mass culture popular music,television and other mediaprogramming, and myriadother elements of popularlife, including sport. Taking on this expandeddefinition, Canadianauthors Hall, Slack, Smith, and Whitsondefined culture asthe symbolic forms and the everydaypractices through which people expressand experience meaning (Hall, Slack, Smith, & Whitson,1991, p. 31). Theauthors definition reminds usthat it is important to consider both popular commercial- and media-based sport forms alongsidethe day-to-dayphysical activities in peopleslives that givethem meaningboth areimportant in understanding the role sport playsin peoples lives and both are profoundly affected by (and in turn affect) ongoingstructuresof powerandinequality (Hall et al., 1991, pp. 4546). Finally, the work of French philosopher and historian MichelFoucault(19261984) hashadanimmenseimpact on manysport sociologists working within the cultural studies framework. Foucaults workis complex and deservesgreaterattention for anyoneinterested in understanding modernsport today. However,two facets of humanlife Foucault emphasized, and the interrelationship betweenthe two, gives usinsight into his moregeneral theories: powerand the body(Maguire, 2002). First,it is usefulto think about Foucaults conception of powerin terms of whatit is not. For him, poweris not something that one personor a group of peoplehaveover another personor group of people;this is astandard wayin which manypeoplethink about power.Instead, for Foucault poweris something that is exercisedbetweenpeopleor groups. Althoughit mayappearto beastrangeterm to useto describethis relationship, to exercisepower meanssimply that one personor group





providespossibilitiesfor the actions of others. Forexample,coachesoften tell athletes not only howto performat their bestin their respectivesport in atechnical and physicalsense, but alsoin asocial sensehow the athletes oughtto behave on the bench, during afterpracticetimes, andsoforth. Here,we havea Foucauldianform of powerbecausethe coach is directing(but not necessarilyordering)the athletes,andthe athletesarein turn (presumably) accepting the direction. Both parties participate in the powerrelationship, even though both partiesdo not havearelationship basedon overt coercion, physical or otherwise.In herexcellentsummary of Foucaults work,Jennifer Maguire(2002) usesthe example ofthe advicecoachesoften giveto get alot ofsleep beforecompetitions: [T]he coach can convince the athletes that it is in their own interests to do asshe suggests. The relation is not repressive in that the athletes ideally refusing or resisting the coachs influence. ating the ideal of (and a self-identity

have the option of

Moreover, the relation is productive, gener-

as) a committed


(pp. 295296)

Twoimmediate things flow from this seeminglysimple example.First,the powerrelationship hereis just thata relationship. Eventhough some havethe ability to control the actions of others, others mustultimately acceptthe direction andlead some aspectof their lives accordinglyfor poweras Foucault definedit to exist. Second,poweris not seen bythe athlete (necessarily)as negative. Theathlete maywillingly participatein the direction ofthe coach, andin this sensepoweris positive. Butthereis asignificantly greaterissuerelated to Foucaults workthat lies behindthis everydayexample.In his work, Foucault outlined the histories of manyinstitutions that cameto influence peoples behaviourin moderntimes. Thesenow-famoushistorical studies included the history of modernprisonsystems,liberaldemocratic political governments, mentalhospitalsand the study of psychiatry, medicalhospitalsand the study of medicine,understandingsof human sexuality, and other institutions and approachesto understandinghumanlife as well. Throughout, Foucaultemphasizedthat generalizedforms of power developedbetweeninstitutions, forms of knowledge,and peopleslives. In this process,Foucaultclaimedthat peoplecameto definethemselvesin relation to the manner in whichinstitutions andforms of knowledge production treated, studied, and ultimately directedthem. Foucaults pointis that power pervadespeopleslives in myriadways. Another example highlights this point. Manyreading this text will definethemselves as a university student. In one sense,the purposeof a university educationis to learn knowledgeandskills, andfor manyit is to creategreateropportunitiesfor future careersand (hopefully) higherfinancial compensation. But consider the following questions: How muchof your day-to-dayroutine is determined bythe academicand nonacademicschedule ofthe university?In turn, howis yourroutine organized?Assumingyou experienceatleast some of your educationthrough alecture format, in what waysdo you experiencethe lecture? Whatdo you do whilethe lecture is going on? Areyou generallyquiet and attentive? Doyou argue or take issue with what professorsteach you? How many hoursduring the weekdo yousitin alecture hall orin front of a desk whilestudying? Nowconsiderthe following set of questions:Imagine full-time workafter universitylife is over. Whatdo most full-time jobs entailin terms of day-to-dayroutine? Forhow manyhours will youberequired to sit in front of a deskin most(although certainly not all) jobs? How manyjobs require employeesto follow and accept directionsfrom higher-ups?The point of these questions, perhapsnotsurprisingly,is to think about universitiesandthe institution of education more



generally, as aform of power in which students are directed, often with full compliance and acceptance, to act in specific waysthat are conducive to being compliant subjectsin


society. The act of beinga student is one of countless examples of the operation of power. The second major concept introduced earlierthe constantly in his work. Theinstitutions


one Foucault addressed

and forms of knowledge directing people in


times, Foucault pointed out, wereoften directing (or exercising power through) the body,in terms of how it should be studied, understood, and ultimately how people in turn should conduct themselves. Forthe study of sport Foucaults workis important

becausethe examples

in which forms of power arelinked to the body are endless. Wecanthink of the manyprivate or public directives that encourage people to be healthy citizens and employees, such as ParticipACTION


Canada;the regulation of high-performance athletes lives through their

day-to-day training regimens and the coaches, trainers, physical therapists, psychologists, and so forth that help them attain their goals; or the many waysin which every day exercise regimens encourage people to achieve certain bodyideals or standardized levels of health. A second strand

within critical social theories is feminist studies. Shona Thompson

(2002) has expressedfeminisms

mainsocial and political objectives in clear terms:

Fundamentally,feminism championsthe beliefthat women haverights to all the benefits and privileges ofsociallife equally with men.Forthe purposesof those concerned withsport, this meansthat girls and women havethe right to chooseto participate in sport and physical activity without constraint, prejudice or coercion, to expect their participation to berespected and taken seriously, and to be asequally valued and rewarded assportsmen.(p. 106) Feminist-inspired

histories of sport in Canada haveidentified the important role that

gender relations and ideas about both women and men have played in the countrys sporting traditions.

Alandmark book is Helen Lenskyjs Out of Bounds: Women,Sport & Sexu-

ality, published in 1986. The year is important

because Lenskyjs book waspublished at a

time when there were veryfew published works on the history of or social issues related to womens sport, a reflection

on the fact that the disciplines of sociology and history were

dominated by men who as a rule pushed womens issues to the side. A morerecent example in feminist-inspired

studies is

Ann Halls The Girl andthe

Game: A History of Womens Sportin Canada(2002), likely the account of womens sport in book, The

Canada ever written. Interestingly,

mostcomplete historical Halls opening line of the

history of modernsport is a history of cultural struggle (p. 1) replicates, but

with significant differences, the opening sentence of The Communist Manifesto:The tory of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggle (Marx


& Engels, 1948,

p. 9). Halls opening line reflects, first, the central difference betweenfeminism and conflict theoriesthe


by the former that power operates at levels conflict theory, in its

classical theoretical form, had not envisioned; second, the struggle reflects a position common in critical social theories in generalthat and power is never complete.

sometimes menresisted

Womenslong history of confronting movement of containment

Halls sentence

resistance is possible

While malepower and privilege certainly played an impor-

tant role in womens sport historically, womenand


Hall recounts in hertext the various waysin which that power and privilege to create opportunities: a male preservelike sport illustrates the double

and resistance that characterizes cultural struggles among

dominant and subordinate groups. (Hall,

2002, p. 2)





Aninteresting andimportant examplefrom historyverifies Hallspoint. Duringthe 1920s a Frenchwomannamed Alice Milliat was fighting for greaterrecognition of womenin sport. Realizingthat the Olympic Games, the biggestsporting event at the time, wasexclusivelyrun by menand almost exclusivelyfor maleparticipants, Milliat decidedto take matters into her own handsand organizedthe FederationSportiveFeminineInternationalein 1921andsubsequentlythe first WomensOlympic Games in Parisin 1922. Whileonly a one-dayevent,it wasconsideredasuccess,so Milliat continuedthe womens Olympic movement;the second Games in 1926included participantsfrom 10countries,andsomestartedto makecomparisons withthe other Olympic Games.Withthe prestigeofthe womens movement increasing,the IOC threatened Milliat overthe useof the term Olympic, claiming it legally asits own. Recognizing that the IOC ran the mostvisiblesportingeventin the world, Milliat negotiated a settlement wherebyshe would change her event nameto Womens World Gamesin exchangefor the inclusion of 10track andfield eventsin the IOCs Games.TheIOC agreed but then renegedontheir promiseandincluded onlyfive eventsin the 1928 Summer Games in Amsterdam.However,while Milliats bargain wasin some waysunsuccessful, it alsogave womenthe opportunityto showcasetheir skillsand athletic prowessonthe international stage for the first time. Milliatsstory, in other words,is a perfect exampleof resistance(Milliat) alongsidecontainment(IOC) that reflectsso muchof womenssport history(Hall, 2007). Feministtheory continuesto inspire studies of the various waysin which sex,gender, and sexuality influence sporting experiences; these are discussed in moredetail by Mary Louise Adamsin Chapter6.

Myrtle Cook of Canada wins her heat in the 100-metre Gamesin

Amsterdam. If it

male-controlled International

were not for the fact that Frenchwoman


& Underwood/Corbis



Alice Milliat fought the

Olympic Committee to have more womens events in the

Games, Cook and other Canadian female athletes Underwood

dash at the 1928 Summer

would never have competed.


Afinal strand within critical social theories is critical racestudies. The discipline of sociology of sport hasbeenlargely negligentin understandingthe important role of ethnicity, ideas about race, and racismin sport, at least until recently. Critical race studies haveemergedin the attempt to overcomethis gap by pointing out the important role race relations and racism have playedin shaping sporting traditions in Canadianhistory and howthey continue to shapeit today. Generally,critical theorists ofrace areinterested in three things: first, the mannerin which sport and physical movementplayimportant roles in the development of ethnic cultural beliefs and heritage;second, the mannerin which certain ethnic traditions in Canadahave been privileged at the expenseof others; andfinally, the mannerin which ideas about race have been naturalized orreinforced through sport. All ofthese themes are discussed in moredetailin Chapter5 by authors Victoria Paraschakand SusanTirone. Oneof the important themes taken up by critical racetheoryone that hasonlyjust begunto beanalyzedin relation to sportis the manner in whichideasabout whatCanada is and what constitutes atrue Canadian arethemselvesimbued with assumptionsabout race. Sociologist Himani Bannerji(2000) haschallengedthe notion of Canadianness by suggestingthat it contains within it assumptionsaboutrace. Thecountrys colonial history hasled to a certain dominantimage of Canadianness, but these dominant notions have beenbasedonspecific historical conditions and culturaltraditions in which certain groups havebeen privilegedin the developmentof the image while others havebeenerasedfrom the picture.In Bannerjis words, Official multiculturalism,

mainstream political thought and the news mediain Canada

all rely comfortably on the notion of a nation and its state both called Canada, with legitimate subjects called Canadians.. . . There is an assumption that this Canadais a singular entity, a moral, cultural and political essence.. . . And yet, when wescrutinize this Canada, what do wesee? The answer to this question depends on which side of the nation weinhabit.

For those who see it as a homogenous cultural/political

Canadais unproblematic.

entity . . .

For others . . . who have been dispossessedin one sense or

another, the answer is quite different. (pp. 104105)

An examplein Canadas historyis the two solitudes account of the English and Frenchin Canada which, while certainly animportant and real part of Canadashistory and one that continues to influence the countrys social and political life, is also an account of Canadas history that haserased Canadas Aboriginal peoplesfrom the historical picture. Interestingly, in justifying funding for a newfederal sport systemin a campaignspeech he madein 1968, Pierre Trudeauclaimedthat sport could be usedeffectively to promote nationalism and easetensions betweenthe French and the English (MacIntosh, Bedecki, &Franks,1987; MacIntosh & Whitson,1990). However,the sport system that wasdevelopedeffectively ignored the manyand variedsporting traditions of people who weredispossessed, including Aboriginal sport (Morrow & Wamsley,2013, pp. 246247). Someimportant Aboriginalsporting eventstoday representresistanceagainstthe traditional mannerin whichsports and physicalactivity havebeen usedasassimilativetools, wieldedto civilize Canadas Aboriginal peoples (Morrow & Wamsley,2013, p. 247). The North AmericanIndigenous Games, first heldin Edmonton in 1990,is aregularly held multisportevent that attractsthousandsof participants andspectators. Theobjective ofthe





Games is competition, but moreimportantly, [t]o improve the quality oflife for Indigenous Peopleby supporting self-determinedsportsand cultural activities which encourageequal accessto participationin the social/cultural/spiritualfabric ofthe community. . . and which respectsIndigenous distinctiveness (North AmericanIndigenous Games,2013). Similarly, the Arctic Winter Games, first heldin Yellowknifein 1970,is a circumpolar event attracting northern participants and spectatorsfrom all over the world. The Arctic Winter Gamesincludes competitions of both southern and northern Inuit-based activities, including one- and two-foot high kick, Alaskanhigh kick, sledgejump, arm and head pull, and others. Athletic competitions coincide with cultural exhibitions and exchangesto promote athletic development alongside northern cultural independence, distinctiveness,and exchange(Arctic Winter Games,2013).

conclusions It should be kept in mindthat sociological theory is an ongoing and developing process. Partofthe purposeofthis chapter hasbeento demonstratethat sociologicaltheoriesthemselveshavelong heritagesandin manycasesintersect in terms of perspectivesonthe social and cultural world. Perhapsthe mostimportant thing to keepin mindasyoureadthe chapters that follow and asyou considerthe myriadperspectivesonthe themes presentedis the ultimate political goals of sociological theory and, in turn, the developing discipline of sociology ofsport:to makethe worldthe bestone possible,onein whichsport and physical activity can playimportant andsignificant rolesin the enrichment of peopleslives.

critical thinking


1. Thischapterdemonstratedthatsociologyviewshistoryitselfasadynamicprocess.What examplescan youthink ofin which having knowledgeaboutsomeaspectof Canadian sport history hasenabledyouto understandanissue or controversyin the present? 2. Thedisciplineofsociologyemergedoutoftheproblemsandissuesgeneratedbytheemergenceof democraticinstitutions andthe Industrial Revolution. Whatproblemsorissues still existtoday that aresimilarto the onesthe first sociologistswereconcerned with? 3. Putyourselfin the shoesof a Marxistthinker. How wouldyou considerthe following topics: the Canadianfederal governments funding of elite athletes, Nike Corporations third-world labour practices,and public accessto facilities and resourcesfor sport andrecreation? 4.

Whatexamplescan youthink ofin which the Me part of the individual character (as defined by GeorgeHerbert Mead)is reinforced in sport?In other words,think of examplesin whichthe external social environment leads to individuals taking on a certain sports character oridentity.

5. InwhatwaysdogenderandsexualitycontinuetoplayanimportantroleinCanadian sport today in terms of both empowering but alsolimiting experiencesin sport?





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NY: Charles

Chapter 3 CanadianSportin Historical Perspective Don Morrow

As he did in his 2001 honorary doctorate acceptance speech at Western University, Canadian Olympic backstroke-swimmer Mark Tewksburyoften tells the story about his experience on the world stage of sport at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games. Tewksburytrained hardfor mostof hislife to becomeasuperb athlete who wonasilver medalin his event at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games. Hecontinued to work on his skills and compete internationally for the next four years.In Barcelona, heswam his waythrough the heatsinto the semi-finals and earned a placein the mens Olympic backstrokefinals. As hesat alone in hisroom before his event, hefound himself thinking about his competitors, mentally noting their achievements, whenthey had beaten him in past events,their recordsin short, he createdin his mind all the reasons he would not win. Suddenly, herealized what he wasdoing: He wasengagingin what psychologists call negativeself-talkhe wascompiling alist ofreasonsand excusesfor not winning. As his awarenessof his adverseself-handicapping grew, hestarted to shift his perspectiveand reflected on his hard work, his dedication, hisskill, hisfitness, the years

Curling on the St. Lawrence River, Montreal, Quebec, 1878 Bygone



he devoted and sacrificed to his sport. What he came up with werethree inspirational wordsin the frame of a question: Why not me? Armoured with this moreaspirational, inspirational, and accurateself-belief, Mark wonthe gold medaland in the processset a new Olympicrecord. Mark Tewksburysstoryis asinspirational andtypical of manystories about Canadian athletes overtime. Wehave arich andfascinating history of sport. It is the intention of this chapter to provide a historical or culturalhistorical context that is essentialto understandingand analyzingthe social constructs and issuesin contemporary Canadian sport from a sociological perspective. Human behaviour hascontinuity to it; socially constructedtraditions, historical customs, norms, and cultural and personal valuescombineto impact behavioural choicesand actions overtime. Atthe sametime, sportis quite literally anarenain whichimportant culturalstrugglesand political issuesones connected to gender,sexuality,social class,and race/ethnicityplay out and mirror or contribute to our culture. Past,present,andfuture are all connectedin important andinextricable ways.Thus, it is exceedingly difficult to comprehend,for example, contemporaryracial, social class, and genderissues(the three dominant social strugglesin Canadiansport overtime) or sexuality in sport (see Chapter 6) without historical context and perspective. For example, with respect to genderissues and sexuality in sport, consider another Mark Tewksburyexample.In achapter entitled Bam from his 2006autobiography, Tewksbury describedthe series of stunning events that occurred when he came out as a gay man shortly after his Olympictriumph. While hisfamily, for the mostpart, wassupportive, the media,his agents,and societyin general wanted himto stay in the closet and not speak of this again. It left Markfeeling terribly and utterly alone. Another example of the power of social constructs within and outside of the institutions of sport wasthe 2013 anti-gaylegislation passedbythe Russiangovernment regarding athletes participating at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games.Thisincident, along with the Tewksbury example,servesto underscorejust how muchsocial issueslike sexuality permeateand mayeven be magnifiedin the world of sport, impacting athletes from all countries, including Canada.



Theterm and connotations ofthe wordhistory meritdiscussion,becausethere is considerable difference betweenthe pastand history.In everydayterminology, the wordhistoryis usedto talk about anything that happenedin the past. For example, whenreferring to a known sporting championship that waswon 10 yearsago, we mightsay Thats history. Onthe contrary,its not historythat championshipis afact. Facts(and dates)areimportant tools in the historians repertoire, but they are not to be equated with history. Alist of facts or dates of eventsis just alist, its not history. In one sense, history might be perceivedaseverythingthat happenedin the past. Unequivocally,thats true; equallytrue is the fact that wecan never know everything that happenedin the past. Consideryour ownlife. If you wereto sit down and makealist of everythingevery single eventthat hashappenedto yousince the dayyou wereborn, wouldit becomplete? Wouldit beaccurate? Upon whosememory wouldyourely? Whenyoufinished, wouldyou haveanything morethan a compilation of facts that is moreakin to a grocerylist than to something



meaningfuland revealing about yourlife? And whateverlist of events (no matter how complete) you compiled, wouldit by itself convey who you are, how youfeel, whatis important to you? Notlikely. Byextension,then, history can neverbethe record of human events simply because we only have a fragment of records and facts about past events. Eventsin the past mustbeinterpreted to be made meaningful,and that interpretation is the work of the historian. In reality, history is a methodofinquiry about the past.In other words,history is what historians do, or history is what a historian articulates about her subject matter. FamedFrench philosopher Voltaire satirically claimed, History is after all nothing but a pack of tricks which weplay upon the dead (Durant, 1926, p. 241). In the same vein, we mightsay that while some historians mightfeel they are reconstructing the past whenthey write history, often they are creating a representation of that pastsimply becauseof the difficulties of knowing everything that happenedconcerning an event or asituation or group of people. Historiansask questionsaboutthe pastto do history, and inquiry is the basisof all science andsocial science. Historiansoften havethe advantage of knowing past peoples futures; their disadvantageis that they cannot ask questions directly to those people.Instead, historiansrely on extant evidence, especially primary evidencediaries, records, newspapers,census data, photographs, drawingsas the basisfor formulating questions about events that happenedin the past. We might ask whatthe formative factors wereleading upto the 1972 hockey Summit Seriesbetween Canadaand the USSR. Or we might ask whatthe nature of Canadianpresscoverage wasofthose games.Both are valid questionsaskedbythe historian, but neither question will reveal everything that happenedduring that hockeyseries. Eventhough it is often the casethat historians wishfor moreabundant evidence,it is really the clear articulation of historical questionsthat determine the nature and the quality of the historythat historians do. Finally,it is important to considerobjectivity and perspectivein doing history. There are historiansand traditional, historical schools of thought that claim historians can be completely objective and reveal events exactly asthose events happened without any interference from the historians values,biases,or beliefs.In basicscience,researcherstry to eliminate bias by manipulatinga single variablefor examination, structuring control groupsin experiments,introducing randomization in subject selection, and soforth. It is difficult to imagine that one historian can eliminate all of his or her biases. What might be moreimportant is for historiansto acknowledgetheir assumptionsand biasesand perspectives. Asyoulearned in Chapter2,researchersusetheoretical frameworksto explain human behaviourtheory informs their perspective. For example, Marxist historians often usethe conceptsinherent in classreproduction to analyze historical events. Our pastin Canadiansport abounds with examples of social class privilege and exclusion (Metcalfe, 1987). Thus,certain rules in sport might haveservedto preservesocial class distinctions. Using a Marxistframework for analysis allows the historian to explain behaviour from that perspective. Other historians take a more narrative approach to doing history; the very wordhi-story doescontain the notion of a story. Thisis not to suggestthat historyis fiction; rather, it underscoresthat one historians version orinterpretation of aseries of events mightbe different than any other historians analysisof the sameevents.It dependsonthe questionsthe historian asksofthe dataandthe perspective usedbythe historian.






This chapter will provide a perspective on some of the trends and issuesin the development of Canadian sport over time,

mostly prior to 1960, the point in time

when federal

government involvement in sport became paramount and pervasive (Chapters 12, 13, and 14 deal with some of the resultant economic, political, international,

and social issues). In

considerable measure,this analysis will follow the framework and perspective inherent in the authors recent, larger work, Sportin Canada: A History(Morrow

& Wamsley,2013). Readers

might wishto refer to that book along with otherslisted in the Suggested Readingslocated at the end of this chapter.


you are encouraged to read critically: Look for my

biasesas a historian, and ask questions about what you read since reading any text


fully involves engaging with the material.In essence,the analysis usedin this chapter will be moreissue oriented andthematic. Instead of tracing events linearly, certain issues, especially asthey relate to social constructs such asrace, gender, and social class, will be amplified or explained in different contextsthat



is, morea spiralling of events andissues.

in Early


First Nations Games and Contests By the 15th century,

when European conquests of North America took place, sport in

Europe wasalready an activity that carried great value systems, traditions,

and customs.

Significantly, the impulse to play gamesand sports seemstimeless. Theform and functions of sport before the 15th century seem consistent: Sport wasa malepreservewomen virtually excluded from games and sporting contests in


Westerncivilization; the forms of

sport were mostlyrelated to war-like activities; upper classes dictated the forms and functions of sport; codes of behaviour wereendemic and varied from amateurism to professionalism to chivalry; festivals and spectacles and celebrations sport; beauty, excellence, discipline, and victory clear that organization

were often key motivators for

were widely evidenced; and finally, it is

was a key variable in competitive sport, from funeral games to

Olympic Gamesto Roman spectacles to medievaltournaments andjousts. Prior to European contact, the First Nations werethe earliest players of games and contests in Canada. Aboriginal culture for some 10,000 years before contact was a nomadic one. Groups such asthe Algonquians or the Iroquois and subgroups such asthe

Mohawk, Neutral, Cree,

and Ojibwa travelled to be home, not to get home, and they relied on the resourcesthe land provided and demanded of them. That lifestyle required certain skills and attributes such as strength, endurance, and resistance to pain; these, in turn, were values that werereflected in

Aboriginal cultural practices like

wrestling, physical contests (arm pull, finger pull, even

testicle pull), and greeting games that required little


Whensubgroups gathered

together, it wasalways an occasion for gamesand contests wherein gambling with material

goodsaddedboth excitement and a means to redistribute tools,food, and other elements. Blanket toss, moose-skin ball, pole push, running contests, and earlyforms of lacrosse called

either baggatawayortewaarathon(depending on the particular group) wereall eventsthat were connected to the land, waysoflife, and the skills of survival.

Celebration wasa para-

mountvirtue in these contestsas wasthe spiritual significance attachedfor game of tewaarathon might be conducted to commemorate the bountiful


harvest. These

werethe physical contests,gamesand traditions that existed as Europeansinfiltrated the area now known as Canada beginning in the late 16th and early 17th centuries.




French Conquests Multiple agendas brought Europeansto this continent.

The questfor colonization, presumed

riches of gold and other precious metals,a missionaryzeal to instill

Christianity in every

corner of the earth, the allure of a northwest passageto the East,and the discovery of abundantfish (e.g., the Grand Banks) and animal fur (primarily the beaver) all served as magnetic attractions to the New World. The darkness of the Middle Agesgave wayto the progressivenessand idealism of the European Renaissance,an era characterized asthe rebirth

of civi-

lization reminiscent of classical Greece. Scientific discoveriessuch asthe printing pressand medicalinnovations

went part and parcel with aliterary renaissance that was mostnotably

embodied by Shakespeare. Artistssuch as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo revolutionized notions about beauty and the science of the body. Andit wasthis set of ideals andidealism that permeated the minds of those whoset out in conquest of newlands like Canada.

The areasof Canadathat wereinhabited first by Europeanswerethe extreme Maritime coasts closest to the

Grand Banks, the vast fur trading lands of central and northern

Canada,and a majorcluster ofsettlementsthat becameknown as NewFrance(later Lower Canada and subsequently Quebec). New France wasfounded by French explorer Samuel

de Champlainin the early 17th century. Earlytowns establishedat what became Quebec City and Montreal were vibrant communities for the seigneurial or feudal land develop-

ment/settlementsystemthat wascreatedto foster economic growth alongthe Saint Lawrence River. Overthe course of mostof the 17th and the first half of the 18th centuries, the

habitants,or French peasantry, workedthe long, narrowstrips of land and raisedfamilies while the fur traders, voyageurs, and the Jesuit missionariesfostered the fur trade and the predominantly

Catholic religious institutions. Indeed, it is from the Jesuit Relations,a set of

documents written by Jesuit missionariesand sent back to France as propaganda to induce emigration to New France, that

weare able to discern the rich social fabric of this era.

Comparable to the pastimes of ancient and medieval cultures, the form and function of physical activities werethose related to survival (Metcalfe, engagedin games and contests of running,

and canoeing, as well as balls and dances (the latter presumed sinful


1970). Thus, the habitants

wrestling, horseracing, snowshoeing, sleighing, much despised by the clerics for their

The physical prowess of the coureurs de bois (runners

woods) came to be feared and revered. These men developed into masculine closely linked combined

to the physical demands of their labour: strong, swift,

with fierce independence



of the


and enduring,

and a lack of deference to the authority

of French

& Wamsley,2005, p. 17).

British Traditions At the end of the Seven Years Warbetween the British and the French in 1763, the British assumed control of what wasthen called British the French were allowed to retain their Aboriginal groups lost control poured troops and resources into (primarily

culture, religion,

and ownership


customs, and ways of life,

of massive tracts of land.

BNA and brought their institutions

The British

of justice, religion

Anglican), and social class structures and governance to the

of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick and primarily to The British

North America (BNA).

Maritime areas

Upper Canada (now


were a composite of people of English, Irish, and Scottish descent who






werereinforced later in the 18th century by United Empire Loyalists or British sympathizers living in the United States who came to live in BNA following the defeat of the British in the tion


War of Independence.

against gambling, liquor


and hunting

and consumption,

or gaming laws along

tables that these activities early British


Weknow from various acts of legislaSabbath

Day activity

with the necessity to license

and practices formed an important


part of the lifestyles of

North Americans.

A great deal moreis known about the classic pioneer

period of BNA, the years

between the Rebellions of Upperand Lower Canadain the 1830s and the time of Confederation in 1867.


from the

United Kingdom,

which changed the

population from approximately 750,000 in 1821 to over 2 million at mid-century, reflected an economic prosperity that, in turn, games and recreation.

wasaccompanied by a social stability conducive to

For example, circuses brought amusement to small towns, and

weddings and their accompanying chivareesor mockserenades were occasionsfor physical contests and games. So too were work beesin rural BNA, when neighbours gathered to raise a barn, makequilts, or harvest crops, all followed by dancing, contests like


and games of chance, and of course drinking (liquor sold for 25 cents per gallon). Taverns were ubiquitous along the highways of early Canada. Bytheir very presence and fostered atmosphere of conviviality, including

taverns served associal and activity centres for the citizenry,

membersof the urban underclass. In fact, the very first sporting club for which

we have a written record, the

Montreal Curling Club, wasformed at Gillis Tavern in 1807

(Lindsay, 1969). Travellers accounts inform

usthat hunting and fishing

were popular

pastimes (obviously derived from subsistence needs) among both upper and lower social classes even though the forms of these activities varied by social class (Gillespie, 2002). By contrast, the 1845 Statutes of Upper Canada list a host of activities that legislators sought to prohibit among the lower classes on Sunday: And be it enacted,

That if any such

Merchant, Tradesman,



Workman, Labourer, or other person whatsoever, shall . . . purchase any wares, merchandizes, goods, chattels, or personal property, or any real estate whatsoever, on the

Lords Day,commonly called Sunday. . . or shall play at skittles, ball,foot-ball, racket, or any other noisy game,or shall gamble with dice or otherwise, orshall run races on foot, or on horseback,orin carriages,or vehicles of anysort on that day, orif any person or personsshall go outfishing, or hunting orshooting, orin questof, or shall take, kill, or destroyany deer or other game,or any wild animal, bird, or wildfowl, orfish, except as next hereinafter mentioned,orshall useany dog,fishing rod, gun, rifle, or other machine,orshall set any net or trap for the above mentionedpurposeson that day. . . shall payafine or penalty not exceedingten pounds,norlessthan five shillings, current moneyof this Province,for each offence,together with the costsand charges attending the proceedingsand conviction. (Lindsay, 1969,p. 353) Whatis interesting is that such enactments likely reveal the prevalence of these amusements and games rather than any termination restrictions

were measuresimplemented

of such activities. In essence, Sabbath

by the governing classesto control

what were

deemedto be unruly activities of the lower classes. Bythe middle of the 19th century, the cultural practices of subordinate groups wereviewed asa growing social problem, especially where drinking and gambling vices



on the part of the subordinate groups wereinvolved.

Horseracing and the Garrisons Prior to Confederation, the single sporting activity that crossed all social classesin interest and in direct or vicarious participation

was horseracing. Some background information

necessaryto understand the prevalence of this activity. America wascontinuous and widespread; every town

The military presence in



wasa garrison or military post with

troops stationed there. Since military engagements wereinfrequent,

officers and nonoffi-

cers had considerable time at their disposal. Commissioned officers, for the mostpart, were upper- and middle-classgentlemen from Britain who hadreceived their early education at such elite British public schools (equivalent to Canadian private schools) as Eton, Chester, Harrow, and Rugby. Major pedagogical reforms wrought bysuch educators as Dr. Thomas Arnold, headmaster at Rugby School, advocated school systems ofself-governance, hierarchal organization from senior to junior

years, prefects, and houses

or residences that

becamethe social units ofthe schools. Boysorganizedthemselvesinto teamsfor gamesand activities like

hare and hounds (a chase game involving

cross-country running),


cricket, football (soccer), and boxing amidstthe prevailing Anglicanreligious culture fostered within the schools. By the time of Dr. Arnolds tenure at Rugby, all boys were

expectedto be both goodstudents and active participantsin gamesand sport. Moreover, the schools and their gaming activities carried an ideological value system, a code of sport-

ing honourthat extolled the virtues of team play,loyalty to ones house,andfair playin short, a set of gendered and classed values that

came to be recognized

as muscular

Christianity. Nowhereis this valuesystembetter portrayedor dispersedthan in one of the most popular novels of the 19th century,

Tom Browns School Days by Thomas Hughes

(1904, originally published in 1857), a tale of Rugby boys and their sporting exploits and attendant values during Arnolds administration

at that school. Graduatesfrom the British

public schools often became government, civic, and military leaders. served as officers in British

North America and carried with them the sporting practices

and values promoted in the British public schools. Sosignificant Canadian sport that one researcher stated unequivocally The the development of sport] for

Many of the latter

wastheir impact on early paramount influence [on

morethan a century after the Conquest wasderived from the

sporting examples set by the British army garrison [officers]

(Lindsay, 1970, p. 33).

Imbued with this British public school sporting tradition, these officers brought their administrative training and expertise, the opportunity afforded by very little

active con-

flict, and their inclinations toward a variety of sports and games, not the least of which was horseracing. The officers supplied the horses, built the racing tracks and venues, purchased the prizes, and provided officials for equestrian events. To all social classes, horserace meetings

werespectacles for amusement, competition,

equestrian steeplechase competition in London, Royal patronage wasgranted to

and gambling. For example, an 1843 Ontario, attracted some 10,000 people.

many of the equestrian events. However, the social and

economic impact of the equine contests was dramatic. Tent cities werespawned for the races, and town commercial and farming activities halted for the events where gambling, brawls, and crime werecommon. In response, the garrison officers tried

moving the events

further into the country to discourage the great unwashed from attending the events, but they still came. One prominent competitions

Canadian city,

Halifax, wassuch a magnetfor horserace

and their attendant social consequences that around mid-century city offi-

cials cancelled and disallowed all horseracing competitions for



morethan a decade.




While horseracing wasthe

mostuniversally popular of the garrison officer leadership

initiatives in sport, there were also other activities promoted by these men. Fox hunting, cricket

matches,tandem and sleighing clubs, skating events, and track and field competi-

tions wereamong the sports and activities fostered bythe garrison officers. Evidence for the dependency on the military for the conduct and participation in these pastimes and sportsis highlighted by their great decline when British troops were withdrawn during the Crimean Warin Europe during the 1850s. Withthe perceived and real threats of the American Civil Warduring the 1860s, British militia poured backinto BNA and the newspapersof that era show dramatic increases, especially in cricket and horseracing. In spite of the initiatives

of the British garrison officers, it mustbe pointed out that by

Confederation there wasa distinct social class and a gendered order to sport. For example, within the

military regular

militia men werecourt-martialled for habitual drunkenness; it

wasthe officers who enjoyed sport participation,

not the lower ranks. Also, while women

worked extremely hard in the home and on the land and demonstrated tremendous physical prowess,increasingly,

social institutions including

government, church, school, and

private organizations such as mens clubs promoted idealized femininities of dependency, domesticity, chastity, and relative daily experiences of most women (Morrow


tied to notions


to the

& Wamsley, 2013). It is abundantly


from this examination ofsporting evolution from ancient cultures through to the mid-19th century that in

Westernsocieties, sport waslargely the preserve of the maleelite citizenry.

Quite simply, the roots of sporting practices seem to be tied indivisibly, universally to

timelessly, and

menand to socially constructed notions of manliness.

inDustrialization tECHnologiCal

anD CHangEs

Within BNA or Canada, up until the dependent on individual the tavern, and the modern organized


middle of the 19th century, sporting practices were

and existing social institutions

managerial resourcefulness of the garrison officers. The transition sport wasvery much a product of the Industrial

concomitant technological


Revolution and the

changes that characterized the second half of the 19th century.

Coalitions ofinterests such asthose of the Scots and the strong sporting

such asthe work bee,


Montreal middle class developed

while the process of industrialization

altered society in

general. In broad terms, industrialization characterizes a period of social and economic change that transforms a society from an agrarian to anindustrial part of the process of modernization,

closely related to technological innovation. methods of transportation


wherein social and economic


is are

In Canada, aselsewhere, sweeping changesin

and communication


with advances in sporting

equipment and facilities catalyzedthis processof organizational sophistication in sport, sporting practices, and the availability

ofsport to widersegments of society. By examining

theseinnovations usinga cross-sectionof sports duringthe 19th century, the rate, direction, and magnitude of sporting change can be explained and understood.

Transportation modesup to the early 19th century wereoften cumbersome and relatively



One could

methodsofconveyancethat required time to travel. Forsport, this dependency

on leisure time limited



walk, snowshoe, canoe, or ride on horseback, carriage, or

mostsport participation to the elite. Furthermore, it reflected and


to the social nature of early sporting

motive, clubs like the

clubs. Instead

of a primary athletic

Montreal Curling Club wereformed and developed mainlyfor social

interests, not athletic. It wasthe introduction

of steam to watercraft that led directly to changesin sporting

foci and practices. Steamers and steamboats in the second half of the 19th century werea form ofrecreation in themselves; often, bands wereon board, steamship companies offered excursions, and rival company boats even raced each other to get to destinations. specifically,

these companies offered prizes for sporting



reduced rates to

attend cycling and baseball events, and often allowed ferryboats and other steamers to serve as grandstands for rowing events. Certainly, these changes had an accelerative and promotional effect on a variety of sports. usedin

Whensteam wasapplied to the tracked vehicles

mining, railway companies quickly developed that form of transportation.

In 1850, there existed some 160 kilometres of railway track in

Canada. Government

grantsinduced railway companies to connect towns and cities that were within 100 kilometres of each other. Thus,areassuch assouthern

Ontario, parts of Quebec,and the Maritimes were

served rapidly by these transit links. By 1900,some 30,000 kilometres ofrailway lines linked Canadacoastto coast. One of the railways primary impacts on society wasa dramatic reduction in travel time.

Whereasit took some three daysto travel bystagecoach from Toronto to

Montreal early in the 19th century, travel from

Toronto to Port Moody, British Columbia,

took only five days by train at the end of the century. So great wasthe time reduction factor that a Canadian, Sir Sandford Fleming, invented the concept of creating time zonesfor different areas of the world. For sport, the impact of the railway wasalmost immediate and widespread. Primarily, railway transportation


time and convenience factors.

more people to engage in sport simply because of the More profoundly, a universal impact

on sport wasthe

potential crystallization of afundamental concept in organizedsportregularity. lacrosse, rowing, and track and field competitions

could actually

advance of the events to the extent that a whole new conceptleaguescould tured prior to a sporting season. Furthermore,



be scheduled

well in be struc-

events were possible. For

example, 32 teams used rail connections to attend a bonspiel (a curling tournament) during the 1860s. International

sporting tours, such asthe visit of a British cricket team

during the 1870s, wereenjoyed because of railway passage.Spur lines, madetemporary tracks split off from especially in

or short, specially

mainlines, were often built to serve as grandstands,

winter for events such as the very popular (in terms of competitor


spectator allure) snowshoe races of the 1870s and 1880s. Emergent

methods and means of communication

Mail delivery, for example, took days and weeks;until postage and the bulk of BNA

mail went through


methods of transport.

mid-century, the receiver paid the

England. Sports and games could be

arranged byletter, or by wordof mouth, or by setting out a challengefrom one club to another in the press. In the latter regard, the number of newspapers in the country

increasedfrom 200to 1,200from 1840to 1900. Sport wasirregularly coveredfor mostof this period; the sport pages were morea product of the 20th century.

And there wasa time

lag in reporting sporting contests,such that newsof an event in Nova Scotia mighttake some time to appear in the Ontario pressand vice versa. Whenthe telegraph wasinvented

in the 1850s,communication wasrevolutionized. Whenthe Atlantic telegraph cable was completed in 1866, it

meant that

news in 1867 of the Saint John,




New Brunswick,



four-oared rowing crews success at the

World Championships in Paris, France (that team

is known asthe Paris Crew) wasinstantly transmitted to Canadians. A byproduct of such accelerated coverage of sporting events combined with league schedules very likely


reciprocal effects in creating and sustaining fan interest in a variety of sport at the local, provincial, national, and international


Sporting Equipment Evolution Socially and economically, the 1850s were prosperous years of growth for Canada.In addition,

Canada experienced a 37% increase in population between 1851 and 1861, a clear

reflection of the countrys affluence and its allure to primarily British immigrants.


ity and population increases usually have positive effects on sport, and they certainly did in this case. One of the masstrends in sport and recreation, a virtual skating Gaspeto Sarnia,


wasreflected in the mediaacross Canada during the 1860s. Asymbiotic

part of the zeal for skating wasthe impact

of technology

case, skates. For example, interest and demand

on sporting equipment, in this

meantincreased production

of skates.

More patents weretaken out regarding improvements in blades and boots, accessibility increased, and costs were quickly reduced. Another direct impact distribution

was uniformity

of technology

on equipment

or standardization.

shells, and track and field equipment

manufacture, production, and

Aslacrosse sticks, baseball bats, rowing

were massproduced, participants

better-quality and morestandard equipment.

benefited from

Whereasearly competitors in, for example,

the hammer throwing event at a Caledonian track and field competition in Cape Breton might have had to create and sign an article the hammers to bethrown, standardization equipment.

of agreement

about the size and weight of

meantthat all competitors could usethe same

Theimplications for the sophistication

There are myriad specific sport transitions

of sporting organization are obvious.

brought about by technological


not all of which can be described in this chapter. Cost reduction is one general change that had wide-reaching repercussions for sport diffusion to the

middle and lower classes.

Cricket, a popular sport among the British elite, remained a relatively expensive sport for most of the 19th centurybats,

balls, and pads were often sold in jewellery stores. One

cricket bat cost anywhere from $6 to $9, whereas by 1900 one could purchase alacrosse stick for less than 50 cents. Similarly, facilities for sport werecrucial to sport dispersion and interest.

Baseball and lacrosse fields demanded relatively


cost to create and

maintain, whereasgolf courses(which did not appear until the mid-1870s) wereexpensive propositions that kept golf an upper-class sport. Skating rinks and curling areascould be cleared on local rivers or, within cities, fire departments often built outdoor rinks and toboggan runs. Veryfew indoor facilities for sport existed during the late 19th century, but

thosethat didfor hockey,skating, and curlingincreasedtheir respectivesport participation and interest,


when gas lighting

allowed play to extend into the evenings,

thereby providing broaderopportunities to the workingclass(Jobling, 1970). Perhaps one of the

mostintriguing, socially impacting, and recreationally fascinating

piecesof equipment developedduringthe 19th century wasthe bicycle.Its derivation stems from France and England when hobbyhorses (wooden-framed, two-wheeled vehicles with

no pedalsand no steering, morelike a woodenhorse on wheelsthan a bicycle), bicycle precursors, wereused by gardeners to traverse their estate grounds. By mid-century, bicycles



Replicaof an old pennyfarthing bicycle. unclepepin/Shutterstock

wereof the penny farthing variety, which had a 120-centimetre front

wheel over which the

rider perched on a springless seat and a diminutive back wheel of some 30 centimetres. Thefirst of these machinesto reach Canadalikely arrived sometime in the early 1870s. In spite of their height, how uncomfortable they wereto ride, poor roads for riding, and their expense (at least $100), the public fascination

with bicycles wasremarkable.


next 30 years, massmarketing and innovations in design lead to pneumatic tires, equalsized wheels(dubbed safeties

by the mid-1880s), and all manner of accoutrements, such

aslights, horns, spring seats, and greatly reduced costs. Riders, often representing bicycle clubs, raced on the penny farthings and on the safeties. However, muchlike skating, the real impact of the bicycle wasin its widespread usefor transportation and recreation across social classesand across gender lines and social conventions. bicycle for offering one of the first reform for women (Hall,

meansof recreational

Many historians credit the

pastimes and for catalyzing dress

2002). Specific developments of womens participation in sports

are discussedlater in the chapter.

Montreal: The Cradle of Organized Sport Another component

of industrialization

wasthe phenomenon

of urbanization, or the

tendency of peopleto settle in clusters of towns and cities. Organizedsport is very muchan urban-related and urban-facilitated social behaviour. In manyrespects, asaresult of the twin processesof industrialization

and urbanization,

compete in sport. Leaders and leadership in largest cities, in particular the city of commercial hub of Canada;it

most people had more money and time to

Canadian sport development came from the


Without question,

Montreal wasthe

wasthe nexusfor timber, fur trading, shipping, and railway






companies and it fostered such giants of national industry as the

Molson, Redpath, and

McGill tycoons. This centrality of economic and industrial prowess was mirroredin sport such that

Montrealis often hailed asthe cradle

of organizedsport in Canada.Justin terms

offostering certain sports, entrepreneurs in this city wereresponsible for founding, defining, developing, and institutionalizing

such sports assnowshoeing, ice hockey, figure skating,

speedskating, lacrosse (the non-Native version), cycling, and football. Each of these sports carriesits own unique story of evolution.

However,for the purposes of this chapter, whatis

important to understand about Montreals vanguard role in organizing Canadian sport is the formation

of the

Montreal Amateur Athletic

Association (MAAA)

in 1881.

Atrio of clubs with strong membership and established practicesthe Shoe Club,the

Montreal Lacrosse Club, and the

Montreal Snow

Montreal Bicycle Clubbought



treal Gymnasium in the core downtown area of the city as a homefor the conglomeration of clubs called the

MAAA. The oldest of these three clubs, the

Montreal Snow Shoe Club

(formed in 1843), played an instrumental role in fostering snowshoe events, races, longdistance tramps or outings, charity events, drama productions, social events of dinners and dancing (men with men), and generally championed the manly virtues of being a snowshoe participant (Becket, 1881). Club membersand executives brought a wealth of managerial experience to the

MAAA. Its sister organization, the

Montreal Lacrosse Club, which had a

lot of crossover members, wasregarded as one of the premier competitive lacrosse clubs in Canada. And of course the

Montreal Bicycle Club wassymbolic of escalating social inter-

estsin the bicycle. The MAAAs the

original stated purpose was practical and unambitious:

promotion of physical and mental culture among, and the providing of rational amuse-

ments and recreation for, its

members (Morrow,

1981, p. 26). However, the


assumeda position of national sport leadership out of all proportion to its stated purpose. By the 1890s, the


membership numbered some 2,500 men with the three

founding clubs plus football, toboggan, and skating clubs; departments in billiards, shooting, gymnastics, and bowling; and connected clubs in drama, chess, hockey, fencing, and boxing.

What was uniquely important

about the


wasthat, for the

most part, its

members(including its club executives) were middle-class businessmen with considerable professional and managerial skills.

With the financial

and membership stability

association itself, these businessmen usedtheir administrative in sport (the

of the

acumen to foster excellence

MAAA hockey team, to provide only one example, wonthe first two Stanley

Cupchampionships in the early 1890s) and to found and promote noless than 11 national sport governing bodies such asthe


Wheelmens Association (for cycling), the

National Lacrosse Association, and the Canadian Amateur Hockey Federation. In short, executives within the ment of organized sport in



wielded tremendous power in the develop-

Nowhere was this

more pronounced

profoundly felt than in fostering and normalizing the ideological



code of amateurism as

the guiding principle for Canadiansporting development until late in the 20th century.



It is clearthat organizedsport, historically, has beenthe preserveof elite malesand that sporting

practices usually carried a gentlemanly

code of conduct and proper

way of

playingat least properto those menofthe middleclasseswho madethe rulesfor sport.In Canada,as we have noted, the earliest organizedsporting clubs weresocial first and athletic



second in their raison de^tre and it the

main participants.

wasthe upper class,like the garrison officers, who were

With the stark and rapid changes accompanying industrialization,

sport had the potential to become more democratized, providing opportunities for women and moresocial classesto participate. Amateurism hasto be one of the mostunique tenets in governing any human behaviour; as a principle, it is a concept cemented to exclusionwho

will not be allowed to compete in

whatsports. For example,in the mid-1830sin Canada,athriving horseracing club in Newark, Ontario, published a rule

that no

whatsoever (Cosentino,

1975); we can only speculate about the reasons for this rule.

black manshall be allowed to compete under any pretext

However,in another sport, snowshoeing, there werestandardized lists of race cards enumerating the eventsfrom shorter to longer distances. Forthese prestigious racesin

Montreal,it was

common to include an event for First Nations athletes. The prestige event wasthe open two-mile race that wasunderstood to be closed to Indians.

In the early 1870s, two Aborigi-

nal menlined upfor the start of an open event. Considerable controversy ensued,the result of which wasthereafter to list the open event asOpen

(Indians barred).

Clearly, there wasa

strong element of racism just asthere had beenin the late 1860s when a black rower,


Berry, wasexcluded from the Toronto Bay Rowing Regatta. The real issue wascontrol, or control over the perceived proper which wasestablished by the

sporting participants. Canadasfirst amateur definition,

Montreal Pedestrian Clubin 1873, encapsulatesthis issue:

An amateuris one who has nevercompetedin any opencompetition orfor public money,or for admission money,or with professionalsfor a prize, public moneyor admission money, nor hasever, at any period of hislife taught or assistedin the pursuit of Athletic exercises as a means of livelihood

or is alabourer or an Indian. (Morrow,

1986, p. 174[emphasis added])

Part of the issue of amateurism was discrimination;

not just negatively, in the sense of

racial discrimination, but alsoin the notion of equality of competition. In some sports, such

asrowing,lacrosse,andtrack andfield, the quality ofthe sport wasso high andthe emphasis on winning so dominant that some competitors did compete for

money or they competed

underaliasesto get a valuable prize.Someathletes wereableto acquirefame and monetary gain, then spend moretime training in the questfor victory, prestige, and material reward.

Forthose competitorsunable or unwilling to follow suit,it meantinequality of competition, somewhat akin to the whole issue of steroid usein contemporary sport, if steroids are exam-

ined solely from the issue of equality of competition. Until wellinto the 20th century,for the most part, to belabelled a professional

in sport wasto be tarnished assomeone who

wouldlie, cheat, orfix outcomesin short, do anythingfor victory. Thisis whysport governing bodieslike the Canadian Amateur Association of Oarsmenand the teur


Montreal Ama-

Association took it upon themselves to usethe notion of amateurism as a

methodto police their perceptions of inequality,

be they social, racial, or pecuniary.

Forthe middle-classbusinessmen of the esteemed and influential

MAAA, amateurism

became and waspromoted asthe common sense guiding value system in competitive organized sport. So adamant werethese menabout the significance of this principle that they created the Canadian Amateur Athletic

Association (CAAA)

in 1884 to be the national

custodian of the amateur code. In some iteration or another, the CAAA stayed in continuous existence until the mid-1970s, heavily bolstered bythe international

prestige attached

to the modern Olympic Games whoseadministrators revered the same amateur ideal.






Transitions to Commercial MassSport In almost every respect, the whole concept of amateurism is very much an elitist, socially exclusionary

mechanisminstituted to preserve the status quo of the maleupper and upper-

middle classesin sport. Policing the ideal waslike trying to herd cats or grasp mercuryin ones hand. Nevertheless, this fossil-like principle became the dominant ethos of sport in Canada. By the turn of the 20th century, in popular team sports alone, multiple levels of sporting competition existed in baseball,lacrosse, and ice hockey.

Winning majortrophies

in these sports became the central focus of sport, larger and morespectator-friendly facilities werebuilt, the athletic quality of competition improved, and so forth. At the same time, the government initiatives

Canadian economy and landscape

were changing. Federal

translated into 2.5 million new immigrants

coming into


between 1900 and 1920, many of them to the newly opened and established provinces in


West. Wheatbecameone of our central exports,the softwood forests of northern

Ontario supplied

major European markets, and mining of precious mineralsin that same

region meantboomtimes for small communitiesin the north.In the latter regard,it was the smaller communities of Kirkland Lake, Timmins, Renfrew, Sault Ste. Marie,and so on

that first promoted a commercial, professionalbasisfor ice hockey by using mining money to pay the best players to live in these communities and play hockey for the local teams.

Newspapers cateredto and promotedthe proliferation andinterest in sports with the creation of sport pages. Railway connections expanded to cater to the wheat, wood, and min-

eral markets. Moviehousesopened, womenssuffrage wasgranted (1918) after a long struggle by suffragettes, and labour unions wereformed out of the impetus of the violent 1919 Winnipeg General Strike.

World WarI further solidified

British loyalties (and in so

doing created an even deeperrift between French and English Canadians with the issue of military conscription), and alsostimulated the economy. All these changes underscore the prevailing current of commercial growth and prosperity in Canadian society. The same was true in sport; however, although the iron-clad rule of amateurism reigned supreme among sport governing bodies, this ideal wassoon contested.

Entrepreneurial Interests By 1905, high-level team sports received the most notoriety in the pressand in public perception. Concomitant with the commercial trends in society, in lacrosse, ice hockey, track and field, and football there wasan outbreak

of professionals (the equivalent of paid or

nonamateur-abiding practitioners) and unsavoury professional

behaviours (such as play-

ing under an alias to get around amateur regulations). So great wasthe professional stigma that even to play against a professional athlete on another team could result in the amateur

athletes suspensionfrom competitive sport. For so-called majorteams in lacrosse and hockey, whole teams wereoften suspended. At the same time, to winleague championships

teamsand clubs proclaimingtheir amateuraffiliation usedjob offersandsecret paymentsto recruit the best players.Ironically, it wasthe

MAAA organization that

madea bold sugges-

tion to permit amateursto play with and against professionalsaslong as everyone knew whothe actual professional players were. Whatresulted wasan almost three-year protracted

waramongthosefactions who wantedto remain purely amateurandthe MAAA-induced group who wanted more open competition (Morrow,



1986). In the end, amateurism asan

ideological ideal prevailed while growing interests and parallel value systems embedded in the 1908 London Olympic Gamesaided this resolution of the conflict in Canada. And yet the preservation of the ideal

wasoften nominal even by amateur moguls.For

example, consider the case of one consummate amateur athlete, race-walker Goulding.


Hisracing career spanned some 10 years beginning in 1906. By the time he

retired from racing, he held world records in almost every distance from 1 to 10 miles. His technique

wasflawless; not once was he even accused of lifting

would lie on the ground to inspect race-walkers walking.

in a sport wherejudges

who technically

While Goulding never accepted anything

might be running,

more than travel

events, his magnetic attraction for spectators wassuch that holding

matchedraces featur-

ing his name would attract thousands of paying fans, even to the point of filling Square Gardensin


New York City. Clearly, sport venue operators made moneyfrom his

prowess, and amateur officials often went to great lengths to equalize the competition handicapping


expenses for his

Gouldings starting time to let his competitors


gain an advantage or by

holding races that had only Goulding and one other majorrival, even though the latter wasclearly contrary to the rules and ideals of amateurism since it isolated the top athletes only for a competition (Morrow Whatthe

& Leyshon, 1987).

Goulding case and many other examples from individual

and team sports

show is that the quest for excellence in organized sport almost demanded some other method of promotion than the restrictive

blanket of amateurism.

that entrepreneurs envisioned a commercial



basisfor high-quality sport, especially for

team sports. Thus,for example, hockey was developed at every level of amateur play in strictly amateur leagues. And, at the same time, openly professional hockey leagues developedin southern and northern tion (the forerunner to the

Ontario such that by 1910, the National Hockey Associa-

NHL) wasformed with contractual

obligations that carried

rules about how long a player was bound by the contract to play with one team. Lacrosse and baseball did the same thing, although the permanency of the success of these two professional sports in Canada wasnot the same as hockey. Goulding had no choice or opportunity to later Lionel

Conacher, a Toronto-born

athlete of the first half-century,

who wasvoted Canadas best all-round

wasable to capitalize on his athletic abilities.

excelled in baseball, lacrosse, football,


make moneyfrom his talent, some 10 years


wrestling, boxing, and hockey. It

sional opportunity in hockey that enabled him to turn earning

Whereasan athlete like


wasthe profes-

pro and make hislivelihood from

moneyin sport. In fact, up until 1937 when he retired from pro hockey, he wasa

semi-professional or professional in all six of his chosen sports (Morrow,


The Hero/Star in Sport One of the important

byproducts of the burgeoning development of and interest in high-

level sporting competition

wasthe notion of Canadian stars or heroesathletic


in sport. Both Goulding and Conacher were well known in their sporting times. Sport heroes provide windows or texts through

which we can see how communities eulogize and

celebrate their stars. Individual sport stories, like

myths, provide basicimages and metaphors

that inform the perceptions, memories,and even aspirations of a society. And wecan never minimize the impact one individual

can have on the rate,

change in sport. A casein point is Dr. Geroge W.Beers,the


magnitude, and direction of Montreal dentist and flaming





lacrosseevangelist. Beerscodifiedthe first set of rulesfor hissport andset upa convention to establishits national sport governing body, bothin 1867. Healsoshowcasedlacrosseto England,the birthplace of modernorganizedsport, byleading two successfulinternational tours in 1876 and 1883,the latter sponsoredin part by the federal Departmentof Agriculture as animmigration-promoting initiative (Morrow, 1982). Becauseof Beerssincredible lacrossesalesmanship,for morethan a centurylacrosse wasthought to havebeenformally declaredour national sport (it never wasduring hislifetime, but both hockey,asour winter sport, andlacrosse,as oursummersport, weregiven that sanction in the mid-1990s).Certainly, there wereotherfactorsin the developmentand dispersionoflacrosse,but Beersis a striking exampleof a visionary whoprovidedsingleleadershipin sport (Lindsay, 1972). Although Beersplayedlacrosse asa goaltender, he wasnot the kind of classicsport hero who dominated his sport as an athlete. It is interesting that perhapsthe first such heroin Canadiansport wasworking class, of Irish descent,and an avowed professional oarsman, Ned Hanlan. Worldchampion from 18801884, Hanlanabsolutely captivated the sporting public during his era. Althoughsmallerin stature than manyof his competitors, Hanlan mastered the useof the sliding seatin rowing to the extent that he virtually controlled the pace of his events. Hisexploits are too numerousto mention here, but whatis important is that it was Hanlansskill combined with his businessacumenthat workedto solidify his heroicstatusto a public that wasclearly awed by him. Evenin the United States,for one single event on the Potomac River, both Housesof Congress adjournedto join some 100,000spectatorsfor just one of hisraces, and that wasprior to his worldchampion achievement. He wasan anomalyin terms of his professionalstatus; however, hisskill and domination ofthe sport, abetted bythe proclivity toward gambling on his events,elevated him above normalstandardsand conventions (Cosentino, 1974). Moreover,even when he went on tour and competedin Australiaafter losing his world title he wasstill so widelyacclaimedthat ontwo separatetrips he wasthe majordrawing card(Brown, 1980). Hanlan wasthe consummate hero: male,highly skilled, charismatic, and unabashedlyadoredinternationally. Culturally,sport starsare products oftheir times and environments. In French Canada,Louis Cyr, hailedduringthe late 19th to early 20th centuriesasthe worlds strongest man, embodiedthe revered physical prowessennobled by French Canadians(Weider, 1976).

Women sports


alsointersects heroic status is gender. Wehave learned how muchsport is a male preserve. Socially, for most of the period under historical examination, women were marginalizedsocially, politically, and physically. To a considerable extent, womens bodies were under the rule of medical men who somehow understood the apparent fragility of the female body and the attendant tendencies toward hysteria of the mind.It wasindeed the adoption and adaptation of the bicycle during the 1890sthat almostliterally emancipated womento become more active physically. Drop-framesafety bicyclesled to the invention of bloomersand split skirts, thereby greatlyfacilitating movementfor women. There aresporadic records of women participating in all mannerof sports,from pedestrianismto ice hockey, by the start of World WarI. Perhapsthe mostfamous and significant influence on Canadianwomens participation in sport wasthe Edmonton Commercial Graduatesbasketballteam, dubbedsimply the Edmonton Grads.From 19151940 this team excelled at their sport. Coachedthe entire



The Edmonton Dr. Don

Grads, 1922.


time by high school teacher J. Percy Page(who eventually became Albertaslieutenant governor), the Gradswonsome 93% of over 400 highly competitive gamesagainstlocal, provincial, national, international, and Olympic (exhibition) teams. With afarm team feedersystem,tremendouscivic boosterism,andthe managerial skills of Page,the team was amateurin practice but hadall the hallmarksof askilled, professionalteam. However,the genderedorder of society dictatedthat they hadto beladies first and athletessecond. For example, Pageinsisted that all playershadto remain single, nosmoking or drinking was permitted, chaperoneswererequired for all team events, playershadto dressoffthe court asproper young women,andfair play wasboth valuedand mandated(Macdonald, 1976). In short, womenathletes,if judged bythis remarkably successfulteam, hadto live a genderedstandard of behaviourthat wasnot expectedof menin sport. Individual womenathletes hadsimilar expectationsand assumptionsplaceduponthem bysociety. WhenEthel Catherwood,a memberof Canadastrack andfield teamin the 1928 Olympic Games, competedin and wonagold medalin the highjump, it washer beautythat captured mediaattention, not herathletic prowess.Catherwood,a native of Saskatchewan, wasproclaimedthe Saskatoon Lily owingto her perceivedgoodlooks. Similarly, Barbara Ann Scott, worldand Olympicchampionfigure skater ofthe late 1940s,wasreveredfor her goodlooksher athletic talent wasa distantsecond. Althoughvoted Canadasbestathlete and therefore winner of our prestigiousLou Marsh Awardin three separateyears,Scott receivedthe greatestshare of her mediacoveragein Canada in the womenssection of the press,not on the sport pages.Instead of her athletic skill, reportersfocused on herskating outfits.In manyways,Barbara Ann Scott wascreatedby the mediato be petite,feminine, blonde, pretty,a darling onskates,the valentine of Canada(she wonone worldchampionship in Februarynear Valentines Day),and Canadasfairy princess(Morrow, 1987). And perhapsowingto the post-warconservatismof her era,it wasanimage that worked. Handcraftedtoy BarbaraAnn Scott dolls weretreasuredby girlsand womenduringthe 1950sand are prizedartifactsthat sellfor $350to $500today on eBayand craigslist.






The Matchless Dr. Don




Olympic track

and field team

arriving in Toronto,



State Sport If one wereto chooseasymbol to representthe dominant trend in Canadiansport between 1900 and 1960, it wouldlikely be the dollar sign. Entrepreneurial, commercial, and professionalinterests and opportunities in sport wererampant. Thisis not to say that theseinterests and opportunities werenot contested. The WorkersSports Associationof Canada(WSA), for example, wasformed as a national federation in the mid-1920s.The WSAencouragedall mannerofsportsfor the workingclassand advocatedagainst megasport entities such asthe International Olympic Committee. Moreover,the WSAcalled for the abolition of amateurismand a unionization of professionaland Olympicathletesin an open effort to bring social classequalityto sport. Another important thread in Canadiansport development during the 20th century wasgovernmentinvolvement in sport, recreation, andfitness. Understandably,the 1867 British North America Act wassilent onsport. Thefederal governments earliestinvolvementin sport wasits immigration-directed investment in the 1883lacrossetour to Great Britain (mentioned earlier) andits sponsorshipof Canadianinvolvement in international rifle competitions such as The Bisley,alsoin Great Britain. Directfederal intervention camefirst in the form of the 1911 Strathcona Trust, an act to encouragephysical and militarytraining in the Canadianpublic educationsystem. Thetrust wasoperatedby the Departmentof Militia in the schools and hadthe decided effect of embedding military drill and physicaltraining in the curriculum, thereby leaving sport as an extracurricular event for morethan halfa century. During the Great Depression,provincial governments in the Westernprovinces reached a cost-sharing agreement with the federal government to support recreation and sports programsfor the public. Thisimportant dual-funding precedent (known as the Sport-Rec Movement)lead to asimilar arrangementfor the passageofthe National Physical Fitness Act (NPFA) in 1943. The NPFA wasthe direct result of warrejection figures dueto alack of physicalfitness. In objectives,the act wasambitiousin that one of its fourfold goals wasto encourage physical activity among all Canadians via a $250,000 per capita cost-sharing scheme with the provincial governments. The most significant results of the NPFA werethe establishment of physical education degree training programsin three different provinces and the establishment of a National Advisory Council on Physical Fitness. In 1954, the NPFA wasrepealed without one dissenting vote in the Houseof Commons. However,the die of state intervention was cast by these early acts.



During the Olympic


War of the 1950s, sporting success, particularly in the

Games, became a symbol for


powers. Canadian Olympic achievements century of the




prowess among world super abundant during the first half-

Games.For example, the Canadian womens track and field team outper-

formed all other womens teams in the 1928 Amsterdam Games. At the same Olympiad, Vancouvers


Williams won the coveted 100- and 200-metre sprinting

However, it was Canadas sheer dominance in 1948 that


Winter Olympic ice hockey from 1920 to

was our countrys trademark. In the three quadrennial festivals beginning in

1952, Canada failed

to win its coveted first place in the international

arena. These

events and others inspired the federal government to passthe 1961 Fitness and Amateur Sport Act (FASA). This significant elite-level

piece of legislation

cemented state-supported

sport through to the end of the 20th century.

of National

Health and

and -administered

Managed within the


Welfare,the FASA was aimed directly at improvements

victories in national and international




Experts from diverse

fields advised the government through a national advisory council.

The FASA had con-

siderable impact. Its agents established the Canada Games,set up coaching leadership and training

programs, initiated

facilities, founded

provincial cost-sharing programs to set up elite sporting

bursary programs for athletes, and poured


team developments and competitions.

Clearly, the governments

production in important



the various Canada versus the Soviet component intensive

target wasgold medal

such as the


of the FASA seemed hollow by comparison.

However, in 1971, after an created Particip-

national-level fitness campaign aimed at improving

sonal fitness levels of every Canadian. Still, that propelled


Union hockey series of the 1970s. The fitness

study of Canadian fitness levels, the federal government

ACTION, a not-for-profit,

world hockey

the per-

world-class sport prestige wasthe vision

massivegovernment support for the 1976 Montreal Olympic Gamesand

the 1988 Calgary

Winter Olympic Games. The much-touted 1998 federal

(regarding the state of sports in

Canadajust before the turn of the century) underscored

the economic, social, and cultural impact that international our nation (Morrow

Mills Report

sporting prowess brings to

& Wamsley, 2013).

Conclusions Whole histories have been written on the evolution

of single sports, individual

teams, particular events, sporting clubs, and so forth. In this chapter,


we have merely

touched on some of the stories, events, trends, issues,themes, and processesof sports contested development.


connections between values held in the context of

sport from ancient to moderntimes are quite stark. Fair play, maledominance, social class control,






of social



and gender orders have all shaped the form and function

sport over time.







Critical thinking



Whatare some of the important

considerations historical researchers must consider?


Whatother policies of exclusion, other than amateurism, are there in sport?

3. How did social class and social stratification 4.

impact sport in

Canada over time?

What weresome of the gender issues prevalent in Canadian sport evolution?

5. How did technological

changestransform sport in


6. How and why did Montreal become such a pervasive force in organized sport? 7. How do heroesimpact sport and sport behaviours? 8.

WhatexamplesdowehaveofagenderorderinCanadiansport,andinwhatwaysdid that order manifestitself?



Cosentino,F.(1978). Ned Hanlan(The CanadiansSeries). Toronto, ON: Fitzhenryand Whiteside. Hall, M. A.(2002). Thegirl andthe game: Ahistoryof womenssportin Canada.Peterborough, ON: BroadviewPress. Melancon,B.(2009). TheRocket: Acultural historyof MauriceRichard.Vancouver, BC: Greystone Press. Morrow, D., & Wamsley,K. G.(2013). Sportin Canada:A History(3rd ed.). Toronto, ON: Oxford University Press.(This work contains a complete, extensive bibliography of Canadiansports history.) Weider,B.(1976). Thestrongest man in history: Louis Cyr. Toronto, ON: Mitchell Press.

references Becket, H. W.(1882). The Montrealsnow shoeclub: Its history andrecord. Montreal, QC: Becket Brothers. Brown, A.(1980). Edward Hanlan: The worldsculling champion visits Australia. CanadianJournal of Historyof Sportand PhysicalEducation,11, 144. Cosentino,F.(1974). Ned HanlanCanadas premier oarsman: Acasestudy of nineteenth-century professionalism. Ontario History,66, 241250. Cosentino, F. (1975). A history of the concept of professionalismin Canadiansport. Canadian Journal of History of Sport and Physical Education, 6, 7581. Durant,



G. (2002).

Thestory of philosophy. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster. Theimperial embrace: British sportsmen and the appropriation of landscape in

nineteenth-century Canada. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, London,

University of

Western Ontario,


Hall, M. A.(2002). Thegirl andthe game: Ahistoryof womenssportin Canada.Peterborough, ON: BroadviewPress. Hughes,T.(1904). Tom Brownsschooldaysby an oldboy. New York, NY: Hurstand Company. Jobling, I. (1970). Sportin nineteenth-centuryCanada: Theeffectsof technologicalchangesonits development.Unpublisheddoctoral dissertation, Universityof Alberta,Edmonton, AB. Lindsay, P. L. (1969). A historyof sportin Canada,18071867. Unpublisheddoctoral dissertation, University of Alberta,Edmonton, AB.



Lindsay, P. L. (1970).

Theimpact of military garrisons on the development ofsport in British North

America. CanadianJournal of Historyof Sportand PhysicalEducation,1, 3344. Lindsay, P. L. (1972). GeorgeBeersand the national gameconcept: A behavioural approach.In Proceedingsof the Second CanadianSymposiumon the Historyof Sportand PhysicalEducation (pp. 2744). Edmonton, AB. Macdonald,C.(1976). TheEdmonton Grads,Canadas mostsuccessfulteam: Ahistory and analysis of their success. Unpublished mastersthesis, Universityof Windsor, Windsor,ON. Metcalfe, A. (1970). The form and function of physical activity in New France, 15341759. Canadian Journal of Historyof Sportand PhysicalEducation,1, 4564. Metcalfe, A.(1987). Canadalearnsto play: Theemergence of organizedsport, 18071914. Toronto, ON: McClelland & Stewart. Morrow, D.(1979). Lionel Pretoria Conacher. Journal of Sport History, 6, 537. Morrow,

D. (1981).

The powerhouse


Canadian sport:





Association, inception to 1909. Journal of Sport History, 8, 2039. Morrow, D. (1982).

The Canadian image abroad: The great lacrosse tours of 1876 and 1883. In

Proceedings of the Fifth Canadian Symposium on the

History of Sport and Physical Education

(pp. 1123). London, ON. Morrow, D.(1986). A casestudy in amateur conflict: The athletic warin Canada,19061908. BritishJournalof Sports History,3, 183190. Morrow, D.(1987). Sweetheartsport: Barbara Ann Scott and the postWorld WarTwoimage of the female athlete in Canada. CanadianJournal of Historyof Sportand PhysicalEducation,18, 3654. Morrow,D., & Leyshon, G.(1987). GeorgeGoulding: Acasestudyin sporting excellence. Canadian Journalof Historyof Sportand PhysicalEducation,18, 2651. Morrow,D., & Wamsley,K. G.(2005). Sportin Canada:Ahistory. Toronto, ON: Oxford University Press. Morrow, D., & Wamsley, K. G.(2013). Sportin Canada: A history (3rd ed.). Toronto,

ON: Oxford

University Press. Weider, B. (1976).

Thestrongest manin history: Louis Cyr. Toronto,


ON: Mitchell Press.





Chapter 4 SportandSocialStratification Rob Beamish

Levels of economic inequality

Unable to split the defence, Sidney Crosbys long shot wassteered into the corner by US


expanded across the country.

goalie Ryan Miller. Beating defenceman Brian Rafalski to the puck, Crosbystarted up


the boards before cycling it down to Jarome Iginla Suter moved on Iginla,

who had gone to the corner. As Ryan

Crosbysaw an opening to the net. Iggy,

second the puck was on and off Crosbys stick going 5-hole

he called, andin asplit through


medal Canada! In an instant,

Crosbys 2010 golden

goal replaced Paul Hendersons 1972 Canada

Soviet hockey series goal of the century ment. And for good reasonthe their

asthe pinnacle of Canadian sporting achieve-

goal not only gave an overtime victory to Canada against

American rivals in the final event of the 2010

Winter Olympic Games wherefeel-

ings of nationalist pride were higher than ever, it also established a new Olympic record for gold medals at the

Winter Games. Still, other feats compete to rank asthe greatest

moment in Canadian sport: n

Donovan Baileys 1996 Atlanta


Games gold-medal victory in the 100

metres, which also set a world record, put Canada at the top of the sprinting




position consolidated by the Canadian mens 4 the highly favoured nBetween

USrelay team right in their own backyard.

1915 and 1940, the Edmonton


l00-metre relay victory, defeating

Gradsdominated womens basketball inter-

A sporting dynasty without equal, the

Grads won 502 of the 522 games

they played during their 25-year reign; they won 17 consecutive world championships and four n

Olympic gold medals.

The Canadian womens hockey team has demonstrated a similar dominance. first-ever


Womens World Championship was held in 1990, and since then the team

has won 10 world titles,

3 Olympic gold

medals, 1 Olympic silver

medal, and 12

3 Nations/4 Nations Cups. nFinally,

as victory

wasstolen from the Canadian womens soccer team in the semifi-

nal match at the 2012 London Olympic Gamesby a questionable call, another heroic

legend was woveninto the fabric of Canadianhistory, culture, and sport. Like the Edmonton

Gradsand the womens hockey team, the national soccer teams successes

serve as an inspiration to millions of Canadiansyoung and old, maleandfemale, and people of all abilities and racialized or ethnic backgrounds. Greatnessin sport centres on victorious struggle becausethe fundamental to formalized competitive sport in the modern erais to placefirst.

petitive forms of sport exist that are not committed to differentiation, unequal allocation


And although less comranking, and the

of rewards, the essence of almost all high-profile sportsthe

Olympics is an exceptionis

fied system of reward and prestige. At the same time, however, fairnessequality petitive conditions,

which is ensured by the specific rules of the sportis

The co-presence of those oppositesequality comeseems stratification,



the pursuit of victory and the associated creation of a strati-

in competition

of com-


and inequality

of out-

but in sport as well as in all other discussions of social

the presence of those two conditions is of pivotal importance.


grasping the full extent of their complex interrelationship is central to a sociological understanding of sport and social stratification.


and Social Stratification:

Some preliminary


Conceptually and ideally, the stratification systemfound in sport is a particular type: Sportis viewed as a meritocracy. A meritocracyis a hierarchical ranking and reward system in which an individuals

demonstrated performance determines whereshe or he will besituated in the

existing hierarchy. Sport is often viewed as the mostgenuine of meritocracies becauseall competitors face the same rules and compete on a level those who makethe mostof their abilitythrough

playing field.

It truly appearsthat

personal dedication to long-term

ration, sacrifice, and concerted, concentrated effort during the eventare


the victors. The

winnersjustifiably receive the greatestrewards in a meritocratic system. In fact, sport advocates maintain that among sports

mostoutstanding and socially significant qualities areits

meritocratic structure and the modelit holds out for other social institutions to emulate. However, beforesport or a specific competitive sport system can be genuinely


cratic, it mustpossesstwo fundamental equalities: equality of opportunity and equality of condition. Equality of opportunity is the


of the two and is self-explanatory.





To ensurethat asport systemis truly meritocraticandthat the very bestriseto the top based ontheir demonstrated merit,every potential participant musthavethe opportunityto take part;that is, this chanceto take part mustbeequally availableto everyone.If barriersimpede anyindividuals opportunity to try to take partin the competitionwhether it is dueto ones class,sex (with the exception of sex-specificcompetitions), gender,sexuality, race, ethnicity, physicalor cognitive ability, or geographicallocation, for examplethen the system cannot and will not begenuinely meritocratic. Denyingan opportunity to any person means that the full talent pool hasnot beenassessed andthat the personor personsexcluded maywellbebetterthan whoeverplacesfirst in the limited pool of contestants.Theimmediate assumptionof many Canadians is that everyonehasthe opportunity to competein any and all sportsin Canada. However,uponreflection mostrealizethat this is simply not the case. A numberof variables,such asthe availability ofteams,clubs,orleagues;the necessary facilities; accessto the properequipment;andthe ability to getto the locale wherethe sport is played,prevent manyCanadians from having an equal opportunityto playall sports. Equality of condition is a morecomplex concept and also harderto ensure.In its simplestterms, equality of condition means that everypersontaking partin acompetitive event doesso under the same conditions. Layingthe foundation for Canadashigh-performance sport systemin A Proposed SportsPolicyfor Canadians, the late John Munro,then Ministerof Healthand Welfare, recognizedthe importance of equality of condition: We mustface the fact that its only fair, just as a dashin a track and field

meetis only

fair, that everyone hasthe same starting line, and the same distance to run. nately, in terms of facilities,

coaching, promotion


and programming, the sports scene

today resembles a track on which some people have twenty-five

yards to run, some

fifty, some one-hundred, and some as muchas a mile or more.(Munro,

1970, pp. 45)

The unequal conditions Munro noted are among the easiestto eliminate eventhough, despite Sport Canadasefforts over almost half a century, significant inequities in facilities, qualified coaches, promotion, and athlete development programsstill plaguethe meritocratic ambitions of sports leaders in Canada(see Chapter 12). Sadly,far more entrenchedinequalities of condition alsoendure,and they are becomingincreasingly prohibitive barriersto all attempts to create a truly meritocratic sport systemin Canada. Theselatter factors, along with those Munroidentified, remain problematic becauseof the existing system ofstructural inequality in Canadaasa whole. To properlyaddress the relationship betweensport andstratificationin Canada,one must examineorganizedcompetitivesport within the larger context ofthe prevailingconditions of Canadiansocialinequality and drawuponthe majortheoreticalinsightsthat sociologistshave developedregardingsocialinequality. BecauseChapters5, 6, and 10presentdetailedaccounts of howrace,ethnicity, sex,gender,andeducationinfluence equalityof opportunityand condition, this chapter willfocus on howthe economyandsocial classstructure Canadasstratification system,in general,and within sportin particular.In addition, beginning with afocus on the economyand classis appropriatefrom a chronological perspectivebecausethe earliest sociologicalstudies ofsocialinequality emphasizedclassand economicchangefar morethan race, ethnicity, sex, gender,or education. Oncethe classicalposition on classis understood andthe developmentsintroduced by morecontemporarytheorists arealsoincorporatedinto the discussion,one canthen weavein factors otherthan classthat influence anindividuals life chances.To begin, whatis the current profile of economicstratificationin Canada?



Social inequality:

the canadian


The Occupy Movementof 20112012 turned the profile of socialinequality in the United Statesand Canada into aprime-time media issuefor goodreason.Patternsofsocialinequality in both countriesshow agrowing divergencebetweenthe rich andthe poorstrikingly capturedin the top 1% epithet. Allrhetoric aside,overthe past 30years,the richest group of Canadianshasincreasedtheir share ofthe total nationalincome while middle-incomeand the poorestgroupshavelost some oftheirs. Thisis true eventhough the incomes ofthe poorest Canadianshaverisen marginally(see ConferenceBoardof Canada,2012;Fortin, Green, Lemieux, Milligan, & Riddell,2012; Hunter,Sanchez,& Douglas,2012; Yalnizyan,2010). Thestandard measureofincome inequality is the Giniindex. Theindex rangesfrom 0to 1; a Giniindex of 0 meansthat every person hasexactly the sameincome, and an index of 1 means that one person hasall of the income. The higherthe Giniindex number,the greaterthe level ofinequality. Figure4.1showsthe Giniindex for marketincome (earningsfrom employment or self-employment,investment income, and private retirementincome) and the index for disposableincome (after-tax income plusthe governmenttransfersto lower-income Canadians). The graphsillustrate two notable points. First, the Giniindex for marketincome is higherthan it is for disposableincome. The marketincome index risesfrom 0.37in 1980 to 0.44in 2007,showing atrend toward greaterinequality in Canada(both of those years werethe peak of economic booms; Fortin et al., 2012). Second,the graph showsthat despiteprogressivetaxes andtransfersto poorer Canadians,the Giniindex hasrisen over the past20 years.In the late 1970sandthroughout mostofthe 1980s,inequality in disposableincome fell from 0.3in 1976to alow of 0.281in 1989(Conference Boardof Canada, 2012). However,duringthe 1990sthe Giniindex for disposableincome grewto morethan 0.3 andremainedrelatively constant at 0.32 duringthe first decadeofthe 21st century. The growing disparity in income between the top 1% and the rest of Canadian income earners hascoincided with a significant changein economic policies within Canadaand the rest of the Westernworld. Theshift from Keynesian-inspiredeconomic figure 4.1 Canadian Inequality






0.35 Gini








Market IncomeDisposable


Source: Fortin, N., Green, D., Lemieux, T., Milligan, K., & Riddell, C. 2012. Canadian inequality: options. Canadian Public Policy, 38, 12145.,

Recent developments and policy

(fig1, p123). Reprinted by permission.





policies, which supported governmentinvolvement in the economyand the provision of numeroussocial services,to monetarist-inspiredpoliciesin which the governmentis less involved in regulating the economyand moreand moresocial servicesareremovedfrom public sector responsibility and put in the hands of private sector, profit-driven corporations (Harvey, 2007; Keynes,1936; Von Mises,1934; Whitson,2011). The withdrawal ofthe governmentfrom its regulatory andservicerolesis often called neoliberalisma newliberalism that Harvey(2007) describesasfollows: Neoliberalism is in the first instance a theory of political economic practices that proposesthat human well-being can best be advanced by liberating individual neurial freedoms and skills

within an institutional


framework characterized by strong

private property rights, free

markets, and free trade. The role of the state is to create

and preserve an institutional

framework appropriate to such practices. . . . State inter-

ventions in

markets(once created) must be kept to a bare minimum because, accord-

ing to the theory, the state cannot possibly possessenough information

to second-guess

marketsignals (prices) and because powerful interest groups will inevitably bias state intervention

distort and

(particularly in democracies) for their own benefit. (p. 2)

Whileneoliberal policies createthe overall context for the growing disparity ofincome and wealthin Canada,there are other particular factors stemming from neoliberalisms impact aroundthe globe and the increasing interdependency of various marketsglobally (i.e., the processof globalizationdiscussed in Chapter14). Alongsidethe Giniindex, another wayto expressincome inequality is to divide all income earnersinto five groupings of equal size(or quintiles) and see what proportion of the nations total income falls to each (if all incomes wereequal, 20% of the national income wouldfall to eachquintile). In 1980,the top quintile of Canadianincome earners received 45% of the nations total income. In 2007, Canadiansin the upper quintile received morethan half of the total income (52%) (Fortin et al., 2012). No matter what technique is usedto measureincome inequality, there is clearly a growing disparity betweenthe rich andthe poorin Canada.

The Top 1% Becauseofthe Occupy Movementsactions, mediaattention wasdrawnto the top 1%. There area numberof pointsto noteaboutthis elite 1% within Canada.First, whoconstitutesthis group?In 2007,the yearfor whichthe mostrecent dataareavailable,the richest 1% of Canadiansconsistedof about 246,000individuals with a minimumincome of $169,000and an averageincome of $404,000(Yalnizyn, 2010). Thetop 1%is predominantly male(82.7%) and betweenthe agesof 35 and 64(79% ofthe upper1% versus54.5%ofthe populationasa whole). Thisgroupis better educatedthan mostCanadians (58.1% havea bachelorsdegree or higher versus19% of all Canadians).Theyalso worklong hours(52% work morethan 50 hoursa weekversus18.6% of all Canadians);they hold positionsin senior management (14.1% versus0.9%),in management(19.1% versus6.1%), as health care professionals (11.6% versus2.0%), orin businessandfinance (7.1% versus1.8%)(seeFortin et al., 2012). Howthe top 1% becomeswealthy hasalsochanged.Priorto the 1930s,highlevels of wealthstemmedfrom assets such asstocks,bonds,and property,but the ConferenceBoardof Canada(2012) indicatesthat [t]he phenomenalgrowthin incomes ofthe super-richis not



Figure 4.2 Share of Total Income in Canada, Richest 1% 20%







6% 1920

193019401950196019701980199020002010 Year

Source: Fortin, N., Green, D., Lemieux, T., Milligan, K., & Riddell, C. 2012. Canadian inequality: options. Canadian Public Policy, 38, 12145.

Recent developments and policy

(fig4, p127). Reprinted by permission.

dueto the assets they own. Krugman(2009) agrees; the majorityof multi-millionairesincomes is salaryand bonuses:Even at the verytop, the highest0.01 percentofthe populationthe richest onein ten thousandalmost halfoftheir income comesin the form of compensation (p. 130). Thesametrend existsin the UnitedStatesand Western Europe. Figure4.2 showsthe share of allincomes that the top 1%s earningsrepresent. Among the graphs moststriking featuresis the growingshareoftotal income that the top 1%accrues beginningin 1980.In the late 1970s,the top 1% hadincomes that wereabout eight times larger than all other Canadians;by 2010that share hadalmostdoubledto 14timesthat of all other Canadians.Thislevel ofincome disparity hasnot existedsincethe GreatDepressionof 1929 whenthe top 1% captured18% of total income. Theparallel betweenthe economic downfall of 1929 andthe present,along with the economic crisesof recent years,indicates whyeconomistsandsociologistsareso concerned with growingincome disparityin the West.

Factors Contributing

to Economic Inequality

Mostof the wage-gapdisparity occurredduringthe economicrecessionsin the 1980sand 1990s,but the effects differedamong workersyounger workerssuffered morethan established ones(Boudarbat, Lemieux, & Riddell,2010). Duringthe two recessions,entrantsto the labour marketcould notfind jobs orthey securedpositionsatlow entrance-levelsalaries. In the intervening years,those young workers wereunableto achievethe incomes they would havereached with higherstarting salaries. Theselower salariesexplain some of the growing disparityin incomes, and the future is not promising. Asolder workersretire from the workforceand younger workerssalarieslag behindtraditional income trajectories,the wagegap betweenthe top 1% andthe rest of Canadasworkforce will widenfurther. Technology hasalsoplayedarole in the gaps growth. Theincreasing useof computers andspecializedknowledgeskills pushedupthe wagesfor high-demand, well-educated





workers, but it also allowed firms to outsource production to low-wage countries. This may have benefited consumers through lower demand for low and unskilled labour in

prices in some instances, but it reduced the Canada, allowing their

wagesto fall (see Fortin

et al., 2012; Goldin & Katz, 2008). The use of outsourced labour anyone interested in sport or the sporting goodsindustry. focus, the use of sweatshops and the exploitation

is afamiliar scenario to

While Nike has been the

of child labour in the

produce sporting goods at lower costs and higher profit


Global South to

margins has been a prominent

mediatheme since the 1990s (see Greenberg & Knight, 2004; Kaufman & Wolff, 2010). For many Canadians, the impact

ofthe exploitation

South is morethan a moralissueit lapse of the garment industry in

of inexpensive labour in the


represents the loss of not just jobs but the virtual col-

North America (see Brooks, 2007).

Theincreasing use of computers in all areasof the economy eliminates middle-income jobs as technology reduces them to routine tasks that do not require sophisticated skills. Thisscenario occursto different degreesthroughout

Canada,the United States,the United

Kingdom, and Germany(Fortin et al., 2012; Goos & Manning, 2007; Green & Sand, 2011). Theimpact has not been asextreme in

Canadaasit has beenin the United States because

there is a higher participation rate in postsecondary education, creating a pool of highly skilled knowledge

workers, a group Florida (2002) hasreferred to asthe creative class.

Three other factors affecting economic inequality are the minimum wage,the declining unionization of the workforce, and the increasingly

widespread use of temporary work-

ers. The minimum wagetends to set the floor for incomes in a country. Asaresult, European countries with higher minimum wagesrelative to the average wagedo not show the same income disparities as Canada and the United States. Autor,

Manning, and Smith (2010)

show that there has been a sizable decline in the real value of the

minimum wagein the

United Statessince the 1980s, which contributed significantly to the growing inequality identified

bythe Occupy Movement.In contrast, Fortin and colleagues (2012) indicate that

increases in the minimum wagein virtually every Canadian province collectively


the great wagedisparity that is found in the United Statesfrom occurring in Canada. The impact of unions on wagesis somewhat are higher than those of nonunionized the

Canadian income structure.

wagesof the lowest-paid in

At the same time,

Canada, the

analysis of the relationship

United States, and the

1980s, and 1990s show that unionization the least in Canada. Wageinequality



between unions and wage

United Kingdom during the 1970s,

declined the

mostin the United Kingdom and

grew in all three countries, with the largest growth

occurring in the United Kingdom and the smallest in about 15% of the growth in


however, unions tend to raise the

unionized workers,thus creating greater income equality.

Lemieux, and Riddells (2004) inequality

mixed. Onthe one hand, union

workers. This reinforces a growing inequality

Canadian inequality

Canada. Theseresearchers attribute

to declining unionization rates.


than 20% of the rising inequality in the United Statesand the United Kingdomis attributable to the greater lossesin union membershipin those countries.

Sincethe recessionof 2008,temporary workhasgrownat morethan three timesthe rate of permanent work (14.2% versus 3.8%) (Statistics Canada, 2013a). Between May2008 and

2012, ofthe 354,000 newpositionscreatedin the Canadianeconomy79% weretemporary jobs. Temporary workersreceive, on average, 46% less paythan those in permanent positions.

Whilethe natureandscopeoftemporary workvariesconsiderably,it seemsthat temporary, precarious employment is becoming a permanent feature of the Canadian economy. Without



the benefit of secure, year-round employment andincome, this change has also contributed to Canadas wideningincome gap (Grabell, 2013; Statistics Canada, 2009). Theimpact this has on young Canadians opportunities to take part in sport is quite obviousfamilies


with precarious employment have to conserve resources wherever possible, and this turns activities and purchasessuch asschool and community sport registrations and equipment into fringe luxuries that arereplaced by cheaperforms of passive, home entertainment. Theimpact of technological change, outsourcing of production, declining unionization, and the growing use of temporary workers have all contributed to, and will continue to exacerbate, the divide between the rich and the poor in

Canada,the United States,the United

Kingdom, and WesternEurope. Young workers with little education andfew marketableskills are mostaffected by these factors. Atthe same time, however,those in

middle orlower-mid-

dle occupational categories have also experienced a decline in income, which hascontributed to the increasing polarization of rich and poor in Canadaand other developed nations. Onthe basis ofthe above, it is clear that although one might maintain that the principles of classical liberalism should lead to a genuine meritocracy and that this is the best way to allocate resources and rewards in a society, the stratification

system in


not a pure meritocracy and it is not a continuous, hierarchical system. In reality, there is a growing divergence between those at the top of the economic structure and those at the bottom, with the

middlelayers shrinking in size.



in canadian



Surprisingly, the patterns of sport participation among Canadians have not received as much empirical analysis as one might assumegiven the importance of sport participation for young Canadiansin particular. Nevertheless,several studies have examined the relationship between athletes socioeconomic status (SESa

composite indicator offamily income, education, and

occupation in the paidlabour force) and the types and level ofsport participation. Eachstudy hasshown the same pattern ofinequitable involvement

despitefederal and provincial govern-

ments attempts to eliminate economic inequality asa majorfactor that excludes manyyoung Canadiansfrom participating in sport and rising within the sport pyramid. Gruneaus (1972) groundbreaking study of Canada Gamesathletes showed that the competitors level

were drawn heavily from families

white-collar positions, while those whose parents wereinvolved in blue-collar and

primary industrial

occupations weresignificantly

athletes werealso disproportionately tional

where parents held professional and high-


under-represented. The Canada Games

drawn from families

with higher incomes and educa-

Using Blishen scores that indicated

a composite

SES ranking,

Gruneaufound that 37% of the athletes came from the top three Blishen categories, while

only 17% ofthe Canadianlabour force ranked there (Blishen scores wereone of the most widely used and generally accepted composite rankings of socioeconomic status that soci-

ologistsemployedin their studies of stratification patternsin Canadaduring the 1960s through to the 1980s). Only 29% of the athletes came from the two lowest categories,

although 63% ofthe Canadianlabour force ranked in those categories. Kenyons (1977) study of elite track and field athletes and McPhersons (1977) study

of hockey playersfound similar patterns. Kenyonfound that, with 63% of the track and field athletes coming from families ranking in the top three Blishen categories and only





29% coming from families in the bottom two, track andfield

was more exclusive than the

sport system as a whole. McPhersons data on elite hockey players were comparable to Gruneaus22%

of the players parents werelocated in the top three Blishen categories.

Beamishs(1990) study focused on national team athletesin 1986. He demonstrated that despite morethan 15 years of federal government support for high-performance sport and a number of strategiesto reduce the impact of family background on athletic participation, patterns of significant

exclusion still existed among Canadas top athletes. Close to half of

Canadas national team athletes (44%) came from families in the top 20% of Canadian income earners; only 10% camefrom the bottom 20% of income earners. Canadas best athletes were drawn from families with fathers in

managerial positions at almost two and a half

times the expectedrate, andthose whosefathers wereemployedin the professionaland technical sectors of the economy were morethan double their proportional representation. other end of the workforce, athletes with parentsin farming, logging,

At the

mining, crafts, produc-

tion, and unskilled labour weresignificantly under-represented. The data on Blishen scores showedthat since Gruneausstudy, Canadas national teams had become moreexclusive68% of the athletes camefrom families in the top three Blishen categories. Whiteand Curtis(1990), using a completely different dataset,found similar patterns of representation. On behalf of Sport Canada, EKOS Research Associates(1992) performed a comprehensive study of Canadas high-performance athletes. One of the key areas of concern wasthe sociodemographic profile of Canadas national team athletes. Sport Canada wanted to know whether factors such assex, language, education, and economic status affected accessibility to the sport system. The results of this exhaustive study werethe same asthose

mentioned by

earlier researchers. EKOSfound that there wasan over-representation of Anglophones among Canadas best athletes. Canadas athletes did not come from average Forty-one percent of the athletes fathers and 30% of their

Canadian families.

mothers had university-level edu-

cations (compared to 14% in the Canadian population asa whole). Like Beamish (1990), EKOS found that athletes came disproportionately from families with parents employed in professional, managerial, or administrative


that the various funding and support programs in


EKOS concluded

Canadas high-performance sport system

had not reduced or eliminated inequalities of socioeconomic condition as a majorfactor in determining who would rise to the top of the Canadian high-performance sport pyramid. None of these results were or are particularly surprising.

All of the empirical studies

before, during, and after these early studies have shown that ones position

within the

overall social structure significantly

influences the extent and nature of sport involve-

ment. Drawing his conclusion from

morethan a dozen studies between 1973 and his own,

Wilson(2002) noted that research has repeatedly shown that indicators are positive predictors of sport involvement review article of sport study,

of social class

(p. 5). Similarly, in their comprehensive

Washington and Karen (2001) emphasized that From


perspective,social classis a key component of our understandingof sports (p. 190). Theimpact of classseems atfirst glance to be minimal, but the overall result is significant.

Partofthe reasonfor the shift to neoliberalpolicies wasthe apparentoverextensionof public servicesleading to crisesat almost everylevel of government (see Whitson,2011). Asaresult,

whetherit wasatthe federal, provincial, orlocal level, publicserviceagencieshadto reduce their costs. Onesolution wasthe reduction of services andthe other wasto introduce userfees.

Oncethose fees aresetin place, however,they arerarely removed;instead they increase, creating a growing barrier to lower SESfamilies participation in sport andrecreation.



Not every Paul



has access to long-track






Press, Inc./Alamy

School boards,faced with some of the samefiscal constraints in addition to increased demands to

meet provincially

established standards on standardized academic perfor-

mancetests, reduced time for physical education to spend moretime on the core academic subjects. Those small changes not only reduced (and sometimes eliminated) the amount of time that children spend in sport and physical activity on a daily basis,they also limited the opportunities for some children to discover different sports and activitiesactivity forms where they might thrive. For some lower SES Canadians, school sport and community recreation programs are often the only physical activity opportunities in which they can take part.

Whenthose options are reduced or eliminated,

children from lower


groups are denied the opportunity to discover their physical skills and athletic talents. Health, recreation, and welfare wereonce at the centre offederal, provincial, and municipal governments

mandatesas public goods.In the neoliberal era,sport and recreation are no

longer viewed as essentialservicesfor all Canadians;they have become individuals


that consumers are expected to initiate and fund themselves and, although some sports seem to cost verylittle, even the smallest cost can be prohibitive to many Canadianfamilies.


and Social




Thestudiesthat havefocused onsport and social inequality basedon data exploring the relationship

between sport participation

and income, or the morecomplex cluster of fac-

tors represented by SES, have drawn their inspiration from a rich scholarly tradition where classpeoples



what Karl Marx ([1859] 1911) called the social





relations of productionis an individuals

viewed asthe mostsignificant structural factor determining

life chances. Although the study of class began with early political econo-

mists, and Marx([1852] 1934) indicated that he did not discover the in

modernsociety nor yet the struggle between them

existence of classes

(p. 56), the idea of class and class

analysis is mostclosely associated with his name.

Karl Marx In a section that Friedrich Engels placed at the end of Capital, Volume 3 (a workleft unfinished by Marx at his death),

Marx ([1894] 1909) began to answer the questions, What

constitutes a class? What makes wagelabourers, capitalists, and landlords constitute the three great social classes[of

modern society, resting upon the capitalist

mode of produc-

tion]? (p. 1031). Unfortunately, the fragment breaks off before Marx develops the answer fully.

However, Marx wrote enough about classesin other pieces to

the fundamental

aspects of class clear and give insight into

have remained so influential

make his position on

why class and class analysis

in the study of social stratification.

For Marx,there werethree fundamental

aspectsto class. Thefirst is the objective


structural aspect of class, which determines whereindividuals stand within the economic structure of society and, moreimportantly, tion.

within the power structure of a social forma-

Analyzing the dynamics of class conflict in France in the 1840s and 1850s, Marx

([1852] 1935) noted that millions

of families live under economic conditions

tence that separate and distinguish them fromoften withother individuals

classes(p. 109). Theidentification

placing them in hostile

of exiscontrast

of a class basedon the role that a


performs within the social division of labour is referred to as a class in itself

(Marx, [1852] 1935; see also Cohen, 1980; Dos Santos, 1970; Draper, 1978). Thesecond aspect of classconcernsits subjective playsin the constitution


role classconsciousness

of a class.In The Poverty of Philosophy, Marx([1847] 1936) noted

that in the transition from feudalism to capitalism, economic circumstances had transformed the massof the people of the country into capital has created for this This

massis thus already a class as against capital, but not yet for itself.

struggle against capital that this itself.

workers (p. 145). The

massa common situation, common interests,



he continued. It is only in the

massbecomes united, and constitutes itself as a classfor

Through the realization of their common circumstances and the presence of a class

opposingtheir intereststhe


of common interestsand

by engaging in astruggle

against the opposing class, a classin itself becomes a class for itselfthat

is, a class that

recognizes and struggles for its own interests (see also Marx & Engels,[1845] 1939). Oncethe separate individuals

become part of a class for itself, then

([1845] 1939) emphasized, the class in its turn achieves an independent

Marxand Engels existence over

againstthe individuals sothat the individuals nowseetheir interestsin classterms rather than individualistic

ones (p. 49). This represents the third aspect of classfor


idea of classsolidarity. Marx maintainedthat the massofindividuals within a classthat is in and for itself no longer think and act autonomously of one anotherthey

act as mem-

bers of their class (e.g., as membersof the working class). Classes,not autonomous individuals,

now become the majoragentsin the drama of history, andit is classesthat are

stratified and conflict with each other. There were very sound reasons why people like Mill, and John Stuart



Adam Smith, David Ricardo, James

Mill, as well as Marxand Engels, identified the three great classes

(wage labourers, capitalists, and landlords) asthe major elements in the social stratification of Europe asfeudalism gave wayto industrial capitalism. All of the majorsocial changesthey witnessed appeared to beshaped by the spread and growing power of industrial capitalism. Classvisibly shaped an individuals

life chances, and the working and living

conditions of

the working classled to the formation of an identifiable class consciousness and the struggles of the working class against the capitalist class (see Engels[1845] 1950; Thompson, 1963). Nevertheless, by the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries, ascapitalist economies became morestable, it became obvious to ensuing sociologists that class position alone did not completely determine an individuals life chances. Theformation of a classfor itself,

with alargely unified conception of its needs, wasa phenomenon of the past and not

the present orforeseeable future (see Dahrendorf, 1959; Giddens,1973).

Max Weber Max Weberis regarded asthe theorist who did the mostto develop class analysis at the turn of the 20th century in view of the changesthat had become institutionalized ist societies (Dahrendorf, 1959; Giddens, 1973).

within capital-

Weber(1968) introduced four


ceptual developments that furthered the study of class and class-basedsocieties: a) the use of the term community to locate the basesand exercise of power, b) the view that classes were morefragmented than

Marx had suggested, c) the impact of status groups (Stande) and

how they incompletely

overlapped with class, and d) the emphasis of the role of political

parties and how they influenced class power. Each of these changes meritssome elaboration. Like

Marx, Webersinterest in class stemmed from questions of power, which he

defined asthe ability of anindividual

or a group to achieve his, her, ortheir objectives even

when resisted by others. To identify

where power wasexercised,


was his notion of community, although the term

the nation, a province, a city, or what weconventionally included in

wasquite encompassing of asa community

group of people.

Weber,there werethree fundamental

basesof power within a community: class,

status, and political party. Theseare the first complexities that

Weberintroduced into the

notion of class and class analysis. Poweris exercised in an identifiable which

Weberdesignated as a community,

related to the interaction

basesfor social action


not communities;


merely represent possible, and

(1968, p. 927). He argued that class exists when a num-

ber of people share the same life chances because of the particular livelihoodseffectively

sphere of action,

and power is not related simply to classit

of class,status, and the formal political process.

Classes, Weber wrote, are frequent,


Weberssense of the term. The key point is that power is exercised within and

among an identifiable For


Webersfirst conceptual

as employers or employees. As a result,

with atwofold conception of class:Property basic categories of all class situations

waythey gain their


Marx, began

andlack of property are,therefore, the

(p. 927).

Marx,it should be noted, was well aware of dividedinterests within classes(see,for example,


1934). It


Marxists who often reduced his ideas to the

provocative phrasingof The CommunistManifesto and presentedhistheory of classstruggle as a dualistic opposition. In response to those interpretations,

Weberrecaptured the

complexity of Marxs actual position on classanalysis. But Weberalso movedbeyond Marx. Webers second conceptual development more manifold conception of class than

was his explicit identification

of a far






Within the categories of employers and employees, Webernotedthat ones classposition also depended on the type of property the employer had and wasusingto advance his or her capital and the type of work that the employee undertook. Onthe employers side,


indicated some of the differences that existed within their class position. The ownership of dwellings;

workshops; warehouses;stores; agriculturally usableland in large orsmall-holdings

would produce different classpositions. Similarly, the ownership of mines; cattle; men(slaves) or the control of mobile instruments of production, or capital goods of all sorts, especially money or objects that can easily beexchangedfor money all created distinctions that differentiated the classsituation of employers (Weber, 1968, p. 928). Employees, Webernoted, are also highly differentiated on the basis of the skills and services they bring to the market. Basedon his conception of greater diversity in the objective dimensions of class, Weberregarded the development of ashared classconsciousness with muchgreaterskepticism than The third change


Weber(1968) introduced is the concept and significance of status

groups (Stande) within a community.

Webernoted that groups of individuals

within a com-

munity come together or form associations based on shared lifestyles or views of life. Even though there wassome overlap between classsituations and status groups,it plete. In addition,

wasnot com-

Weberindicated that groups enjoying high status could exercise elements

of power that were not necessarilyequivalent to their actual economic or class position. Weber was well aware of the significance of how political parties could wield power in the modern period, and this washisfourth conceptual development in the analysis of class and class-basedsocieties. Although he was unaware of Antonio Gramscis use of the term hegemony(see Chapters 1 and 2) to describe the same process Weber hadin

mind, Weber

also believed that individuals and groups could exercise considerable political power without necessarily holding high status positions or inordinate

economic power. By situating

themselves in positions where they could shape peoples perceptions of what is fair and justby

projecting their

particular ideas as a form of common sensepolitical


drawing upon the massiveresources of the state, could quietly and unobtrusively present a particular worldview as normal, natural, and inevitable. In short, sional than

Webers conception

of social stratification

Marxs and significantly

at the turn of the 20th century offered.

positions many Marxists

Webers multidimensional conception

cation wasalso a majorsource of inspiration of sport and social stratification.

was much more multidimen-

moreso than the simplified

of stratifi-

and theoretical guidance for the early studies

Nevertheless, contemporary sociologists have continued

to refine the theory of classin response to the further consolidation and growing complexity of a capitalist society as well as a growing awareness of how factors other than class influence individuals

life chances and positions within the social structure.

claSS and Social inequality: contemporary


Although a number of sociologists have developed theories of social inequality that ana-

lysts have employedin recent studies of sport and social stratification, two of the most significant and influential

are those of Anthony Giddens and Pierre Bourdieu.

While dif-

fering in severalrespects, Giddensand Bourdieusideas complementeach other in important ways.



Giddens and Bourdieu draw generously from social inequality.


Weberin their conceptions of

As a result, class remains central to their understanding of inequality,

but their conceptions of class are also part of systematically developed sociological theories. One of the mainfeatures of their

work, which shapes their analyses of social stratifi-

cation, is an integrated conception of human (1979; 1984), or subjectivism

agency and social structure

and objectivism



for Bourdieu (1973; 1989).

Anthony Giddens Onsocial action, Giddens(1984) arguesthat [t]he ences, is neither the experiences of the individual

basic domain of study of the social sciactor, nor the existence of any form of

social totality, but social practices ordered acrossspace and time

(p. 2). Social action


beseen asa continuousflow of conduct,rather than treating purposes,reasons, etc., assomehow aggregated together

(Giddens, 1979, p. 2, emphasis added). Asa result, Giddens does

not start with either the social structure or the human agent. Histheory of structuration centres on the recursive nature of human activitiesthat ring) nature of human action.

is, the recurring (or reoccur-

Mostsocial action is repetitive and it is through these recur-

ring activities that we produce and largely reproduce social action (see Giddens, 1984). Turning to the notion of social structure, theory to reconceptualize

one of sociologys

key termsstructure.

that structures in social action are not things, lungs,

Giddens (1976; 1979; 1984) useslanguage Giddens emphasizes

like the girders of a building or the heart,

muscles, and so on of an organism (as structuralfunctionalist

analogies suggest).

Instead, structures are resources (just like the English langugage is a resource that people useto communicate)

and rules (to communicate

meaningfully, people mustfollow the

rules of the English language) that are drawn upon and simultaneously

created and re-

created asindividuals carry out their recursive social practices. Like language, structures or resources and rulessimultaneously its various rules enable communication, municated and how it is communicated.

enable and constrain. The English language and but these rules also constrain Giddensterms this the

Giddens idea is actually quite familiar participate in sport. rules that they

duality of structure.

who study sport and those who

A game of hockey cannot take place until the players agree on the

will followare

perhaps even raises

to students

what can be com-

we playing real

hockey rules,

or are slap shots and

not allowed? Rulesgive the game structurethey

let us know what

is expected and allow usto participate and predict what others will do. Therules adopted for a game enable it to take place, but they also constrain what is and is not permitted. The recursive nature of social action is also clearly evident in sport. NHL games across North America are virtually the same although, depending on the particular skills and strengths of the teams playing and the officials enforcing the rules, each gameis notidentical.

Similarly, outdoorshinny gamesacrossCanadaareequallyasrecursivethey the same with slight variations in local rules even though the rules of shinny

areall virtually are not writ-

ten anywhereand aresimply passedonfrom playerto playerand generationto generation. Giddens(1984) draws attention to an important

contrast between the rules that funda-

mentally, orintensively, influence our actions versusthose that are moresuperficial. He notes that the former are informal rules that are tacitly (almost unconsciously) understood

by humanagents and are not associatedwith any formal punishmentsif they are broken. Giddenscontrasts these unwritten rules with the clearly formalized rules that have explicitly





stated punishments if they are broken. Thetacit, informal rules arethe onesthat teammates, for example, follow in the flow of a game or in their interactions

within the locker room,

while the formal rules are the actual, written, and enforced rules of the game or specified team regulations. Surprisingly perhaps, the tacit, informal,

and weakly sanctioned rules predominate in

the recursive nature of all types of social action, including sport, rather than the clearly formalized,articulated rules and their sanctions (the relationship is the opposite of what one expects). One only hasto think about the unwritten

codes that predominate in sports

how some plays orinfractions are accepted assimply

part of the game while others cross an

unofficial line and are deplored by everyone (e.g., running up the score on a much weaker opponent, continuing to celebrate goals whenthe score becomeslopsided, or intentionally injuring an opposing player). Giddens(1973) usesall of the ideas noted above to develop his own theory in

his book The ClassStructure of the Advanced Societies. Before examining

Giddens theory of class and how it applies to sport, Bourdieus work meritsattention.

Pierre Bourdieu Characterizing his work asa constructivist ism,


Bourdieus (1989) two key concepts integrating

social structure (objectivism)

are habitus and field.

stems from two completely interrelated

and a structuralist


human agency (subjectivism)


Bourdieu argues that social action

points of origin: the subjective side, consisting of

schemes of perception, thought, and action,

which constitute

what Bourdieu calls habi-

tus, and the objective side, which are the social structures/spaces Bourdieu calls fields within which groups (which, he notes, are ordinarily

call[ed] classes) act (p. 14).

The idea of afield is a metaphor that students of sport can relate to instantly. is a hierarchically

arranged, delimited space

and skills (different forms of capitaleconomic,

where individuals


with different abilities

social, and cultural)

compete for posi-

tions within the hierarchy (Bourdieu [1983] 1986; 1993; Bourdieu & Wacquant, 1992). The network or configuration

of positions define the field and distribute different types of

power (or capital), the profits at stake, and the demands madeupon the players/actors in the field.

All one hasto do is think

of a football

or soccer field and the players spread out

on it with each one using his or her distinct skills, fulfilling

specific assignments based on

their particular position, to outperform their counterparts so that their team triumphs in the end. Social fields, like the fields of sport, are delimited, structured spaces where players, occupying particular positions, compete to gain personal distinction

and to distin-

guish themselves from others (see Bourdieu, 2000). Habitusis one of Bourdieus

mostcomplex terms. It refers to a system of dispositions

representing a practical sense of how to conduct ones actionshow

one is disposed

(inclined, influenced, predisposed,prompted,settled) to act. Like athletes,individuals, based on years of experience, develop an automatic, unconscious knowledge of how to play

the game(carry onin any givensocialsituation). Thatsenseis durablebecauseit is deeply embodied in each social agent becoming part of whothey are and maybe transposed to a

variety of situations (Bourdieu, ([1972] 1977;[1980] 1990). For Bourdieu([1980] 1990), habitusis structured structures predisposed to function asstructuring structures (p. 53). In

other words,habitusis ones learned, embodied (automatic) responseto the actions of another person in the field.



A persons response, like that of a competitive athlete, is not

normally thought throughit

is drawn from an unconscious, automatic reservoir of knowl-

edge that has been learned and acquired in the past (one simply knows what to doit recipe knowledge).


Following that tacit knowledge of what to do, individuals also repro-

ducethe structured nature of social action. Thus, becausesocial action occurs in afield of actions, habitus and the field tend to orchestrate, coordinate, and guide peoples actions as they unfold, allowing each person to anticipate others actions, predict potential outcomes, and largely reproduce social action (what

Giddens calls recursive practices).

Think for a moment of Sidney Crosbys 2010 golden


described at the begin-

ning of this chapter. Every player involved in that play executed, automatically, coaches had taught and what they had practised innumerable livesfrom

times in their

novice players all the way to their professional careers.

could tell you after the fact conscious calculationit

what hockey

While each player

what he did and why, the whole play unfolded without any

all seemedinstinctual.

But Bourdieu would say it wasa perfect

example of embodied knowledge, or habitus, enacted within a particular social field as required by the playersin each position in that field. and not others, is becausethrough capitaltheir


Thereason those players werethere,

and the development

of their cultural

particular skills, reaction time, and knowledge of the gamethose


best players competing for the top spot on the Olympic podium just as other players competefor the top spot in industry, the educational system, the world of art, and so on.

Class Analysis under Giddens and Bourdieu Both Giddens and Bourdieu recognize the importance

of power in social action, and they

explicitly addressits multifaceted character. They both emphasize that the marketis intrinsically a structure of power, but rather than viewing class position solely through the ownership of property, capital, or certain commodities, they conceptualize power asthe ability to accessand employ various capacities (see Bourdieu [1980] 1990; Bourdieu & Wacquant, 1992; Giddens, 1973). This allows each of them to weavea morecomplex notion of power through their theories ofsocial inequality, social dynamics, and social change. Giddens overall theory of structuration provides the basisfor him to maintainthe importance of classanalysisin sociology while also accounting for other factors in the overall stratification of advanced societies. Like Marxand

Weber, Giddens(1973) regards class asa basis

for social power and an outcome of the ownership or nonownership of productive resources. In and through their economic, political, and social activities, individuals in capitalist societies recursively reproduce a classstructure. Furthermore, in terms of the distribution of power, property

ownership remains of primary importance

1973, pp. 271272).

within the economic order (Giddens,

Moreover, the real ability to own the types of property that generate

profit and drive the economy is limitedthere

are boundaries that, although not impossible

in allinstancesto surmount,tend to recursively(re)producethe classstructure. Second, Giddens (1973) agrees with

Weberthat divisions within classescan be quite

numerousand complex: Class divisions cannot be drawnlike lines on a map,and the extent to which class structuration

occurs depends upon the interaction

of various sets of

factors (Giddens, 1973, p. 273). But, Giddensemphasizes,this is notthe same assaying that classis amultidimensional


which can be analysed as an aggregate of

several hierarchicaldimensions, asis sometimesclaimed by certain of those (mis)interpreters of

Weber who identify class

and stratification

(p. 273). Classstructuration,





Giddens notes is

moststrongly developed at three levels, separating the upper, middle

and working classes (p. 273). Finally, and of mostsignificance, the


Giddens notions of the duality of structure and

which formal and informal rules both enable and constrain the recursive

social actions that constitute

peoples daily lives allow

into the analysis of social inequality class in (re)producing

Giddens to draw nonclass factors

while keeping them distinct from the impact

systems of stratification.

and sexuality, for example, are intertwined

Gender, racialization,


of age,

with class in the social practices ordered

across space and time that constitute social action as a whole. Gender, racialization, (dis)ability,

and sexuality

must be taken into account in analyzing social action, but not

in the same manner that class factors

must be accounted for.

these nonclass factors should be distinguished from the impact integration

The unique impact


of class because their

in recursive social practices is different than the rules and resources perti-

nent to class. Bourdieus theory of class builds almost directly from work. Like field

Weberand Marx, a class structure exists for

within which an individuals

Webersenhancement of Marxs Bourdieuthat

is, a hierarchical

habitusis formed and simultaneously


though individuals in the contemporary period maynot all feel that they are embedded in a class structure and sociologists

mustidentify it.

One mustconstruct the objectiveclass,the set of agents whoare placedin homogeneousconditions of existenceimposing homogenousconditionings and producing homogeneoussystemsof dispositionscapable of generatingsimilar practices;and who possessa set of common properties, objectified properties,sometimeslegally guaranteed (as possessionof goods and power) or properties embodied asclass habitus. (Bourdieu, [1979] 1984, p. 101) Bourdieu identifies capitalthe

the objective position of classes on the basis of the volume of

set of actually usable resourcesa

Heidentifies three

group possesses([1979] 1984, p. 114).

major forms of capital: economic (money and productive property),

social (social and institutionalized

networks, group memberships, etc.), and cultural (types

of knowledge, cultural goods such as books, orin an institutionalized qualifications,

form as educational

etc.) (Bourdieu, [1979] 1984; [1983] 1986). Theselatter two, but social

capital in particular, allow Bourdieu to usethe notion of class habitusto draw together, in a manner that goes beyond

Weber,the (inter)relationship

of class and status groups

(Stande) (see Bourdieu, 1966). Social networks, knowledge, and tastes create communities in the

Weberiansense of the term, and they also create and stem from class habituses

that will overlap significantly

but not necessarilyfully

with economic capital. The volume

of capital possessedand the ability to transpose it from one form to another as neededin different situations creates identifiable

class groupings in the contemporary

these particular class groupings, as the next section nature and extent to which particular individuals

will indicate, that

world. It is

determine the

will engagein sport and physical activ-

ity as well asthe types of sport and activities they will choose. Two main points are clear from the above discussion. First, class sounds like and seemsto be asimple concept but it proves to be extremely complex, and to understand the impact

of class on sport and recreational


and participation,

the full com-

plexity of the concept needs to be used. Second, whether one uses Marxs,




Giddens, Bourdieus, or ones own integrated


drawing upon two or more of

these theorists, there arethree key elements that one mustkeepin 1. Classinvolves an objective groupings of individuals



that takes into account where different

are located within an increasingly complex social structure.

Thoseobjective conditions play asignificant role in determining those individuals


tunities to take partin social life and the conditions under which they will beinvolved. 2. Classinvolves a subjective

dimension that takes into account that individuals living

under similar conditions within the social structure will share a particular, general understanding of whothey are and what their life chances arelike.

Their worldview will not

beidentical, but it will be close enough that their actions will tend to be verysimilar. 3. Finally, it is the integration

of those objective and subjective dimensions of classthat

is crucial for understanding how ones social location impacts his or her behavior as a member of a class. This is why sociologists today tend to draw morefrom Bourdieu than they do from

Marx or

Giddens or

Weber. Giddens and Bourdieu, each in his own

way, hastried to explain the nature of the objective dimensions of classin the complex, advanced societies of today; the


which those objective conditions

create subjective understandings of the social world and the potential opportunity structure; and how the objective and subjective dimensions of classimpact each other.

claSS and Sport: of engagement



The mostrecent comprehensive reports on class and sport participation

are from an anal-

ysis done by the Conference Board of Canada of Statistics Canadas 2004 National Household Survey on Participation in Sport (Bloom,

Grant, & Watt, 2005); Ifedis (2008) study

of Statistics Canada data on sport participation;

Hernandez, Berger, Brissette, OReilly,

Parent,and Seguins (2008) longitudinal analysis ofsport participation in Canadausing Statistics Canadas General Social Survey data from 1992 to 2005; and a report released

by Canadian Heritage(2013) that also drawsfrom Statistics Canadas General Social Survey datafor 2010.

Whenthe results of all these studies and reports are combined


the mostrecent information availablethrough Statistics Canada(2013b), the impact of class on sport participation is clearly evident.

The Bloom, Grant,and Watt(2005) report beginsin an upbeat manner,notingthat morethan 8 million Canadianstook part in sport in 2004about

half the entire population

of Canada. . . including 55 percent of adults (p. 1). But afew paragraphs later, the study notes that between 1992 and 2004, the percentage of Canadians aged 16 or older actively involved in sport fell from 45% to 31%. Ifedis (2008) report indicates that a year later the participation rate had dropped to 28%, and the Canadian Heritage(2013) report shows that in 2010 only 7.2 million, or 26%, of Canadiansaged 15 yearsand older wereinvolved in sport. Hernandez and colleagues (2008) also document, in detail, the declining involvement of Canadians in sport. For example, they indicate that the rate of participation Canadiansaged 15 to 19fell from 75% in 1992 to 58% in 2005. The decreasefor



aged 20to 24fell from 62% to 42%, and for Canadians aged 25to 29 the decrease wasfrom 55% to 35%. The mostrecent data show further

declines in participation.


Heritage (2013) reports that in 2005, 58% of Canadians aged 15 to 19 wereinvolved in





sport, but that fell to 54% in 2010. There was a similar decline (from 42% to 37%) for Canadians aged 20 to 24, a 2% drop to 29% and 23%, respectively, for Canadians aged 25 to 34 and 35to 54, and a 1% drop to 17% for the 55 and older age group. Examining the data on sport involvement

in 2005 and 2010 more closely reveals a

further concern. If the total time spent in sport is averaged across all Canadians, then in 2005, on average, Canadians spent 30 minutes a day playing sports (Statistics 2013b).


When one focuses solely on those who actually took part in sport and average

their time across all active participants, then those hours a dayinvolved

Canadians spent, on average, two

with sport. By 2010, however, although the time spent on sport aver-

aged across all Canadians had not changed, the time spent averaged across the actual sport participants

had dropped to under an hour a day (Canadian

Heritage, 2013). In

other words, even those taking part in sport werespending less time on sporting activities per dayin 2010 than wasthe casein 2005. Probing further, all of the studies show a direct relationship participation.

Consistent with Bourdieus idea of economic

ception of allocative


Bloom, Grant, and

between class and sport


and Giddenss con-

Watt (2005) indicate the extent to

which sport participation is tied to class. They point out that 55% of Canadians in households with annual incomes above $100,000 are involved in sport, with participation rates of 46% and 42%, respectively, for families $80,000$99,999

and $60,000$79,999.

with annual income

with annual household income

The participation rate drops to 36% for families

between $40,000$59,999

between $20,000$39,999.


and another

10% where incomes are

Lessthan 22% of Canadians in families

with incomes less

than $20,000 participate in sport. The participation rates shown in the Canadian Heritage (2013) report are even more striking. In 2010, only 7% of individuals living in families $20,000 per year participated

in sport. In the $20,000$29,999

Canadians are involved in sport. incomes of $30,000$49,999

with household incomes below

Under onein five

range, only 15% of

Canadians living in households with

take part in sport, rising to onein four in families with house-

hold incomes of $50,000$79,999.

One-third of individuals in households with incomes

higher than $80,000 engage regularly in sport. All of these rates of participation

are lower

than just five years earlier.

The vast majorityof Canadians involved in sport today beganthat associationin childhood. Sport participation among youths and adults requires particular types of cultural capital

and embodiedknowledge,to useBourdieusterms,so earlychildhoodinvolvement in sportis critical to an ongoing involvement

through the life cycle. The Canadian Heritage (2013)

report demonstratesthe impact of classon childrens involvement in sport: The lower the household income, the less likely it is that children will participate in sport and the higher the household income the

more likely it is that

(p. 38). In 2010, less than two-thirds


will participate in sport

(58%) of the children in families

with household

incomes under $40,000 took part in sport, while almost three in four (72%) children in households with incomes between $40,000$79,999

played sports and 85% of children in

families earning $80,000 or moretook part in organizedsport. From Giddens perspective, the class basis of early childhood sport participation allows children from upper-income homes to develop the tacit knowledge necessaryto easily participate in a variety of physical activities, whereaschildren from lower-income

homes do not have the opportunity to internalize the

informal rules and resources neededto engage, unobtrusively, in variousforms of sport.



Mostelite athletes come from affluent families. Monkey Business/Fotolia

The Escalating Cost of Sport While Canadians are becoming less involved in sport and active forms of leisure, they are spending

moreto participate.

$2,000 in

2004 on sport,

The average, active

which wasone-third

Canadian family spent just under

more than eight years earlier (Bloom,

Grant, & Watt, 2005). Thisrepresents asignificant increase since 1996 when the money spent on sport participation

amounted to 0.9% of Canadas gross domestic product com-

paredto 1.22% in 2004 (Bloom,

Grant & Watt, 2005). Although there are no systematic,

scholarly studies documenting the rising cost of sport involvement,

journalists in various

mediacontinually lament the problem. Hockey, Canadas national winter sport, is growing in popularity

among girls and is the

most high-profile instance

of the impact


increased costs, class position, and rates of participation. Equipment costs for hockey can be prohibitiveespecially formative

years of athletic participation

grow equipment

quickly (sometimes

what is thought

of as top-of-the-line

in the important,


where children are also growing rapidly and outwithin a single season)especially equipment.

if parents buy

Even a parent who follows the sage

advice of investing in a good, well-fitted helmet and good-quality skates while saving on shin, shoulder, and elbow pads, pants, mouth and neck guards, gloves,socks, sweaters, and sticks will still incur startup

costs between $300 and $600 in mostinstances.

for the forwards and defencementhe

And this is

costsfor goalies are even higher. In the youngest

age groups, associations or teams supply goalie equipment for houseleague players, but the

road to rep hockey becomesincreasingly expensive as players haveto purchasetheir own pads, mask,stick, gloves, and chest and arm pads. To get a sense of the cost, ajunior goalie combo setleg

padsand gloveswill

cost almost $400 new.

Butit is not equipment costsalone that makehockey an increasingly class-basedsport; it is the hockey system (the field in Bourdieus terms), which consists of hockey leagues and players from houseleague (the lowest level) up through select,



and AAA


the minor hockey system. The field sorts and filters out players asthey movefrom initiation to novice, minor and majoratom, minorand majorpee wee, minor and majorbantam, minor





The cost of sport is prohibitive for

many Canadian families.


midget,and then junior (or major midgetfor those not good enoughto makethe jump to

junior). Costs thatincludeequipment,teamregistrationfees,travel,accommodation, hockey schools,specifictraining programs,and off-seasonhockeyprogramsthat is, the costsofsuc-

cessfullymakingones waytowardthetop ofthefieldcan

beconsiderable withthe oddsof

a financial return veryslim. Parcelss(2002) study of the cohort of boysbornin 1975 and

playinghockeyin Ontarioshowedthat of 22,000registeredplayers,only 132 made it to leaguesthat feedthe NHL and a mereseven madeit to The Showthat

is, 0.03% of the

cohort made it to the NHL(seealsoTotalSportsManagement, 2013).Thesorting/competitive process is partlyaboutskills butit is alsocentresonresources(allocative and distributive

resources in Giddens terms,economic,symbolic,andculturalcapitalin Bourdieus terms). Feesfor houseleague hockeytend to rangefrom $350 to $700 per player; playing a

step higherin an A or AArep programwill costbetween$1,000and $2,000;AAA team feesrangefrom $2,500to $5,000perseason(Rutherford, 2009). Noneofthesefeesinclude

transportationcosts,snacks, meals,hotel accommodationfor tournaments,and extra tournament entry feesor,

asis the casein somejurisdictions, the admissionfee a parent

mustpayto watchhisor herchilds games($6in the GreaterToronto HockeyLeague see Gillmor, 2013). A Royal Bank of Canada(2011) survey found that, on average,

Canadian families pay$1,500peryearper childto play hockey.Forthose whohad not kepttheir child in hockey, cost wascited asthe majorreason.

Gillmor(2013) writesthat althoughhockeyis still thought of asa blue-collarsport, that is nolonger true. Even the middleclasshastrouble keeping up withthe costs. Atthe

highestlevel,it hasbecomearich mansgame. Thebestplayers,one AAA coachin the GreaterToronto HockeyLeaguepoints out, arefrom high SESfamilies. They dont neces-

sarily havealot of drive,theyre just incrediblyskilled. Andtheyre affordedthe opportunity to havethe bestinstructors, and that is their advantage. Their advantageis that they

have money(citedin Gillmor,2013). Thatsentimentis sharedbyleagueadministrators across Canada.The one-incomefamily kid is not playing hockey, generally speaking,

accordingto Jack Casey, the presidentof St.Johns MinorHockeyAssociation. They cant affordit. Thats the bottom line (cited in Rutherford,2009).Most of the parentsof kids

whoplay hockey,and particularlythe kid whoplaysall-star hockey, hecontinues,the parentsare all professionalpeople,theyre doing very well. They haveto bedoing well.



Murray Costello,the retired president of Hockey Canada, hasechoed the point that cost is aleading factor in declining hockeyregistrations. Hockey is becoming an opportunity only for the people whocan paytheir wayin (cited in

MacGregor,2012). Bloom, Grant,and Watt

(2005) are equally blunt about the role ofincome and costin sports participation: People with higherincomes are much morelikely to participate in sport than people who earn less (p. 4). Sports like soccer and basketball are less expensive, although depending on the brand, shoes can cost a considerable amount and all the extras from transportation,

snacks, and

tournament costs quickly add up even for houseleague players. These costs provide some insight into

why economic circumstances influence the conditions

under which a child

competes with others for the prized spots at the top of the sport pyramid. Canadian participation

Heritage (2013)

underscores the intersection

when it identifies

age 15 and older. Golf is first, followed ball, downhill downhill



of class, cost, and sport

the 10 most popular sports in


Canada for

by hockey, soccer, baseball, volleyball,


and badminton.

and cycling carry significant

other than income lead to inequitable

Of these, golf, hockey,

physical ability,

people will become involved, goals they

rates of participation

and the impact

how intensively

in sport among different

of racialization

the duality of structure, impact the high-performance

but gender, eth-

also influence


they will participate, and the long-term

will establish for that particular activity.

thinks in terms of habitus and field


and how factors

groupings of Canadians. Clearly money is a majorfactor,

nic background,


economic costs. They also lead into

discussion of Giddens and Bourdieus theories of social stratification identifiable


All of these factors,

whether one

or the recursive practices that are associated with

who takes part in sport and who strives for the top of


Conclusions Prior to Alexandre Bilodeaus emotional gold-medal performance in the mogulsat the 2010 Vancouver

Winter Olympics, Canada wasthe only country that hadfailed to win a gold

medal while hosting the Olympics. Whenthe IOC granted the 2010 Gamesto Vancouver, the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC),

Sport Canada, and some select commercial

sponsors committed themselves to improving

Canadas performances at the

Games. The

third-place finish at the 2006 Torino Olympics(24 medals,7 gold) wasan improvement over the last three



in 2002 (17

medals, 6 gold), fourth in 1998

(15 medals, 6 gold), and sixth in 1994 (13 medals,3 gold). Andit mentover recent summer Olympicrankings21st (14

medals,3 gold), and 11th in 1996 (22

wasa dramatic improve-

in 2004 (12 medals,3 gold), 21stin 2000

medals,3 gold). To establish Canadaas a world

leader in high-performance sport, the COC launched

Own the Podium, a program that

explicitly committed the COC and Canadas athletes to the pursuit of gold. Ownthe Podium, the COC emphasized,is a technical

program designedto help Canada become the number

one nation in terms of medals won at the 2010 Olympic top three countries overall at the 2010 Paralympic

Winter Games,and to place in the

Winter Games (Vancouver 2010, 2006).

A great deal of Canadassuccessat the 2010 Games, where Canadaset a Winter Games record of 14 gold medalsalong with 7silver and 5 bronze, wasattributed to Ownthe Podium. The program wasa dramatic change in philosophy within the Canadian Olympic movement





becausethe pursuit of gold became an overt objectivereaching

the top of the sport

meritocracy wasastated goal. The new approach would generate a newlevel of accountability for the funds Sport Canadaandthe COCinvested in high-performance sport. Own the Podium targeted particular sports where Canada had been successful, providing financial support for athletes who had demonstrated podium potential.

That hot

house approach did not, however, produce the same level of successin London two years later.

Rosannagh MacLennans trampoline

victory was Canadas only gold, and the over-

all medaltotal of 18 placed Canada 13thbelow To enjoy long-term

success in international

the COCs objective of 12th. sport, the base of the Canadian sport

pyramid mustbe broadened. But aslevels of sport involvement rather than expand. grams like out

Moreover, declining sport involvement

Own the Podium or Sport Canadafunding

or shrinking

of the

middle class in

Canadian institutions, including lar.

Rebuilding the

is not a problem that pro-

could ever solve. The hollowing

Canada changes the profile of a number of

sport in general and high-performance sport in particu-

middle of the

about through arevitalization

drop, the base will shrink

Canadian income and class structure can only come

of the Canadian economy asa whole, although even arevi-

talized economy will not eliminate the problematic realities of inequality aspiring athletes in the bottom of the Canadian class structure. lematic relationship

between sport participation

of condition for

The intimate

and prob-

and social class may meanthat golden

momentslike Sidney Crosbys gold-winning goal will become increasingly rare.



1. Do you think that

questions Canadais a class-basedsociety?

Why or why not?

2. Howmuchmoneyhaveyouspenttakingpartinsportingactivitiesinthepast12months? 3. Hasthe cost of sport or sporting equipment ever affected your participation in sport? 4.

Whatis a meritocracy?Is the Canadian sport system a meritocracy?


Whatismeantbythetermequalityofopportunity,andwhatfactorsinCanadaprevent a true equality of opportunity in sport?


Whatis meant by the term equality of condition, and whatfactors in

Canada prevent a

true equality of condition in sport? 7.

Whatare the mainfeatures of Canadas current income structure?


Whatare the mainfeatures of Karl Marxs theory of class?

9. How did Max Weberstheory of class build on Marxs theory, and what arethe


differences between the two theories? 10.

Whatare the mainfeatures of Anthony Giddens theory of class?


Whatare the mainfeatures of Pierre Bourdieus theory of class?


Whattypes of cultural and economic capital do you haveto draw upon that influence your participation in sport?

13. How doesclassinfluence rates of sport participation in Canada? 14. How might Canadas current class structure prevent

Canadafrom fielding the best

Olympic teams possible despite government programs like

Own the Podium, which

are designed to enhance Canadian performances in international




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references Autor, D., Manning, A., & Smith, C. L. (2010). Thecontribution of the minimum wageto U.S. wageinequality overthree decades: Areassessment.Financeand EconomicsDiscussionSeries. Washington,DC: Federal ReserveBoard. Retrievedfrom feds/2010/201060/201060pap.pdf. Beamish, R.(1990). The persistenceof inequality: An analysis of participation among Canadas high-performance athletes. International Bloom,

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M., Grant, M., & Watt, D.(2005). Strengthening Canada: Thesocio-economic benefitsof sport

participation in

Canada. Conference Board of Canada. Retrieved from

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W.(2010). The evolution

ofthe returns to human capital in

Canada,19802005. CanadianPublicPolicy,36, 6389. Bourdieu,P.(1966). Condition declasseet position de classe.ArchivesEuropeennes deSociologie,7, 201223. Bourdieu,P.([1972] 1977). Outlineof atheoryof practice.Cambridge,UK: CambridgeUniversityPress. Bourdieu,P.(1973). Thethreeforms oftheoretical knowledge.SocialScience Information, 12, 5380. Bourdieu, P. ([1979] 1984). Distinction: Asocialcritique of thejudgementof taste. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Bourdieu,P.([1980] 1990). Thelogic of practice.Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Bourdieu, P. ([1983] 1986). Theforms of capital. In J. Richardson(Ed.), Handbookof theory and researchfor the sociology of education, (pp. 241258).

New York, NY: Greenwood Press.

Bourdieu, P. (1989). Social space and symbolic power. Sociological Theory, 7, 1425. Bourdieu, P. (1993). Sociologyin question. London, Bourdieu, P. (2000)

UK: Sage Publications.

Pascalian meditations. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Bourdieu, P., & Wacquant, L. (1992).

Aninvitation to reflexive sociology. Chicago, IL:

University of

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The concept of social classes. Scienceand Society, 34, 166193.


Marxs theory of revolution:

The politics of social classes. New York,


Monthly Review Press.

EKOS ResearchAssociates.(1992). Thestatusofthe high-performance athletein Canada:Finalreport. Ottawa, ON: Sport Canada Directorate,Fitnessand AmateurSport.





Engels, F. ([1845] 1950). Condition of the workingclassin Englandin 1844. London,

UK: G. Allen and

Unwin. Florida, R.(2002). Therise ofthe creativeclass: Andhowits transforming work,leisure, community,and everydaylife. New York, NY: BasicBooks. Fortin, N., Green,D., Lemieux, T., Milligan, K., & Riddell, C.(2012). Canadianinequality: Recent developmentsand policy options. CanadianPublicPolicy,38, 121145. Giddens, A.(1973). Theclassstructureof the advancedsocieties.London, UK: Hutchinson. Giddens, A.(1976). Functionalism: Apre`s la lutte. SocialResearch, 43, 325366. Giddens, A.(1979). Centralproblems in socialtheory. London, UK: The MacmillanPress. Giddens, A.(1984). Theconstitutionofsociety.Berkeley, CA: Universityof California Press. Gillmor, D.(2013). Is minor hockey worthit? TorontoStar. Retrievedfrom news/insight/2013/01/11/is_minor_hockey_worth_it.html. Goldin, C., & Katz, L. (2008).

Therace between education and technology. Cambridge, MA: Harvard

University Press. Goos, M., & Manning, A. (2007). Lousy and lovely jobs: The rising polarization of work in Britain. Reviewof Economicsand Statistics, 89, 118133.

Grabell, M.(2013). Howthe temp workers who power Americas corporate giants are getting crushed. Financial Post. Retrievedfrom Green, D., & Sand, B. (2011). Hasthe Canadianlabour marketpolarized? Ottawa, ON: Human Resources and Skills Development Canada. Greenberg,J. & Knight, G.(2004). Framingsweatshops:Nike,global production, andthe American news media.Communication and Critical/CulturalStudies,1, 151175. Gruneau, R.(1972). Ananalysisof Canada Games Athletes,1971. Unpublished mastersthesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB. Harvey, D.(2007).

Abrief history of neoliberalism. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Hernandez, T., Berger, I., Brissette, C., OReilly, ticipation


Canada: Alongitudinal

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UK: Martin Lawrence Limited.

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Marx, K.([1894] 1909). Capital, vol. 3. Chicago, IL:

Charles H. Kerr & Company Co-operative.

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Chapter 5 Ethnicityand Racein CanadianSport Victoria Paraschakand Susan Tirone

Daniel Igali

Weall haveindividual

waves our national

flag at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games after

Hair colour, gender, height, skin colour, ethnicity,

winning Canadas first-

ever gold medal in freestyle

characteristics that differentiate usfrom or connect usto others.

such characteristics.


and eye colour are a few examples of

Think of how you would describe yourself for a minute.

When we

thought about this question, Vicky described herself asfemale, brown haired, hazel eyed,



urban Canadian, and white. Susan described her physical attributes in a similar

but she lives in arural community.

Yet aseach of uslive out or do

vidual characteristics are continually

reshaped by our experiences. For example,

recollects how some children have considered her tall,


ourlives, those indiVicky

while adults often claim that she is

short. Hereye colour varies with whatshe wears,and her ethnicity has beenshaped by yearsin the Canadian north and the specific cultural practices she learned there and con-

tinues to do. Sheis also often quizzedabout herrace, becauseof herresearchinto First Nations peoples. Susan notes that

her studies of Canadian immigrants

and children in

thoseimmigrant families help herto reflect on whatis meaningfulin her ownlife, having been raised within a large extended Italian

Canadian family.

So while, when asked, we

can each describeourindividual characteristics,that description changesover time and from the perspectives of others.




Wecontinuously construct the ways wesee ourselves, and

that involves the social world in which welive.


characteristics are much

less definitive than we might at first think. Some of these characteristics ety.

While eye colour remains


and skin colouror


Persistent patterns


take on a particular social significance in our sociunimportant


at a social level, characteristics

become socially constructed

of unequal treatment

markers of dif-

have developed around them, in

American society and in sport. Individuals


such as

assigned those characteristics

as part of a group that shares traits differentiating


it from others. Our sense

of ourselves is thus constructed in relation to groups we believe aresimilar to or different from us. Weknow ourselves and our culture in part through our bodies. For example, as we do ing

physical activities, such assports, weshape, reinforce, or challenge the understandweand


about our racial and ethnic identities.

education class learning

Students in a physical

basketball all perform the same activities,

movements reinforce or challenge eachindividuals

but the waysthose

sense of his or her own race and eth-

nicity influences the meaning assigned to those movements and the enjoyment felt or not felt

within the class. After school, an Asian youth


mayhead to a program where she par-

with others from her ethnic background in activities tied to her cultural roots.

Through this process, she reinforces the importance that ing

of her ethnic identity in a manner

wasnot possible in her earlier gym class on basketball. A black malestudent practiswith the school basketball team at the end of the day feels confirmed as a talented

athlete as he emulates the playing styles of his favourite

NBA players. Another student

heads home to spend time with her family, having no interest in afterschool athletics.


after day,these students continue to know themselves and to represent themselves to others through their involvement

or noninvolvement

This chapter explores the relationships

in physical activities.


movement, race, and ethnicity

Canada. It builds on two assumptions. First, we believe that in

Canada, such as sport, potentially

generate a feeling

provide the opportunity

of pride in their cultural



movement opportunities for all individuals


However, the sport system has

been structured so that some individualsspecifically

white Canadians of European


more so than others, although

privileged to feel racial and ethnic pride

these hegemonic patterns (like

all social relations)

encourage our readers to enter into a reflective understand

how ethnicity

and race are constructed

doing so, they can more knowledgeably the individual


monic, unequal ethnic sport system in

are slowly changing.

process through

shape their

in our society and in sport. own identities

desired by othersprerequisites and racial relations

Second, we

which they can better By

while honouring

for shifting

and creating an inclusive,






and Sport in canada

The Concept of Ethnicity Sport is one of the

most popular leisure activities

Canadians enjoy.

Whether we enjoy

sport as spectators, as recreational participants, or as elite athletes, Canadians are extremely interested and invested in sports. Our ethnic identity



shapes and is shaped by





our sport participation. common

Ethnicity refers to the values, beliefs, and behaviours weshare in

with a subcultural group to

which we most closely identify

country of origin, language, religion, or cultural traditions

based on common


1988). Ethnicity

takes into account our religious practices, our clothing, our accents and language, the food we eat, and what we value as a result of our cultural social significance in our society.

heritage. Ethnicity, like race, has

To understand ethnicity

about ethnicity in general and how ones ethnic identity preferences around sport participation.

and sport we need to know mayinfluence

decisions and

Wealso benefit from knowing about past trends

and theory developed to explain trends or beliefs about ethnicity. Everyone can be linked to at least one ethnic group, whether it is one of the dominant European, white, English- or French-speaking groups, or one of the morethan 200 other ethnic

groups known to exist in this country (Statistics

scope of Canadas extraordinary Household Survey (NHS)

national diversity

Canada, 2013c).

Canadian arrival markin

was evident in the 2011 National

themselves as visible

Thanks to unprecedented


Canada, 2011).

minorities (Statis-

levels of immigration,

(Saunders, 2010), 13 ethnic

Canada (Statistics



when more than 20% of the population reported being for-

eign born and 19.1% of Canadians identified tics

Canada, 2011).

especially in

groups surpassed the 1 million

As new immigrants

arrive in

countries and asthe number of people who identify

and ethnic groups grows, ethnic diversity in sport is one of the


with diverse racial

many parts of social life

that is changing.

Diversity Theories Withthe passing of the


Act of 1988, Canada officially declared its sup-

port for cultural freedom of minority peoples. The term cultural pluralism, first introduced in 1915 by Horace Kallen, refers to the approach our country takes with regard to receiving and welcoming immigrants. It

meansthat in

Canada, wesupport newcomers in pre-

serving their cultural identity if they choose to do so (Glazer, 1970). Our approach differs from that of our neighbours to the south. In the United States,immigrants are expected to shed their unique cultural practices, adopt new ones based on the values and beliefs of the host country, and as a result of this process of assimilation contribute toward building a better nation. Thissecond approach is commonly referred to asthe meltingpot perspective (Glazer, 1970). Cultural pluralism, on the other hand, recognizes that for ers meaningful experience incorporates stubborn ence, and is


many newcom-

chunks of cultural practice and prefer-

a chowder than a melting pot (Bhabha,

1994, p. 219). Some

aspects of life, of course, do change with immersion in the host culture. But other cultural chunks

remain intact and provide the basis on which some minority people create cul-

tures in between that ofthe dominant majorityandthe cultures known to the migrants in their homeland (Bhabha, 1994; Hollingshead, 1998).

Asa result of our legislation, Canadiansofficially support physical cultural practices like sport, dance, music, and religious expressions that are meaningful to people of all

minority cultural groupsand are meaningfulto the experienceofleisure. However,Claude Denis (1997) challenges this description of Canada,instead labelling it a whitestream

society becauseit hasbeen primarilystructured onthe basisof Europeanwhite experiences. In keeping with Deniss hegemonic framing of the nature of ethnic and race relations in



Canada,academics and practitioners have only recently begun to explore the meaning of leisure from the perspective of immigrant

groups, as well asethnic

minority physical activ-

ity practices and the challenges they face related to discrimination, encefrom dominant group Canadiansin


In spite of Canadas policy of multiculturalism, tify asracial and ethnic


and those whoiden-

minority people strive to take on characteristics of their host cul-

ture to improve the likelihood immigrants

racism, and indiffer-

that they will fit in.

Assimilationis the term used when

adopt the culture of the dominant group (Li, 1990). The underlying assump-

tion of assimilation theory is that ethnically

distinct cultural traditions are detrimental to

ones ability to fit in and that it is not desirable to be different.

This assimilationist

approach, which reproduces existing hegemonic social relations, is problematic becauseit normalizes mainstream cultural practices asthe appropriate new immigrant

groups arrive in placeslike

behaviour for all. As well, as

Canada,looking and sounding different from

dominant groups, it is not always possible to fit in and become like the majority since race, culture, and behavioural diversity sets newcomers apart. In our discussion, dominant refers to those people in Canada who hold the power to make decisions and to exert control over others. Terminology usedin this discussion is worth explanation. when referring to people whoidentify

Weusethe word minority

with non-European-white

groups and individuals.

Werealize the problematic nature of this term, since mostthe worlds population is nonEuropean-white. terms like

However, in Canada mostpeople identify

as European-white, and since

minority racial and ethnic groups tend to be commonly usedin Canada we con-

tinue to usethese terms. In trying to understand the behaviour of ethnic relied primarily

on two theoretical

minority people, researchers have

perspectives: marginality theory and ethnicity theory.

Marginality theory suggests that the differences in participation

in dominant cultural

activities are due to the poverty experienced by many minority racial and ethnic people, which is a function

of the discrimination

they face in accessing training and education as

well asjobs. Therefore, under-participation their

in activities like sport is thought to be due to

marginalization in society. This perspective helps explain why some minority group

Canadians do not choose the same sports asthe dominant it falls short

when applied to those immigrants

and ethnic

poor and who have somewhat different sport participation Canadians who play field

majority population.


minority people who are not patterns, such as South Asian

hockey, cricket, and other sports that are not popular among

dominant group Canadians but are growing in popularity among people whoidentify Canadas ethnic

populations (Tirone


& Pedlar, 2000). For example, the popularity of

cricket is on the rise across Canada,and in 2012 Cricket Canadais reported to have proposedthat a cricket stadium be built in Toronto (Macleans, 2012).

Ethnicity theory is basedon Washburnes(1978) thesis that differencesin leisure between dominant and minority populations arethe result of variations in the valuesystems

andsocial normsofthe minoritygroups.Thisapproachsuggests that ethnic subgroupsinteract with dominant cultural groups for school, jobs, commerce, and when needs cannot be

met within the subgroup. However, manyethnic minority people maintaintheir distinct cultural traditions and passthem along to their children and subsequent generations. Using

this approach,researcherscomparebehaviourssuch assport participation patternsofethnic minority people to the leisure experience of dominant group members.Problematic hereis







that the leisure of the white, Eurocentric majority is held asthe norm and minority people are considered as others

for the sake of comparisons, similar to the whitestream,


monic approach mentioned earlier. This approach fails to explore the unique opportunities for leisure evident in

minority cultural groups asa result of their cultural heritage.

Wehavefound that whitestream sport is a useful concept for analyzing race and ethnic relations in Canadiansport becauseit emphasizesthat the existing hegemonic sport systemis primarily structured by and mosteffective for individuals values. Additionally, to

who align with white, European

marginality theory identifies that poverty plays a role in limiting


mainstreamsport for some minority ethnic groups. Finally, ethnicity theory emphasizes

that the differing value systems of immigrant

Canadians can lead to different preferencesfor

sport or different waysof organizing and playing mainstreamsports. The pattern of immigration trends in Canada helps to explain how whitestream Canadiansociety hasbeen created, and also how it is challenged byincreasingly diverse minority group Canadians.



In the early part of the 20th century, commercial growth and development better life than

Canadas economic, industrial,

what wasavailable in their countries of origin.

large wave of immigrants from changes to immigration

to the

Canadarecruited its first

Great Britain, Europe, and the

United States. However,

to west

New waves of immigrants tended

(i.e., from former Soviet Union and Eastern bloc countries

United States, Canada, and Israel), and from countries of the south

of the north immigrants


patterns occurred in the last decades of the 20th century and first

years of the 21st century when migration flows shifted. to movefrom east


wasfuelled by many wavesof immigrants seeking a

(such asfrom South Asia to

Canada) (Chiswick

to countries

& Miller, 2002). The

of the new millennium often look and sound different from the dominant

groups, and their distinctiveness in terms of skin colour, language, clothing, religion, and other cultural practices has often resulted in their


To learn the language skills necessaryfor job attainment belonging, immigrant

groups mayinitially

and to achieve a sense of

cluster into concentrated areas of similar immi-

grants or ethnic enclaves. Herethey find important sources of social support, whether that bein employment opportunities, leisure such assport participation, (Chiswick

education, or shelter

& Miller, 2002; Rosenberg, 2003). Ethnic enclaves and institutionally

plete ethnic communities have been well established in ity group settlers arrived here (Breton, levels of institutional



Canadasince the earliest minor-

Communities considered to have high

completeness are those in which a range of social supports and rel-

evant services are available to minority people, and often these are delivered within wellestablished ethnic enclaves. This is what happened in the case of early Jewish, Italian, and

Germanimmigrants whoformed small communities or enclavesin some ofthe major Canadian cities.

Within the enclaves, people wereable to accessculturally and ethnically

relevant social services,familiar food, and familiar religious and cultural traditions, all delivered in the language of their homeland and by people with common ethnic roots. For

example,late 19th- and early 20th-century Jewishimmigrants to Torontosettled primarily in the district known as St. Johns

Ward, where they experienced abysmal housing

conditions but hadthe benefit ofsocial supportssuch aslanguage,religion, food, music, and other cultural goodsthat werefamiliar to them and which facilitated their settlement



(Rosenberg, 2003). Sport organizations operated by ethnic community vided youth important

opportunities for affirming

associations pro-

membership within their own ethnic

group and for drawing together people from diverse ethnic groups around common sport interests (Rosenberg, 2003). friends and family

Those who enter a host community

membersfrom their country of origin

without the help of

mayfind they have no alternative

but to try to assimilate quickly into the dominant society, although that processis likely to be extraordinarily

challenging (Chiswick

& Miller, 2002).

Wenote that among second- and third-generation bethe same degree of interest in living

immigrants there does not seem to

within an enclave. This may be attributed to the

high level of educational accomplishments of the children of manygroups ofimmigrants, which is particularly evident in studies of children of immigrants from

China, South Asia,

and other Asian groups. However, difficulties in achieving job mobility are evident among Afro-Caribbean blacks and some other minorities relative to their educational achievements(Reitz, Zhang, & Hawkins, 2011). The available information who report a single ethnicity

from the 2011 census does not distinguish between those and those

who report

multiple ethnic identities,


masksour ability to clearly understand the complexity of ethnic identity in Canada. This identification

with morethan one ethnic

ity or part cultures (Bhabha, participation

minority group, sometimes referred to ashybrid-

1994), is a growing trend that

will undoubtedly affect the

of Canadiansin cultural activities and sporting events in yearsto come. For

example, Dallaires studies of youth participants in the Francophone



Ontario, and New Brunswick found that the youth tended to identify themselves as having hybrid identities

or a melange

of francophoneness and anglophoneness (Dallaire

Denis, 2005, p. 143). These youth, like the South Asian youth in study (2000), construct and reconstruct their identities,


Tirone and Pedlars

drawing upon their inherited tra-

ditions and upon the cultural traditions of the dominant group in which they are immersed for

much of their school and social lives.


youth in

Dallaires studies

participated in the same sports as are offered at the Olympics, other minority youth drew upon the traditional youth do

sports they learned from their

minority community.

As minority

sports such asfield hockey and cricket, common among youth in South Asia,

and sports like dragonboat racing and martial arts that originated


munities, dominant group youth are also ableto accessthese nontraditional

minority comsports, thereby

changing the nature of some sport participation in Canada. Not all immigrants and ethnic minoritieslike themselves alsolive.

minority people choose to live in places where other Chiswick and Miller (2002) explain the value of immer-

sion into the dominant society whereethnic

minority people gain exposure andsocial capital

necessaryfor career development and economic success. Young immigrants and children of ethnic

minority families are often immersed in or at least familiarized with dominant cultural

practicesbecause they usuallyattendschools with peersfrom a vastrange of ethnic andracial backgrounds. Schools therefore provide opportunities for learning the values and beliefs of

diversepeersandfor learning the priorities ofthe institutions with which minoritiesare expected to conform. Sportis very mucha part of the Canadianschool system;for manyeth-

nic minorityyouth,schoolis oftenthe place wherethey first encountersport participation. Immigration

trends in recent decades are quite different from those of the past 150

years. This changeis evident in datacollectedfor the 2011 census,in which 6.2 million people, or 19.1% of the national population, identified themselves as membersof a visible







minority group. This represents an increase from the 2006 census and is attributed to the large numbers of new immigrants from non-European countries. The three largest visible minority groups in Latin tics

Canada are South Asians, Chinese, and blacks, followed

by Filipinos,

Americans, Arabs, South East Asians, West Asians, Koreans, and Japanese (StatisCanada, 2013c).

immersed in

As more and

more newcomers and visible

Canadian society, their sport traditions

minorities become

and preferences will likely continue

to have an impact on how sport is experienced in this country.

Ethnic Minority People and Sport in Canada Since many of the early 20th-century

white settler groups were not British or French, they

brought with them a number of sports that were not familiar to dominant group Canadians as part of their distinct traditional and people from the former to Canada after

cultural practices. For example, Estonians, Finlanders,


modern and rhythmic


World WarII, and Southeast Asians have madepopular a number of their

traditional sports such astai chi and karate (Burnet

& Palmer, 1988). In those early days,

sports clubs and teams weresponsored bysome ethnic communities and churches to engage the youth of the community in

meaningful activity and to shelter participants from dis-

criminatory practices of dominant sport andrecreation associations (Kidd, 1996b; McBride, 1975). Exclusionary practices of dominant group sports associations gave rise to sports teams and clubs sponsored by workers movements and political organizations whose membership wascomposed of minority ethnic

workers. Theseincluded sports teams supported

by Canadian communists in the 1920s and 1930s (Kidd, 1996b). Ethnic sport associations remain a valued part of institutionally ethnic communities.

These associations provide important




for youth to

experience sport and leisure activities similar to those of dominant group peers within organizations that their parents support. In a study of children of immigrants from South Asia, Tirone and Pedlar (2000) learned that during school years prior to university, South Asian clubs and associations were an important

venue for sport and physical activity for

many of the youth. Several participants in that longitudinal

study, which beganin 1996,

described how they and their families participated in sports such as badminton and volleyball

with other South Asianfamilies

use by their group (Tirone

who rented public gymnasia space exclusively for

& Pedlar, 2000). Stodolska and Jackson (1998) describe a

similar pattern of sports provision and participation in Polish Canadian ethnic clubs. Sport and recreation participation is beneficial for new immigrant opportunities for social integration

youth, providing

with other youth in their neighbourhoods. It is the

source of both embedded and autonomous social capital. Embeddedsocial capital refers to the connection between people based on trust and common values, which serves to unite

people within an enclave or ethnic group. Autonomoussocialcapitalis the trust andrespect that can develop between people of diverse backgrounds and that leads to opportunities

for peoplefrom an enclave to interact outside oftheir homogeneousgroup(Woolcock, 1998).

While high levels of embedded social capital

meanpeople within a homogeneous

group are well connectedto one another, those connections maynot provide group members with information

and connections they desireto be recognized and to prosper outside

of the enclave. Autonomoussocial capital is useful whenpeople wantto interact and be recognized for their skills and potential outside of an enclave.



There are several reasons why ethnic sport associations have continued to exist. Sports teams, music,cuisine, language, and other cultural traditions are an expression of group identity (Burnet

& Palmer, 1988). These ethnic sport organizations also provide a supportive


For example, worker sport associations and ethnic clubs provided sport and

physical activities for early immigrants

who wereridiculed and excluded from


sport associations (Kidd, 1996b). Morerecently, sport associationslike those sponsored by Canadian South Asian cultural associations provide youth with the benefits of sport participation as well as opportunities to

meetother South Asian youth their own agein competi-

tive environments their parents support (Tirone, 2000). Ethnic sport associations thus serve to protect participants from the harassmentsome people experience in mainstreamsport. The popularity of ethnic sports is no moreevident than in the sport of soccer. Harney (cited in Burnet & Palmer, 1988) describes participation of ethnic groupsin soccer in Toronto in the 1970s. His account describesthe 78 teams in the Toronto District Soccer Leagueat that time,

morethan three-quarters of which displayed ethnic emblems orthe names of vari-

ous countries asteam names,such as First Portuguese, Croatia, Serbia White Eagle, Hungaria, and Heidelberg.In the winter of 20052006, this multicultural approach waslinked to hockey for the first time.

An inaugural

Canadian Multicultural

Hockey Championship washeld,

where 16 teams of Toronto-area players competed for their home country, such as Russia, Finland, Serbia, Japan, China, Korea, Native Canadians, Poland, Greece, and Italy.


tournament launched the new Toronto-based Canadian Multicultural Hockey League(Lewi, 2006). Participation hasgrown overthe yearsto the point wherethere werethree divisions in the 20132014 championship tournament:

Culture Cup(women),

Heritage,and Premier.

Early ethnic sport associations have, historically, valued competitive successas well as positive groupidentity. Ethnic sports teams that displayed ethnic insignia often recruited players basedon ability and not ethnicity. Seekingthe mostskilled players,ethnic sports clubs often accepted players of diverse ethnic backgroundsas

wasthe case when Finnish Canadians,

recognizedfor their skills, wereencouraged to take up Canadiansports (Kidd, 1996b). Ethnic minority athletes have been and continue to be a source of pride for their ethnic group. Participation in sports by ethnic minority athletes providesthem with opportunities to engage in and experiencethe values of other cultures,including those of dominant group members.

Ethnicity, Poverty, and Accessto Sport Whilefew Canadians would argue against the health and social benefits of mostsport participation, especially for children, we have not been ableto ensure the participation of all children in healthy physical activity and sport. Poverty haslong been known to prevent many Canadian youth from participating in organized sports, and often children in poor families havelittle

or no accessto unorganized sports and recreation (Frisby et al., 2005;

White &

McTeer,2012). Recentimmigrants experiencepoverty at higherratesthan Canadian-born workers, and the wagegap between these two groups in the years between 1980 and 2005

increasedsteadily(Statistics Canada,2009).In 2003,80% of newimmigrants reported that they found


Canada during the first two years of residency in this country, but only

42% ofthem found workin the fields in whichthey hadtrained, and manyofthese people work at jobs that provide little

morethan subsistence wages(Statistics

Canada, 2003). A

studyof povertyamong Torontoniansindicatesone-thirdoftheimmigrantfamiliesin Toronto in 2001 lived in higher-poverty neighbourhoods, and that number represents an increase of







400% between 1981 and 2001 (United

Wayof Greater Toronto, 2004). The same study

reports that visible minorities wereeight times morelikely to live in poverty than they werein 1981. Farfewer children in low-income families participate in sport compared with children in high-income families (Frisby et al., 2005). Ethnic minority youth in low-income families can also face additional limitations

because of parental priorities that emphasize academic

pursuits and discourage participation in sports (Rosenberg, 2003; Tirone & Pedlar, 2000).

Discrimination Another barrier to sport participation that affects some ethnic crimination,

minority Canadiansis dis-

both situational and systemic. In a study of leisure and recreation of teenagers

who werethe children of South Asianimmigrants, racism and indifference

were noted as

reasons whysome youth stopped participating in sports (Tirone, 2000). That group explained how, when faced with overt racism or situations in which they were criticized or ridiculed because of skin colour, clothing,

or religious practices, no one in a position of authority

attempted to intervene in the situation. In another study of new immigrants to the Halifax area, a young university student who emigrated from the

Middle East explained that hefelt

discrimination played a part in why he wasnot able to play soccer for his high school team. He had been an accomplished soccer player in his homeland prior to emigration, and when he arrived in

Halifax as a high school student he attempted to try out for the school soccer

team but wastold that all positions werefilled and he wasnot given a chance to demonstrate

Box 5.1

immigrants New immigrants diverse

and other









and healthy lifestyles.


and their




of sport




a study in


as part

of their

and a sense


cases as a source


be professional






of immi-



as a

For Lori immi-

for those








& Smith,

Miller, 2010).





to explore


that to

facilitate source



in this






an understanding





Sport for


with and to introduce



that young people who develop where they interact

well positioned

which they

Sport is an ideal



Asian friends.

in situations

civic roles in




people of many different cultures, religions,



was evident

of exclusion

the traditional



be a tremendous


of comfort






they identify

to their



as we explain



and Bangladesh


while it is the

may also

cultures. &

as they

and leisure

the ethnic




ple of varying

and in

who immigrate Tirone,

has the

a level



and tremendous

For the


groups engage in

means to




study of leisure in the lives of children


Asians encountered


and elite-level sports

in their

of income



was evident that immigrants

of belonging



or French, their


diverse ethnic, racial, and religious



with co-researcher


and coaching. In that study it



of immigrants.

grants who are involved in recreation from



she conducted

Halifax in






Susan Tirones illustrate

of immigrants




Tirones longitudinal



meet their

and practise that


benefit in



to learn activity

who identify


and recreation

and recreation


peers at school, to


and religious

in sport, leisure,

For example, newly

and Sport


which young

of and appreciation Tirone


will need to interact

venue in

& Pedlar,


and with peo-


and across

people for



his skills. Hesatisfied hislove for the game by volunteering asa coach for youth soccer, and upon entering university wasrecruited to play varsity soccer (Tirone, 2005). Ethnic identity

hasthus shaped and been shaped by sport participation in


While participants from diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds can benefit from their involvement

in sport, leisure, and recreation (see Box 5.1), barriers to sport participation

based on ethnic identity

are often compounded byracism. The next section explores ways

that racial identity shapes and has beenshaped bysport participation.

racE and Sport in canada The Concept of Race Unlike the concept of ethnicity, raceis a term usedto establish socially constructed distinctions between groups of people based on their genetic heritage. These distinctions, by skin colour, take on social significance

because of differences assigned to


members of

these groups. For example, we could look at a group of people and assumethat some are white, black, Aboriginal, or Asian. It is, however, the belief that the colour of their skin indicates immutable differences between them that in our society.

makesrace a socially significant category

We mightlook to white people for leadership, black peoplefor athletic talent,

Aboriginal peoplesfor environmental guidance, and Asian Canadiansfor academic excellence.

By assuming that race automatically gives individuals

an advantage in some areas

moreso than others, weare reproducing race-based understandings of human behaviour. Skin colour hastaken on social meaningsin ilege white people over others. createdcommonly

North America that hegemonically priv-

A hierarchy of privilege/discrimination

has thus been

referred to asracism. CarlJames explains it this way:

Racism.. . is an uncritical acceptanceof a negativesocial definition of a groupidentified by physicalfeatures such asskin colour. Peoplejustify their racist attitudes and perceptionsby associatingperceiveddifferencesbetweengroups with the presence(or absence)of certain biological characteristicsandsocial abilities. (James,1996,p. 26) Racial classification systems and ideas about race emerged in the 16th and 17th centuries while Europeans wereexploring and claiming imperial dominion over different parts of the world. Asthey encountered people who appeared and acted differently, these strangers were placedin an evolutionary werejudged to be the

hierarchy. Those mostsimilar to the European explorers

most evolved and civilized, and whiteness became the norm by

which others werejudged.

The exploitation

of people from other races

hegemonically justified on the basis of their presumedinferiority

thus became

relative to Europeans.

Social Darwinism extended Charles Darwins theory of natural selection into the social

realm. Thistheory provided Britishand Americansocialtheorists with ascientific tool for determining the superiority ofsome races over others, and thus with ajustification for endors-

ing racialinequality (Booth & Tatz,2000). The presenceofslaveryin Canada,beginningin 1628 (Spence, 1999), and the colonization andlegislative regulation of First Nations within

North Americareinforcedthe subservientposition of blacksand Aboriginalpeoplesrelative to Canadians of European descentin similar ways. This race logic eventually becameinstitu-

tionalized as aracialideologyinvolving skin colour with othertraits including intelligence, character, and physical characteristics and skills (Coakley


& Donnelly, 2009, p. 262).







by race is not, however, a straightforward

process. What did it take,

for example, for someone to be considered white, black, Aboriginal, or Asian, and what were the consequences? The social constructedness

of this process can be seen in the

waysthat race was defined for and applied to different groups in historically, just one they

drop of black blood identified

Canada. For example,


as black, even though

may have had white ancestors. This waseven put into legislation in some cases. For

example, in

Virginia in 1924 the

Racial Integrity

of negro blood . . . it cannot be counted as white.

Act said that if a child has one drop (Trembanis,

2008, note 7, p. 283)

In contrast to this, the British North America Act, which constituted Canadaasa country in 1867,identified Indians eral jurisdiction.


as arace apart from other Canadiansand placed them underfedAct of 1876, which controlled almost everyfeature of Aboriginal

social life, served to separatethem further from other Canadianson the basis of race. Treaties werethe third factor regulating

Aboriginal life.

Aboriginal peoples hadan uncivilized

Hereagain, the underlying premise wasthat

nature that mustbe altered beforethey could enjoyfull

civil rights. Everyday practices,like performing traditional

dances, wereoutlawed. It


until 1960 that First Nations, asarace, could votefederally in Canada(Paraschak, 1997). Chinese migrants weretreated differently yet again. They wereforced to pay a head tax to enter Canada beginning in 1885, and in 1902 a Royal Commission on Chinese and JapaneseImmigration

concluded that

Asians wereunfit

for full citizenship . . . obnoxious

to a free community and dangerous to the state (Wickberg, EastIndian

In contrast to these examples, being white in relatively

1988, p. 416). Chinese and

Canadians were not given the right to vote until 1947. unmarked.

North American society hasremained

White people rarely have to think

of themselves in racial terms

they are privileged by race. They have accessto opportunities in society without having to worry that their race will be a barrier. However, they

maybe treated differently because of

their ethnic background. For example, on Hockey Nightin Canada Don Cherry often comments on the differences amongand Francophone, ered white Tiger



hockey players who are

Anglophone, or European, even though all these athletes would be consid-

by race (Langford, 2004). Woods,a prominent professional golfer of mixed black, Asian, Aboriginal, and

white heritage, brought the complexity of defining individuals

by race to public notice in

1997. After hissuccessfulfirst year on the tour, and his win at the

Masters Tournament spe-

cifically, the pressheralded him asasuccessful black golfer. Tiger, however, eventually clarified publicly that he had developed a different racial description for himself asa youth, basedon his actual background. Hecalled himself a Cablinasian,to reflect his CAucasian, BLack, INdian, and ASIAN genetic heritage. In this way, he highlighted two important points: Raciallabels can be assignedto people without those labels being accurate, and the wayindividuals view themselves maybe quite different from the racial category assignedto them by others.

Racial Patterns in Canadian Sport Canada has an early history of discrimination

by race in amateur sport. Cosentino (1998)

arguesthat while classformed the basis of amateurismin England,in

Canadarace also

became a powerful definer of who could compete. This wasevident asearly as 1835, when

blackjockeys werebannedfrom competing atthe NiagaraTurf Club. Thefirst bigregattain Nova Scotia, in 1826, offered prizes for first and second class boats and a canoe race for



Indians . . . which wasconsidered the mostentertaining . . . [and] remained part of the Nova Scotian scene until at least 1896 (Young, 1988, pp. 8788). In 1880, Aboriginal players wereexcluded from competing in amateur competitions for lacrossea natedin

Aboriginal culture!

gamethat had origi-

Aspecial league for black hockey playerstitled The

Hockey League wasformed in


Halifaxin 1900, becoming the seventh league in that city

and the first one overtly defined by race (Young, 1988, p. 31). Aslate as 1913,the Amateur Athletic

Association of Canada opted to ban blacksfrom competing in Canadian amateur

boxing championships, since Competition

of whites and coloured menis not working out

to the increased growth of sport (Amateur

Athletic Union of Canada, quoted in Cosentino,

1998, p. 13). Even the first definition of an amateur in

Canada,created by the

Pedestrian Clubin 1873, noted that no labourer or Indian


could be given that designation.

This pattern of exclusion by race is discussed by Robert Pitter (2006) in relation to hockey, which he sees as part of broader systemic racism in Canadian sport. He details the long history of both Aboriginal and black participants in hockey, along with the delay of their entrance into the National Hockey League(NHL)

until 1953 for Aboriginals, when

player Fred Sasakamoosejoined the league, and 1958 for black players, when Willie ORee joined.

Racisttreatment followed these athletes into the NHL as well. Aboriginal


depict a Canadian hockey subculture in which racist behaviours are endemic, ranging from routine use of the nickname Chief

to pointedly demeaning and hostile treatment


2006, p. 130). Black players also faced racial taunts and actions within hockey. For example, P. K. Subban of the

Montreal Canadiens, whois black, wasthe target of racist tweets

on social mediaafter hescored the winning overtime goal against the Boston Bruins in the 2014 playoffs (Associated

Press,2014). Other players, like

Herb Carnegie (19192012),

weresimply banned from playing in the NHL because of the colour of their skin. The racist

mistreatment and exclusion of people of colour from sport can be under-

stood, in part, as ethnocentric monic expectations within are naturalized asthe norm,

distortion (Paraschak, 1989), which further extends hege-

Canadian sport by race.

When whitestream cultural practices

select sporting practices of individuals

become reframed by

those in positions of power as different, less desired, and thus not worthy of support. Aboriginal athlete Tom Longboat, for example, wasone of Canadas mostsuccessful marathoners in the decade prior to

World WarI.

Despite his manysuccesses, he wasaccused

by his managersand in the

mediaof not training consistently or rigorously enough. Bruce

Kidd (1983) ably identifies

and debunks the ethnocentric

bias embedded in those com-

ments. Heanalyzes Longboats training regimen and shows that it not inferior to, common training In a similar

practices of that time period.

manner, a government review of the Native Sport and Recreation Pro-

gram in 1977, five years after its inception, including

wasdifferent from, but





Aboriginal recreation organizersfor

While occasional nonsport activities such

as pow wows, musicfestivals and native cultural traditions workshops (Paraschak, 1995, p. 4) occurred, the vast majority of activities

were Euro-Canadian in orientation


offered within an all-Aboriginal context. Thus,it is likely that the concerns of government wereprimarily based on the structure adopted for sport competitions rather than the

activities played (Paraschak,1995, p. 5). The non-whitestreamstructuring of such activities, along with the refusal by the National Indian Sports Council to assimilate

into the

National Sportand Recreation Centre,undercutthis programslegitimacy within whitestream Sport Canada expectations becausethese actions did not align with Eurocentric







expectations tied to sport. In effect, the actions of Aboriginal organizers weredistorted by Euro-Canadian bureaucrats whosuggested that their activities they did not fit

were not legitimate


within whitestream, Eurocentric understandings of sport.

Despitethe presenceof these racist underpinnings in sport, Canada hasalso been a country where black athletes have, at times, found acceptance morereadily than in the States.Jackie Robinson broke the longstanding colour barrier in


Major League Baseball by

playing for the Brooklyn Dodgersin 1947. However, the president of the Dodgers, Branch Rickey, actually signed Robinsonin

October 1945 to play professionallyfor the minorleague

Montreal Royals. While Robinson playedfor racism during gamesin the United States.In

Montrealthat first year, he experienced intense Montreal, however, he had great fan support:

Robinsons play made him a beloved sports figure in

Montreal. Children hounded him

for autographs, while adults poured into the ballpark to see him steal bases and score runs. Asa Montreal sportswriter it waslove at first sight.

Three decadeslater, quarterback in this point in

noted, For Jackie Robinson and the city of Montreal,

(Scott, 1987, p. 37)

Warren Moon wasable to play professional football

Canada when that opportunity National Football

League (NFL)

as a black

was not available in the United States. At history, there had only been three black

quarterbacks in the starting role: Fritz Pollard (1920), James Harris(19691977), Gilliam (1974) (Burnaby

Now, 2013). Researchers(e.g., Best, 1987; Leonard, 1987) have

demonstrated in a number of sports, including

professional football, that during this time

decision makersappeared, in accordance with racist ideological segregating or stacking supposedly natural

and Joe

blacks in the athletic running

positions because they

athletes, while only whites werestacked

tions, such as quarterback,

beliefs, to be positionally

centre, and middle linebacker,


in central, leadership posisimply

because they


assumedto have the ability andintellect to fill such positions. Warren Moons treatment

by the

NFL aligned with this racist belief.

After being

selectedasthe 1978 RoseBowl MostValuablePlayerin hisrole asquarterback, Moon was completely overlooked by the

NFLin its 1978 US college draft. As a result, he came to

play with the Edmonton Eskimosin the CanadianFootball Leagueand wonfive Grey Cups with them. In 1984 he became the highest-paid player in football

the Houston Oilersof the National Football League(Mullick, became the first black quarterback inducted into the Pro Football

when hejoined

2002), and in 2006 he Hall of Fame.

Theseexamplesdemonstratedifferent waysthat race has been givensocial meaning in Canadian sport. Such meaningsare indicative

of broader societal race relations. Frideres

(1988), writing on racismin Canadiansociety, notedthat Racism in Canadafrom 1800 to 1945 wasreflected in restrictive immigration immigrants,

particularly the

policies and practices regarding non-white

Chinese, Blacks and Jews, and by the treatment

of native

peoples (p. 1816). Racist sport practices during this time period would thus have reinforced and been shaped by broader understandings of race. Canadian attempts to address racial inequity through legislation coalesced in the 1982 Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, where equality rights in the public domain wereentrenched in Section 15: Equality Rights 15.(1) Everyindividual is equal beforeand underthe law and hasthe right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular,



without discrimination

based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex,

ageor mentalor physicaldisability. (2) Subsection(1) doesnot precludeanylaw, program or activity that hasasits objectthe amelioration of conditions of disadvantaged individuals or groupsincluding those that are disadvantagedbecauseof race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion,sex, age or mentalor physical disability. Human rights commissions have also provided a legal avenue for addressing racial inequities in

Canada. Participants and administrators



social construction


who wish to

makesport a more

for all can benefit by understanding the

of race and racism in sport.

Race and Ethnic Relations In society, individuals

always act in relation to others. The possibilities within which we

live are thus formed through the social relations

that exist between individuals

groups. Through social relations, rules are (re)produced concerning how things how resources can be distributed.

Theythus become power relations,


work and

becausethose rules

always provide for or privilege some people over others. Race and ethnic relations are a particular type of power relationthey ity.

As noted in

privilege individuals

Chapter 1, power is the

on the basis of race or ethnic-

capacity of a person or group of persons to

employ resources of different types in order to secure outcomes (Gruneau, 1988, p. 22).

RayaneBenattiis a 9-year-old Quebec girl sent off the pitchin Gatineaufor wearing a hijab in July 2012. She wastold that she could not playin the tournament at alocal park because her headscarf wasa safety hazard. Bruno




by permission.







It wasalso noted that there are three

measuresof power in sport: the ability to structure

sport, to establish sport traditions, and to define legitimate

meaningsand practices associ-

ated with dominant sport practices. These measuresof power, differently shaped byrace and at times by ethnicity,

can be seen when looking

structured sporting opportunities such asall-Aboriginal

at mainstream sport and at racesport competitions.

Whitestream Sport As was mentioned earlier, Claude Denis(1997) usesthe term whitestreamsocietyto indicate that Canadiansociety, while principally structured on the basisof the European,white, rience, is far from being simply white


in socio-demographic, economic and cultural terms

(p. 13). Extending his term, the rules of mainstream,or whitestream,

sport have been pri-

marilyshaped byindividuals of white European heritagein waysthat privilege their traditions, practices, meanings,and sport structures. This is an example of institutionalized racism, since the structure of the system,if followed, those who are not whiteit Differential treatment

will always produce outcomes that discriminate against

will privilege white people of European heritage over others. ofindividuals

by race has occurred in whitestream sport in vari-

ous ways.For example, the ability of George Beersin 1860 to create and then institutionalize lacrosse rules in a mannerthat he found

meaningful, as opposedto the waysthe game

wasplayed by Aboriginal Canadians, demonstrates his privilege by race over the originators of the game of lacrosse (Cosentino, 1998, p. 15). As well, during this time period black and Aboriginal athletes werebanned from competing against white Canadiansin a wide variety of sports. If they did compete, descriptors such asIndian

or coloured

wereadded after

their nameto indicate that they weredifferent from, and subservient to, white competitors. Whenovert discrimination

waseliminated in sport, other moresubtle forms of racism

remained. The organization of sport privileged those activities that national competitions, including


were played in inter-

Olympics and world championships.

The federal

government criteria for funding sports reflected this; physical activities that fell outside the whitestream model were not seen aslegitimate example, the

and were denied federal funding.

tional gamesfestivals in the Northwest Territories since 1970, wasinformed 1977 that their federal sport funding Games activities, legitimate


Northern Games Society, which has organized yearly Inuit and Denetradi-


pointed out that the

Aboriginal cultures, were not deemed to be

according to the parameters of the funding agency. Aboriginal organiz-

ers argued that their traditional defining legitimate

would be stopped. The letter

which had their origin in

byletter in


werealso sports, but they hadless power over

sports, and thus lost their funding (Paraschak, 1997).

Another drawback to whitestream sport in Canadais the sense of discomfort that is experienced by many marginalized peoples in

mainstream sport experiences. Both indi-

vidual andinstitutionalized racismin hockey weredetailedin a 1991 TSN documentary, Hockey: A White Mans Game?Ted Nolan, an Aboriginal NHL player, spoke of the racism

hefaced from his teammates as a teenager and the isolation hefelt as a result. Other Aboriginal players spoke about the racial slurs they endured while playing. Andthey spoke

aboutthe structure of hockeyin Canada,whichtook them far awayfrom their families and support systems, and how that structure

madeit more difficult for them to succeed in light

oftheir own cultural practices.Since Aboriginal players werenot ableto structuresport in preferred ways,they found it difficult to feel part of or to succeed in professional hockey.



Robidoux (2012) extends and updates this analysis through his examination

of First

Nations mens hockey in Canada. He explores disruptions in hockey practices that point to border thinking,

which entails the perceptions formed byindividuals

ders between mainstream and culturally waysthat

distinct local

along the bor-

practices. Robidoux documents

Aboriginal cultural values are being proactively expressed through

First Nations settings under Aboriginal control, rather than

hockey in

merely reproducing


Canadian understandings of the sport, supporting his argument that hockey is a key site for cultural enunciation,

not cultural capitulation.

(p. 5) Pitter (2006), in his discussion

of Aboriginal and black hockey playersin and outside of the NHL, affirms that we need to reassert the accomplishments of non-whites in hockey, as well asthe obstaclesthey have had to struggle against (p. 135) to address the current distortion in our knowledge about the history of hockey in

Canada. This includes

who are one of the largest visible minorities in NHL. He does mention the few

non-white groups such asthe


Canada yet are largely absent from the

Asian players who have played in the

Larry Kwong, who played one game in 1948 for the

NHL, including

New York Rangers, as well as more

recent athletes such as Paul Kariya, Jamie Storr, and Manny Malhotra. MaryLouise Adams(2006) points out one waythat successful black hockey players are madeinvisible in terms of race. She writes about how, in the 2004 Stanley Cupfinals, Jarome Iginla, the black team captain of the Calgary Flames, wasprofiled in the Mail with a photo headlined Canadas here was an opportunity to shift

Captain, Canadas Team.


Adams points out that

hockeys limited racial narratives and, by association,

maybeshift notions of Canadiannessalittle bit too (p. 75) by acknowledging the waysthat Canadas

Captain, being black, represents the changing face of an increasingly


tural country. Yetthe newspaper article madeno reference to race, except for a comment in the sidebar by Iginla about having grown up asthe only black hockey player on histeam. This newspaperarticle thus reinforced, she argued, that hockey contributes to whitenessin the Canadianimaginary: [T]he

neglect of race seems naively hopeful, reflecting the beliefs

that race doesnt matterin sports meritocracy, that race is not an important (Adams, 2006, p. 75). This approach to erasing visible


minorities contributions,


could otherwise generate a more multicultural understanding of the sporting landscape in Canada,aligns uncomfortably with the waythat BenJohnson wasportrayed in the mediaas an outstanding Canadian athlete when he won gold atthe 1984 Olympics, yet wasreframed as aJamaican Canadian once he wasfound to havetaken steroids and stripped of his medal. Another reason sport is the tradition

why some

Aboriginal people feel uncomfortable in

of using Indian

mascotsfor sports teams. Thisissue is laid out clearly

in a 1997 documentary on American Indian

mascotsin sport titled In

(Rosenstein, 1997). Through looking at one casestudyChief the

University of Illinoisthe

reotypic Indian



Whose Honor? the mascotfor

documentary points out the devastating impact this ste-

mascothad on Aboriginal children and the efforts required to try to

eliminate it. Relevant to our discussion on whitestream sport are the accounts of how the

Indian mascotwascreated by whitestudents atthe university, howthe actions of Chief Illiniwek

are portrayed asauthentic

even though they are constructed bythe performer

and often degrade Nativetraditions, andthe comments by white alumni and administrators about the importance

of the Chief as part of their


ing legal efforts by anti-mascot protestersto have the trademark protection

were bolstered by a letter

Morerecently, ongo-

Washington Redskinslose its

from 10 membersof [the





United States]



Congresswho wantthe namechangedbecauseit is offensiveto many Native Americans (Canadian Press,2013). However,this letter wasunable to sway NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, whofeels the teams nameis a unifying force that standsfor strength, courage, pride and respect. . . [fostering] fan pride in the teams heritage (Canadian Press,2013). Asubsequentletter, signed by 49 USsenators, wassent in May2014 urging Goodellto changethe WashingtonRedskinssname becauseit is aracist slur and the time is ripe to replaceit, thereby sending a clear message that racism and bigotry have no placein professionalsports (Windsor Star,2014, p. B5). Patternsof differentialtreatment basedonrace havebeen documentedin variousprofessionalsports. The Centrefor the Study of Sportin Societyat NortheasternUniversity (now called the Institute for Diversityand Ethicsin Sport),for example, hasprovided a Racialand GenderReport Cardsince 2001that reports on progressin the elimination of discrimination, both amongthe playersandin the administration ofsport withinthe various professionaland university mensand womenssportsleaguesoperatingin North America: The Racial and Gender Report Card (RGRC) is the definitive assessment of hiring practices of women and people of color in sports and sporting organizations in the positionassessed

mostofthe leading professional and amateur United States. The report considers the com-

by racial and gender makeupof

players, coaches and front


athletic department employees in our countrys leading sports organizations, including the

National Basketball Association (NBA),

League Baseball (MLB), ball Association (WNBA),

National Football League (NFL),

Major League Soccer (MLS)



Womens National Basket-

as well asin collegiate athletic departments. (Institute for

Diversity and Ethics in Sport, n.d.)

On occasion,efforts havebeentaken directly by professionalsportsleaguesto address the under-representationof minoritiesin administrative positionsin professionalsport. This under-representationis onelegacy of the racial ideology that saw peopleof colour as unfit for leadership andthinking positions. Forexample,the RooneyRule,implemented by the NFLin 2003, wasoneattempt to addressthe lack of visible minoritycoachesin the league. At that time, about 65% of players wereblack, but only about 6% of teams had minority coaches. The controversial rule stipulated that NFLteams mustinterview at least one minoritycandidatefor headcoachingandsenior managementpositions. Whilethis rule led to anincreasein minoritycoachesin the NFL,it onlyrequiredthat a minoritycandidatebe interviewed, which made it asuperficiallysymbolic action at times whenthe team managementalready knew whothey wouldbe hiring astheir next coach.In 2012,for example, no minorities werehiredto fill eight coachingandsevengeneral managerpositions. In 2014, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver wasapplaudedfor taking astrong public stance againstthe racist behaviours of Donald Sterling, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers.Sterling wasrecorded on April 25, 2014,scold[ing] his mistress for bringing AfricanAmericansto games,namely[Magic] Johnson (Jenkins, 2014, pp. 7071). NBA players, the generalpublic, andsponsorswereall outragedat hisracist comments. Silverannounced on April 29that Donald Sterling wasbannedfor life from associating with the Clippers organizationor any NBA activities. He wasalsofined $2.5 million,the maximumamount allowed underthe NBAconstitution, with thosefunds going to organizationsdedicatedto anti-discrimination and tolerance efforts. Silver addedthat he wouldalso encouragethe board of governorsto force Sterling to sell the team. Hefinished by saying, We stand



together in condemning Mr. Sterlings views. Theysimply have no placein the NBA (TMZ Sports,2014). Silversrapid and punitive actions against Sterlings racist comments and previousbehaviours werepraised widelyin the mediaasan appropriate wayto address racismin professionalsport (Jenkins, 2014). In Canadianamateursoccer,there hasrecently been controversyoverthe banning by the QuebecSoccerFederation of youth wearingturbans becausethey are unsafe. The director generalofthe provincial organization, whenaskedaboutits decision,commented that if Sikh kids wantto playsoccer while wearinga turban theres an easysolution: they can playin their own yard. . . the reasonto maintainthe banis for playersafetyreasons.. . . Whenaskedhow manyinjuries havebeenlinked to turbans[the director general] saidthere are none (Associated Press,2013). Outrage wasexpressedacrossthe country, including protests by soccer playerson oneteam whose membersall donned turbans to play. The CanadianSoccer Associationsuspendedthe QuebecFederationfor refusing to overturn this decision. The FederationInternationale de Football Association(FIFA) then addressedthe issue.In its ruling, FIFA specifically addressedCanadaand saidthat mens headcoverings werepermitted aslong asthey metsafety standardsand complied with rulessuch asbeingthe same colour as uniforms. Therule appliedin all areasand on alllevels ofthe Canadianfootball community, FIFAsaid(Peritz, 2013). The QuebecSoccer Federationsubsequentlyrevokedits decisionto align with the FIFA rule clarification. Whitestream sport,then, providesvaryingopportunitiesfor athletes dependingontheir race. This differentialtreatment can be overt, such asracial slurs that makeparticipation uncomfortablefor those groups.But discriminatorytreatment is also,at times, built into the existing system of sport. In Canada,for example,the discriminatory treatment of French Canadians in the NHL hasbeenexploredin terms ofsalary discrimination, entry discrimination, under-representationat certain positions(or stacking), and under-representationon certain teams. For example, Longley(2000) completed a study that looked at all French Canadiansplayingin English Canadaorthe United Stateson NHL teamsfrom 1943to 1998. Hisanalysisidentified an under-representationof French Canadianplayerson English Canadianversus USteams. After discounting manyother explanations, Longley provides supportfor the thesis that FrenchEnglish tensions maylead English Canadianteamsto discriminateagainstFrench Canadianplayers.Thisexplanation wasstrengthened whenthe degreeof under-representationon English Canadianteams wasshown to be greaterduring seasonswhensovereignistpolitical threatsin Quebecwerehighest. Thisresearch demonstratesthat ethnicity, as wellasrace, affectssporting opportunities. Marginalized groupshave thus hadto look elsewherefor alternativesport opportunitiesor to createsomethemselves.

Doing Race, Doing Racism Raceasasocially constructedidea becomesnaturalized(i.e., acceptedastruth) asindividuals, on a daily basis,behaveasif it weretrue. Westand Zimmerman(1991), in their discussionondoing gender, point out that this processinvolves individuals behavingin appropriately masculineor feminine ways,but it is asituated doing, carried out in the virtual or real presenceof others who are presumedto be oriented to its production (p. 14). Applyingthis concept to race, doing race means that individuals actin relation to each other in waysthat confirm their socially constructed beliefs about race. It is through the acting out,the doing ofrace on a day-by-daybasis,bothin terms of our own







race and the race we assignto others,that we maintain asociety whererace hassocial meaningand consequences. Stereotypesrigid beliefsabout the characteristics of aracial grouptake onimportance as welive or do them into existence by operating asif they weretrue. Spence (1999), in his study of black maleathletesin a Canadianhigh school, heardfrom these youth that their teachers encouragedthem athletically but not academically. Thistreatmentfits with the stereotypethat blacksas arace are athletically moreand academically less gifted than whites. Asthese athletes workedhard on athletic competenceand gained statusthrough their success,they hadlesstime to giveto academics,andthus their actions reinforced the stereotype. Allthe while,they andtheir teachers weredoing racism. This pattern wasfurthered asblack youthidentified other black youth whofocused onacademics asacting white or selling out (Spence, 1999, p. 92) Throughsuchlabelling, the youth wereundercuttingtheir peerseffortsat academicsuccess,thus further reproducingthe stereotypethat they wereinnately racially giftedin athletics and unsuitedfor academics. Doing race can alsobe carried out in waysthat offer positiverace-connected meanings to membersof a group, providing them with aform of cultural expressionthat is uniquely their own. Majors(1990), for example,identified cool pose as a creative way that black menexpresstheir masculinityin asociety whereopportunities arelimited and racismis institutionalized. Wilson(1999) describesthe expressionof cool posein sport: Sport, particularly the dominant

basketball, are sites where young Black malessymbolically

White group and create [a positive race-connected] identity

ing both a flamboyant

on-court language (now popularly known as trash

and a repertoire of spectacular playground

movesand high-flying


by developtalking)

dunks. (p. 232)

Whilethis wayof doing race wasinitially generatedby black maleyouth, Wilson alsodiscusseswaysthat this style hasbeenincorporated bysport marketers to sellto a mass audience,andin particular to sellthe Toronto Raptorsbasketballteam. Theseadvertising messages, heargues,undercutthe resistantsymbolic message that cool poseprovidesblack males,while potentially reinforcing stereotypic black maleimagesto Canadianaudiences. In this instance, sport marketersweredoing racism.

Race-Structured Sport Systems Opportunitiesfor sport createdby andfor racial groupsoutside mainstreamsociety havea long historyin Canada. WhenAboriginal or black athletes werebannedfrom whitestream sports,they often countered withthe creation oftheir ownleaguesand competitions,limited to participantsfrom aspecifiedracial background.This provided organizerswiththe opportunity to assigntheir own meaning to sport andto developtraditionsin keeping with Aboriginal, black, or Asiancultural understandings.Andit createdopportunitiesfor marginalized groupsto playsports whenthey did not havethat chancein the mainstream sport system. An example of arace-structuredsporting event wouldbethe North AmericanIndigenous Games, first heldin 1990in Edmonton. Theseinternational Games,restricted to those of verifiable Aboriginal ancestry,stress fun and participation while encouraging our youth to strive for excellence (Aboriginal Sports/Recreation Association of BC, 1995). The Gamesinclude only mainstreamsports, becausethe intent is to providea



stepping-stone to national- and international-level cultural program showcases various traditional in

sport competitions;

however, the

games and dances as well. The 2002 Games

Winnipeg had morethan 6,000 participants celebrating

Aboriginal culture as well as

competing in sporting events organized by Aboriginal sports organizations. have been held at sites in

Canada (five times) and the

The Games

United States (two times); the

summer 2014 Gamesare scheduled for Regina, Saskatchewan. Through this event, Aboriginal sportspeople experience morepower found in the whitestream systemthey

in sport than is

are in charge of its structure, its practices and

meanings,and the traditions they will continue into the future.

Unfortunately, these race-

structured opportunities rarely qualify for the kinds offinancial and material rewards given to legitimate

whitestream sport, although the Canadian government has acknowledged

Box 5.2

a Strengths-Based Examination of aboriginal peoples physical activity practicesin canada Examinationsof Aboriginalpeoples practicesrelated to physical activityin Canada often begin by talking aboutthe problems or barriersthey face. This approachis called the deficit perspectivebecauseit keepsthe focus on whatis not working well andlooks to expertsto fix the problems. Thestrengthsbased perspective, whichcomes out of social work, counters the deficit perspectivebecauseall analysesstart bylooking at whatis being done wellthe strengths of the groupin question.

In terms


upon to further

only one resource

group so that their



government identified

nal cultural

many who

hopes for the future

One strengths-based data,

those strengths.




of physical



tied to

& Thompson,


A holistic


is carried mental,

out, stressing emotional,




This holistic



as one concept,

out sport, recreation,

2. The strong


active living,

emphasis on family






cept from recommends


creator sur-


Canadian drawing


before the

activity physical,

wheel and



all types


separating education.

and community


is originally Albert




and (Euro-

based) forms

to the




of an event, as explained

which is a unit

of all-

Indigenous practices

as prayers





of Aboriginal




as part


in the of the



or a holistic



Aboriginal 3M



a con-

Marshall, and





a two-eyed peoples



a strong



build to






can look

participants. approach,

at these

mainstream sporting

well. Incorporating sport


system Policy that

excellence value



in sport







participants the






and innovative participation

help to further



where appropriate






toward A



of non-Aboriginal

which is



and incorporate




of inclusion


these strengths into



more effective

And in


enhance the experience


on both

and in

has led







and physical



events like


of physical activity practices. 3. The third



4. Thecommitmenttoself-determinationintheirapproach

Games and to the insertion


also views rather



of the


any issue.



way physical

an integration


of the traditional

cal activity). physical




can be seen in the


and traditional

These strengths 1.

best solutions

activity, this



and research




with the

on national

and reports,


of physical


may be realized.






Resources are then identified in their environment that

can be drawn




the p. 5).

and policys

the presence of the all-Aboriginal

sport system in Canadathrough federal policy and fund-

ing, as outlined in the 2002 (but not the 2012) Canadian Sport Policy and Sport Canadas Policy on Aboriginal Peoples Participation in Sport from 2005. Peoplesometimes attach the term reverseracism to describe situations privileged individualsusually

white peopleare

basis ofrace. For example, non-Aboriginal Indigenous

Games,even though

excluded from opportunities

stream sporting events. As directed by Section 15(2) of the including

on the

people cannot compete in the North American

Aboriginal athletes can theoretically

doms, however, efforts to address the

where normally


compete in

Charter of Rights and Free-

of disadvantaged individuals

those that are disadvantaged because of race


or groups

are seen as a necessary part of

providing equality rights, becausesuch efforts are required to help correct the imbalance created by unequal privilege in the first place. This section on racism in sport has documented the individual racism present in whitestream sport in or marker

and institutionalized

Canada. Race has been, and remains, an indicator

that provides meaningin our everyday sporting practices. In order to ensure

that all Canadians, regardless of race, have opportunities to find in sport, race-structured sporting sport systemin


are currently

meaningful participation needed to ensure that the

Canada provides broadly for the needs of all Canadians. Until whitestream

sport broadens even further

and becomes truly inclusive,



opportunities should be celebrated and supported aspart of the Canadian sport system. In this

way,the institution


of sport becomes a more welcoming practice reflective

of the

meanings and traditions of all Canadians, regardless of race.

conclusions Race and ethnicity society.

are aspects of our heritage that take on social meaningin

These constructed

meanings become naturalized each time

we do

Canadian them in

accordance with the dominant beliefs around us. White people of European descent in Canada have been the mostprivileged in sport, with those from other racial backgrounds often discriminated against both overtly and through systemic racism.

Whitestream hege-

monic sport has emerged, legitimizing select activities such as Olympic sports and marginalizing other activities that do not fit opportunities

within such understandings. Segregated sporting

havelikewise emerged, enabling organizers and participants from


ized groups to structure their own experiences in sport in waysthat foster pride in their cultural

heritage, while giving the athletes opportunities to play that are not available

otherwise. Legitimizing these sporting opportunities, and the alternative ethnic practices preferred by immigrants and their descendants, takes us one step further toward creating a

sport systemthat is representative ofall individuals in Canada. Aracial incident in hockey in 2011 reminds usthat racism is still present in Canadian

sport. In September,a banana peel wasthrown onto the ice by a spectator during the shootout

after a tied preseason NHL game in



which landed


WayneSimmonds,a black hockey player originallyfrom Toronto. Simmonds wasableto score after the incident,



but said that he wasshocked: I

dont know if it had anything to do

withthe fact Im black. . . I certainly hope not. Whenyoure black you kind of expect[racist] things. Youlearn to deal with it (Canadian Press,2011). Thespectator eventually pleadedguilty and wasfined $200, but [p]olice said there wasnt enough evidence to charge him with a hatecrime, and his attorney told the court his client wasnt awarethat tossing a bananaat a black athlete could beseenasracist and hateful (Weir, 2012). In this case,one of our mostsuccessfulCanadianathletes wasinhibited from enjoying pridein his black heritageand skills becauseof racist behaviours by othersin sport. We needto reflect onincidents such asthis that still happenin Canada.To begin to resolve the issue, weneeda clear definition ofracism and discrimination that everyoneassociated withsport can understand,along with clearly articulatedideas about how everyoneshould respond whenthese things happen. Ouroutrageat such occurrenceshelpsto ensurethat weare promoting an inclusive sport systemthat enablesall individuals to foster pridein their ethnic and racial identity. Oursilence, onthe other hand,reproducesasport system where particular individualsthose who are privileged by white skin and European heritagetoo often benefit whilethe rest of Canadiansdo not. Thesocial construction of raceand ethnicity asintegral aspectsofsport, and ofleisure morebroadly, needsto berecognized if we areto find waysto decreasediscrimination basedon thesefactors. Atthe sametime, the positive waysthat our culturalidentities can beshaped by movementneedto befacilitated equallyfor all, regardlessofrace or ethnicity. As welook to othersfrom different cultural backgroundsto seehowthey know themselves through movement,we will expandthe waysthat wecan potentially know ourselves.In this way,wecan helpto shapeas wellas beshaped bythe social meaningsassignedto race and ethnicity in Canadiansport. And we will be moreready to help create equitable opportunities for all peopletrying to access meaningfulsport in Canadaby providing activities that honour the racial and ethnic differencesbetween participants rather than erasingthem.

critical thinking


1. Explore the sporting interests of minority group residents, including Aboriginal, Inuit, Metis,black,and other minority ethnic groups,in the communityin which you live orstudy. Prepareatable that outlinesthe varioussports,the groupsinterestedin eachsport, and the valuesconnectedto eachsport. 2. If you encounter children from a minority ethnic familyidentifiable from their distinct clothing and accentswhat aresome of the questionsyou mightaskthem to determineif there arefactors that mayprevent orrestrict their participation in sport or physical activity? If you determine that they doindeed havespecial needs,how mightyoufacilitate their involvement in sport or physical activity? 3.

Whataretwo waysthat a coach,teacher, orsportsadministrator mightrespondto an incident of overt racism,such as namecalling directed at ateenagerin a basketball program?

4. How do youdo race in yourlife? In sport? 5.

Writeabout anincident wherethe social meaningsattachedto raceinfluenced your life by either privileging you or providing a barrier to opportunities you wishedto experience.








Writea code of conduct for sport that would align with the Canadian Charter of Rightsand Freedoms.

7. How dorace-structuredsporting eventsaddressdiscrimination in mainstreamsport? 8. Outline examples of how sporting performances can provide opportunities for decreasingracial distinctions andfor increasing racial distinctions. 9. Howdo weaccountfor the ethnic diversity evidentin the LPGA (Ladies Professional Golf Association)tour, whereseven out of the ten top womengolfersare Asian?

Suggested readings Forsyth, J., & Giles, A. R.(Eds.) (2013).

Aboriginal peoplesandsport in Canada: Historicalfoundations

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Canada. Sportin Society: Cultures, Commerce, Media, Politics, 17(8), 10461060.

M.(2012). Stickhandling through the margins: First Nations hockey in

Canada. Toronto,

ON: University of Toronto Press. Tirone, S. (2010).


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tions. LeisureSciences,1, 175189. Weir,T.(2012,January 9). Hockeyfan fined $200for throwing bananaat black player. USA Today. Retrievedfrom West,C., & Zimmerman, D.(1991). Doing gender.In J. Lorber & S. Farrell (Eds), Thesocial constructionof gender(pp. 1337). London, UK: SagePublications. White,P., & McTeer, W.(2012) Socioeconomicstatus andsport participation at different developmentalstagesduring childhood and youth: Multivariateanalysesusing Canadiannational survey data. Sociologyof SportJournal, 29(2), 186209. Wickberg, E. B. (1988). Edmonton,

Chinese. In

The Canadian Encyclopedia (2nd ed., Vol. I, pp. 415417).

AB: Hurtig Publishers.

Wilson, B. (1999). Cool

pose incorporated:

The marketing of black masculinity in Canadian NBA

coverage. In P. White & K. Young (Eds.), Sport and genderin

Canada(pp. 232253).


ON: Oxford University Press.

WindsorStar.(2014, May23). Senate wants Redskinsrenamed, p. B5. Woolcock, M.(1998). Socialcapital and economic development: Toward a theoretical synthesis and policyframework. Theoryand Society27, 151208. Young, A.J. (1988). Beyondheroes:Asporthistoryof NovaScotia:Vol.2. Hantsport, NS:LancelotPress.







Chapter 6 Sex, Gender,andSexuality MaryLouise Adams

For people interested in sex, gender, and sexuality, sport provides seemingly endless

In the 1970s and 1980s feminists worked hard to encourage gover-

opportunities to think

nment agencies, schools, and sport

about norms and stereotypes, equality and discrimination.


ongoing debates over fighting in the NHL to the launch of the Lingerie Football League

organizations to expand opportunities


for girls and women to play sports.


Ontario, issues related to gender and sexuality seem to be unavoidable fea-

Overthe past several decades the

tures of contemporary sports. Sport haslong beenlauded as afine vehicle for turning boys

numbers of girls and women partici-


pating in a whole range


of sports has

grown exponentially and now, for

for women and, indeed,

many boys and men. Sport has also been derided for celebrating

behaviours that lead to excessive and violent aggression, risk-taking,

many Canadian girls, sport is a takenfor-granted

men, which can sometimes makeit an awkward institution

hypermasculine and the develop-

ment of sexist and homophobic attitudes. It has been promoted asa source of empower-

part oftheir childhoods,

asit has been for


many boys

women and girls and criticized

as an inequitable



which female

athletes dont get their fair share of resources or respect.

for generations.

In sport sociology, a widely shared view is that there is nothing inherently


good or

bad about sports themselves, and this is certainly the case with respect to gender and sexuality.

As an institution,

sport can reinforce the existing organization of gender and

sexuality in our culture or it can challenge it.




Historically, in

Canada and elsewhere, it

has done both, nationalities,

with different

effects for

people of differing

physical abilities,


or racial, ethnic, or class backgrounds. In this chapter I will introduce the

main theoretical

concepts and frames that sociologists

have used to examine issues

related to gender and sexuality in sport. I will question the popular assumption that sport is (really!)

a malesphere before looking

at womens participation

and how it is that sport has come to be a relatively

in sport in


commonplace experience for some

Canadian girls and women. The chapter also examines issues related to sexuality and issues of concern to transgendered, transsexual, lesbian, and gay athletes.

The purpose

of the chapter is not to provide a survey of current issues but to offer conceptual tools that

will help you makesense of the issues you encounter in other texts or in your own

experiences of sport.


Our Terms

Sexand gender are the key concepts in this chapter. interchangeably

Whilethese two terms are often used

in everyday speech, sociologists find it useful to distinguish


them. Sexis a classificatory scheme that is intended to divide humans into groups on the basis of their reproductive capacities. For the mostpart, people are assignedto one of two groups according to the shape of their genitals or to the presence or absence of certain secondary sex characteristics like beards or breasts. In our culture there are two generally recognized sexes: female and male.

While anthropological

research suggests that all

human societies have classified people by sex, not all societies have classified them into the simple two-category

binary system that is the dominant system in mostcontemporary

Westernindustrial societies (Nanda, 2000). What makessex important

sociologically is its centrality to the way we understand

other people. Sexis one of the first things that registers for us when weencounter someone new.

Was that person whojust walked by a woman or a man? When weare unable to

classify a persons sexit can feel unsettling.

How,for instance, should werefer to someone

when we do not know their sex? English, like

many(but not all) languages, has no room

for ambiguity around sex; it is impolite to refer to another human as it. or even think

of someone, weneed to choose the correct pronounshe

To speak about or heaccording

to the binary classification of sex. The assumption that the worldis divided into two distinct kinds of people is built directly into the rules of the language and is, therefore, fundamental to the way wesee and think about the people around us. Sport is one of many institutions

that contribute to the

maintenance of this binary system.

Of course, as anyone reading this book will know, not simply divide bodies into

mainstream Westerncultures do

male and female categories, they also saddle the different

categories of bodies with different expectations regarding appearance and behaviour. These

expectations reflect a belief that notjust maleand female bodies but maleandfemale people are essentially different from each otherphysically,

psychologically, and socially.

Sexrefersto bodies;genderrefersto the cultural expectations about behaviour, attitudes, and appearance that are imposed on people.

Male bodies are supposed to demonstrate

masculinetraits; female bodiesaresupposedto befeminine. Stereotypednotions of what counts as appropriately

masculine or appropriately feminine

often serve as the basisfor

normsagainst which peoples behaviouris judged and regulated. Wesee evidence ofsuch judgment

when a boyis teased or ridiculed by hisfriends or hisfamily for wanting to pursue





so-called girls activities like ballet.

Wesee the effects of the judgment

when boys keep

their desirefor such activities to themselves. Increasingly, it is becoming clear that the expected tidy equation between bodies and genders does not work for everyone. The term transsexual refers to people whofeel that their sex and their gender do not correspond associal conventions dictate. Soa child with a male body might grow up with a very strong sense of being a girl.

Or a child

with a

female body might grow up hoping to become a manand not a woman. Some transsexual people choose to take hormones and have surgery to change their physical sex to align with their own knowledge of their gender identity. ical intervention

Othertranssexual people eschew med-

to set their own path through the expectations and attitudes of a culture

that is heavily invested in having bodies and genders properly lined up. Athird group of people describe themselves astransgendered. This could specifically

with masculinity or femininity,

meanthat they do not identify

or that they understand their

gender to be

fluid rather than fixed in one category. Some transgender people try to develop a range of masculine and feminine styles of behaviour,

while others try to live outside standard gen-

der categories altogether. Later in this chapter, I will addressthe issues faced by transgender and transsexual people in sport. The assumedtight links between sex and gender haveimplications life, but they are particularly strong in the areas of sexual identity, and sexual behaviour. person


The conventional

equations are that

attraction to women, and that female body

men. And so people who express non-normative



in all aspects of sexual attraction,

male body person

5 5


attraction to

versions of gender, like


skaters or ice dancers, are often assumedto be gay. And while there are many gay people who reject conventional

gender norms, not all gay people do. Similarly,

heterosexual people accept them. we will see, has contributed behaviour in some

The conflation

to the acceptance

mens sporting

shown to participate

in so-called

gender and sexual orientation

not all

of gender and sexual orientation, and celebration

of hypermasculine

cultures and to the reluctance some masculine sports.

has also had an impact



women have

the conflation


on womens sport participation,


we will see below. Overthe past three decades, Canadians have been witness to significant the relationship important

between lesbian and gay communities and mainstream culture.

changesin The most

of these werethe major victories in the 1980s when courts and human rights

commissions extended human rights protection to prohibit discrimination of sexual orientation.

on the grounds

The 2005 Supreme Court decision that opened the door to lesbian

and gay marriagealso marks a hugeshift in public attitudes to lesbian and gay people and the willingness of government agencies to reflect it. Despitethese achievements,

Canadian cultures are still largely organized around the

assumptionthat everyoneis heterosexualuntil proven otherwise. Heteronormativity is an awkward but useful term that

marksthe fact that social institutionslike

media,popular music,or sportprivilege forms of sexual identity

education, law,

and value heterosexuality morethan other

or expression. The term captures the keyfact that heterosexuality

is morevalued notjust becauseit seemsto be morecommon, but becauseit is considered more normal. By corollary, other sexual orientations or identities

are seen, at best, as not

quite normal and, at worst,as deviant. Homophobia is a morefrequently usedterm that means,quite literally, the fear of homosexuals;it is a product of a heteronormative culture.



sOCial COnsTruCTiOn: a framewOrk Thinking abOuT gender nOrms


Wheredo gender norms comefrom? Some might arguethat their roots lie in biology. The notion that menplay morecontact sports than women do because mens bodies produce moretestosterone is an example of this kind of argument. Whilesociologists do not discount the fact that there are differences between maleand female bodies, they do question the extent to which these physical differences arethe groundsfor cultural and social behaviours. Sociologists would call the testosterone-leads-to-contactsports argument a kind of biologicaldeterminism.In other words,it is an argument that explains human social behaviour as a product of human biology. Becausesuch argumentsreduce complex phenomena (the fact that more menthan women play tackle football) to the effects of a single biological cause,sociologists consider them to be reductionist. The preferredsocial science perspectiveis a theoretical framework called social constructionism. In studies of gender,social constructionism cameto prominence as a critique of biological determinism. It emergedas a meansof explaining the tremendous cross-cultural and historical variations in what counts as normal masculineor normal feminine behaviour. If gendered behaviours wereprimarily determined by biology, would we not expect that masculinityandfemininity wouldlook fairly similar acrosstime and place? The history ofsport providesvery good evidencefor the fact that they do not. Acentury ago,in the expandingindustrial societies of North Americaand Europe,it was widely believedthat womens biology madethem incapable of participating in vigoroussports. This position wasdevelopedby white, middle-and upper-classprofessionalssuch as physicians, teachers, and ministersand wasdirected toward womenof similar background and social position. It is not, therefore, surprising that white, middle- and upper-class womendid not,for the mostpart, engagein vigoroussport at that time. Giventheir lack of experience with hardlabour or other physically demanding activities, they maynot have believed that they werecapable of doing so. And yet clear evidence of womens strength and physical competence waseasily availableto those same womenand to the professionals who advisedthem in the hard physical work done by their own female domesticservants.In short, what wasconsiderednatural for womenin the 19th century varied between classesand racial groups,asit varies with whatis seen as natural for womentoday. Canadiangirls and women now play a broadrange of sportsin numbers that would have been unimaginable to earlier generations. Didfemale biology change overthe pastcentury to makethis possible? Ofcoursenot. Whatchanged werethe dominant social and cultural norms around how physical womenand girls should be, what their bodiesshould look like, the kinds of clothes they should wear,and howthey should move. Dominant normsreflect the valuesand interests of powerful groupsin society. Here,the white, middle-classnormthat suggestedwomenshould not be physicallystrong or competent would have positioned working-classwomen who werestrong and competent as unnatural andinferior. Asatheoretical perspective,social constructionismreminds usthat whatis considered natural and normalin one placeor time mightbe viewedand experiencedasabnormalin another. It keepsus mindfulthat human behaviouris variable, andit also providesassurancethat the waygenderis arranged now doesnot haveto beforever setin stone. Things





can and will change.Forpeople whoareconcerned aboutgender-basedand otherinequalities, the possibilityof change can motivateeffortsto makechange. Manysport scholars whostudy genderdoso with the goal of promoting changesin sport that will feed gender equalityin the broadersociety.

is spOrT really

a male Thing?

Sport is a malepreserveis one of the mostoften-repeatedstatementsin sport sociology. Asyou sawin Chapter 3, the history of sport hasindeed been a history that highlights menand masculinity. Areport publishedbythe International Olympic Committee(IOC) describedthe ancient Olympicsin Greeceas a male-only extravaganza (International Olympic Committee, 2009, p. 3). When modernsporting institutions weredevelopedin Europeand North Americain the 19th century, thesetoo weredesignedby andfor men. There wereno eventsfor womenin the first modern Olympic Games in 1896. Pierre de Coubertin,the founder of the modern Olympics,saw womensroles asspectatorsand not ascompetitors. Coubertin,a Frencharistocrat,imported hisideas aboutsport from England. According to historian James Walvin,the type of 19th-centurysportsthat Coubertinso admired had emergedas part of the cult of manlinessthat pervadedboys privateschoolsin the mid-1800s(Walvin, 1987).In the Victorian era, manlinessstood for neo-Spartanvirility as exemplified by stoicism, hardiness,and endurance (Mangan & Walvin, 1987, p. 1). Educatorspromoted athletic competition to foster these qualitiesin boys.In this sense, sport developed as a moraland pedagogicaltool of imperialism. Upper-classboys were being educatedso that they could govern colonies throughout the British Empire, and sport wasmeantto teach them aboutleadership,team play, and courage.Forthe workingclassboys who wouldone dayhaveto follow their orders,sport was meantto promotethe discipline, obedience,and deferenceto authority that wasrequired by expandingcapitalist economiesand militaryservice.In both cases,sport wascalled upon to help turn particular kinds of boysinto particular kinds of menin other words,to prepareboysfor the station determined bytheir class. This wasthe modelofsport that wasexportedto Canada and other British colonies aroundthe world. Overthe pastcentury and a half, manypeoplehavecontinued to understandsport asa deviceto toughen up young menandto seeathleticism asa central component of virility. Somesociologistsofsport arguethat sport playsa keyrole in the construction of hegemonic masculinity,whichis aterm that was introduced and developedbysociologist R. W.Connell. Hegemonic masculinityis one of the manypossibleimages or modelsof masculinitythat circulate in aspecific historical or cultural context. It is a dominant and idealized form of masculinity (Connell, 1990, p. 83) that hasachieved broad public acceptanceand operates as common sense, serving to define what menshould belike. In the processof becomingthe dominantideal, hegemonic masculinitysidelines other waysof being a man; it sits at the top of the hierarchy of genderidentities availableto peoplein malebodies. Connell saysthat the ideal helpsto secure patriarchal power and, morespecifically, to perpetuatethe subordination of womenand the marginalizationof gay men. The particular features ofthe ideal can and do changeto maintainacceptance.In todays capitalist consumereconomythe ideal emphasizesphysicalstrength, toughness, occupational success,and competitiveness.Sport offersa vehiclethrough whichthe ideal is both produced



and promoted, with maleathletesservingto embodyand displaythe ideal in practice. As Connell writes,To be culturally exalted,the pattern of masculinity musthaveexemplars whoare celebratedas heroes (Connell, 1990,p. 94). Men whoplay on professionalsport teams haveboththe cultural visibility and personalattributesto fulfill this role. Thestatus that accruesto maleprofessionalathletesin North Americanculturesis a product of the hegemonic masculine ideal and helpsto legitimize it. Connell hasarguedthat sport hascometo bethe leading definer of masculinityin mass culture (1995, p. 54). Menand boys whoare unableor unwilling to developtheir athleticism lose access to a key markerof masculinity(Gill, Henwood,& Maclean,2005). Researchers in the sociologyof education haveshownthat elementaryand highschoolstudentsunderstand this, andthey useathleticism as protection againstgender-basedand homophobicbullying. In astudy with Britishelementaryschoolchildren, EmmaRenoldfound that some boys who werehigh-achievingstudents,andthus at risk of beingseenasfeminine bytheir peers,used sportstrategicallyasa wayto protecttheir masculine reputations(Renold, 2001).In herethnographicstudy of masculinityin two Californiahighschools,sociologist C.J. Pascoe referred to whatshecallsjock insurance. Pascoe found that athleticismallowedsome boysto expose more feminine partsoftheir identities withoutbeinglabeledafag. Boystold herthat their status was,in part, determinedby howthey wereableto positionthemselvesrelative to the jocks whooccupiedthe top rungs oftheir schools social hierarchy(Pascoe,2003). And what about boys who dont like to or who are unableto play sports or who chooseto playsports that are consideredto befeminine? Too often they are at risk of


has produced

Chan, pictured role


models, figure


a long Yet strict





is not

V. Chernykh/PhotoXpress/ZUMA


World Figure

norms in

a popular



our culture for



mean that Canadian







Press, Inc./Alamy





being marginalizedaswimps or sissies. It is not a coincidence that girls outnumber boysat mylocal skating club by aratio of about 10:1. Thereis both misogyny(hatred of women) and homophobia at work here, asthere is when old-school coaches admonish their maleathletes not to playlike girls (Daniels, 2005). Similar attitudes emergein the ongoing debatesoverfighting in hockey.In 2009, HockeyNightin Canadacommentator Mike Milbury usedthe term pansification to describe what would happento hockey should fighting be banned. Hiscommentled to complaints that the CanadianBroadcasting Corporation waspermitting homophobicspeech. Helen Kennedy,executive director of the lesbian and gayadvocacygroup EGALE, arguedthat the term pansy is generally usedin a derogatoryfashion to bully young,effeminate, gay men (CBC Sports,2002). Sportresearchershaveshown that the particular tough-guy (hegemonic) masculinity that is prizedby sports personalitieslike Don Cherryand that is producedin high-profile menscontact team sports has hadtroubling consequencesfor the menand boys who aspireto it for themselves. Thefear of being called out asa wuss is one of the reasons some maleathletes play whileinjured, engagein violence onthe field, take drugsto bulk up, and go along with offensive and sometimes abusive, misogynous,and homophobic hazingrituals (Johnson & Holman, 2004; White & Young,2007). Thereare manyother versionsof masculinityavailablein sport, for examplein cross-countryskiing or diving or triathlon, but these do not receive the recognition orthe rewardsthat accrueto athletes in the hypermasculineprofessionalsportssuch asfootball and hockeythat garnerthe most attention in the media,and therefore havea biginfluence in popular culture.

Female Athletes in Sport


To considerthe malenessof present-daysport from a different direction, one canlook to see howfemale athletes arerepresentedin sport media. Many mornings,asI flip through the Globeand Mail,I canfind no coverageof womenssports at all. Thesportssections of daily newspapersare dominated bystories aboutthe bigfour North Americanprofessional malesportsleagues, which arethe exclusive preserveof men. Television hassimilar abysmallylow rates of coverageof womenssport (see Chapter 11). Whileverylittle recent research hasbeen done onsport mediain Canada,areport from alongitudinal studythat hasbeentracking the coverageof womenssport onlocal television newsprogramsin Los Angelesand on the ESPN highlights show SportsCenterdemonstratesthat coverage of womens sport (in non-Olympic periods) hasactually declined over the past 20 years, despitethe expansion of womens professionalleagues and womens participation in a widerrange ofsports. Onthe television newsprogramsthat werepart ofthe study, and on SportsCenter, coverageof womenssport now accountsfor just 1.3 to 1.6% of the total content (Cooky, Messner,& Hextrum,2013). Associologist MargaretCarlisle Duncan has written, the treatment of womenathletes in the mediais bothambivalent and derogatory (Duncan, 2006, p. 247). Sheargues that studiesin variouscountries show that female athletes aresexualizedin images and text, that their accomplishments are trivialized and obscured,and that they are often framed by storylines having little to do with their athletic skills (Duncan, 2006). In a study of Canadianand USnewspapercoverageofthe womensand mensgold medalcontendersin hockeyat the 2010 Olympic Games,John Vincent andJane Crossmanpresent an example of such findings. Theyfound that the coverageinfantalized and trivialized



women players, undermined their athleticism, and conveyed the impression that the mensgame wasthe onethat really counted (Vincent & Crossman,2012). Sportsreportersroutinely mention womens appearanceandtheir romantic andfamily lives asa meansofimposing a heteronormativeframe over narrativesthat might otherwisethreaten conventional assumptionsaboutsex and gender. So,for instance, it hasnot been uncommonfor newsstories about Canadianhockey player Hayley Wickenheiser, arguablythe bestfemale playerin history,to makefrequent referencesto heradopted son Noah andto herresponsibilities as a mother. Certainlyit is important to recognizethat athletes havelives that extend beyondtheir sports. However,it would be a rare story about a malehockey playerthat wouldspend any time at all wonderingabout how he juggles hissport and his parenting. Theassumptionthat sport is, atits core, a malepreservehas meantthat womenhave long hadto strugglefor resources,recognition, and respect as athletes andfor their participation in sport to beseen as ordinary. Historically, the equation that conflates sex, gender,andsexual orientation has madesport a difficult choicefor many women.Popular assumptionsthat sport is (really) a masculinepursuit have meantthat female athletes have often beenseen as mannishand,therefore, aslesbians (Cahn, 1994; Lenskyj,1986). Thefear of being perceivedastoo masculineor asalesbian haskept many womenboth lesbians and heterosexualsfrom choosingto playsportstraditionally defined as male.In earliertime periodsthis fear kept some womenand girls out of sport entirely. Whilethe worsteffects of this kind of homophobia and genderpolicing have diminishedin recent decades,womenssport is still not completely clear of anxiety aroundthe relationship of athleticism and gender.It is nocoincidencethat entire teams of womenall keeptheir hair long enoughto wearin ponytails. Whilethere is nothing wrong with ponytails, the fact that almost allfemale athletesseemto bechoosing them, suggeststhat homophobiaand heteronormativity maywellbe at work.

sex and gender


in spOrT

One of the manyreasons whysport is such aninteresting topic of study for those of us interested in genderrelations is becauseit is a highly valuedand pervasivecultural institution in whichsex and genderdifferencesare,especiallyat the highestlevels, fundamental. Indeed, sport withoutsex differenceis almostinconceivable. The mostpowerful meansoffostering and maintainingsexand genderdifferencein sport is the routine segregationofthe sexes.Sexsegregationoperatesin sportin two primary ways. First, withexceptionsfor youngchildren andsomeintramural orfun leagues,almostallsports haveseparateeventsfor womenand men;female and maleathletesalmost nevercompete againsteach other. Second,there arestill some sportsthat are popularly understoodto be moreappropriatefor onesexthan for the other. Thesociologicalterm for this is sporttyping. The CFLorthe NFLaregoodexampleshere,asarethe aestheticsports(rhythmic gymnastics, synchronizedswimming,figure skating,artistic gymnastics,and diving). Genderdistinctions arealsofosteredin sport bythe fact that manyeventshavedifferentrulesfor menand women. In this section I discussthe two different waysof maintainingsexsegregationin sport and two issuesthat are directly related to sexsegregation:sextesting andthe inclusion of transgenderandtranssexualathletes.I will then moveonto talk about gender-basedrules in sport andlesbian and gayissuesin sport.





Separate Events for

Men and Women

So whydosport organizationsorganizeseparateeventsfor maleandfemale athletes? Most wouldsaythat they do so becauseit ensuresfairnessfor women,given the fact that, on average, menare physically biggerandstrongerthan women.Butif the issueis primarily a matterof size and strength, why doesone seesex segregationin sports where menssize and strength give them no advantage?Lets take the shooting event of Olympicskeet (trap shooting) asan example.Introduced in 1968,it wasa mixed-sexcompetition at the Olympics.In 1992, a woman, Zhang Shan of China, wonthe gold medal. Atthe Games that followed, in 1996, women werenot permittedto compete. Aseparate womensevent wasestablishedin 2000. Thesenewsex-segregatedevents have different rules. Menget five rounds of 25targets while womenget three. In asport wherestrength and size make no difference to performance, what wasthe reason for separating the menfrom the women? And what wasthe reasonfor giving womenfewer rounds? Skijumping raisessimilar questions. The preferredbodyshapefor ski jumpersis small andlight. Maleski jumpers often weighlessthan 130 pounds;there is certainly no argument in favour of menssizein this sport. Andyet, not onlyare maleandfemale athletesseparated in ski jumping, womenhave hadto fight to get to compete at all. TheInternational Ski Federationdid notrecognize womenseventsuntil 1998. While mencompetedin skijumping atthe first WinterOlympicsin 1924, womensfirst Olympicappearancewas in Sochi, Russia, in 2014. Thefact that womensevents havefinally madeit on to the Olympicscheduleis a result of court challengesand extensivelobbying byfemaleski jumpersandtheir advocates. Theski jumping example allows usto seethe exclusionaryideological processes that have constrained womens participation in sport. In the yearsleading up to the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games, the record holderonthe 95-metrejump at Whistler Olympic Park wasan American womannamedLindsey Van. Andyet, becausethere wasno womens competition in ski jumping at the Games,Van did not get to defend herrecord.If sporting competitions are supposedto be about extending the limits of human performance, shouldnt the record holder have beenableto compete at the Olympics?Should Van not have hada chanceto compete againstthe two menwho wereherrivals for the record? In an article on womens ski jumping, sport scholars Jason Laurendeauand Carly Adamsput the Olympic controversy into historical context. They noted that in 19thcentury Scandinavia, womenand menboth participatedin ski jumping at alocal level, often in the same competitions (Laurendeau & Adams,2010). But asthe sport became morestructured, with governing bodiesand codified rules, officials beganto promoteski jumping asnatural for menbut too dangerousfor women.(Would a mansbonesbeless likely to break during afall?) Onthe advice of medicalexperts, officials banned women from competition, and thus ski jumping becameaso-called masculinesporta turn of eventsthat precludedthe possibility of a manhaving to lose to a womanin competition. At the start of the 20th century, the best wayto ski jump wasin a malebody. Andsoit remained until recently when womenjumpers finally exerted enough pressureon the International Ski Federationandthe IOC to be ableto compete at the samelevel as men (Womens Ski Jumping USA, n.d.). So,in asociety wheregenderrights advocateshave been workingfor yearsto eliminategendersegregationin the professions,in education, andin politics, sport presentsus with high-profile eventsthat havestrict divisions between womenand men. The point



hereis notthat there are no physical differencesbetween womenand menthat might need to be accommodatedto makesome sportsfair (although some sociologists(Kane, 1995) havesuggestedthat we would do better to organizeeventsin terms of weight or other sport-specific markersrather than sex, as they doin wrestling). The point is that the continual referencing of genderdifferencesgivesthem alot moreweightthan they would have had otherwise, or than they needto havein a society in which womenand men participate equally in the domestic and private spheresin physical, intellectual, and emotional work.

Sex Testing in Sport Oneof the striking consequencesofthe segregationof the sexesin sport is the practicein majorcompetitionslike the Olympicsoftestingfemale athletesto verifytheir sex. Thisis not a practiceto which maleathletesaresubject. Theostensiblepointis to keep menfrom competing unfairly againstreal women,although nosextest hasevercaughta man masquerading asafemale athlete.In the 1960s,the International Associationof AthleticsFederations (IAAF), whichgovernstrack andfield, required womencompetitorsto undergoa visual physical inspection bythree gynecologists,a practicethat athletesfound humiliating and degrading (Donnelly & Donnelly,2013).In 1968,the IAAF andthe IOC introduced chromosometests. The problem with anysex test is that there is no exact standard by which one can determine exactly whois and whois not a woman. Humansdo not divide neatlyinto the subclassesof maleandfemale. Upon which criteria would one determine whobelongsin which category? Genitalia? Therate of sexualindeterminacy hasbeen estimated to be between 1in 1,500 and 1in 2,000 births (Intersex Society of North America, n.d.). Hormones?Both maleandfemale bodiesproduceso-called maleand female hormones, and there is no absolutelevel or ratio that separatesone sex from the other. Chromosomes?Eventhe IOC eventually admitted that these are unreliable. After considerable public outcry, the IOC and other majorsports organizations abandonedthe practice of across-the-boardgender verification (their term) (Genel, 2001). Yetthey continue to test particular athletes, as wasthe casein 2008 at the Beijing Olympic Gamesand in 2009 withthe horrific treatment ofthe South African worldchampion 800-metrerunner CasterSemenya,who wassubjectedto extensivetesting bythe IAAF andto humiliating treatment in the mediaafter officials and other competitors accused her of not being a real woman. Many womensorganizationsandsports organizations,including the Canadian Centre for Ethicsin Sport (CCES), arguestrongly that sex verification testing should be abolished. Whilethe tests mayoriginally have been designedto search out men,they now serve primarily to identify athletes who areintersex,that is, who have congenital variations that lead to nontypical physical characteristicsrelated to sex. At the 2006 Asian Games,Indian runner Santhi Soundarajan wasstripped of asilver medaland pushedout ofsport after atest showedthat she had atypical chromosomesfor a woman. Areport put out by the CCESarguesthat the overall evidencefrom genetics and sciencesupport[s] dismantling the structures of suspiciontowards athletes with variations of sex development. Even as our knowledge continuesto grow, the pivotal point is to transition sport policiesand attitudesfrom gender verification to genderinclusion (Canadian Centrefor Ethicsin Sport, 2012, p. 8).





Transgender and Transsexual Athletes in Sex-Segregated Sport Genderinclusion is another important issuethat pertains directly to the segregation of the sexesin sport. Misunderstandingand discriminatory attitudes around gendervariation have madesport a difficult spacefor manytransgenderand transsexual people.In sport, the almost universal categorization of participants by sex hasled to constraintsfor transgender people who mayresist being categorized,andfor transsexual people who maycategorizethemselves differently than sport officials do. The mainissuefrom the perspective of transgenderand transsexual athletesis to ensurethat they can participatein sport in the sex category with which they identify. The mainissue for sport organizations is whether male-to-femaletranssexuals who have hadsex reassignmentsurgery and who take female hormones havean unfair advantagein womens competitions; medicalevidence makes it clearthat they do not (Canadian Centrefor Sport Ethics,2012). In 2004,the IOC adoptedrules, referred to asthe Stockholm Consensus, that permit the participation of fully transitioned transsexual athletes (athletes who havechanged sex legally and surgically and who have beentaking hormonesfor at least two years). Thisis afairly narrow medicalapproachto gender diversity, which privileges athletes from countries wherethe surgeryis both available andrecognized and doeslittle for trans people whoare not ableto accessor whoare notinterested in medicalinterventions. Very few Canadiansport organizations haveadopted policiesto addressthe inclusion of trans athletes. The Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association(CCAA) is an exception. The CCAA policy requires transsexuals to show documentation of one year of hormone therapy; it does not require trans athletes to have hadsurgery. Other organizations at community andintramural levels havebeentrying to determine open policiesthat do not

Trans woman

Michelle Dumaresq is a competitive

past decade some sport organizations transsexual Marina






mountain bike racer. In the

have begun to develop

policies to accommodate

assume that all transsexual people should have medical intervention transgender and transsexual people to

and that permit

maintain their privacy (Travers

& Deri, 2010).

Particularly atlower levels of sport, policies are needed to makesure that no oneis denied an opportunity

to participate

because they do not identify

with binary sex categories.

Even small steps can demonstrate the intent to beinclusive. Parks and Recreation, for instance, event that can attract

morethan 100 swimmers (McKinnon,

As moretrans people come a rethinking

The Vancouver Board of

holds a regular trans-friendly

All-Bodies Swim, an


out at younger ages,their inclusion in sport


of the current default organization of sport along lines of sex. Do all sports

at all levels really needto separate male and female bodies?If sex segregation is intended to promote fairness in sport, how must our notions of fairness change when wethink about the accessibility of sport to people who do not conform to normative categories of sex or gender? The other issue for transgender and transsexual athletes is safety. As numerous studies have shown, trans people experience high levels of harassment and violence on the street, in their families, at school, and at work. Sport organizations need to makesure that policies related to locker-room

behaviour, travel arrangements, and uniforms provide a com-

fortable environment for all players regardless of gender identity Ontario, the prohibited

(Taylor et al., 2011). In

Human Rights Code wasamended in 2012 to include gender identity

ground for discrimination.

as a

Should sport organizations fail to address trans

issues, it is only a matter of time beforesomeone lodges aformal complaint.

Sport Typing Sport typing is the notion that some sports are better suited for girls and women and others are better suited for boys and men.It is a particularly powerful means of communicating ideas about sex differences (Kane

& Snyder, 1989). Given the history of sport as a

sphere of activity dominated by men,it is not surprising that the list ofsports traditionally considered appropriate for

menis much longer than the list considered appropriate for

women, or that included on the malelist are those sports mostvalued in the culture.


only doesthis lopsided categorization of sport by sex support a particular understanding of womens (lesser) place in the broader society, it tremendously

has, historically,

effective practical barrier to the sport participation

also constituted


of women and girls.

Thus, womens sport advocates have been especially concerned with expanding womens accessto the


Muchless energy has been spent trying to get mento play those

sports on the female list. Ideas about which sports are appropriate for which sex are historically and culturally specific. In its early days,for instance, figure skating, which is now seen bysome people as

a so-calledfeminine sport, wasalmost exclusively an activity of upper-classmen(Adams, 2011). Synchronized swimming is another feminine

sport that originally included


(Bean, 2005).In the presentday,field hockeyis seenprimarilyasa womenssportin Canada, while it is popular for both sexes in

Asia and Europe. Such differences

make clear that

sports aresocially constructed activities that are given meaningby peoplein accordance with their social and cultural contexts.

As we have seen previously, these contexts are

shaped notjust byideas about sex and gender,but alsoideas about classand race. Dominant norms of middle-class, white, masculinity, which are based on control and power, do





not really include space for

mento wearsequined costumes or to

movetheir bodies to

musicin public. Such behaviour would not reflect the status or power of this group. People who pursue inappropriate gender identities

sports often face obstacles: questions about their

and sexual orientation;

ments. Yet, while increasing

harassment; and belittlement

of their achieve-

numbers of girls and women participate in so-called


sports, there has been no comparable change in the numbers of menand boys who take up so-called

womens sports. In a study of elementary and high school students,

Riemer and

Michelle Visio found that the list

of sports commonly


played by girls is

expanding to include so-called masculinesports, but the researchers saw no parallel effort to get boys to participate in feminine

sports (Riemer

& Visio, 2003). Simply put, boys

and menface higher gender barriers around their sport choices than do girls and women, and they suffer considerable consequences whenthey transgress them. Thetyping ofsport bysex hashelped to obscurethe fact that all athletes, maleorfemale, in masculine

or feminine

ity, speed, and intelligence.

sports, require a complex set of skillspower,

strength, flexibil-

The segregation of womens athletic aspirations and their alleg-

edly sex-specific athletic skills, along with the fact that women werekeptfrom playing mens games, has meantthat

male athletes have been able to compete free of challenges to their

own claims of athletic superiority. Physical activities, as we know, do not fall from the sky fully formed assportsneither

dothey emergefully formed as menssports or womens sports.

There is nothing inherent in forms of movement that


masculine or feminine.

Gendered adjectives are applied to sports and to other aspects of human behaviour in accordance with the culturally specific definitions of masculinity and femininity that circulate at particular times. And, mostimportant, these definitions change. simple point, werisk naturalizing the categories andlimiting

When wefail to makethis

peoples ability to see pastthem.

Gender-BasedRulesin Sport Genderis a system of differences. If

masculinity and femininity

wereto overlap too much,

gender would ceaseto makesense as a way of classifying people. Sport helpsto construct the space that holds masculinity and femininity

apart. First, as we have seen, maleand

female athletes rarely compete against each other. Second, they

may well compete in

sports that are sex-typed. Finally, female and maleathletes are often required to play by sex-specific rules. In gymnastics, women and men perform on different women perform their floor exercises to

apparatus and

music while men do not. In golf, mens tees are

further from the green. In hockey, women are not allowed to body check, nor are they allowed to fight; they

mustalso wearfull visors at all levels. Physiological explanations are

almost always given asjustifications for such gender-specific rules. But physiology cannot explain whysome physical differences are emphasized and not others, or why these differ-

encesare assumedto be worth promotingin the first place. They also cant explain the different uniform requirements for women and men,as wesee,for instance, in beach vol-

leyball. Sociologistsarguethat the practice oftreating maleandfemale athletes differently and drawing strict and visible boundaries between them helps to prop upideologies

that constitute womenand menas notjust different but as unequal. Whatare the specific

messages in these gender-specific rules? Often they tell usthat

womenare weakerthan men: Womenhockey playerscant take hits, womencross-country skiers cant ski asfar as men.Judith Lorber (1994)



writesthat when we believe there are big

differences between women and men,then that is what we will see.In sport, gender-specific rules reflect such beliefs. And then, in the performance of the sports, the beliefs are put into practice. So gender differences are what weseewomen

dont run asfar as mendo!

And once having seen them, they come to be what welook for. Sports could be organized differently. Indeed, sport could be an excellent vehicle for demonstrating the similarities betweenfemale and malebodies and the overlapping feminine and masculinetraits that all people are capable of expressing. Its the potential of sport to challenge dominant understandings of sex and gender that has madesport an issue of concern for feminists and their supporters in the general effort to achieve greater gender equity in society.

Lesbian and GayIssues It is an understatement to say that sport has not always provided the

most welcoming

environment for lesbian and gay athletes. As we have already seen, given hetero-norms of femininity,

women who excel at sport, especially in events that

men, have often been presumed to be gay. The assumption that

were once reserved for womens teams are full of

lesbians hasled to parents keeping their daughters from certain sports, to a heavy emphasis on visible markers of femininity

(e.g., hair ribbons and makeup) among some women

athletes, and to a reluctance on the part of some lesbian players and coaches to come out (Demers, 2006). In 2007, Rene Portland, the womens basketball coach at Pennsylvania State University resigned after many complaints and alawsuit about her open refusal to allow lesbians on her team. Portlands homophobia is among the mostfamous and blatant examples of the kind of attitude that (Mosbacher

has clouded womens sport over the past century

& Yacker, 2008).

The influence

of homophobia

on mens sport is different than it is on womens

sport. The homophobia that is part and parcel of the hypermasculinity

that some male

athletes aspire to hasled to a lot of pain in all-male sport spaces, from the casual but pernicious homophobia

of the locker room to the sexual violence that is part of some

hazing rituals. In 2005, the

McGill University football season wascancelled after veteran

players subjected rookies to humiliating

and sexually abusive acts (CBC Sports, 2005). In

what kind of world does one foster team spirit

bysexually assaulting a teammate


a broomstick? In the mainstream sport media,lesbian and gay issues are largely reduced to the question of who is going to come out next, particularly in the context of professional sport.


Whileit is true that a high-profile gay player could perhaps shift attitudes among

sport fans and other players, the real work in addressing homophobia has to happen at every level of sport, and it hasto focus on creating a climate in which athletes of all sexual orientations can feel comfortable.

Such efforts are alreadyunderway with straightgay alliancesin some community and university sport programs,including those at Memorial University and McMaster University,

andin well-publicized organizationslike the You Can Play Project that has closeties to the

NHL. These anti-homophobia


are about eliminating



tudesfrom sport and about makingarenasand playingfields safe placesfor lesbian and gay players. You Can Play is very muchfocused on teams and athletesits

slogan is If


can play,you can play. In other words,if you are goingto help us win, wedont careif you are gay or straight.

Whilethis is not the


position that the organization





could have taken, it is definitely a start in terms of shifting the dialogue in environments like the hockey team dressing room.

The messageneeds to be that

men can be good,

tough, competent athletes while at the same time rejecting the kind of ideas that homophobic insults,

misogynous treatment

of women, or violent hazing of teammates

seem okay. That said, the end point of anti-homophobia sport needs to extend well beyond the playing field.

and gender inclusive

sport to interrupt

effects outside of sport.

the conflation

of athleticism

completely unremarkable that alittle



work in

The effects of hypermasculinity and

homophobia in sport are not just a problem for gay athletesthey that have far-reaching


also shape attitudes

What kind of work needs to be done in and hypermasculinity,


makeit seem

boy might want to take ballet?

wOmens spOrT

Few readers of this book wouldsee anything unusualin women or girls playing soccer. Indeed, one might expect that

many ofthe women reading this book have playedsoccer themselves,

given that soccer hasone ofthe highestfemale participation rates ofany sportin Canada42% of registered soccer players are female (Canadian Soccer Association, 2012). The fact that womens soccer is now unremarkable reflects huge changesin the gendering of sport over the pastfew decades. Thesechanges would not have been possible without feminism. In the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, the number of girls and women involved

in sport

grew very quickly, as did the number of sports they played. In the mid-1980s, fewer than

Canadian wrestlerCarol Huynh won a gold medalat the Beijing Olympic Gamesin 2008 and a bronze medalat the London Olympic Games in 2012. Thefact that girlsand women now have accessto sportslike wrestling, which wereonceseen asonlysuitablefor men,is to a great extent a product of the widespreadsocial change brought about byfeminism overthe past half century. Daiju






Co. Ltd/Alamy

6,000 women and girls wereregistered to play hockey in there were morethan 87,000 (Hockey

Canada, 2013).

Canada (Hall,

2002); by 2012,

Girls and women now routinely

compete in arange of sports, including those that wereonce thought to be appropriate only for

men:rugby, wrestling, boxing, water polo, long distance running, and others. The pres-

ence of significant numbers of girls and womenin

mainstreamsporting venuesis one of the

mostvisible results of the womens rights movementsthat emergedin

Canadain the 1960s.

Feminism, also known as the womens movement or the womens liberation ment,is an international


social, political, and cultural movement that hasasa primary goal

the resolution of inequities related to sex and gender and the elimination

of discrimination

against women and girls. Feminist theorist bell hooks has a clear and simple definition feminism: Feminism

is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation,


and oppression

(hooks, 2000, p. viii). hooks makesthe point that the feminist project is much bigger than simply working for equality between the sexes, because women are not just oppressed dueto their gender. Thusfeminism is a movement that

mustaddress oppression on manylevels.

hooks writes that the aim of feminism is not to benefit solely any specific group of women, any particular race or class of women. It does not privilege women over men.It has the power to transform in a meaningful way all our lives

(hooks, 1984, p. 26). For hooks, the

goal of feminist activism and feminist thought is a world without oppression and domination. In this sense wecan think of feminism as a broad-based movementfor social justice. The term sexismrefers to discrimination sion refers more generally to a condition dom and prevent equality.

or prejudice based on sex. The term oppres-

of injustice and to uses of power that limit free-

Oppression is an effect of dominancethat

is, of one group

trying to establish supremacy and privilege over another. To be oppressed, writes philosopher Marilyn Frye (1983), is to be subject to a network of restrictive forces and barriers that exist at micro- and macroscopic levels. freely in all kinds of physical activity

Restrictions on womens ability to engage

have impeded womens equitable participation in

sport and are part of the kind of network that Frye is talking about. One key aspect of feminist thought and politics is the understanding that the privileges and oppressions related to sex and gender do not work independently

of other sys-

tems of oppression and inequality such as,for instance, race and class. Womenand men from different ethnic, racial, and class backgrounds, indigenous live

peoples, or people who

with a disability are all positioned differently in relation to gender.

Women with a

disability experience different gendered constraints in terms of their accessto sports and other athletic resources than do women who do not live with a disability. Feminist theorists arguefor the importance of what is called an intersectional analysisor approach to understanding oppression and privilegeto in peoples lives (Birrell

understanding the effects of power

& McDonald, 2000). Anintersectional analysis tries to understand

how different categories of identity and different structures of power, such asableism (the

privileging of bodiesthat have not beenlabelled as disabled),racism,sexism, and class,are intertwined.

None of us, for instance,

whether we are members of racialized groups or

whether weare white,experiencesour genderseparatelyfrom ourrace. Thetwo categories combine to shape who we are and how weare seen and treated in the world. By using an

intersectional analysisto look at an institution like sport, for example, one would not assumethat

working-class and middle-class women wouldface similar constraints in terms

of opportunitiesto play, orthat a predominantly whiteteam environment would necessarily

have the same meaning for a woman of colour asit doesfor her white teammates.





To adopt an intersectional

approach in research or in advocacy work is to acknowledge

that our own experiences are not universal and that our society produces morethan one form of inequality. It also helps usto be mindful not to obscure the experiences of marginalized groups with the perspectives of those groups that are more dominant.

The Transformation

of Womens Sport

American historian Susan Cahn hasarguedthat two mainfactors shifted understandings of womens sport and helped to open up athletic opportunities for women and girls. Thefirst wasthe feminist

movement of the 1960s and 1970s, and the second wasthe fitness boom of

the 1970s and 1980s (Cahn, 1995), which continues to this day asevidenced bythe proliferation of Zumba classesand lululemon stores. Thefitness boom wasboth a popular health movement and a commercialized effort to construct

women as a new marketfor running

shoes, sports apparel, exercise videos, and the increasing emerged over the last decades of the 20th century. In

number of private gyms that

many waysthe fitness boom wasa

capitalist appropriation offeminist ideas about empowerment and womens bodily integrity. Whilefeminists hoped that

women would get active so they could benefit from feelings of

confidence and physical competence, the womento buythings.

marketers who drove the fitness boom wanted

Nevertheless,corporate efforts put images of active womeninto circu-

lation and also helpedto normalize the idea that women could bestrong and competitive. Feminists have addressed sport from several perspectives. At the risk of making an overly simple distinction, some feminists have been primarily concerned with the obvious gender inequities in sport and the fact that play (Hall

women did not have equal opportunities to

& Richardson, 1982). Their goal wasto expand

womens accessto existing

sport structures. Other feminists have been more concerned with the ideological effects of sport and the waythat an inequitable

sport system perpetuated notions about womens

frailty (Theberge, 1987). They hoped to shift

womens consciousness of their own physi-

cal capabilities and also shift broader social views of womens roles in society.

Of course

many women have been concerned with both sets of issues and have worked hard to demonstrate the links between gender ideologies and participation rates for women in sport. Over the pastthree decades,feminists programs and materialsto promote sport for

have engaged in research and have designed women and girls, to influence

policy, and to

get women into coaching and other leadership positions in sports organizations. Feminist organizations like the Canadian Association for the

Advancement of

Womenand Sport

lobbied Sport Canada to produce a formal policy on womens sport, which it did for the first time in 1986 (Sport

Canada, 1986). Feminists launched court cases (so girls could

play on boys teams) and took complaints to human rights commissions (so they could get accessto facilities and resources). They arguedfor changesto physical education curricula

and challenged mediarepresentations of female athletes. Thefact that womens sport looks different today than it did whenI wasgrowing upin the early 1970sis a direct result

ofthe effortsthat feminists andtheir supportersputinto makingsport moreequitable. But even in terms of participation,

we have not yet achieved gender equity in sport.

Astudy ofinteruniversity sport in Canadahasshown that in 20122013 the numbers of female and malevarsity teams acrossthe country wasalmost equal (482 for women and

483for men). There were8,034roster positionsfor womenand 10,577for men. Thus, 43% of university




were women. But women make up 56% of all university

students, and so women remain disadvantaged by the current varsity sport system. For every 100 malestudents in Canadathere were2.8 chances to be on a varsity team; for every 100 female students there were 1.7 chances. The inequities are even more pronounced in terms of coaching opportunities. In the past two yearsthe number of female coachesin the CIS has dropped from 19% to 17% of the total (Donnelly,

Norman, & Kidd, 2013).

At the Olympic level, a gender equality audit of the 2012 London Games noted lingering inequalities in terms of sex and gender, despite the fact that it wasthe first


in which there were women competing in every sport. There were 6,068 mencompetitors and 4,835 women, men wereable to compete in 30 more medalevents than 48% of events had different

maximum numbers of competitors in

events or different

male and female athletes.

rules for

women, and

womens and mens

Authors Peter Donnelly and

Michelle Donnelly note that there have been significant improvements at the over the pasttwo decades,and yet they argue that there is still even before considering other important


muchto be doneand


questions about funding, sponsorship, and repre-

sentations of athletes in the media(Donnelly

& Donnelly, 2013).

And what of sport at the nonelite levels? Despite significant increases in the participation of women and girls over the past 40 years,it is still the casethat regularly in sport at about twice the rate that

men participate

women do. Figures taken from Statistics

Canadas General Social Surveyshow that in 2010, only about 35% of menand about 16% of women 15 years of age or older participated regularly in sport (Canadian The gap between mens participation

rates and womens participation

Heritage, 2013). rates has actually

been growing wider since 1992, when it was14%; in 2010 it was19%. Mens participation rate in 2010 was muchthe same asit had been at the time of the previous survey in 2005; womens participation rate, by contrast, had decreased by 4%, primarily because of a 13% drop for young women between the ages of 15 and 19 and a 14% drop for women between 20 and 24 years of age (Canadian Whatthese figures tell

Heritage, 2013).

us is that sport is a regular leisure-time

activity for only a

minority of Canadians, that women participate at significantly lower rates than


that those rates are dropping. Statistics Canadafigures also show that participation rates decrease steadily

with age and that people with higher levels of education and higher

incomes participate

more. People with household incomes of morethan $80,000 had a

rate of sport participation that

wasapproximately five times higher than the participation

rates for people with household incomes of less than $20,000 (Canadian

Heritage, 2013).

Menin both the highest and the lowest income categories had participation rates twice as high asthe womenin the same categories, but the rates for women in the highest category (20.7%) weretwice as high asfor the menin the lowest (10.1%). The statistics related to income and education, which can be a wayof marking socioeconomic class, makealot of sense. Sport is a leisure-time activity that requires time and

money,andthese are not available equally to all peoplein Canadiansociety. Thestatistics related to sex are more difficult to explain. Statistics Canada notes that people say

they do not participate in sport for reasonsof time andinterest. For women,sport hasto compete with childcare and domestic responsibilities,

which, research shows, are still not

evenly divided between menand womenin heterosexualnuclearfamilies (Lindsay, 2008). With the lingering

effects of the economic recession, womens time

may actually be in

shorter supply than it waseven 10 yearsago. Thereport alsosuggeststhat the declinein womens interest in sport

might reflect

womens commitment

to fitness activities like





walking and yoga and the growth in leisure-time fitness activity for both menand women, with 52% of the population engaging regularly in such activities, and participation rates for

menand women being fairly similar (Canadian

Heritage, 2013).

Whilefitness activities are definitely beneficial, there is something particular about sport that the feminist advocates of the 1970s and 1980s had wanted women and girls to experience: the challenge of competition, the drive to set records, the experience of being on a team, the intensity

of focus, the chance to perform publicly.

None of these is exclu-

sive to sport, and each of them can be problematic, but when these factors come together in the right way,they can bring a pleasure and satisfaction that is unique to sport as aform of cultural expression. Feminists promoted sport asa way of giving women accessto its joys and pleasures. They also wanted to circumvent

some of the body image issues that are

related to the commercialization of fitness practices. Its not that sport is free of body image problems but, unlike manyfitness endeavours, body image is not the point of the exercise.

Conclusions This chapter hasoutlined a conceptualframe for doing your own analysesof genderissues in sport. The concepts that I haveintroduced in the chapter can help usto see how notions

of genderand sexuality are actually playing outin sport. Sportsociologistsusethese concepts to

makesense of a whole range of issues, including


of gender and

sexuality in sport media,fan cultures and spectatorship, sexual harassment and violence in sport, cross-cultural

differences in gendered sporting experiences, fundraising


that feature photos of nude athletes, the special relationship between gender and nationalism that emerges during the letes, and the impact

Olympics, racialized stereotypes of both maleand female ath-

of motherhood on women in sport.

Many sport scholars also

investigate and promote activism and other work to eliminate discrimination in sport and to produce sporting experiences that promote social justice. of activity

Arecent example of this kind

would be the efforts to support a young soccer playerin

ited from playing becauseshe was wearing a hijab (Muslim

Quebec who wasprohib-

Womenin Sports, 2013).

AsI said at the beginning of this chapter, gender is fundamental of contemporary sport at all but the least competitive levels.

to the organization

And sport presentsseemingly

endless opportunities for usto reflect on how gender works in contemporary


society. The analytic tools presented here will allow you to analyze the issuesthat you find important

and to do your own assessment of the construction


both the broad social level and in relation

think of waysto


makeit moreinclusive and moreequitable.

Critical Thinking 1.

of gender and sexuality in

to your own experienceand


Arethere gender-specific rules in the sports you play? How does the presence or absence of such rules affect the gender reputation of the sport?


Whydo you think womenand girls participate in a broaderrange of sportsthan men and boys do? Whyare there so few malesin, for instance, figure skating?




What do you think

of the no-checking rule in

womens hockey? Do you feel it is

related to gender stereotypes? Is this rule simply an interesting Or doesit say something important

variation in hockey?

about larger cultural views of menand women?

4. In what ways hasyour own athletic history been shaped by gender norms? How have race, class, and ability been relevant to this process? 5. StatisticsCanadafiguresshowasharpdeclineinsportparticipationforyoungwomen. Whatkind of research project could you design to learn why young womens levels of participation

are falling?

What assumptions would ground your study?

What data

would you need to collect? 6. How could sport be made moreinclusive for transgender and transsexual athletes? Are you aware of any such efforts in your own community?

How would such efforts

change sport generally? 7. This chapter has argued that to understand gender in sport we need to consider the relationship

between gender and other categories like race and class. Find an example

of a sport story in the

media that demonstrates how this kind of analysis could be

more helpful than an analysis of gender alone. 8. Recently,manysportorganizationshaveinitiatedeffortstochallengehomophobiain

sport. Haveany such efforts beenlaunched at your school?If so, what do you think the outcome will be?If not, do you think

one could be started?

What do you think

would helpsuchinitiatives besuccessful?



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Waveland Press.

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Chapter 7 Children,Youth,and Parental Involvementin OrganizedSport Ralph E. Wheeler,Jay Scherer, and Jane Crossman

The popularity of organized sports programs for children in

Organizedsport provides socialization experiencesfor

North America is a relatively

recent phenomenon, the product of postwar prosperity and the development of new ideas

children and youth.

and ideologies about both parenthood and childhood.


The expansion of formalized sport-

ing opportunities for Canadian children in the postwar era wasthe result of the growth in investment in various public recreational facilities

across the nation (in urban and rural

areas), including the construction of new schools with not only gyms and fields but also

pools and tracks (Hall, Slack, Smith, & Whitson,1991). Parentsof this generation of young Canadians who had themselves never experienced similar


or had

accessto suchfacilities in their own childhoodsthus becamecommittedto beinginvolved in the lives of their children and providing their children

with unprecedented sport and lei-

sure opportunities. Theincreasing visibility ofthe professional majorleaguesand,indeed, high-performance

sport also reaffirmed the popularity

of sport for both parents and

children and nurturedthe realization that sport could be aninstitution for instilling not only athletic skills in children but important, taken-for-granted social values and customs.




In the decadesthat followed,

minor sports programs, or youth sport as they are often

referred to, have grown at a phenomenal rate, and in Canadian society today participation in sport is a normal part of the everyday lives of many boys and girls acrossthe country. In fact, nearly 3 million Canadian children and youth between the ages of 5 and 18 participate regularly in a wide range of organized sport programs that provide experiences of fun and community for participants, parents, and organizers. For example, areport released by the Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institute (CFLRI) sport participation


which examined

rates, revealed that upwards of 75% of children and youth participate

in some kind of sport activity. In addition, according to parents surveyed, 46% of these children participate in sport activities all year round. Interestingly, soccer, the mostpopular sport for

Canadian children (42% of all children), is one of the mostinexpensive.

Youth sports programs in

Canada are provided by a number of local, regional, and

national organizations that oversee and administer these activities and a range of other resources. These organizations have a mandateto provide children

with optimal develop-

mental benefits from their experiences. Onthis note, Canadian Sport for Life, an initiative of Canadian Sport Centres and Sport Canada,suggeststhat children commonly play sports for a number of intrinsic

and extrinsic reasons:


have fun


experience thrills


be with friends or make newfriends


do something they are good at


feel good aboutthemselves


feel accepted


improve and learn new skills (Canadian Beyond providing children

Sport Centres, 2007, p. 5)

with valuable and fun experiences, proponents of early

and continued participation in sport activities point to the significant health and social Table













of Children





Hockey(all types) and Ringette






Martial Arts







5% Canadian

Active in the





















benefits that can be gained through sport participation

and physical activity for young

Canadians. For example, Lumpkin (2005) suggeststhat peopleof all agesenjoy playing games,engagingin recreational activities and exercising to maintaingood health. Competitive,rule-bound sports provide opportunitiesto test ones skills against opponents. Through these programs, the all-around development of the individual

is enhanced during activity.

The purpose of these programs is to optimize

quality oflife through enjoyable physical activity and sport experiences. (p. 30)

The Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (2008),

meanwhile, notes that community-

basedsports promote a number of social values in children and youth: Thereis strong agreementacrossthe country that community sportis amongthe most positiveforcesin the lives of young peopletoday, even morethan school, friends and peers,religion andthe music/entertainmentindustry. In addition to crediting communitysport with being a constructiveforcein the lives of children and youth, morethan 80 percent of Canadiansbelievethat promoting positive valuesin youth should be a priority for sport in Canada,underliningthe importance of getting sportright. (p. 19) However, despite the evidence supporting the benefits of sport and physical activity for youths and the optimistic statistics cited above, numerous studies have also demonstrated alarmingly low fitness levels among young people in Canada. The report card published by Active

Healthy Kids Canada (2013), for example, tracked

physical activity

levels for 5 years and found that only 13% of Canadian children and youth are meeting daily guidelines. In relation to these low levels of physical activity, (2008), former

Michelle Brownrigg

CEO of Active Healthy Kids Canada and director of physical activity and

equity at the University of Toronto, noted that [a]t a younger and younger age, children are becoming dependent on electronic devices astheir sources of entertainment be a collaborative


and activity. . . . Getting our children active needsto

Governments, industry, communities, schools and parents all

needto sharethe responsibility of replacingsedentarytime with active play. (p. 1) Indeed, for

many physical educators weare at a tipping point with respect to the question

of the health and well-being of young Canadians, and strategies must beimplemented


all levels of government and between all agencies to provide well-funded, inclusive, fun, and safe sporting


that are aimed at getting children

Despitethe vast body of knowledge that demonstrates the importance for



of physical activity

Canadians of all ages, the actual percentages of Canadian children and youth who

report being involved

once a week or morein sports has decreasedsince 1992 (Gruneau, in

press). Moreover,while sport participation rates decline as Canadiansget older, the participation

rates of young Canadians is declining faster than that

of older Canadians

(Canadian Heritage,2013). Accordingto information provided by the 1992 and 2005 General Social Surveys, 64% of Canadian children between the agesof 11 and 14reported

participatingin someform ofsport atleast oncea weekin the previouscalendaryear, and the

mostrecent data for participation

rates for 1519

years olds are at 54% (Canadian

Heritage, 2013). Importantly, children from less-affluent families areincreasingly dropping out of sport. Several critics of youth sport have argued that organized sport hassimply



become too expensive for ordinary and less-affluent

Canadian families, especially aschil-

dren advance through the sport system. Other critics,

meanwhile, suggest that the struc-

ture of organized sport is too competitive and has beeninstitutionalized values and a power

and performance

model that

according to adult

maynot provide the types of positive,

empowering, and enjoyable experiences young Canadians need to keep them physically active and engagedin long-term sport participation

and physical activity.

This chapter will review the organizational structure of childrens sport in


addition to exploring a number of critical issues and concerns related to contemporary organized sports programs, including some of the factors that structure sport participation for young Canadians.In so doing, we will connect the personal issues of children and their families (e.g., the inability

of many Canadian families to afford the increasing costs associ-

ated with youth sport) to broader issues ofsocial structure. of areas relevant to childrens sport participation examination


Wewill also consider a number

will serve as a framework for our

and discussion. Theseinclude

in youth sport and the overemphasis on winning,


specialization limiting


childrens choices in organized sport,

withdrawal from sport,






in childrens sports, and


influence in childrens sport.

Webegin, however, with a discussion of processesof socialization.

SoCiAlizATion For Canadian children and youth, being involved in sport creates ample opportunities for socialization experiences to occur. In fact,

many parents enroll their children in various

sports activities so that their children learn appropriate

social values,skills, and accom-

panying feelings and attitudes that go beyond the benefits of participation activities (Kremer-Sadlik

& Kim, 2007). Socializationis the

in athletic

process oflearning and adapt-

ing to a given social system . . . and is the meansby which a society preservesits norms and perpetuates itself and reciprocally

(Sage & Eitzen, 2013, p. 66). Importantly, interactive

process through

socialization is an ongoing

which children learn and at times resist

socially constructed attitudes, knowledge(s), and dominant values of the society in which they are membersand the sports that they play. In other words, scholars interested in processesof socialization and youth sport generally focus on how children are socialized both into and through sport as an active and ongoing process.

The earliestsocialization theories had a distinctly socialpsychological flavour that emphasized individual




and psychological)

and socializing

childs unique blend of opportunities and life experiences (Bryant

McElroy, 1997, p. 33), including


keyinfluences and agentssuch as parents, siblings, peers,

coaches,and teachers workingin institutions such asschools, churches,and the broader community

who exert varying degrees of influence

over the childs

sport experience

(Smith, 2003). Certainly, parentsare the predominantsocializing agents whenit comes to sport involvement


& Stellino, 2008; Pugliese & Tinsley, 2007). For example,









if parents include their children in their own sporting ventures, they learn not only how to play a particular sport, but they will often develop alifelong same time (Fraser-Thomas

appreciation for it at the

& Cote, 2009). Thus,these early positive experiences in sport

can be critical in shaping future attitudes and behaviours. However, these early theories placed significant emphasis on individuals historical and structural issues. much more complicated than just agents and institutions;

with influential


nor is socialization simply a one-way transmission through


children come to uncritically

making a positive connection

embrace various cultural identities

ties that their parents believe are important.

make decisions about sport

and, in turn, how they produce social meanings and cultural identities

ongoing basis. In so doing, sociologists are interested in those personal experiences and individual including

or the values and activi-

The mostrecent sociological researchers have

attempted to understand how children (and parents) actively participation

rather than

Moreover, the process of being socialized into sport is

making connections


decisions in a much broader cultural context,

various social structures and all of the ideological

standings of class, race, gender, age, and ability/disability. later in this chapter, a decisive relationship

on an

meanings attached to underFor example, as we will discuss

exists between social class and sport, includ-

ing household income and sport participation: the higher the income, the higher the sport participation.

But financial resources are only one factor that plays into sport participa-

tion; others include education (the higher the education, the higher the probability sport participation),


time, cultural tastes, and various body orientations that areinformed

by class status and other social determinants such asgender. Finally, it

haslong been the

mantra of sport enthusiasts that sport provides a forum

through which weare socialized andlearn lifes lessons and develop character,


for children and youth. Yet what kind of character is valued and socially constructed bythe lessons and values of contemporary, competitive Canadiansport? In whoseinterest doesthis definition of character serve, especially whenthose understandings of character are lauded and held upfor emulation? Discipline, hard work, teamwork, dedication to a common cause, and other laudable personal qualities are supposedto bethe natural

outcome of having been

involved in competitive sport for young Canadians(historically, of course,these values were distinctly gendered and reserved for boys). Still, sport does not inherently

teach children

whatis good or bad, and wecan certainly point to innumerable examples whererole models havetaught and coached illegal field tactics or have modelled unsportsmanlike conduct. Nonetheless, what is important

to note is that through socialization

welearn a wide

range of values and historical beliefs to function in various social worlds.Conversely,

it is

in societys interests to bring up young menand women to be able and willing to fulfill the demands that

will be madeon them as adults: as workers, asfamily


(Hall et al., 1991, p. 189). Yet, as has been noted throughout this text, Canadian sport and

society aresocial constructions,and the reproduction of a particular social order. . . has to be seen in terms the reproduction

of ideas and norms and values that

makethese rela-

tions seem natural and right (Hall et al., 1991, p. 189).It is in this sense,then, that we need to understand that youth sportand

physicalactivity for Canadianyouthhave

all of the meanings associated with sport and

alwaysbeensites ofstruggle between various

interest groups who makecompeting claims about how sports should be organized and run.

Beforetackling some of theseissuesand debates,though, webriefly outline some of the maininstitutions



that govern and organize sport for young Canadians across the country.



emotional Dusan

provides skills


for children

to learn

not just



but social


as well.


The orgAnizATion


Minor SPorT

In the ensuing discussion of sport for children, it should be noted that sport in this chapter will be discussedin the context of those activities that are organized around a structured, competitively

based model of sport, such as the type of institutionalized

minor hockey and gymnastics or age-group swimming.

programs seen in

These programs are competitive in

nature, have defined rules, and require specific skills and resources; they are also primarily organized and overseen by adults. Other popular recreational-based activities such as bicycling, skateboarding, or street hockeywhile nized sportwill the competitive

having some of the characteristics of orga-

not be considered becausethe primary distinction for our discussion is model of organized sport.

In Canada, organizedsport for

manychildren and youth often begins in the preschool

years and is managed and delivered through four

main agencies or institutions:


funded community sport and recreation organizations, local sports clubs, service agencies and special-interest groups, and school-based sports. These groups offer a wide variety of sport programs and provide diverse experiences through various levels oftraining petitive activities.

and com-

While many of these programs have different rules for participation than

adult programs, they typically reflect the characteristics of adult-based sport, including regular training schedules, increasingly professionalized coaching and managerial environments,and lengthy competitive seasonsthat include playoffs and championships.

Publicly Funded Community Sport and Recreation Organizations Community-based sport and recreation programs have become extremely popular activi-

tiesfor children in all parts of Canadafor a numberof reasons.In particular, some activities, such assoccer, are relatively inexpensive,



while others are conveniently located and







accommodate a widerange of skill levels. It is not unusual,for example, to find both boys and girls playing a variety of sports such as hockey, soccer, baseball, basketball, and tennis as part of community-organized leagues acrossthe country.

Coaches, officials, and league

organizers, who are responsible for setting up and running all aspects of the program, often include

volunteers and, increasingly,

house leagues,

paid staff. Programs are typically

which mayloosely represent local

organized around

neighbourhood boundaries. Because

these programs are publicly supported, registration fees are usually modestand children who register are assigned to teams on a more orless random basis. The emphasis at this level is on skill development, enjoyment, fun, and participation. Houseleague participants

may practise and play one or two times per week. In addition,

many programs support all-star a particular age group or division.

teams selected from among a pool of talented players in At this level, competition takes on a moreserious focus,

with teams conducting tryouts, running regular training sessions, and competing in both league and tournament


Teamsfrom a community all-star league


compete for the right to represent their respective communities in regional, provincial, and interprovincial


Unlike house leagues, which usually play on week-

days, all-star teams attend practices during the week with competitions

generally held on

weekends.In this organizational structure, it is not unusual to find children participating simultaneously on both houseleague and all-star teams.

Local Sports Clubs Whilecommunity-based sports programs encourage wide participation inexpensive,

vate associations. higher level

and are relatively

more and more children are opting to take part in local sports clubs or priOne reason for the emergence of local sports clubs is to provide a

of professional training

school and community-based sport.

and competition

not usually available through

While these two programs mayserve to identify tal-

ented youngsters, many parents understand that privately run clubs havethe potential to develop young, talented athletes to an elite level. Sports programs operating under this model tend to focus on a specific sport and require a far greater time commitment from the participant; these programs are also more costly and, hence, are often the preserve of affluent families. Many of these programs, for example, are highly structured with scheduled daily training sessions. Becauseemphasisis on the development of athletic talent and the promotion of competitive prowess,children are often carefully groomed for successat each of the variouslevels or stages of competition

by professional coaches. Private sport clubs operate in

both public and privately owned facilities and offer training and competition in such popular individual

sports asswimming, gymnastics, figure skating, martial arts, tennis, track and

field, cycling, wrestling,and rowing. Theseclubs alsorun programsfor team sportssuch as hockey, basketball, and soccer. Operating costs to run these programs mayrange from sev-

eral thousand dollars to hundredsof thousands and employfull- and part-time coaches, instructors,

and administrators.

Club membership fees can range from a modestseveral

hundred dollars annually to registration fees of over $1,000;in addition, participants are often expected to cover their own travel coststo competitions. Examples of young athletes

who haverecently come through this system and risen to stardom in sport abound notable are Canadian professional tennis players Milos Raonic and Eugenie Bouchard.



Service Agencies and Special-Interest Groups Coexisting and often sharing the same facilities

with local sports clubs and publicly funded

organizations are a number of other nonprofit groupsthat promote sport activities for children. Theseinclude YM/YWCAs, religious organizations, Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada,Scouts Canadaand Girl Guides,and privately funded sports groups. Asin other organizations that offer sport programs,a widevariety of activities and competitive opportunities exist for participants. A mainfocus ofsport programsamong these groupsis to usesport as a vehicle to promote their particular set of valuesand beliefs. For example, children who participate in a church-run program mayalso beintroduced to the underlying valuesespousedbythat particular religion.

School-Based Sports Sport at the high school level institutions. relatively

haslong been an integral

part of Canadian educational

Organizedsport at the elementary and junior high school level, however, is a new phenomenon initiated


by physical educators concerned about

the low physical activity and fitness levels among children in this age group. According to a Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institute

(2004) report, fewer than 10% of

children receive their sport experiences through school-sponsored programs. Historically, school sport programs were an attempt to address this concern and originally involved sport activities on a more or less informal

basis. Today, programs can involve interschool

games on a regional level and may be organized around several weekends or run over a two- to three-month

season. These programs rely on coaches and officials who are usually

volunteers from the school staff or from within the community. Becauseof a number of obstacles,elementary school sport has not achieved the potential outcomes envisioned byits early advocates. The absenceof adequate resourcessuch assuitable facilities and qualified coaches along with increased userfees and insufficient funding have continued to prevent sport at the elementary school level from having any significant impact on increasing overall student activity levels. Coupled with these developments is the fact that manyof the schools that dosponsor sport programstend to mirror a high school model, which traditionally

has catered to only a small percentage of the schools student population.


well, even though costs associated with school sport programs are usuallylow compared to community-based programs, student participation is limited

basedon the number of teams

sponsored by a particular school. This latter issue hascaused manyphysical educatorsto consider alternative activities to organizedsport, such asadventure and outdoor experiences, fitness pursuits, and other noncompetitive experiencesincluding

co-ed and cooperative game

activities. An extensive discussion of school-based sports is coveredin

Chapter 10.

Other Youth Sport Organizations In Canada,organizedsport associationsfor children existfor a numberof reasons. Atthe school level, sport is tied to educational objectives and is seen as a wayto

motivate chil-

drento becomeinvolved in an activelifestyle. Community programspromotesport opportunities for children for similar reasons while keeping costs at a reasonable level for the

participant. Increasingly, however,there is a growing trend for children who aspireto become successful athletes to join private clubs that provide opportunities for children to









excel at a high level within a particular sport. Because many of these clubs mustoperate on income generated through

membershipfees and corporate sponsors, they regularly resem-

ble the practices and structures found in adult sport organizations.

Clearly, minor sport

organizations have become an integral part of the social fabric of many Canadian communities.

With few exceptions, every province that has a sport association responsible for

governing and promoting sport will likely early as agefive for many children.

have youth programs in place, often starting as

As Sageand Eitzen (2013) note,

Thereis a well-organizedoutlet for almost every child who hasaninterest in being involved in sports. Parents can enroll their children in age-group gymnastics and swimming programsat 3 yearsof age;ice-hockey, soccer, football, t-ball, and a half dozen other sports at agefour. Indeed, an earlystart is consideredessential whenparents or children have professionalor Olympic-levelaspirations.(p. 63) Still, despite the presence of a wide range of programs acrossthe country, lies have uneven accessto organized sport, and participation


rates are clearly structured

according to a number of variables, which we discussin the next section.

fACTorS DeTerMining ChilDrenS involveMenT in SPorT Datafrom

Canadian Heritage (2013) noted many of the underlying sociological factors

that structure


rates for children in organized sport in

Canada including

regional differences, gender and age, community size, parental involvement

in sport, and

household income. For example, when both parents areinvolved in sport, there is over a 90% likelihood

that their children

will also participate in some kind of sport activity.

Household income is another determining factor that underscores the class structure of Canadian society and the growing issue of economic inequality. income of $80,000 or higher, 85% of children

In families

with an

wereactive in sport, whereas72% of chil-

dren from households earning between $40,000 and $79,000 wereactive, and only 58% of children from households earning less than $40,000 were active. While household income levels continue to structure participation rates for children in sport, other economic factors decisively limit


the ever-increasing costs associated with minor sport.


most notably

As youth sport has become more

formalized and professionalized, the coststo run these programs have escalated to unprecedented levels.

As Gruneau (in press) notes,

Manyclubs operatein a climate of substantially heightenedexpectationsfrom sports participants and parents,as wellasfrom larger regional, provincial and national associations. Attendant to this, mostof the larger clubs and associationsin Canadanow run programs well beyond their traditional sporting season. Ten and eleven month long programs areincreasingly common. In addition,

manyclubs and associations now

have substantially larger budgets then even the recent past, requiring professionalism and accountability.

higher levels of

Sports clubs and associations are also subject to

growing demands for higher quality coaching and facilities at all times of the year.

Coupled with these issuesis the increased need for volunteers to help run these programs. Consequently, parents with children in these programs find that they are spending more and moretime volunteering in their childrens sport programs. These developments



have madeit

moredifficult to entice some parents to register their children in programs that

require them to volunteer hugeamounts of their time. create paid positions to complete activities that including

paid coaching, training,

Asa result, there has been a push to

were once simply handled by volunteers,

and administrative positions. All of these developments,

moreover, have escalated expectations among parents and athletes to havestate-of-the-art facilities and travel opportunities

within the structure of increasingly professionalized clubs.

As Gruneau(in press) notes, Thesethree trends: the hiring of paid coaches,the contracting out offormerly volunteer administrative needs


and escalating costs necessary to

for training and completion,

meet perceived new

are developing unevenly in different sports and in

different regions across the country, but their impact is subtly reshaping the way many of the larger community sports clubs and associations operate. Along the participation is pushed continually

further away from


Canadas lower classes.

Besidesthe escalation of costs and issues of inequality,

Nixon and Frey (1996) suggest

that both social background and status factors such as gender, race, and ethnicity areinfluential in determining sport participation.

For example, household composition,

training and sporting competitions, and the workplaceinvolvement


of parents areimportant

determinants of sport participation for young Canadians(Gruneau, in press). As noted below, participation levels for young Canadians are higher in two-parent families than in singleparent families, although the gapin participation by children from dual- and single-parent families tends to belessfor boysthan for girls. Regional considerations such as whereonelives (e.g., in an urban orrural area) mayalso affect sportinvolvement

basedon available opportu-

nities and resources. Families living in dense urban areasareless likely to participate in sport than families wholive in lower density suburban areasor smaller towns wherethe needfor a caris muchgreater (Gruneau, in press).Indeed, for manychildren living in small rural communities, programsthat are available maybe moreaccessibleand affordable than for children

in larger urbancentres with moresport opportunitiesbut withgreaterassociatedcostssuchas higher program and coaching fees,transportation costs, andfacility rentals.

In nearly 60% of families whereparentsare sports participants, children are active; meanwhile, in families where parents are active assports administrators or coaches and as

athletes, over 80% of children areregularsports participants (Gruneau, in press). Clearly, there appears to be a strong socialization effect at work where the organized activities of

children mirrorthe priorities of their parents. Beyondthese patterns of socialization, Coakley and Donnelly (2009) suggest that changes associated with family structure and

the perceptionsparentshaveaboutthe role sport can playin their childrens development also have majorimpacts on participation levels in organized sport. Perhaps one of the biggest changes is the increase in the number of families

with both parents working. For

working parents, afterschool and summer sport programs offer a safe, adult-supervised environment

where children

mayacquire valuable social and athletic skills.

note, parenting ideology has also changed in terms of what it parent.

Onthis latter

meanstoday to be a good

In the new millennium, parents are expected to be more accountable for the

behaviour and whereabouts of their children (Coakley

& Donnelly, 2009). For many

middle-class and more affluent parents, then, sport is a highly attractive having their children hang

alternative to

out at the mall or on the street corner.

However, perhapsthe biggest pushfor increasing sport participation for children is the realization that obesity rates among children are at epidemic levels. There is a growing Children,








awareness that increasing numbers of Canadian children are leading inactive, lifestyles.

The Canadian Community

Health Survey conducted


by Statistics


reported that the single largest increase in obesity rates wasamong youth aged 12 to 17, where the rate tripled from 3% in 1978 to 8% in 2004 (Statistics

Canada, 2005).

recent research findings are pointing toward a sustained obesity epidemic.


According to a

2008 survey by the Centersfor DiseaseControl (2010), the rate of obesity in children aged 6to 11 years was morethan 19%. Of even greater concern is that the present generation of youth will bethe first to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents (Olshansky et al., 2005). As a result, both provincial and federal government agencies are under pressureto addressthe problem of childhood obesity. Yet coupled with this development is the perception that physical education programs acrossthe country are having little

or no influence

on changing the long-term fitness and activity levels of children. Particularly disturbing is the tendency for schools, once widely regarded asthe public focal point for the overall development of the child, to reduce physical education opportunities for students and to impose userfees as cost recovery strategies. Physical and Health Education Canada (2014) reports that once

physical education becomes an optional subject, enrolment in physical

education tends to decreasesignificantly females than

with the decrease more noticeable for adolescent

males. Furthermore, at the secondary level, 20% of parents surveyed across

Canadaindicated that their adolescent child received no physical education at all and this percentageincreases asstudents advance through secondary grades (Physical and Health Education Canada, 2014). A consequence of all of these issuesis that cially from

many parents (espe-

moreaffluent backgrounds) are nowlooking for other opportunitiesincluding

private onesto

enroll their children in organized sport programs.


AnD iSSueS in ChilDrenS


Asthe popularity of childrens sport hasgrown, so too havethe scrutiny and the criticism of childrens sports programs. Critics have, for example, questioned the

merits of orga-

nized and highly structured sport participation for children asyoung as 4 or 5 years of age. Moreover, many of the professionals involved in physical education and sport remain convinced of the need for changes in

minor sport if children are to reap the benefits that

sport and physical activity have to offer. This section will review a number of the interrelated issues associated with children and youth in

minorsport. Theseinclude ethics in

youth sport and the overemphasis on winning, sport specialization, the risk of injuries,

parental interference,

withdrawal from sport,

and the role that coaches play in youth sport.

Ethics and Fair Playin Youth Sport: Is Winning Everything? One of the mostcontroversial areas of organizedsport for children is the highly competitive

natureofsome programsandthe overemphasisplacedon performanceand winning.It is not unusual for sport clubs, and in some casescommunity-based sport programs,to promote the

successandtrack recordsoftheir programsasevidenceoftheir single-mindedcommitment to winning to recruit new membersin an effort to boost registration numbers. By highlighting

their dedicationto excellenceand showcasingthe previouscompetitive successesof their athletes and teams, these clubs are able to present a very enticing picture to parents and



prospective athletes. Indeed, the emphasis on skill and performancein manyyouth sport organizations, as noted earlier, hasalso been accompanied by a professionalization of attitudes that has prioritized winning over other values such assimply playing well,let alone having fun. After countless hours of practice in preparation for a competition, player to suggest that

for a coach or

winning isnt important is both naive and unrealistic.


represents a wayto measureathletic skill or prowess and can be usedto express that


sure of personal achievement in a healthy way. Yet,if excellence in sport is defined solely as winning or owning

the podium,

what lengths

minded focus on winning become moreimportant game or treating your opponents fairly? If

might one go to win? Doesa singlethan acting

winning is important,

within the rules of the how doesthis affect our

definitions of strategy, rule bending, and cheating? Can weremain honest, fair, respectful, and unselfish if the ultimate goal is to win? These and other questions call for usto consider the ethical dimensions of our behaviour.

The erosion of ethical behaviour and high standards of those involved in sport is

perhaps one of the

mostoverarching concerns with respect to many of the current issues

facing youth sport today. Particularly disturbing for some involved in youth sport is the notion that sport mayactually serve to promote moralinsensitivity. sometimes usethe argument that everyone is doing it

Forinstance, coaches

to rationalize their rule breaking

or the use of questionable and unethical tactics. Onthis note, many physical educators have argued that the emphasis in youth sport should not solely be on wining and competition,

but should focus on the enhancement of

physical, cognitive, and affective development of the participants (American Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, 2013). a criticism

Alliance for

Wuestand Bucher (2003), in

of youth sport, note that these issues are particularly critical for younger chil-

dren, and that the fun of playing (rather than dominating an opponent) should be emphasized along with the development of a broad range of skills within the sport. In so doing, participation

opportunities for

many children of all abilities should be provided rather

than limiting

participation to the gifted few in an exclusionary

model of youth sport where

the primary focus is winning. As Tutor Bompa (1995) points out, it is important for usto provide

moreopportunities for children to learn the fundamentals

stress environment

of sports in afun, low-

(p. 26).

Sport organizations throughout the country have, of course,taken a number ofsteps to improve or maintain ethical standards of fair play, sportsmanship, and the conduct of individuals involved in their programs. Codesof conduct, fair play rules, and coaches and players creeds have been developed that attempt to prescribe guidelines to serve asthe basisfor making reasoned judgments related to sport activities.

Most notably, the Canadian Centre for

Ethicsin Sport hasasits missionto promote ethical conduct in all aspectsof sport in Canada, and to build afair and ethical sport system that embodies respect, fair play, safety and non-

violence (Canadian Centrefor Ethicsin Sport,2002, p. 1). In the meantime,a numberof provinces haveinstituted programs aimed atfostering fair play and ethical standardsin sport.

Thefair playprogramsin NovaScotiaand Ontarioare quickly becoming modelsthat other provinces are usingto develop their own programs to addressthe issuesrelated to ethics in

sport. Nevertheless,whiletheseeffortsshould beapplaudedasa positivestepin raising awarenessand addressingthe situation,

westill do not haveto look very hard to find examples of

cheating, abuseof officials, violations of rules, and outrageousbehaviour of parentsand coachesto conclude that these disruptive and unethical practices arestill widespread.









Sport Specialization Directly linked to the emphasis on winning and performance for children is the increasing pressureto develop highly skilled and specialized athletes in specific sports. The processfor identifying athletic talent in Canadais typically basedon asport modelthat provides afeeder system designed to progressively target and train athletes for the elite levels. sports such as swimming, gymnastics, and figure skating have traditionally

Whilesome been known

to start training children as early as 5 and 6 years of age, other sports such assoccer, hockey, and basketball are increasingly following suit. Children whoshow promise are systematically movedthrough aseries of skill development stages,introduced to moreintense competitions, and engagedin longer, morefrequent training sessions. Becauseofthe sheer amount of effort, time, and resourcesinvolved in this development phase, promising athletes are inevitably urged by a coach or parent to choose onesport in which to specialize. Some parents are per-

suadedthat their childs progressand chancesfor successat the elitelevel ofthe sport will be enhanced if there is year-round commitment to that sport, whilethe prospect of becoming an

age-groupchampion orthe dreamof makinga nationalteam becomesa powerfulenticement for both parents and their children. Parentscan be easilylured into the Tiger


nomenon and cometo believethat an explicit focus on onesport earlysimilar to


whoreportedly like the worlds best malegolfer, whoreportedly started putting when he was


givetheir son or daughtera betterchanceto make it to the bigleagues.

Still, early specialization in youth sport is a contentious issue. Some suggest that early

specialization of athletic expertiseis mostbeneficial in sports wherepeak performance occursin adolescence, such as womens gymnastics and womens figure skating (Deakin Cobley, 2003; Law, Cote, & Ericsson, 2007).

However, other researchers argue that a

specialized approach to sport can have negative consequences for the participants that specialization


many of the positive aspects of sport, including

children from other social worlds (Jayanthi, adherence to a long-term



2012). Strict regimentation,





program increasingly influence and shape the experi-

ences of children in organized sports programs according to the values of professional and high-performance sport. Yet the values that emerge from programs based on specialized, competitive success can bein conflict ideals of childrens sport, including

with, and in some casesact to subvert, the avowed

a movement-education approach that provides oppor-

tunities for children to experience the joy of physical

movement as opposed to objective

and highly skilled performance (Siedentop, 2004). Whilesome parents want to provide their children with the advantage of an early start by supporting a decision to specialize in a particular sport, there is another interrelated dimension to this trend that encourages children (and their parents) to embrace even greater levels of specialization.

Some programs are so highly structured that emphasis is

placed on children to specializein a particular position withinthat sport. For example, it is not unusual for children to refer to themselves by their playing position: asoccer player is now a striker

or a fullback,

and the age-group swimmer is a butterflyer

or a freestyler.


so doing, the young athlete comes to view his or herrole in the sport from the perspective of the relative status of the position, thus further limiting

and detracting from the funda-

mental purpose of sport for children. Such a deliberate structured approach to improve a childs sport skills places them under enormous physiological and psychological stress as well as potentially robbing them of opportunities for developing important social skills.



Dropout and Withdrawal from Sport In a competitive sporting environment, the mostpromising players are often children who physically matureearlier than their peersand consequently have a greater chance for athletic successin their age group.

Within this system, the so-called late

discouragedsimply becauselimited

bloomers often become

playing time and fewer opportunities are madeavailable

to them, leading them to sometimes drop out of sport. Onthe other hand, it is scarcely surprising that

many boys and girls who have progressedthrough various sport systems and

increasingly find sport to be more work than fun also decide to drop out of sport altogether. The process of dropping out of sport wasexamined asearly as 1976 by Donald Bell, who found that athletes, apart from not getting to play, maybe induced continuing series of degrading or humiliating

to quit because of a

experiences. For example, being

yelled at,

criticized, orridiculed by coaches, parents, or teammates arefrequently reported as negative

experiencesthat serveto drivechildren from a particularsport (cited in Nixon & Frey,1996, p. 91). In a 10-year study on withdrawal from competitive sports, Butcher, Linder and Johns

(2002) concludedthat simple lack of enjoyment wasone of the mainreasonsgiven for transferring to another sport orfor withdrawing from sport altogether. Otherfactors causing

children to leave asport maybe related to performanceanxiety,forming newfriendships outside the sport, new demands at school, embracing other aspects of teen culture, orsimply

losing interest in the sport. In fact, the annual attrition ratein youth sportis 35% and. . . mostyouth wholeave a team do so becausetheir interests shiftto

another sport or to a

non-sportactivity (Fullinwider, 2006,p. 7). Notsurprisingly, pressureon children is asignificant influence

on dropout rates, and a reported 70% of youth athletes quit organized

sport, outside of school programs, by the age of 13 (Engh, 1999; Fullinwider, 2006). As noted above, an exclusionary, high-performance modelservesto weedoutless-talented athletes while also makingsport less attractive to children asthey get older. Minor hockeyin Canadaserves as a prime example of a sport that promotes and caters to the talented asthey

Parentsneedto understandthat pressureto perform earlyin sport may lead to stressand dropout. Bigshots/Getty










movethrough various levels of competition.

While minor hockey continues to be a popular

sport for Canadians,declining registration numbers are asignificant concern. An editorial in the Globeand Mailcautioned that kids 8, 9, and 10 years old, kids with no plans of makingthe NHL, areforced to treat hockeyfrom an early agelike ajob. It is estimated that seventy-five percent of those kids whostart playing hockey at age 5 or 6 have dropped out bythe time they hit 15 (cited in Donnelly, 2000, p. 192). Young hockey players whoshow promisein the sport are being selected at an earlier agefor specialized treatment through various talent identification strategies, whilethose whofail to maketravel teams or are not talented enough to playin an all-star league soon find themselves on the sidelines. The same point can be made with respectto talent development in nonteam sports, asevidenced bythe high numbers of children who quit or drop out ofindividual sports such asswimming, gymnastics, andfigure skating. All of these issuesraise questions about the demands that are being placed on young athletes and the possibility of burnout in children who pursue sport at a high level. Burnout is the result of too

much participation, success, and pressure at too early an age. The causes

may be physical, psychological, or a combination p. 122). In a series of interviews

of elements (Figler

& Whitaker, 1991,

with age-group champions, Coakley and Donnelly (2009)

found that burnout occurred when

young athletes felt they no longer

had control over

their lives, and could not explore, develop, and nurture identities apart from sports (p. 87). Children who withdraw from sport at an early age becauseof burnout come to devalue the importance

of sport to their self-identity and perceive that other activities are more attrac-

tive than sport (Raedeke, 1997, p. 413).

Many burnout situations can be avoided; how-

ever, coaches and parents needto recognize burnout symptoms and provide programs that protect young athletes from having excessive demands placed on them at such an early age.

Risk of Injury in Childrens

Organized Sport

Afurther consequence with respect to specialization in organizedsport is that, only limits childrens

while it not

opportunities in other sports and nonsport activities, exclusive par-

ticipation in one sport activity at an early age can havesignificant physical and emotional implications for a child.

One of the

the increased risk of overuseinjuries. orimproper technique or conditioning

mostalarming effects of sport specialization has been Physiologically, injuries associated with overtraining arefar

morefrequent when a child engagesin asin-

gle sport over along period. The American Academy of Pediatricsrecommends that sporting activities for children should belimited to a maximum of 5 days per week.In addition, athletes should have at least 23

months off per yearfrom their particular sport (Brenner,

2007, p. 1243). Repetitive movementsthat causeimpact or strain to the joints can lead to damagein the fragile growth area of the bone and can impair

normal growth patterns or

result in permanent disability. A Canadian Paediatric Society (2006) report advised that predicting sport readinessinvolves the evaluation of anindividual childs cognitive, social and motordevelopmentto determine his or her ability to meetthe demandsof the sport. Sportingactivities should betailored to the developmentallevel ofthe child through simple

modifications, such assmaller equipment, frequent changing of posi-

tions, shorter games and practices, and byfocusing on fun.

Children should be encour-

agedto participate in a variety of activities and avoid early specialization. (pp. 12)

Limiting intensive involvement ing children

reduce the risk of overuse injuries. 152Chapter


in sports that are physically demanding and provid-

with a choice of less strenuous or more skill-oriented


may help

Sport medicineprofessionalshavealsostartedto raiseconcernsrelatedto the likelihood of headinjuries occurringin contact sports. Until recently, severe contact resulting in headinjuries duringsporting events wereclassifiedasconcussionsonly whena playerexhibited typical symptoms,such as disorientation orloss of consciousness.Doctorsare nowcautioning that any blow to the head,evenif it doesnot appearsevereenoughto causethe classicsymptoms of a concussion,canstill havelong-term health consequences(Koutures, Gregory, &the Council on Sport Medicineand Fitness,2010). Marchieand Cusimano (2003) concludedfrom their researchon body checking and concussionsin hockeythat repeated mildbraininjuries in youth and adults occurringover monthsor yearscouldresult in cumulative deficits. Theyounger developing brain is at an even higherrisk of injury (p. 3). Youngathletesin sportssuch as hockey,football, rugby, or soccer, wherecontactis permitted, maybe exposedto even greater harmthan waspreviouslythought. Assport beginsto assumea greaterplacein achilds life, there is the dangerthat young athletes will continueto train and compete despiteundergoinganinjury and mayin fact avoidreporting injuries for fear offalling behindin their training and possiblylosing their placeonthe team. Thedecisionto bancheckingin boys hockeyat the peeweelevel by HockeyCanada in 2013 continuesto be debatedby variousinterest groups with directstakesin minorhockey (e.g.,the interests of parentsfor their children, the individuals whorun and organize minor hockeyacrossthe country, and variousphysical educatorsand physicians who wantto see changesin the game). Many menwhoadvocatein favour of checkingclaim that boyslearn important physicalskills whenthey areyoungand,asaresult, mayavoid beinginjured asthey moveupthrough the variouslevels. Yetthereis often a defensiveresistanceevidentin many ofthese claimsto social changesthat areperceivedasthreatsto normal genderrelationsand to traditional understandingsof masculinity.However,detractorssuch asthe CanadianPaediatric Societyapplaudedthe decisionto ban checkingat the peeweelevel, simply notingthat [t]here is evidenceto suggestthat an athlete whohassustainedaconcussionis at anincreased riskfor subsequentheadinjuries andthat suchinjuries maybecumulative (Purcell, Canadian PaediatricSociety, & Healthy Active Living and Sports MedicineCommittee,2012,p. 4).

Parental Interference Forthe majorityof parents whoenroll their children in competitive, organizedsport,their participationis limited to drivingto andfrom practicesorgames.In between,they arecontent to sitin the bleachersoralongthe sidelinesand playthe role offan andsupporter,encouraging and enthusiasticallycheeringtheir children along. Onother occasions,they mayvolunteerin acoaching or officiating capacity. Thissceneis playedoutin hundredsof communitiesacross the country eachday. Theseparentsare moreconcerned withsupportingtheir children and makingthe sport experiencefun than in keepingtrack oftheir childs playingtime orscoring statistics. Mostparentswhoareinvolved at this level areinterestedin the redeemingbenefits sport hasto offertheir children and perhapsan expandedsocial circlethemselves. However,a majorconcernfor both critics andsupportersof minorsport hasemerged in recent years:overzealousparents whoengagein displaysof unacceptableand outrageous behavioursbefore,during, and aftertheir childrens sport events. Thesebehavioursinclude verbal and even physical abuse directed toward opponents and, in some cases,abuse directed at their own children. James Deacon(2001) reported that the bad behaviour of some parentsin hockeyis so commonit even hasits own namerink rage. Headdsthat hostile behavior at youth gamesis far morepervasiveandsometimesviolent than it was a Children,








generationago (p. 22). Reportedincidents of abusiveparentsthreatening coaches,assaulting opposingplayers,and taunting officials appearto havereached epidemic proportions, and regular coverageof these incidents atteststo the fact that concerns about parental behaviourin competitive sport remains aserious, ongoingsocial issue that mustbe dealt with collectively by all stakeholdersof childrens sport. Whileparentsinvolved in team sports appearto bethe mostculpable, individual sports are not immune to abusive parental behaviour. Incidents of a pushyparent who attemptsto influence judgesin gymnasticsor afather whobecomesenraged whenhis child is disqualifiedat aswim meetarereported morefrequently in the popular media.Regardless ofthe sport, attention to this issuestrongly supportsthe claim that parentsaretaking their childrens sportinvolvement moreseriouslythan ever before. Theinvestigation of parental involvement in their childrens sports is not new. Researchershavefocused on child parent/coachrelationshipsin childrens sport (Weiss &Fretwell, 2004) andthe challenges of being sport parents(Wiersma & Fifer, 2005). Shieldsand colleagues(2005, 2007),for example, haveexaminedthe behaviour of parentsduringsport eventsincluding the presence of derogatoryverbalreactions, physicalaltercations, and poorsport behaviour. For parents with aspirationsor dreamsof their child becominga top-level athlete or makinga national team, sportis not simply about playing gamesor havingfun. Theseparents willingly makesignificant sacrificesto givetheir youngstersevery chanceto succeedin the culture of competitive sport, where winningis often lauded asthe only outcomethat matters.The possibility of havingtheir child make it to the top remains an underlying motivefor manyparentsinvolved in minorsport despiteextremelyslim odds.Forexample, Sageand Eitzen(2013) report that three in 10,000or 0.0003 percentof boysplaying high school basketball will be draftedby a National Basketball Associationteam (p. 285). However, even withthese abysmalodds, manyparentssimply believetheir children are destined for a professionalcareerand are often preparedto do whateverit takesto makeit happen. Thisrangesfrom buyingthe mostexpensiveequipment and paying exorbitant clubfeesto relocating the entirefamily closerto atraining facility orsending a young child to live and train elsewherein the country. Parentsarealsooften expectedto commit agreatdealoftheir owntime to club-sponsoredactivities such asfundraising projectsorserving on committees. It is not unusualto seeparentsspendinglarge amountsoftime with other parents,either during practices,at games,or onroad trips, and developingsocial bonds with each other. Consequently,a greatersenseof prestige maybeassociatedwiththeir childs athletic success.In effect,a parentsbragging rights are heavilyinfluenced bytheir childs successorfailure in sport.It comesas nosurprise,therefore,that parentsfeel they havea personalstakein what happensand attemptto exert undueinfluence overtheir childs sport experience. Asecondreasonfor increasedinterference by parentsin childrens sport maysimply bean implicit desireto experiencesport vicariouslythrough their children. Parents who mayhave had unfulfilled athletic experiencesin their own youth sometimes unwittingly pressuretheir children to succeedin an effort to makeupfor their ownlost opportunities. Eventhe mostrestrained parent canlose perspective whenfaced with the dilemma of giving their child the chanceI never had. Finally, athird reasonfor parentsbecomingoverly involved in their childrens games is the prospect offuture financial rewards. Thetantalizing possibility of a collegescholarship, endorsements,or a professionalcontract can become morethan just wishfulthinking for some parents.Following an Olympic Gameswhena Canadianathletein a certain



sport medals, it is not unusualfor registration numbersin that sport to go up. Publicity surrounding these events and the million-dollar endorsementsfor medal winnerscan becomea powerful,if unrealistic, motivatorfor some parents. Yet while muchofthe literature on parentalinvolvement focusesonthe overlyinvolved or pushy parent, there are also a number of dangersassociated with parental underinvolvement. Children maybe morelikely to quit sport whenparentsfail to take an active interest in their childs sportinvolvement. Supportand encouragementare needed mostat the initial stage of participation (Canadian Centrefor Ethicsin Sport, 2008),and children needto feel their effortsare appreciated,whichis implicit through their parentssharingthe sport experience withthem. Alack of parentalsupport andinvolvement mayalsoinadvertently openthe doorfor the developmentof an unhealthy coachathlete relationship: Wherethe athlete is distanced from the parent(s), becauseof a perceived absence of emotional support or becauseoffamily conflict or problems, she mayturn to her coach or other authority figure to take onthe role ofsubstitute or surrogate parent. She mayevenfantasize that this personis, in fact, hersubstitute father or mother.(Brackenbridge, 2001, p. 72)

In spite ofthe negativeconsequencesof parentalinvolvement, parentscan do much to positivelyinfluence childrens sport experience. Parentsneedto providesupportive and stablefamily structures while encouraginginvolvement in sport; they also needto understand and appreciate the childs expectations as opposedto their own or the coachs expectationsfor the child.

The Role Coaches Play in Youth Sport Whileparentalinvolvement in sport hascome under heavycriticism in recent years,it is the coach whohasperhapsthe greatestpotential to influence children in minorsport. The youth sport coachis in a positionto provide an atmospherein which children canrealize the many positive benefits of sport participation. Whetherthese benefits exist for the

Coaches play a pivotal role in childrens kali9/E1/Getty

sport experiences.










participant dependsto alarge extent on a coachs understanding of the purposes and goals of youth sport. One program that has played a significant role in providing education for coachesin this areais the National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP).

Since 1975,

coachesin Canada have hadthe opportunity to receive formal training in coaching through the

NCCP. Thisfive-level

program, a collaborative

venture among the provinces, sports

governing associations, and the federal government, is designed to provide fundamental coaching principles and skills in addition to the particular techniques

of each sport. To

date,thousands of volunteer coachesfrom everylevel of sport in Canada havetaken advantage of this program. In fact, manylocal sport organizations now haverequirements in place that specify only certified coaches are permitted to coach in their league or program. However, despite the best efforts of these and other educational programs to ensure qualified coaches, a number of issues and concerns related to coaches continue to plague youth sport.

While children lose interest

and drop out of sport for a number of reasons,

many times their reasons to quit sports wererelated to their coaches behaviour. These were often associated with punitive activities by coaches, unrealistic expectations, and harsh and unfair treatment of players (Canadian

Centre for Ethics in Sport, 2008, p. 56):

Coachingabusecaninflict seriousharm on areliant andimpressionableyouth. Manystudieslink bullyingto a vastarrayofserioussubsequentpsychological issues:addiction,depression and suicide, among others. Child athletesare especiallyvulnerable,since they are looking onlyto the nextlevel in their sport andare unableto understandthe long-term ramifications oftheir experience.Let usall appreciatetheinordinate trustthat ayouth athlete mightplacein the handsof whatcould bea bullying adultcoach.(Steffenhagen,2013) In the pastseveral years,there have been numerousincidents of youth sport coaches who haveresorted to unethical, exploitative, and oppressive practices to produce a winning team or an elite athlete. For example, reports of falsifying birth certificates, usingineligible letes, tampering with equipment, and flirting


with starvation diets are just some of the dis-

turbing storiesthat have madetheir wayinto the headlinesin Canadaand aroundthe world. Perhaps the


and repulsive phenomenon related to organized youth

sport to emergein the past decadehasbeenthat ofsexual harassmentand abuseof young athletes. In a 1999 Sports Illustrated special report entitled Whos

Coaching Your Kid?

William Nackand Don Yaegerpointed outthat after decadesof beingignored, minimized, or hidden away, the

molestation of athletes bytheir coachesis nolonger the sporting cul-

tures dirtylittle secret (Nack & Yaeger,1999,p. 43). Theirarticle revealedthat although child

molestation is by no meansconfined to sports, the playing field represents an obvious

opportunityfor sexual predators. Withfew backgroundcheckscarried out andlittle supervision of coaches, youth

sports are a ready-made resource pool for pedophiles

(p. 43).

Kirby and Graves(1996), in the first national level survey of sexual harassment in sport (amongst 1,200 Canadian Olympians), demonstrated that sexual harassment and abuse by authority figures was widespread: 29% of responsesacknowledged distressing comments and advances; 22% acknowledged having sexual intercourse

with an authority figure;


nearly 9% reported having been previously subjected to asexual assault by a coach or team authority figure, and most went unreported.

Ofthe athletes who reported assaults, one in

five wereunder 16 of years of age. Nackand Yaeger(1999), in an 18-month review of newspaperstories, found more than thirty cases of coachesin the U.S. who had been arrested or convicted of sexually abusing children engaged in nine sports from baseball to wrestling (p. 43). This abhorrent behaviour continues to exist in youth sport. In 2010, an article in 156Chapter


USA Todayreported that

USA Swimming (the governing body for swimming)

had been

charged with five lawsuits alleging sexual abuse byformer swim coaches. Predominately, the perpetrators of these assaults are malecoaches while the victims are girls and women. In

Canada, the 1990s painted a disturbing picture of sexual abuse in the national

sport of hockey. First, it emerged that three employees of Maple Leaf Gardens(the former home ofthe Toronto

Maple Leafs) ran a pedophile ring from 19691988,

young boys weresexually assaulted. In 1997, forward and blew the lid off the

where dozens of

Martin Kruze, one of the survivors, came

Maple Leaf Gardensscandal. Kruze committed suicide

later in 1997, two days after one offender wassentenced to under two years of jail time. That same year, the scandal of hockey coach Graham James rocked not only the hockey world, but youth sport organizations acrossthe country (see Box 7.1). According to Donnelly and Sparks(2000), a number of common circumstances relating to the athletecoach


exist in all of these sexual abuse cases. Theseinclude

various power relations such as being under isolated, sometimes romantically

the coachs direct control, often lonely and

attached to the coach, threatened and/or bribed with

regard to their future in sport, and generally unable to report what happened to them to their parents, police, or sport administrators

(p. 110).

Athletes often do not feel as

though they can come forward for a number of reasons, including feelings of shame, fear of rocking the boat (upsetting teammates), fear of being cut or not making a team, fear of getting a coach fired, feeling that nobody will believe their allegations, and for boys and men,fear of the stigma of homosexuality.

Box 7.1

Sexual Assault Casesin Sport Recent letes


of sexual

have raised


a distressing










Several 1996,


issue for



coach in junior

by coaches

on young



at all levels

hockey and





of sport.

cases reinforce

a charismatic



winner of the


what is likely



Man of the Year

at trial.


be life

had far-reaching its football

this concern.










was sentenced The abuse


for the reputation

a number

to has

of PSU,

of university


administrators. Finally,


a former


with a family









award from the Hockey Newsin 1989,

was accused of sex-

abused their two sons and their friends.

Michael Dimmick,

ual assault by two of his players (former

NHL player Sheldon

a retired engineer and coach and referee,

wassentenced in


and another



players 2010,


was revised


University guilty


a 10-year



case, in



45 charges period.

Fleury filed




years in

Police Service



A year later, involving

only two


5 years in






Crown to appeal to



NHL player

with the

causing the




was sentenced









a criminal

against James, sentence,

2013 to


7 years for indecent


What is clear about abuse times

was committed years,


the risk

coach of




The children,

gave horrifying

Pennsylvania Sandusky


10 young


all from





of the





of sexual





place in the

be aware

an environment

cases is that period

in a trusted abuse in



we must take of the


where children

as is are




sexual some-

Therefore, sport,




sure two




to educate



our chil-

we must create

are empowered

abuse and, if needed, receive help and support.



of time,


are imperative, whenever

Most importantly, dren to

all of these over a long

by someone

background former

assaults that




In the wake of newrevelations of sexual improprieties involving sport organizations at all levels have come under increasing

minorleague coaches,

pressureto take


ensure the safety of young athletes. Consequently, Sport Canada, along with a number of national sport organizations, have developed national guidelines for dealing with sexual assault and harassment incidents.

An immediate response by manysport organizations

across the country to these incidents

has been to implement

policies that require all

coaches to submit to a police background check. Police checks are, for example, mandatory in Britain for every volunteer who works with children (Anderssen, 2010). As well,in an attempt to protect children guards aimed at volunteers,

manysport organizations haveinstituted

a number of safe-

officials, coaches, and the athletes themselves.

These are

sometimes drawn up into a bill of rights for young athletes or are formulated asfair play codes (Sage & Eitzen, 2013). Unfortunately, these measures may not be enough to keep sexual predators out of sport, particularly in the larger urban centres where thousands of volunteer coaches would need to undergo screening. Police departments that

would nor-

mally be responsible for reviewing the backgrounds of these coaches simply do not have the time or the resources to do so. Police checks, moreover, only provide evidence of convictions, not accusations of misconduct, charges, or investigations.

Chillingly, the presi-

dent of Volunteer Canada noted that the notorious murderer Paul Bernardo would have passeda police check to coach young children (Anderssen, 2010). Regardless,several precautions needto be taken on behalf of children in organizedsport programsto help safeguard them against sexual exploitation.

First, wherefeasible, organizers

should insist on a background check by police. Wherethis is not practical, volunteer coaches should, as a condition to coach in aleague, be required to submit to a check of their conduct, either through an employer or from previous coaching positions. Second, parents needto be aware of the danger signs that

might suggest a sexually abusive or harassing relationship,

such as a sudden drop in the childs interest in a particular sport, and take steps to protect their children.

They should also try to be present at their childrens

practices and games

(because unattended children are seen as easytargets) while being wary of coaches wholavish expensive gifts on players or spend an unusual amount of time with a child (Nack


Yaeger,1999). Perhaps mostimportantly, though, parents needto talk to and inform their children about whatis considered inappropriate about reporting any improprieties that step can be facilitated

behaviour by a coach and to reassurethem

mayoccur between athletes and coaches. Thislatter

by the establishment of specific policies and a complaint


known to all athletes including, if possible, an anonymous tip line (Anderssen, 2010).

Conclusions Throughout this chapter, we have suggestedthat nized sport for children

many of the original objectives of orga-

have become obscured or replaced

with an overemphasis on

elitism, performance, and the pursuit of athletic glory. The current sport system in Canada comprises school, community, mote and

and private agencies, and these organizations often pro-

maintain an exclusionary

model in

which young athletes are pressured to

succeed by overzealous parents and domineering coaches. As a result of this pressure and




interference, funa

more and more children are expressing the view that sports are no longer

trend that is reflected in the fact that nearly 70% of all children in organized sport

drop out before they reach the age of 13 (Sage & Eitzen, 2013). Strategies need to be put in place to addressthe issues and concerns brought forward in this chapter. First, parents must begin to take a more proactive stance toward changing the culture of youth sport. The drive for excellence

mustbe balanced with a greater regard

for the overall development of the child. There should be a focus not just on athletic performance but also on social, emotional, and intellectual

development. Second, organizers

responsible for providing youth sport programs needto meetthe challenges facing sport as a result of these disturbing trends by instituting

sound policies on the ethical conduct of

those in decision-making positions. As well, the codes of conduct of sport governing bodies should carry penalties that are severe enough to bereal deterrents to those who might choose to act in an unethical

manner. Finally, coaches need to be madeaware of the

potential for damage caused by early specialization and overtraining in young athletes and encourage and support involvement

in a variety of sport activities rather than


primary emphasis on exploiting children who show athletic promise. Onthis latter note,it mayalso be usefulto follow the salutary advice of noted environmentalist and activist David Suzuki(2012) whosuggestsareturn to informal, outdoor activities: Weneed to makesure our neighbourhoods have green spaces where people can explore their connections

with nature.

We need to ask teachers and school board representa-

tives to take students outside sothat nature becomes a classroom. And we need to stop making the outdoors seem like a scary place for children by helping parents understand

that the benefitsof playing outside outweighthe risks. The enduring barriers to sport and physical activity in

Canada needto be addressed,

and children need to be provided with inclusive, fun, and safe sporting and leisure opportunities including,

as Suzuki noted, challenging some of the ideologies that parents hold

about their children playing outside. Given that the habits wetake into adulthood are often formed

during our youth,

we have no greater purpose as physical educators in

Canadathan to take seriously the issues facing youth and childrens involvement

Critical Thinking 1.

in sport.


Whathasled to the increasein popularity of organizedsport for children over the past several decades?



3. Parents and coaches appearto be mainlyresponsible for putting unrealistic expectations on children who areinvolved in organizedsport. Is this an accurate statement? Arethere other people or other factors involved that contribute to the pressurefelt by these children? 4. Studies have shown that

morethan 70% of all children who participate in organized

sport drop out by the time they reach the age of 13.

Whatsuggestions and changes

would you maketo the way youth sport is currently structured in

Canada to encour-

age children to remain in sport? 5. As a parent of a child involved in organized sport, what precautions would you take

to ensurethat your child remains safefrom unethical coaches who might seek to exploit him or her?









6. Assuming that you are in charge of organizing a new sport program for children in your community,

what steps would you take to ensure all children in the program

receive equal participation 7. Discuss what the three

opportunities? major stakeholders (parents, sport governing

bodies, and

coaches) need to do to resolve some of the problems associated with childrens sport.



Donnelly, P.(2011). Takingsportseriously:Socialissuesin Canadiansport(3rd ed.). Section 3, Children and Sports, Chapters1016. Toronto, ON: Thompson Educational Press. Gruneau,R.(in press). GoodbyeGordie Howe:Sport participation and classinequality in the pay for play. In D. Taras & C. Wadell(Eds.), How Canadianscommunicate V: Sports. Edmonton, AB: AU Press. Malloy, D. C., Ross,S., & Zakus, D. H.(2000). Sportethics: Concepts andcases in sport andrecreation. Toronto, ON: Thompson Educational Press. Orlick, T. (2006).

Cooperative games and sports: Joyful activities for everyone.

Champaign, Il:

Human Kinetics.

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Wm. C. Brown.

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for play. In D. Taras & C. Wadell(Eds.), How Canadianscommunicate V: Sports. Edmonton, AB: AU Press. Hall, A., Slack, T., Smith, G., & Whitson, D.(1991). Sportin Canadiansociety. Toronto, ON: McClelland & Stewart. Jayanthi, N.(2012). Injury risks of sport specialization and training in junior tennis players:A clinical study. Paperpresentedat the Societyfor Tennisand MedicineScience North American Regional Conference,Atlanta, GA. Kirby, S., & Greaves,L. (1996, July 1114). Foulplay: Sexualabuseandharassment in sport. Paper presentedto the Pre-Olympic Scientific Congress,Dallas,TX. Koutures, C. G., Gregory, A. J., &the Council on Sport Medicine and Fitness. (2010). Injuries in youth soccer. American Academy of Pediatrics, 125(2), 410414. Kremer-Sadlik, through

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Lessonsfrom sports:

during sports activities.

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Discourse and Society, 18(1),


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A potential

decline in life expectancy in the

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A meta-

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morethan just stress? Asport commitment


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Sociology of North American sport.

Madison, WI: Brown and

Benchmark. Shields, D. L., Bredemeier, B. L., LaVoi,

N. M., & Power, C. F. (2005).

The sport behavior of youth,

parents and coaches: The good, the bad, and the ugly. Journal of Researchon Character Education, 3(1), 4359. Shields, D. L., LaVoi,

N. M., Bredemeier, B. L., & Power, C.F. (2007). Predictors of poor sportsper-

sonship in youth sports: An examination

of personal attitudes and social influences. Journal of

Sport and Exercise Psychology,29(6), 747762. Siedentop,

D. (2004). Introduction to physical education, fitness and sport (5th ed.). Boston,


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A. L. (2003). Peer relationships in physical activity contexts:

A road less traveled in youth

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The Daily. Retrieved from

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athletes-need-protection-from-abusive-coaches-opinion/. Suzuki, D. (2012,

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Retrieved from

get-your-kids-away-from-the-screen-and-into-the-green/. Weiss, M. R., & Fretwell, S. D.(2004). Cordial, contentious,

The parent-coach/child-athlete

or conundrum?

relationship in youth sport:

Research Quarterly for Exerciseand Sport, 76(3), 286305.

doi: 10.1080/02701367.2005.10599300. Wiersma, L. D., & Fifer, A. M.(2005). Its their turn to speak: The joys, challenges and recommendations of youth sport parents. Paper presented at the

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Advancement of Applied

Sport Psychology, Vancouver, BC. Wuest, D. A., & Bucher, C. A. (2003). St. Louis, MI: McGraw-Hill.



Foundations of physical education and sport (42nd ed.)

Chapter 8 Sport Deviance Jason Laurendeau

On August4, 2013,three BASEjumpers1 gainedillegal accessinto andthen parachuted from the top of a 36-storeybuilding under construction on Jasper Avenuein Edmonton, Alberta,landing in the middleof the Victoria Promenade(Klingbeil, 2013). Thejump took place at about 9:15 p.m., waswitnessedby a number of local residents, andin the weeksthat followed becamethe focus of significant mediaattention. Perhapsyou anticipate that this chapter will be about storieslike the one outlined above, considering questionsof whythese BASEjumpers (or other participants in sport andleisure pursuits) engagein deviant activitieswhat makesthem decideto doso, the techniques of rationalization (Sykes & Matza,1957) upon whichthey draw, and so on. Theseareimportant questionsthat will inform this chapter to a certain extent. More centrally, however, we will concern ourselves not with deviance as a thing to be explained or understood, but asthe outcome of a social processand cultural struggle (Deutschmann, 2002). In other words, what manyscholars of (sport and) deviancefind sociologically interesting are the waysin which particularideas about whatconstitutes devianceareproducedandenforced.This approachis rooted in C. Wright Mills touchstone

BenJohnsons victoryin the mens 100-metre sprint in the 1988 Olympic Games,and the drug scandal that followed, remains a touchstone momentin Canadian Olympicand sporting history. AP Photo/Dieter



articulation of the sociological imagination, in which hestressesthe importance of understandingpersonal biography (in this case,individual decisionsto conform or to engagein deviance) in relation to the social and historical locations in which those decisionsarise(Mills, 1961). How devianceis socially constructed and howsociety responds to deviance both formally andinformally are part of the deviance dance: the interactions, negotiations, and debatesamonggroups with different perceptionsof whethera behaviour or characteristic is deviant and needsto be socially controlled (Bereska, 2011, p. 23). It is this ideological dance that is of principal interest in this chapter. In whatfollows, I will consider what kinds of people,activities, waysof being, and waysof participating in sport and recreational pursuitscome to be understoodasnormal, and whoand whatcome to beseen(e.g., byformal social control organizations,by the general public, and even by the deviants themselves) as abnormal, pathological,immoral, and so on. This approach reminds usto keepsquarely in focus questions of power andideology as we undertake sociological analysesof sport and physical culture, allowing usto unpack the centre (Brock, Raby, & Thomas,2012) withrespectto questionsof sport and deviance.Indeed, discourses aboutnormal behaviour. . . are connectedto the power relations (Brock et al., 2012, p. 7). It is important, then, to consider not only normal or deviant behaviour, but alsothe powerrelations within whichthese distinctions areembedded. In orderto explorethe topic of sport and deviancein the waysdescribedabove,I first considerhow devianceis conceptualized,exploring questionsof whatkindsof approachesto studying deviance characterizethis body of work. Second,I consider the question of

Celebrating Canadian




win at the

hockey team








to a degree


of public



Games subjected

not imposed



men in

deviance and otherness andthe related notion of deviantizedbodiesand embodimentsas centralin framing this chapter. Third, I take upissuesof social control, highlighting the sensein which devianceis not only (and perhapsnot even mostimportantly) about the deviant behaviour oridentity, but about the waysin which othersfrom bothinside and outsideof particularsporting activitiesinterpret, respondto, and attempt to regulatethis conduct. Fourth,I considera number ofspecificexamplesof devianceon and offthe field of play, pointing out howthey help usshedlight onthe idea of devianceas dynamicand subject to contestation (e.g., whendeviantsresist beinglabelled), andthe related notion that the deviancedanceis embeddedwithin particular powerrelations andservesto producepower relations. Finally,I take up questionsof deviantizedsports andsportingidentities and draw togetherthe mostimportant threadsfrom the chapter, pointing out opportunities and challengesfor sociologistsofsport as wecontinue to considerquestionsofsport and deviance.



It is important at the outsetto consider how we might conceptualizedevianceto set the stagefor an exploration of some of the avenuesofinvestigation that sport scholars have consideredas wellasthose that havebeenless well developed. There are various sociological and lay approachesto conceptualizing deviance. Underpinning an objectivist standpoint is the assumption that there is something inherent in a person, behaviour, or characteristicthat is necessarilydeviant (Bereska, 2011, p. 5). Theaimfrom this perspectiveis to explainthe person, behaviour, or characteristicin question (Bereska,2011, p. 22). However,this framework hasbeensubject to considerable criticism, particularly from analysts workingfrom a moresubjectivist position. Subjectivist analysesconceptualizedevianceas asocialconstruction,emphasizingthat there is nothing that is inherently deviant. Fromthis perspective,the focus becomesthe deviance dancethe interactions, negotiations,and debatesamonggroups with different perceptionsof whethera behaviouror characteristicis deviant (Bereska,2011, p. 23).In other words,devianceis understood not as athing to be explained, but asan outcomeof a social process informed bypowerandinvolving negotiationand contestation(Deutschmann, 2002). Even within the broad category of subjectivist approachesto studying deviance, however,there areimportant debatesabout what preciselyshould bethe focus of our research.For example,certain subjectivist approaches,including those aiming to humanize thoselabelled as deviant, mightactually reproducethe idea that deviants are different, even perverted,simply by makingthem the foci oftheir investigations (Liazos, 1972). Critiquessuch asthose outlined above advocate much moresustained attention to the groups,institutions, andregulatory agenciesthat createand applythe labels, and the processes by whichtheselabels cometo beunderstoodascommon sense, and henceplay important rolesin the maintenanceand (re)shaping of hegemony(see Chapters1 and 2). Fromthis perspective,it is important to unpackthe centre, askingcritical questionsabout thosein position to create, modify,and enforcethe rules, whetherformal orinformal, and the particular ideas that are madeto seem normal or common sensein applying these rules. Whatis at stake hereis not simply particular definitions of what constitutes deviance, but alsobroaderideological strugglesaboutsuch topics asgender, nationalism,race, sexuality, (dis)ability, and health. Thisis the critical approachtaken in this chapter, one that lends itself to a number of important questionsabout deviance and sport that shift



the focusfrom those approachesoutlined above. For example,this approachto studying devianceandsport considersquestionssuch asthe following: 1. Howdo particularactions,identities, and performancescometo beunderstoodasdeviant? 2. Whatformal andinformal mechanismsof social control are employedin attempts to bring or keepthose defined asdeviant in line? 3. In what waysare current definitions of deviance shaped by power relations in a particularsociohistorical context? 4. How might we understand deviance not simply as reflective of particular power relations but as activelyinvolved in (re)producingthose powerrelations? 5. How do particular definitions of devianceserveto produce,reproduce, or transform broadersystemsofsocial organizationsuch asrace, gender,(dis)ability, andsexuality? 6. How are individual subjectivities shaped and constrained by the definitions of deviancethat predominatein particular social contexts? 7. Howcan weunderstandindividual agency(individuals abilities to makechoicesthat might resist dominant understandings) with respect to the rules that govern the particularsporting spacesthey occupy? The notion of tolerable deviance (Stebbins, 1996)is a usefulframework for understanding sport-related deviance. Sportis viewed as aseparatesocial world with its own allowablerule violations, exemplifying the processby which aculturally tolerable deviance violatesa normative codebut is notinterpreted by audiencesasalegitimate threat to the collective (or moral)good (Atkinson & Young,2008, p. 11). Thetolerable deviance framework shedsimportant light on the extent to which sport is constructedas aspacein which devianceis accepted,tolerated, or even celebrated. A number ofthe central argumentscharacterizingthis framework are worth highlighting at this time. Oneapproachsuggeststhat there is a hierarchy of social problems,and agentsofformal social control (e.g.,the police)focus on moreseriouscriminal activities, whichin turn influences moral entrepreneurs (Atkinson & Young,2008). Accordingto the internal policing argument,sporting participants and organizersgovern themselves, drawing on a deep understanding of the normsand rules in effect in particular sporting spacesto doso. Another wayof thinking within this framework is to understandsport as a social theaterin whichspectatorsare deliberatelyarousedbythe tension-balancescreated through athletic contests, thus reducing the predictability of day-to-daylife (Atkinson & Young,2008, p. 15). Fromthis perspective,becauseit functions astheatre, sport is understood asan unusualspacein whicha certain degreeof devianceis tolerated, or evenencouraged.In addition, some suggestthat the indiscretions of athletes, howevercommon and statistically typical, tend to be perceivedas unusualand unrepresentativeof sport culture morebroadly(Atkinson & Young,2008, p. 16). This argument might also be madewith respectto otherforms of deviance,such as white-collar crime (Sutherland, 1945).

DevianCe anD otherness Though numeroussport scholars highlight the importance ofinstitutions and practicesthat serveto privilegesome groupsandindividuals andto marginalizeothers,few conceptualize this as a question of deviance. And yet, dominant groups havethe powerto imposethe



Box 8.1

BenJohnson: a Case study The case of Ben Johnson is illustrative points

discussed at the


was one of the best-known sprinter

of Jamaican



of this chapter. In




a force to be reckoned

of a number

on the


ofimportant 1988, Johnson


himself in relatively


A Canadian


within one of the

p. 87). Second,


onto the


order as

most prestigious

event at the 1988 Seoul

as the


The fame however, it


by the fall from

was revealed





of South


the central which

revealed Johnson






Ponic, 2001, pp. 5455).


and that the in


The Dubin Inquiry was






responsibility coaches,

the for




Ben Johnsons and


p. 55). First, it

of doping in sport attributed



did the


other respects.

guilt [and]


its sheer size

& Ponic,

offence (Teetzel,

that partial







in the

cess than second

he had previously


This particular context





career reveals


and examined process.

1998). that



As the as he

Press cover-

he was initially

who happened



underwent a decisive shift and he became, Canadian

of his

almost immediately understand


was twisted




ban from

to Canada. As he moved up the ranks, however,

a Jamaican

was stripped




Johnsons identity first,

Later he tested



with less suc-




as a Jamaican



case needs to be understood

and later

age of Johnsons




a competition


enjoyed. alifetime




as he served

the competitive

time and received




that this



and, later,

medal in

back to


was shaped





in both the

mightrefer to the cultural patterns such as heteronormativity, the pat-

sion ofsexual desire), andin the morecontext-specific sense ofthe cultural norms created and sustained in particular times and places(such asthe norms that characterize certain sporting Whatis important to appreciatefor the purposesof this discussion,then, is the

notion of a deviant otherfeared, loathed, or bothas the meansto maintaining an idealized self. An understanding of otherness helpsto explain whyidentities are often characterized by polarization and bythe discursive marking ofinclusion and




politics in an ostensibly

and in need of measuresofsocial control

a Canadian.


tern of social relations that construct heterosexuality asthe dominant and only normal expres-




& Whitson, 1990).

months and years that followed,

2011, p. 90). For the purposes of this chapter, we mustunderstand culture broadest sense(e.g., it


the inquiry






so doing,




it still located agents,


norms that comprise their culture on all other cultural groupsin society, labelling the norms of conflicting cultural groups asdeviant

more than

and collective decisions to use performance-


gained fame




and then re-entered



served to institutionalize (Jackson

is notable in two

the first full-scale


million, that

of particular

enhancing substances (MacIntosh


use of performance-

The Dubin Inquiry,

the Inquiry

memory of the Johnson


The $3.6

more than simply recount the facts: [G]iven and significance,


medal and



was endemic



a doping infraction,

feet for

sider individual



order, Johnsons

a formal


had used steroids

48 hours later

of his gold

Korea. In short in

was surpassed,

positive for a banned

was stripped




grace less than



In the

with this

he had tested

bolic steroid.



(one that

man on Earth.



the inquiry

sport) that creates the backdrop against which we must con-

Games established a new world record and solidified his position


much at the

moral character

sporting events there is: the mens 100-metre sprint. Johnsons dramatic victory in the



When he



We must

by CanadaUS and contested

society (Jackson,


relaracial 1998).


within oppositional

classificatory systems: insiders

and them, menand women, black and white, normal Jewkes,2005, p. 20)

and outsiders,

and deviant.


(Greer &

Thesesystems of classification are produced and reproduced rather than simply reflectedin the mediaand other cultural texts (Hall, 2000). Thesetexts include, for example, the mediation of competitions themselves, but also the rules and codes of conduct in circulation in particular sporting spaces,as well asthe interpretations Consider the institutionalized

and implementations


racism in recent codes of conduct and practices in the

NBA and the NHL (Lorenz & Murray,2013).In both cases,weseethe (racialized) production of particular choices of style (e.g., dress, music,adornment of equipment) as deviant and in need of correction.

This operatesto surveil and police and, ultimately, as an endeavour on

the part of these leagues and teams to tame

. . . the threatening

Black bodies under their

control (Lorenz & Murray,2013, p. 3). In the caseof RayEmery,a Black NHL goaltender with the Ottawa Senators,the dominant


media narratives [was] the dis-

courseofotherness (Lorenz & Murray2013,p.13). NBAand NHLofficials,ofcourse,argue that these policies and practices are not aboutrace, andindeed that they are colour-blind.


is important to note, however,that colour-blindnessfurnishesacceptableways to reject racesensitive equity politics and do so while sounding principled (Levine-Rasky, 2012, p. 102).

Deviantized Bodies and Embodiments One central line of questioning directly related to the discussion of deviance and otherness is the production of particular bodies and particular embodiments or bodily (in)capacities as normal

or deviant.

These processesserve to remind us who belongs and who does

not in particular sporting spaces. In other words, they construct particular ideas about bodies and bodily (in)actions, ideas that produce and reproduce particular understandings of ourselves and others and legitimize

certain social relations (see Chapter 2). In other

words,from a Foucauldian perspective these processesare an exercise in power. In the early 20th century, for example, the International excluded women from certain their reproductive (Laurendeau

Olympic Committee (IOC)

Olympic events, arguing that their bodies (and in particular


& Adams, 2010).

would be irreparably

harmed by such vigorous activity

Moreover, when womens participation

wasoften closely observed by officials. Atthe 1928 Gamesin

wassanctioned, it

Amsterdam,for instance, the

IOC sanctioned only five track andfield events for women. Following some concerns about women collapsing on the track in the event (as did a number of menin their event, it should be noted), the IOC argued for complete expulsion of women from the Olympic games (Wamsley

& Pfister, 2005, p. 113). Though this did not come to pass, womens athletics

wereretained in the Olympics in alimited capacity and under closescrutiny Pfister, 2005, p. 113). The IOC

has a long history of deviantizing



women and policing

gender boundaries, perhaps mostnotably in practices of sextesting (see Chapter 6). Another wayin

which wesee the deviantization

of particular bodies and embodied

practices is in the waysthat certain body types are revered (and others deviantized) in particular sporting spaces. Considerthe example of larger-bodied participants in long-distance running, a sport that tends to be dominated byslighter athletes: The large orfat running body presents a site wherethe disciplinary processesare active and where the participants are subjected to extensive surveillance



(Chase, 2008, p. 140). Particular examples of this

kind of surveillance and policing

mustbe understood within a broader social and political

landscape in which fatness is deviantized more broadly (McDermott, Disabled


bodies are also deviantized in numerous ways.For example, the dominant his-

tory of the Paralympic Gamesserves to marginalize, homogenize, and pathologize disability and disabled bodies (Peers, 2009). This history constructs a story of disabled bodies under the care and training of benevolent experts, and in so doing erasesthe agency of the very people with disabilities who contributed to laying the foundations of the modern Paralympic movement. Similarly, contemporary representations of Paralympic athletes often erasethe identities and subjectivities of the athletes themselves, instead fetishizing the technologies (mobility and otherwise) that

makeathletic excellence possible(Peers, 2009). Perhaps moretroubling

still is the extent to which the Olympic Gamesare produced asthe real Olympics, whereas the Paralympic Gamesare constructed as a derivative and, arguably, irrelevant version of the real

event. An advertising slogan atthe 1996 Olympic Games,for example (The


is where heroes are made. The Paralympics is where heroes come.) celebrates Paralympic athletes and constructs them as heroic simply for beingthere, while Olympians are made into heroesin and through their training, athletic successes,and personal sacrifices (Peers, 2009). Thisservesto reproduce the idea that disabled bodies are not normal, even asit celebrates them. It is important

to remember that individual

serve to reproduce, challenge, or transform

choices are both situated

broader institutions

within, and

and structures. Former

Paralympian Danielle Peerss own negotiations and performances of disability have sometimes served to reproduce the very conditions that 2012). To the extent that she (ambivalently)

marginalize her as disabled (Peers,

adopted the role of the supercrip

in her

career as a Paralympic basketball player on the Canadian national team, she was complicit in further entrenching

a dangerous narrative about disability, one that constructs a

tremendously narrow range of possible subjectivities for those with disabilities and emphasizesindividual

capacities to overcome disability rather than questioning the ableist narra-

tives in which we understand disability assomething that Alsoimportant

mustbe overcome(Peers, 2012).

are the surveillance practices competitors are subjected to and how

they sometimes take on and reproduce their deviant identities. moving autoethnography,

Peers captures the surveillance

replays itself numerous times throughout

In a provocative


dimension in a scene that

her athletic career:

It is dark here.I am alone, or atleast, I feel alone. It feelslike yearssince I have been here:since they have beenasking methe same questions;since they have beentrying to figure out who,exactly, I am. AmI the innocent victim? The hostile witness?The suspect? The criminalcheat? I amfinally broken down. I give up. I am ready to confessthe truth . . . I amjust not sure whichtruth to tell. (Peers, 2012,p. 175)

soCial Control As noted above, it is imperative as fundamentally


weconsider social control efforts and mechanisms

related to and even implicated in the production of deviance. In other

words, deviance is not deviant in and of itself; it becomes defined asdeviant by particular people and groups in particular


and social locations

deviantization process described above. And this process is not politically

as part of the or ideologically

neutral. Rather, what is being contested is nothing less than what we understandand treatas




In our consideration of social control, it is important at the outsetto notethat social control efforts might be formal or informal (e.g., codified rules versus commonly understood norms), they might be direct andspecific or moregeneral and diffuse(e.g., penaltiesfor specific rule violations versus broader systems of meaningthat operateto remind us of what weshould be doing and not doing and who weshould want to be), and they might come from within a particular sporting location or beimposed from beyond that location (e.g., doping

rules and

norms withinthe sport of cycling versuspolice actions initiated from outside of the sport). Oneavenue of investigation that shedsimportant light on deviance and social control is the question of informal

mechanismsof social control in operation withinsporting spaces.

Though large-scale examples of deviance tend to come easilyto mind, everyday violations of expectations, and the responses to such forms of deviance, illustrate the notion that deviance is contextual and contested. As Deutschmann (2002, p. 22) points out, in the sense that every social grouping generates deviant designations and rules for their application, the deviance processis universal. [Even deviant] communities such as biker gangsinclude their own deviants, who maybe expelled if their behaviour is insufficiently in tune with what the group requires.

Thisis not, however, to suggest that the codesin operation in particular

sporting spaces are unrelated to broader constructions of deviance. Onthe contrary, these notions of what constitutes deviance and conformity are part of the broader landscape of ideological struggle that servesto reproduce (and sometimes reshape) the processesby which consent about such topics asrisk, gender, and respect for authority is created (see Chapter 2). Within particular sporting inherently

spaces (including

spaces that some

might think

of as

deviant), there are expectations and norms (defined and policed by the group

or subculture itself) as to how one goesabout participating in a sporting activity or whatit meansto be a real


As part of myresearch into BASE jumping (refer to page

182 for a description), for example, I learned of a phenomenon known as BASE


One central component of BASE ethics is the expectation that jumpers visiting an area contact local jumpers prior to jumping off particular objects: The seriousness of the expectation to contact the locals is highlighted by the case of John Vincent, who, manyyears ago, traveled to

Atlanta and, without contacting the

locals, jumped a crane. Previously, a local crew ofjumpers had worked out an agreement with the crane operator that he wouldleave the crane facing afavourable direction for the

jumpers(contrary to companyguidelines)in return for a quantity of beerthat the jumpers wouldleave for him eachtime they jumped it. Thisarrangement had worked wellfor locals as well asjumpers visiting the Atlantaarea, until Vincents[jump]. Not only did Vincentjump the crane,but he[also] proceeded to publicizethe jump. Asaresult of the ensuingpresscoverage,the crane came under muchtighter security,the construction companyinitiated aninvestigation, andthe craneoperator whohadbeenfriendly to local jumperslost hisjob. In breakingthe contact the locals rule, then, Vincent upsetlocal BASEjumpers enough that they were willing to drive several hoursto punish him. (Laurendeau,J. (2012). BASEjumping: The ultimate guide. Santa Barbara,CA: ABCCLIO. , p26. Reprinted by permission of Copyright Clearance Center.)

The punishment to

which I refer here is striking.

Vincents residence, forced their

This crew of jumpers showed up at

wayinside, and literally tarred and feathered


Whats more,they videotaped the events in a recording that hassince become folklore in the BASE jumping community (Laurendeau, 2012). Perhaps a more everyday example, however, will help highlight the importance informal



policing that takes place within particular sporting spaces.In an autoethnography



my own sporting

practices (Laurendeau,

2013), including

those of vio-

lence toward

myselfand others, I describe a high school gridiron football

practice from

myyouth. Mycoach, furious about the moves to actually

hit someone.

ously fearing sions.

we were trying in a particular

drill, yelled at us

Wanting very muchto please mycoach (and simultane-

him), I complied,

nearly causing both a teammate and myself concus-

My coach, pleased at this



this act of violence


publicly. This scenarioone that I suspect mirrorsinnumerable practices and gamesin football and elsewherebrings to light the sense in which we must understand both deviance and conformity in relation to agents and practices of social control. In other words,individuals in sporting spaces make particular choices about whether and how to engagein sporting practices but do so within a systemthat setslimits of various kinds on what choices are available andintelligible. In the scenario describedabove, mycoach acted asthe agent of social control, indicting a group of boys and young menfor not adhering to the sport ethic (Hughes & Coakley, 1991) and, implicitly, for not emulating the right kind of masculinity.

This vignetteone

that I suspect mirrorsinnumerable

practices and gamesin football

and elsewherebrings to light the sensein which we mustunderstandboth devianceand conformity in relation to agents and practices of social control. In other words,individuals

in sporting spaces makeparticular choicesabout whetherand howto engagein sporting practices but do so within a system that sets limits of various kinds on what choices are

available and intelligible. In the vignette above, mycoach acts asthe agent of social control, indicting

a group of boys and young menfor

not adhering to the sport

(Hughes & Coakley,1991) and,implicitly, for not emulating the right linity.

I had the choice not to conform, not to practice in a waythat

perhaps even inevitable. rather, it

But at that

was one that I understood

detriment to the team. Mychoice

moment, that


kind of mascu-

madeinjury likely,

wascertainly not an attractive choice;

well would mark me as weak, indecisive,

and a

And so I conformed.

to conform in the

moment described above constituted an individual

response to the situation and the structural conditions in which it wasembedded. It also, however, served to reproduce those very conditions, challenge the conditions that choice in that hegemonic

made hitting

asI did nothing

to subvert or

myteammate the only culturally intelligible

moment. That is, by capitulating I shored up the (narrow)

masculinity I



wasbeing encouraged to embody at the expense of my own

well-being and that of myteammate. The task for scholars of sport and deviance, then, is to explore not only the


which particular sporting identities

and practices are

normalized, but also the strategies employed to resist those definitions.

DevianCe on the FielD

oF play

Much academic and popular attention is devoted to considering examples of deviance on the field of play (the course, the ice, etc.). Perhaps the best-known explores questions of conformity

to the sport



work in this area

& Coakley, 1991). The

notion of positive deviance emphasizes the idea that deviance is not always rooted in a failure to observe the normsin operation in a particular sociocultural location.


Rather, we


might also understand deviance as arising out of an overly enthusiastic adoption of a set of expectations that characterizes particular activities: [A] portion ofthe deviance(i.e., behavior that is morallycondemnedand dangerous) among athletes doesnotinvolve arejection of norms, or conformity to a set of norms not endorsed in the rest of society. Instead,

many problem behaviors are created when

athletes care too muchfor, accept too completely, and overconform to what has become the value system of sport itself, including

both goals and means.(Hughes

& Coakley,

1991, p. 310, emphasis added)

There are four central beliefs that define what


meansto identify

athlete and to be treated as an athlete by others in the sport (Hughes

oneself as an

& Coakley, 1991,

p. 309). Based on these beliefs, athletes make sacrifices, strive for distinction, accept risks and refuse limitspractices health (McEwen

that initially


success but ultimately


& Young, 2011, p. 157). From this perspective, we mightthink of exam-

ples such as the widespread use of performance-enhancing sport cultures (e.g., the Festina affair that ous athletes, including

drugsin particular sport and

marredthe 1998 Tour de France, where numer-

all nine membersof the Festina cycling team, confessed to doping)

or the willingness of athletes to neglect their physical well-being in the search for athletic excellence (e.g., Korey Stringer, a Pro Bowl player for the

Minnesota Vikings, who died of

heat stroke after continuing to practise in severe heat on August 1, 2001, even after vomiting several times) not asfailures of athletes to understand and observe the expectations of them in a particular time, place, and space, but asexemplars of that (perhaps uncritical) understanding.

Newspaper coverage of Stringers death, for example, indicted

himself, locating athletes

mentalities asthe problem


(Braunsdorf, 2001).

Not all on-field deviance, however, exemplifies the notion of positive deviance. Though not asregular afeature of mediatedsport coverage orsociological investigation asthe examples above, there are also occasional stories about athletes using illegal equipment (e.g., a

hockeystick that does not conform to NHLregulations withrespectto material,dimensions, or curve) or tactics (such as a baseball pitcher whoscuffs the ball in order to artificially

create moreerratic movementon pitches). Andas withall forms of deviance,for everystory we hear about there are undoubtedly

manythat go undetected or are under-reported.

Another important avenue ofinvestigation with respect to on-field devianceis the question of violence (especially, but not exclusively, that which violates the rules of particular

sports). The assaultby Vancouver Canucks Todd Bertuzziagainst Colorado Avalanche rookie Steve Mooreon March 8, 2004,is just one example of this line of inquiry, which the

next chapter will addressin depth. Forour current purposes, though,it is important to highlight that

while we might understand Bertuzzis actions as an individual

deviant act, we

might also conceptualize it as an act of social control, asit wasin response to against Canuck Markus Naslundin a gamein It is important that

Moores hit

mid-February of the same year (Kerr, 2006).

wecritically examine the subjective processesby which individual

deviants come to engage in deviant activities.

However, this kind of analysis might also

produce them as deviant. In other words, when we makenuts, sluts and perverts (Liazos, 1972) the focus of investigation, must,then, critically

wesuggest that they are in need of explanation.

consider the cultures from

within which particular sport ethics arise

and in which they are enacted and reproduced (Young, 1993).




Drugsin Sport The topic

of drugs in sport has been, and remains,

deeply politicized comes to

and ideological.

one that is hotly contested and

For manystudents, it is one of the first topics that

mind when asked to think

surprising since there is something

about examples of deviance in sport. This is not of a moral


about the use of performance-

enhancing drugs: Societies appear to be subject, every now and then, to periods of moral panic.


condition, episode, person or group of persons emergesto become defined as athreat to societal values andinterests; its nature is presented in stylized and stereotypical fashion by the


mass media.(Cohen, 1972, p. 9)

manyrespects, this describesthe contemporary

debates around drugs in sport. It is also

important to notethat wecan understand moralpanicsasintimately intertwined questions of ideology (Hall,


Critcher, Jefferson, Clarke, & Robert, 1978). In other words,

elites (like the IOC) aresometimescomplicit in the construction of moralpanics aspart of the process of orchestrating

or manufacturing

hegemony. These elites are in a

position to shape media content, and in so doing reproduce particular understandings of competition

and fairness.

Again, these understandings impact

not only our comprehen-

sion of sport, but also the ways we makesense of global labour relations, for instance. Atthe outset of a discussion of this phenomenon, however, it is important a point

to reiterate

madeat the outset of this chapter: The kinds of deviance we hear, talk, and write

about have a lot to tell ussociologically

about why someone

pursuit of athletic excellence. Perhaps nothing could

makethis clearer than a thought

exercise. Take a moment to think about drug usein sport. do so? Perhaps, like

many, you think

might take drug Xin their

Whatcomes to mind when you

of performance-enhancing

drugs such assteroids,

EPO, or HGH. Or perhaps you envision practices such as blood doping, in which an athlete has blood drawn and later replaced to increase their oxygen-carrying capacity.


maybea well-known case of systematic drug usecomes to mind,such asthe state-sponsored administration

of performance-enhancing

drugs in the former East Germany (Dimeo,

Hunt, & Horbury, 2011). Perhapsyou conjure the image of afamous athlete who had afall from grace after being caught cheating.

Some examples include the Lance Armstrong

sagathat played out over several years with Armstrong repeatedly denying accusations of drug useand bullying anyone who accused him of wrongdoing; the case of Jose Canseco, a one-time baseball slugger Alzado, aformer

who admitted to long-term

drug use after retirement;

NFLstar who died in 1992 of a brain tumour, a condition

or Lyle

he alleged was

brought on by years of steroid abuse. The examples cited above exposesome important questions about our understandings of cheating.

Whyis it, for instance, that the use of steroids to enhance performance is consid-

ered cheating, whereasother techniques aimed atimproving athletic performance (e.g., artificial hydration or the useof altitude simulation tents to increase oxygen-carrying capacity) are thought of as good training? Similarly, we might ask whether a practice or product should be considered cheating whenits useis widespread. Or we mightinquire asto whythese particular performance-enhancing drugs are demonized, whereas others (e.g., Cialis or Viagrato treat erectile dysfunction) are acceptablefor performance enhancement in other areas of ourlives.



Furthermore, the examples that wetend to hear about and around which wetend to see investigations

and government

tabled on the topic of steroid usein

hearings and reports (such as the

Mitchell Report

Major League Baseball) capture a narrow slice of drug

usein and around sport. For example, the mostused and abused drug vis-a`-vissport is not EPO, HGH, or steroids.

Rather, sport and alcohol are closely linked,

and numerous

scholars have considered the complexities of this pairing, including such topics asalcohol use among recreational

and competitive

athletes, the place of alcohol in sport-related

rituals (e.g., hazing), and the sport-alcohol-finance

nexus (Dunning

& Waddington,

2003, p. 355). It is perhaps particularly important to note that there is alengthy history of debate asto the benefits and drawbacks of alcohol consumption

with respect to athletic

performance, and it continues to be touted as a method of reducing anxiety in certain sporting

contexts (Collins

& Vamplew, 2002),

making the point that


enhancing substances are not only those that heighten physiological capacities. And yet investigations problem in

reveal that

drug use is a much broader,

more insidious

among amateurs and recreational athletes, is culturally revered and encouraged

manysporting spaces, and is tied to broader normalized understandings of healthy



and femininity,


name but a few systems of stratification

(Safai, 2013). Too often neglected in these discussions are the waysin which other (often over-the-counter)

drugs are used by athletes at many ages and levels of experience and

participation. For example, some athletes trying to make

weight uselaxatives or appetite

suppressants (wrestling, gymnastics), while pain killers are regularly used (and sometimes abused) by athletes in their


to perform at the edge in the

name of success

(Safai, 2013, p. 122). As mentioned above, agents and processes of social control are not simply a response to deviance, but are actually constitutive of deviance. In other words, particular acts only become deviant in relation to the rules in place and those charged with policing those rules. For example, the

Agency (WADA),

established in 1999,

plays an active and central role as a moral compass, functioning

to define what consti-

tutes cheating

World Anti-Doping

with respect to performance-enhancing

products and practices and to

surveil and police athletes in an effort to eradicate the use of drugs in sport (or, at the very least, weed out the bad apples

who usethem).

We might understand

the logical outcome of a processthat began in the Cold

Warera, in which international

sporting events became a heated battleground of competing state ideologies, groundwork for the proliferation

of a

number of pharmaceutical

(i.e., blood doping) that could boost athletic performance The 1998 Tour de France served as a flashpoint scandal-plagued tour, almost of the severe doping inspection

half of the participants

WADA as laying the

products and methods

(Park, 2005, p. 177).

of sorts.

Allegedly, during the

withdrew from competition


(Park, 2005, p. 178). In response, the IOC organized the

World Conference on Dopingin Sport in early 1999, and with the participation of partners such as the European Union, the

formed the framework for

World Health Organization, and Interpol,

WADA by July ofthat same year(Park, 2005).

Canadianlawyer (and one-time IOC presidential hopeful) Richard Poundis a central

figure in the history of

WADA and has been a staunch advocate for a transnational

anti-doping agency as a mechanismto ensure that all athletes are able to participate on a


playing field.

considerable criticism:



And yet WADA and similar agencieshave been the subject of

WADA does not simply operate to detect whois doped and whois not by conducting

drug testing and penalizing dopedathletes. Rather, WADA attemptsto governdoping practices throughthe administrationof aseriesof programsandthe deploymentof disciplinary mechanisms . . . seek[ing] to shape athletic conduct by workingthrough [athletes] desires,aspirationsand beliefs.(Park, 2005,p. 179, emphasisadded) Lesssubtle critiques have also been raised, suggesting that

WADAs surveillance and judg-

ment practices, combined with inconsistencies and problems in their testing protocols, violate the basic human rights of all athletes subject to their To the extent that performance-enhancing bodies draw on


&Jones, 2007).

WADA continues to play aleading role in the ideological

war on

drugs, we mustalso appreciate their reach, as other regulatory

WADA policies and procedures. In addition, it is imperative to consider

the wayscompetitors (mis)understand

broader discussions about the use of performance-

enhancing substances (Johnson, Butryn, & Massuci2013). Considerations such as those outlined above are particularly important some of the arguments against drug testing. surveillance both in and out of competition,

These include

in light


an oppressive level


erosion of trust between various stakeholders,

and perceptions of arbitrary and inconsistent regulations and applications (Waddington, 2010). Perhaps morecentrally, however, sociologists are compelled to look at the various and regimented

waysin which athletes training,

diet, preparation, and physiological

adaptations are managed, measured,and closely monitored in the interests of performance enhancement, (Connor,

and ask Why

are some

methods and drugs banned and not others?

2009, p. 327). In other words,the anti-doping

cally interesting

movement itself is associologi-

as particular instances or systematic programs of doping. For example,

one of the central arguments

madeby proponents of drug testing is that performance-

enhancing drugs are detrimental to athletes health. And yet, if the health of athletes is a concern then drugs are a miniscule part of their


problems. Toactually makeelite sport healthy wedo not needanti-doping codes, we needanti-training codeslimiting the type and amount of training an athlete can do. Wealsoneedanti-competition codesrestrictingthe numberof games/meets/competitions in which an athlete can engage.(Connor, 2009,p. 335)

DevianCe oFF the FielD oF play It is imperative that discussions of deviance and deviantization

consider not only those

examples of deviance that occur on or nearsporting spacesthemselves, but alsothose that are directly connected with particular sporting (mega)events, and whatlight these might shed onthe import of these processesto understanding social institutions,

practices, andidentities.

In the first instance, analyses of some casesof off the field

deviance focus on

specific examples of deviance, such as sports crowd disorder. The aim of work like this is

to broadenour understandingsof sporting deviance,shifting the focusfrom participants behaviours in competition

onto those involved in the production

of sporting leagues,

organizations,and practices,as well moreperipheral participants (such asfans). Often, however, the object

of inquiry

is not the deviant behaviour itself but the moral codes at

playin particular contexts. These moralcodesare madevisible by the social control response to the behaviour or circumstances. For example, after the 2011 hockey riots in



Vancouver, British Columbia, numerous press outlets, as well as police officials, referred to those involved comes from

as anarchists

and troublemakers.

Vancouver. The 2010

incredibly important

Winter Olympic

Another recent example also Games were constructed as being

to Canadas sporting reputation. If Canada could win a gold medal,

this would go some waytoward repairing its international nation to have failed and the

sporting reputation asthe only

to win gold on its own soil (in both the

Montreal Gamesin 1976

Calgary Gamesin 1988). In these pressure-packed circumstances,


athletes shone, eventually tallying an impressive haul of 26 medals,14 of them gold. Amidst all of this good news, however, one of the biggest stories of the that our womens hockey team, jubilantly

Games was

celebrating their victory over their long-time

USrivals, took to the ice after the game drinking beer and champagne and smoking cigars (Edwards, Jones, & Weaving, 2013). It is noteworthy that the only people in the stands at this time werea few so forth

Canadian and international

journalists . . . completing reports and

(Edwards et al., 2013, p. 682). The womens team wassaid to have tarnished the

reputation of womens hockey, the IOC promised aninvestigation they later backed away), and Hockey Canadaissued an apology.

(a promise from which Whatis telling about this

example is not that this wasthe response of the press and Olympic officials; what is striking sociologically is that this particular celebratory behaviour wasvilified; only days earlier, Canadian skeleton athlete Jon

Montgomery, after an emotional gold-medal victory, drank

from a pitcher of beer on national television: [Montgomerys


and was considered a pivotal live

on television

moment wasreplayed constantly

on Olympic broadcasts

moment of the Vancouver Gamesfor

during the interview,

Canadians. Even

Montgomery continued to drink from the

pitcher, and becamea Canadianiconic figure. (Edwardset al., 2013, p. 688) It wasnot the case,then, that the drinking behaviour of the womens hockey team wasdeviant in and of itself.

Rather, this example illustrates the notion that deviance is relative

(Deutschmann 2002, p. 23); the behaviour wasconstructed as deviant in relation to particular (gendered) expectations about celebratory behaviours. And, in this case,these expectations reveal as much about gender asasystem of social organization asabout deviance itself. The expectations (made visible through the social control response to the womens celebration) emphasize that there


are waysof being gendered that arenormal

and waysthat are

(Newman, 2012, p.65) andremind usthat to do genderis not alwaysto live up

to normative conceptions of femininity

and masculinity; it is to engagein behavior at the

riskof genderassessment (West & Zimmerman,1987,p. 136,emphasisin original). Moralcodes are also madevisible bythe waysin which the accused respond, resisting

the spoiled identity (Goffman, 1963)that often accompanies seriousexamplesof deviance. In 1991, for example, NBA star MagicJohnson announced that he had been diagnosed with

the humanimmunodeficiency virus, betterknown as HIV,the precursorto AIDS. Thisnews rocked the

NBA, and Johnsons role in the league wascalled into question. Tellingly, one

important component ofthe fallout ofthis announcement wasJohnsons claim that he had contracted

HIV not through homosexual intercourse, but because he had engagedin numer-

ous extramarital (and, heinsisted, heterosexual) sexual encounters over the years. Hethus disavowed one stigmatizing label (that of being gay)

by adopting another (being virile

and promiscuous), one that comes with a more manageablestigma and serves to reinforce the dominant logic



of containment

around HIV and AIDS (Cole

& Denny, 2004).

In the second instance of analyzing off the field

deviance, we might conceptualize

examples of deviance such as protests of Olympic policies, decisions, and practices (any one of which might be understood asan example of deviance) assymptoms of moresystemic social problems (Rowe, 2012). Considerthe deviantization of athletes who usetheir celebrity status to make political statements. Famous examples of this kind of protest include


Alis refusal to report for duty when draftedfor the Vietnam WarandJohn Carlosand Tommie Smiths oft-pictured black (Giardina

power salute at the 1968 Summer Olympics in

Mexico City

& Newman, 2011). These examples alsoillustrate the waysin which notions of

deviance shift over time as social conditions change and historical circumstances shed new light on dynamic social conditions.

Carlosand Smith, for example, wereinitially

vilified over

their protest, accusedof makinga deeply political statement at an ostensibly apolitical Olympic festival (though the IOCs claims that the Olympics are apolitical aretenuous, at best; Smith, 2006). Similarly, Alifaced sanctions for his actions (in the United States,at least) butis now celebrated for hisstand against this unpopular conflict. Perhaps aless well-known example closer to home will serve us well here. In the lead up to the 1988 Olympic

Winter Gamesin

Calgary, there

were a number of protests by

Aboriginal peoples and supporters. For instance, the torch relay wascriticizedfor beingsponsoredby Petro-Canada,asthis conglomerate wasinvading indigenous territories (including Lubiconlands) across Canada. . . Alwyn Morris,gold and bronze kayaking medalistfrom the 1984 Los AngelesSummer Olympic Games and a memberof the Kahnawake,declared hissupportfor the Lubiconin front of the assembled crowd. (OBonsawin,

2013, pp. 4748)

This is by no meansthe only time that the IOC has come under fire for social issues related to the hosting of Olympic specifically in relation to

Games, nor even the only time this has happened

Aboriginal people in

Canada. The 2010 Gamesin


for example, wereprotested by a number of groups against the hosting of the Olympics on stolen

native land





anD sporting


Much of the discussion above has centred on questions of particular waysof participating

in sport and physical activities, waysthat cometo be defined as deviant. At this point, however, a brief consideration of activities constructed asdeviant in and of themselves is

in order. As weshall see,in some casesan activity is thought of as deviant regardlessof who undertakes it. In others, however, only certain individuals

or groups are read as devi-

ant for participating in certain kinds of activities, once againillustrating the extent to which deviantization processesare fluid,

malleable, and interwoven

with power.

Oneparticularfield of activities often constructedas deviant (and yetsimultaneously heralded) is so-called risk sports.

In the late 20th century and into the 21st century,

voluntary risk-taking hascometo beseenas foolhardy, careless,irresponsible, and even deviant,

evidence of an individuals ignorance orlack of ability to regulate the self (Lupton,

1999, p. 148). In their study of newspaper accounts of back-country found themselves in need of rescue assistance, Laurendeau and



that participants in these kinds of activities are often thought to have a death


highlight wish or

are believed to lack a sense of responsibility toward both themselves and others. These



newspaper accounts of rescue operations, then, serve both to deviantize the particular participants in question and to remind readers of their own responsibilities managing their risk

profiles (Laurendeau

The point above is also germane to a consideration are deviantized for their


with respect to

& Moroz,2013). of how particular social actors

in sports thought to be characterized

by a high

degree of danger. Asmall number of scholars, for example, have considered the waysin which women are deviantized for their participation

in risk sports

while men are more

often lionized for their bravery and adventurousness (Laurendeau, example, the case of Alison Hargreaves, an elite


2008). Consider, for When Hargreaves was

killed in 1995, wesaw the

morality of risk taking go into overdrive.

had effectively abandoned her children

Asa mother of two,

by taking such extraordinary


risks. The par-

ticular cultural definitions and limitations imposed upon Hargreavesensured she would never dramatically,if fatally distinguish herselffrom the crowd asa climber,but rather asan errant, unthinking mother.(Palmer, 2004, p. 66) The following

year, however, when Rob Hall died on Mount Everest, the

criticize him for abandoning The deviantization straightforward

his wife and yet-to-be born child (Donnelly,

media did not 2004).

of such activities and participants therein,

however, is not as

as the examples above might seem to suggest: Sport

continues to cele-

brate risk while it is also troubled



2004, p. 54). This ambivalence is

strikingly evident in the case of risk sport participants in that they are constructed on the one hand as deeply irresponsible, ingness to put themselves in a first

while on the other hand they are lauded for their

harms way for the sake of exploration (consider the idea of

ascent of an elusive peak), spectacular performance (think

Bull Stratosjump, in


here of the recent Red

which Felix Baumgartner set several world records in performing a

parachute jump from an estimated altitude of 39,045 metres), or simply for the sake of entertainment

(such asthe X Games).It is worth reminding

celebration (and commodification)

of particular individuals

necessarilyindicate that they are not deviantized. marking extreme

ourselves, however, that the or sporting activities doesnot

On the contrary, this very process of

athletes asspectacular is, in certain respects, simply another reminder

that they are fundamentally

different from us.

Sothough we celebrate their accomplish-

ments and are often willing to explore the edge vicariously through them, so from the comfort and safety of our living rooms, from you so if and whenthings go wrong (Laurendeau

we often do

where we mightlater say I told

& Moroz, 2013).

Conclusions In this chapter, I have aimed to highlight the mostimportance theoretical and substantive lines of inquiry that

have underpinned some of the work considering questions of sport

and deviance. Perhaps moreimportantly,

though, I have endeavoured to sketch out some

waysin which we might broaden what we meanby deviance and the kinds of questions we ask in this area. This broadening, I suggest, comes from critiques of the field of deviance



studies more generally and emphasizes the importance appreciating, engaging with, and thinking

of both students and researchers

critically about a broad array of approaches to

studying sport, physical culture, and deviance. Whatis centrally important

in taking this approach to considering

questions of

deviance, conformity, and social control is that we highlight and interrogate the waysthat deviantization

processes work in tandem

with systems of social organization such as

gender, sexuality, (dis)ability, race, and class,to name but afew. That is, considering deviance asrelational

and as an outcome of a process, rather than a phenomenon to explain,

allows us to delve into constructing

how unequal social relations are produced and maintained by

particular ideas about normality and abnormality.

Underscoring power in

this wayallows usto unpack the centre to reveal as much, and perhaps more,about who and what are constituted as normal

Critical thinking

as about whois deviant

and why.


1. Howis deviance the outcome

of a social process? In what waysis this connected to

questions of power? 2.

Whyis it important to consider the waysthat deviantization about who and whatis normal

3. In

what ways might particular questions about sporting

asked by sport scholars) be part of the deviance 4.

processesproduce ideas

as well as about who and what is deviant?

What kinds of questions do interpretive

deviance (including



scholars ask about sport and deviance, and

how do they differ from those that someone

working from an objectivist


might ask? 5.

What do welearn by unpacking

the centre in contemporary examples of deviance

and sport?

suggested Atkinson,



Male athletes and the cult(ure)

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endnotes 1.

BASE jumping,

considered by some to be a moreextreme

version of skydiving, involves

parachuting from fixed objects such as buildings (B), antennae (A), spans (such as bridges; S), and earth (such as cliffs; E). Otherfixed objects, such assilos or cranes, fall into a broad other

category(Laurendeau, 2011).



Chapter 9 Violence StacyL. Lorenz

Sincethe development of the first organized athletic spectaclesin the ancient world, violence

Violent sports have long

has been a key part of the attraction of sport. Donald Kyle (2007) describesancient

object of public fascination


and Roman sport asvisceral, visual, and vulgar (p. 22). For example, at the ancient Olympic Gamesand on elaborate tracks throughout the Roman Empire, chariot races could endin dangerous collisions and lethal crashes. The poet Statius observedthat one

Cliff Welch/IconSMI 357/Cliff Welch/Icon SMI/Newscom

would think the

drivers werepitted in savage war,so furious is their will to win, so ever-present the threat of a gory death (quoted in Perrottet, 2004, p. 92). The Greek Olympic program featured wrestling, boxing, and a form of no-holds-barred fighting called the pankration. Participants in these combat sports expected broken bones,scarred and disfigured faces, and battered heads. Strangling was a legitimate strategy used by pankratiasts; one athlete

been the

managedto win an

Olympic title despite being choked to death becausehis opponent wasin so muchpain from a dislocated ankle that he conceded victory first (Kyle, 2007; Perrottet, 2004). Hugecrowds gathered at the Colosseumin ancient Rometo watch animal fights and gladiator combats, where death waspart of the entertainment package. Acrossthe Roman Empire, exotic beasts were killed in large-scale hunts and public shows. Animals wereusedto execute deserters,


runaway slaves, or criminals.

And gladiators duelledand

tacles sponsored bythe state andimportant In

often diedin



political leaders (Kyle, 2007).

modernsociety, violent sports still command the attention of manyfans and spec-


Michael Messner(2002) argues that the centre of sportthe

renowned part of the world of sport todayis sion, and violence

(p. xviii).


mostrewarded and

largely by physical power, aggres-

The NFLis the mostsuccessful sports league in the United

States, and it sells a combination

of high-speed collisions and hard hits to massivestadium

and television audiences. In Canada, the NHL is the dominant sports businessand only


majorsports league that does not punish fist fights between players with ejection

from the game. Fighting,

body checking, and manly displays of toughness are widely

regarded as crucial elements of hockeys spectator appeal. Boxing was perhaps the


widely followed sport of the 20th century, although its economic and cultural significance has diminished in recent decades. However, the growth of mixed martial arts (MMA) since the 1990s, particularly

the popularity

of the

(UFC), indicates the ongoing public fascination

Ultimate Fighting


with combat sports and raises questions

about the place of sporting violence in contemporary culture. In addition, gender identities are closely connected to our understandings of violence in sport, both historically and in the present.


of Violence

The concept of violence in sport is not easy to define. Discussions of sporting violence are often inconsistent

and contradictory

behaviours from acts that are aggressive,

because it is difficult to distinguish violent rough,


or physical.

In addition,

violent actions in sport are not only expected and tolerated, they are frequently brated, respected, and admired (Wamsley, 2008).


Michael Smith (1983) describes aggres-

sion as any behaviour designed to injure another person, psychologically or physically (p. 2). Violence can therefore beseen as a morespecific form of aggressionit iour intended to injure another person physically (Smith, behaviour

will potentially

cause physical harm or injury,

often permitted as an acceptable part

is behav-

1983, p. 2). Although violent violent

actions in sport are

ofthe game (Smith, 1983, p. 9). John Kerr (2005)

notes that in combat sports and contact sports, in particular, violent, forms of physical contact are regarded asintrinsic

highly aggressive, often

and sanctioned

elements of

play (p. 8). Smith (1983) attempts to categorize sports violence on a scale of legitimacy, as perceived by participants in the sport, the general public, and the legal system. Hisanalysis includes two relatively tact

and borderline

legitimate violenceand

types of violencewhich two relatively

he calls brutal


body con-

types of violence

describedasquasi-criminal violence and criminal violence (Smith, 1983,pp. 923; see also Hall, Slack, Smith,

& Whitson, 1991, p. 215; Young, 2002, pp. 209210).

Brutal body

contactis permitted by the official rules of a particular sport, whileborderline violence does not conform to the rules, but nevertheless is widely accepted as alegitimate aspect of

the sport (Smith, 1983, pp. 914). Examplesof brutal bodycontactinclude tacklesin football, punches in boxing or MMA, and the kind of physical play that is permitted in soccer

or basketball. Examplesof borderlineviolenceinclude fistfights in hockey, brushback



pitchesaimed neara batters headin baseball,orthe pushesand bumpsthat occurin a pack of distancerunnerspractices that mightbe penalizedor, in some cases,lead to ejections orsuspensions,but which occur routinely and usuallycan bejustified within the context of the sport (Smith, 1983, p. 12).In addition, Kevin Young(2002) notesthat the sanctions imposed bysportsleaguesand administratorsfor borderline violence havebeen notoriouslylight (p. 210). Onthe other hand, quasi-criminalviolenceviolates not only the formal rules of a given sport (and the law of the land), but to a significant degreethe informal norms of player conduct (Smith, 1983, p. 14). In hockey,for instance, cheap shots, sucker punches, and in recent years hitsfrom behindinto the boardsespecially whenthese actions result in seriousinjurywould beregarded as quasi-criminal forms of violence (Young, 2000, 2002). Otherexamplesinclude vicious headbuttsin soccer,bench-clearing brawlsin basketball, or batters charging the pitchers moundto start fights in baseball. Whilesuch acts are morelikely to lead to suspensionsor fines than borderlineviolence, punishment is not always consistentfor those involved in such incidents. In addition, legal authorities maybecomeinvolved in dealing with this type of violence, although criminal chargesfor actions occurring duringthe courseof asporting contest areextremely rare. Civil litigation is morecommonin these cases(Smith, 1983). Finally, there areincidents of criminal violencein whichthe degreeof violenceis so seriousand obviously outsidethe boundariesof what could beconsidered part of the gamethat it is handledfrom the outset by the law (Smith, 1983, p. 21). WhileSmiths categoriesare usefulin attempting to understand sporting violence, the boundaries betweenthese different types of violence are not always clear, and they can change over time. For example, as the long-term consequences of concussions have become moreapparent,the NFLandthe NHL havecome under pressureto make their sports less dangerousfor players. Both leagues have maderule changesthat are intended to reduce the number of headinjuries sustained by participants, makingsome acts that had previously been regarded as allowable forms of body contact into plays that are now considered borderline, or even quasi-criminal, forms of violence. As a result, actions that havelong been considered acceptable within the cultures of football and hockey are increasingly being seen as violations of the written rules and unwritten codesthat operate within these sports. Andif some of these trends continue, perhapsthe standard for what constitutes criminal forms of violence will change as well (Young, 2002). Twoinfluential ideas put forward to explain violencein society (and, by extension, violencein sport) arethe instincttheory andthe frustrationaggression theory (Lorenz, 2002). Theclassicexpressionofinstincttheoryis KonradLorenzs On Aggression, first publishedin 1966, whichexaminesthe fighting instinct in beastand manwhichis directedagainstmembersof the samespecies (Lorenz, 2002, p.ix). In this view, violent behaviouris inevitable because it is rooted in human biology and natural instinct. Proponentsofthis theory also suggestthat such violentimpulsescan bereleasedsafely through catharsisa healthyventing of aggression that reducesthe risk offurther, moredangerousmanifestationsof violence. Sport,for instance, canfunction as a safety valve that providesa controlled outlet for potentially harmful,innate, aggressiveenergies(Gruneau & Whitson,1993; Lorenz,2002; Wamsley, 2008).



Thefrustrationaggressionhypothesisproposesthat individuals act aggressively, and perhapsviolently, whenthey respondto frustration (Dollard, Doob, Millier, Mowrer, & Sears, 1939). Accordingto this model,peoplereleasebuilt-upfrustration through aform of catharsisin waysthat aresimilar to the dissipationof aggressiondescribedbythe instinct theory (Dollard et al., 1939; Wamsley,2008). Sport,for example,is regardedas beingcatharticfor playersand evenspectatorsbecauseit channelsfrustration into acceptableforms of aggression. However,critics of the instinct theory and the frustrationaggression theory have raisedsignificant questionsabout the biological and psychologicalbasesof violence, the degreeto whichfrustration alone can accountfor aggressivebehaviour,and the extent to which catharsispermitsthe safe dischargeof violence. Onthe contrary, there is considerable evidenceto suggestthat violencecan beattributedto sociologicaland culturalfactors, that frustration is only onecontributor to aggression,andthat catharsisdoesnotlead to the harmlessexpressionof violence(Gruneau & Whitson,1993; Wamsley, 2008). A moreconvincing explanation of violenceis the sociallearningtheory(Bandura & Walters,1963). Fromthis perspective,violenceisnt simply natural orinstinctual; it is learnedthrough socialization processesand cultural understandingsof whatis acceptable and unacceptablein particular societies and social contexts. Aggressivebehaviour is a product of observation and interaction with others,including peer groups,role models, and community institutions. In sport, for instance, violent behavioursfrequently become naturalized and normalized over time as acceptable, ordinary parts of the game.In this view, then, violence in sport is produced by sporting environments that put people in situations whereaggressionvisibly works and is rewarded and that sanction and even applaudaggressivebehaviour (Gruneau & Whitson,1993, p. 177). Whenindividuals are placedin positions wherethey can observe violence, wherethey are encouragedto be violent, or wherethey are subjectedto violence themselves,they arelikely to respond aggressivelyor violently to a variety ofsituations (Sage & Eitzen, 2013). Sociallearning theory alsoraises questionsaboutthe validity of the catharsishypothesis.If violenceis alearned response,then violent actsarelikely to trigger moreviolence rather than culminating in a safe,cathartic release of aggression.In contrast to catharsis theory, the violence-begets-violence thesis (Gruneau & Whitson,1993; Smith, 1983) suggeststhat aggressiveenvironments produceaggressiveactions, whichlead to moreviolent outcomes. Asa result, sports violence is a socially constructed and learned behaviour that servesto legitimate andfoster moreviolence (Hall et al., 1991, p. 217). According to this model,sport doesnotreduce violent tendencies by providing a placefor the healthy venting of aggression.For example,former NHL player Ken Dryden(1989) points out that hockeyfights maybetherapeutic by allowing playersto purge violent feelings. However,fights are often inflammatory, as playerscreate new violent feelingsto make further release(more fighting) necessary(p. 232). In this way,violence feeds violence, fighting encouragesmorefighting and asthe culture of hockeytolerates and acceptssuch actsthey are learned andrepeated overtime (Dryden, 1989, p. 233). Sociologists haveidentified a number of external factors that influence aggressive behaviourin sport. Sporting violenceis encouragedby parents,coaches,other players,team ownersandleague officials,fans, andthe massmedia.If parentsreward or approve of their childrens aggression,young playerslearn that such actsare acceptable(Smith, 1983). For example,a Canadianlacrosseofficial reported,I haveseenyoung mothersattyke and novice games(six to ten yearsold) screamingat their sonsto kill the opposingplayer (Smith,



1983,p. 84). Playersalso needto impresstheir coachesif they wantto maintaintheir position on ateam. Coachesoften want playersto displaytoughnessand aggression,andthey expect playersto engagein the type of violencethat is necessary to securevictory (Smith, 1983). Asformer NBA coach Pat Rileystated duringalengthy break betweenplayoff contests,Several daysbetweengamesallowsa playerto becomea person. Duringthe playoffs, you dont want playersto be people (Messner,2002, p. 49). Similarly, playersgainrespect from their peersbyshowing courage,demonstratinga willingnessto stand upfor their teammates,and executingthe violent tacticsthat helpthe team win(Smith, 1983). Franchiseownersandleaguecommissionersarereluctant to denounceviolencebecause they areconfidentthat it contributesto spectatorinterest. The NFL,for instance, haspackagedand promoted violencesinceits inception, portraying playersasgladiators,linking the gameto war,and makingaggression into art through its highly successfulNFL Filmsseries (Fainaru-Wada & Fainaru,2013). Although UFCand MMA have modifiedsome of their rulesto make fights safer,the successofthesesportsaslive eventsand pay-per-viewtelevision spectaclesrelies on the promiseof vicious, often bloody, combat (Wertheim, 2007). The sportsindustry marketsviolenceto fans, and peoplerespond by buyingtickets, purchasing merchandise, and watchingviolentsporting eventsontelevision. Smith (1983) explainsthat the popularity of violent sports. . . hasto do withthe tension- and excitement-generating characterof violencenot mindless violence, asthe mediaare wontto putit, but violence involving genuinedrama,oraction (p. 100). Evenpromotersofsoccer,tennis, andsquash notjust hockey,football, andlacrossehave incorporatedviolent and confrontationalimages into their commercialadvertising(Smith, 1983). Finally, the mediapublicizesand exploits violence.Forexample,televisionfrequently emphasizesand dramatizesrough play, devastating hits,fights or brawls,andinjuries from aggressiveacts(Coakley, 2009).In this way,the mediamodels andlegitimizesviolence,conveyingthe idea that violenceis acceptable,even desirable,behaviourandthat violence-doersareto beadmired (Smith, 1983,p. 118).

Violence and MasculiniTy: a hisTorical PersPecTiVe Contemporaryattitudes toward violencein sport arelinked to historical conceptions of violence and masculinity. Duringthe late 19th and early 20th centuries, one of the most influential masculine ideals in North America wasan aggressiveversion of manliness that valued combativeness,competitiveness, and toughness. Forinstance, Duffield Osborn,a defenderof boxing, wrotein the North AmericanReviewin 1888,This vaunted age needs asavingtouch of honest, oldfashioned barbarism,so that when wecometo die, weshall dieleaving menbehind us,and not arace of eminentlyrespectablefemalesaints (Kimmel, 1996, p. 138). Anchoredin concepts of physicality, martialspirit, and primitivism, this newstandard of muscular manhoodplaced a high value on bodily strength and athletic skill (Rotundo, 1993). At the sametime, changesin the middle-classworkplaceraised questionsaboutthe ability of menin clerical, sales,business,and professionalpositionsto fashion a masculineidentity through soft jobs in expanding corporate and government bureaucracies.Thefear that young boys werespendingtoo muchtime withtheir mothers andfemale teachers also producedanxiety about weakened manhood. Capitalist production increasingly took fathers out of their homesandinto factories and offices, whiletheir sons attended elementaryschools and Sundayschools. Thus,through family, educational



institutions, and churches, women werefrequently in charge of the socialization of the next generation of men(Burstyn, 1999; Carnes,1989; Gorn,1986; Howell,1995; Kimmel, 1996; Rotundo,1993). Thisoverpresence of womenin boyslives waswidelyperceived asasignificant problem. MichaelKimmel writes,Men soughtto rescuetheir sonsfrom the feminizing clutches of mothersand teachers and create new waysto manufacture manhood (Kimmel, 1996, p. 157). Asfrustrations withthe new worldof malewhite-collar workand concernsaboutcultural feminization and overcivilization spurred effortsto revitalize manhoodin new ways,sport becameoneofthe mostimportant vehiclesfor counteringeffeminacyandconferring manliness (Burstyn, 1999; Kimmel, 1996; Rotundo,1993). Atthe sametime, sport wasviewedasan instrument of social regenerationthat wouldproduce moralas wellas physical benefitsfor young men(Howell, 1995).In this context, the violenceandroughnessof sportslike boxing, football, hockey,andlacrosse wereseen asacceptableeven necessaryin the building of manlycharacter(Gorn, 1986; Lorenz & Osborne,2009; Oriard,1993; Wamsley& Whitson, 1998; Young,2002). Wheninjuries and even deathsoccurredin ruggedsports,supporters arguedthat the benefitsofsuch activities outweighedthe harmfulconsequences of violence. For example, the first criminal trial involving an on-ice hockey-related death in Canadaoccurredin 1905following the death of Alcide Laurin asaresult ofinjuries sustained during a gamein Maxville, Ontario(Barnes, 1990). Allan Loney,a memberof the Maxvilleteam, wasarrestedfor striking Laurin, a memberof the Alexandria Crescents, in the head with his stick following an altercation between the two players. During Loneys manslaughtertrial, his lawyer claimed that a manly nation requires manly games, andwhen alife waslost by misadventurein manlysportsit wasexcusablehomicide (Lorenz, 2004, p. A16). Similarly, Saturday Night magazinecautioned againstoverreacting to Laurins death by curtailing participation in vigorous pastimes: There is little

doubt that

manyof the qualities that have madethe

Anglo-Saxon race

the world force that it is have been developed on the playground. It would befolly and contrary to the teachings of the past to recommend the abandonment ment of strenuously contested games of athletic sport. It

or discourage-

would be almost a national

calamity if Canadian youth should discard their hockey and lacrosse sticks and puncture their footballs and grow deeply interested in croquet and button, got the button.



(Saturday Night, 1905, p. 1)

In other words,Laurins death wasthe unfortunate price paidfor forging hardy Canadian manhoodthrough the competitive rigours of hockey. And whenthe jury reached a verdict of not guilty, Loney wascarriedthrough the streets of Cornwall by ajubilant group of supporters(Lorenz, 2004). A historical examination of violencein hockeydemonstratesthe long-standing acceptance of a high degreeof roughnessand brutality in the sport. LawrenceScanlan(2002) writes,My overwhelmingimpressionfrom reading the literature, from hearingthe testimonyof playersfrom the earlyto mid-1900s,andfrom poring over newsclippings,is that early hockey wasvery muchlike war. The bloodflowed freely (p. 30). Thejustifications for violencethat werearticulated duringthe first waveof criminal trials involving hockey playersin Canadain the early 1900sarestill prominent in the culture of hockeytoday. In 1905, for instance, during an assault casein Brockville, Ontario, Kingstons GeorgeVanhornstatedthat in knocking an opponent unconscious with hisstick during a brawl, he only acted on the ice as an ordinary hockey player wouldin a strenuous 188Chapter


game (Lorenz, 2004). During a particularly Silver Seven and the



men bleeding and unconscious on the ice. hitting a

vicious 1907 match between the Ottawa butchers

left several


Although an Ottawa player wasarrested for

Wanderersplayer in the face with his stick, the judge in the case concluded that

such roughness wasa normal occurrence in hockey, so the attacker the


Montreal Star reported, the incident

happened during

was discharged. As

a game, where all players must

expect to receive their share of hard knocks, there wasa scrimmage and a rough check. In addition, no

witness had shown that the blow had been delivered

purpose of deliberately striking the opponent (Lorenz

maliciously for the

& Osborne, 2006, p. 142).

In 1907, Charles Massonof the Ottawa Victorias wasalso accused of using his stick to kill OwenBud

McCourt of the Cornwall Hockey Club. Massonskated acrossthe ice and,

during a skirmish, struck a deliberate blow to

McCourts head. Asin the 1905 Loney case,

Masson wasarrested but later acquitted in the courts (Lorenz, 2007). Despitethe level of brutality associated with this incident,

McCourts death was widely viewed as a tragic acci-

dent. The Ottawa EveningJournal reported, The

general feeling in

Cornwall is that the

fatality is a mostunfortunate affair and the result of hot-headedness and unpunished rough play rather than viciousness (Lorenz ment of this viewpoint charges against

& Osborne, 2009, p. 187). Perhapsthe clearest state-

was offered by the judge


who madethe decision to reduce the

murderto manslaughter: Under these circumstances, I can-

not believe that any jury or any court would hold this young man guilty of murder, he concluded. There the usual injury

wascertainly no evidence of any intention

to do anything

that is generally committed in this game (Lorenz

p. 188). Such violent and dangerous acts arestill seen asordinary hockey cultureand


& Osborne, 2009,

and usual

elements of

that is whyit is so difficult to take violence out of the game.

Proponents of fighting in hockey argue that it decreasesthe level of dangerous violence in the sport. Jay


Press, Inc/Alamy






One ofthe mostcontentious issuesin modernsport is the role offighting in hockey. Although other sports penalize fighting

with ejection from the game and possible additional punish-

ment, combatants in hockey simply receive afive-minute

major penaltyserved

ously while the teams continue to play with five skaters a sidethen Critics of fighting


return to the match.

have become more outspoken in recent years, questioning the purpose of

this practice in the

modern game and calling attention to the injury risks associated with

fighting. Supporters of fighting frequently arguethat it is a natural

part of the sport, emerg-

ing out of the unique mix of speed,sticks, and rugged masculinity that

makeshockey distinct

from other team games. Some fights develop spontaneously during the course of action, when angry or frustrated players drop their gloves and usetheir fists against each other. In addition, playerssometimes attempt to instill a higher level of emotion in their teammates or

alter the momentumof a gamethrough fighting. the workings of an elaborate code

Mosthockeyfights, however,result from

that, according to its defenders, enables the players to

police the gamethemselvesand ultimatelyto reducethe amount of violencein the sport through the strategic useof fighting (Bernstein, 2006; Proteau, 2011).

In hockeyfighting is defendedasa necessary outlet for the frustrations of a highspeed confrontational

game, write Gruneau and

Whitson(1993, p. 177). Underthe NHL


ory of violence (Dryden, 1989, p. 233),fighting functions asa safety valve that releases dangeroustensions among the players relatively harmlessly and prevents moreserious forms

of violence,such asstick attacksand overlyaggressivehits (Bernstein, 2006; Dryden,1989; Gillis, 2009; Gruneau & Whitson, 1993; Whyno, 2013). According to the unwritten code that governs the NHL, a player who crossesthe line with excessive or unacceptable physical play mustpay the price for his actions byfighting one of his opponents or having a teammatefight for him. Thus,fighting acts asa deterrent to potentially

more vicious actions on

the ice. In this way,skilled players are protected, dirty players are punished, and cheap shots are minimized.In particular, fighting is supposed to limit the waysmaller rats

and punks

usetheir sticks as weaponsbecausethey will be held accountable for their choices. However, opponents of fighting

argue that harmful body checks and stick

work could be curtailed

more effectively simply by increasing the penalties for such acts (Gruneau

& Whitson,

1993). Handing out more major penalties, game misconducts,and suspensions would teach players very quickly that engaging in such behaviour will not be tolerated and would deter cheap and dirty play moreeffectively than fighting (Gillis, 2009; Proteau, 2011). The code

that governs fighting is a variation of catharsis theorythe

idea that fight-

ing safely dischargesthe violence inherent in the sport. NHL commissioner

Gary Bettman

recently likened fighting to a thermostat

2013). How-

ever, critics of the code

that regulates the game (Whyno,

note that catharsis theory

has been discredited in

many other

contexts; in fact, violence generally leads to more violence, not less. Instead of preventing spearing, slashing, and dangerous hits, fighting frequently leads to morefighting or escalates into other forms of rough play. Marty McSorleys assault on Donald Brashearin February 2000 could beseen as an example of this. The two players fought earlier in the game, but McSorley was unsatisfied with the outcomeand fightso

he challenged

with Brashears taunting following the

Brashear to another scrap.

When Brashear refused,


responded by clubbing him acrossthe head with hisstick. Similarly, Todd Bertuzzis notorious attack on Steve Moorein

March 2004 shows that fighting

does not effectively police

the sport. Three weeksearlier, Moorehad hit Vancouvers Markus Naslund with alegal, but



in the Canuckss judgment unacceptable, check. Asa result,


the next meeting between the two teams. According to the code, the issue, but Bertuzzifelt that into yet another fight. him to the ice, giving

Matt Cookein

this should haveresolved

Moore deservedfurther punishment and tried to entice him

When Moorerefused, Bertuzzipunched himfrom behind andslammed Moorea severe concussion and breaking three vertebrae (Wamsley,

2008). Moore never played professional hockey again. Controversy followed this incident when Bertuzzi wasselected to play for Team Canadain the 2006 Winter Olympic Games. Fighting in hockey has also faced growing opposition in recent years asthe long-term consequences of concussions and head injuries (Arthur,

have become more widely understood

2011a). Atthe same time, the NHL hasfaced increased pressureto eliminate hits to

the head,blind-side

hitsthat catch players by surprise, and hitsfrom behind into the boards.

Scientists havefound evidence of significant braininjury in deceasedboxers, professional wrestlers, football players,and hockey players,likely asaresult of repetitive headtrauma. In particular, a condition known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) has been detectedin the brains of athletes who engagein these sports (Gladwell, 2009; Hruby, 2013a; King, 2010). Playerssuffering from CTE exhibit symptoms similar to dementia, andtheir brain function and capacity areseverelyimpaired. Thefirst NFLplayer diagnosed with CTE wasformer Pittsburgh Steelerslineman oldhave

Mike Webster,and morethan 40football playersone

been confirmed withthis condition.

as young as18 years

Unfortunately, a majordifficulty with assessing

CTEis that the only wayto detect its presenceis to examine the brain tissue directly following a persons death. However, by the fall of 2012, 33 of the 34 deceased NFL playersstudied by researchersat Boston University had CTE (Fainaru-Wada of several hockey players,including

& Fainaru, 2013, p. 8). The brains

ReggieFleming, Bob Probert, Derek Boogaard,and Richard

Martin, alsotested positive for CTE(Arthur,

2011a; Branch, 2011; Hruby, 2013d). Asaresult,

the NFLand the NHL arefacing difficult questions about the level of brutality in their sports. Is such violence inherent in football and hockey, or are there waysthat violence can belimited in these sports to reduce the risk of headinjuries (Gladwell, 2009; Hruby,2012, 2013a,2013b)?

Canfootball be played safely, or are hitsto the head a risk that players mustaccept as part of the sport? Bill Frakes/Sports






December 2008, Don Sanderson, a 21-year-old university student playing senior

amateur hockey for the during a fight

Whitby Dunlops, hit his head on the ice after losing his balance

with an opposing player. He wasin a coma for three weeksbefore he died in

January 2009. In the aftermath of Sandersons death, hisfather, out against fighting

in hockey.

Michael Sanderson, spoke

Michael Sanderson suggested that fights should lead to

automatic ejections and that players should be required to keep their on during fights (Gillis,

helmets and visors

2009). However, although the death of Don Sanderson triggered

another round of discussion about hockey violence, the NHL made nosubstantial changes to curtail fighting

or prevent similar incidents in the future.

stated in February 2009, I

Commissioner Gary Bettman

dont think there is any appetite to abolish fighting from the

game. I think our fans enjoy this aspect of the game (Gillis,

2009, p. 51).

The league had a similar response to concerns about the possible consequences of violence whenthree

NHL players passed away under troubling circumstances during the

summer of 2011. Derek Boogaard died asaresult of an overdose of painkillers and alcohol, and Rick Rypien and

Wade Belak committed

enforcer, Belak wasa journeyman


Boogaard was a classic


defenceman who fought regularly, and Rypien wasa

tough, hard-working player who was willing to fight

much bigger opponents when called

upon. The deaths of three such players in afour-month

period prompted questions about

the psychological pressuresand health risks of fighting,

particularly the possible connec-

tions to depression, substance abuse, and brain injury (Branch, 2011): We just know that there arent an awfullot of 40-goalscorersor puck-moving defencemendying young, and that the

men whoserole it is to fight in the

vanish like professional wrestlers. This shouldnt

NHL are starting to

be a political issue in the sport; it

should be a human one. And at some point, some deadly serious questions have to be asked about the role of enforcers in hockey, if only to understand whythese gone too soon. (Arthur,

Although sports columnist

men are

2011b, p. A1)

Bruce Arthur (2011c) cautioned that it is also still possible

that this is astring of tragedies strung together by aterrible sort of coincidence, as muchas anything else, he added, none

of this

meansthere isnt alegitimate

debateto be had over

fighting, and the effect it has on some of the people who doit for aliving

(p. S1).

Did the deaths of Sanderson, Boogaard, Rypien, and Belak have an impact on attitudes toward fighting? In October 2013, when Montreal Canadiens enforcer George Parros stumbled awkwardly and hit his face on the ice during an exchange of punches with Toronto

MapleLeafs heavyweight Colton Orr, Arthur (2013) observed,

Nobody questions the courage ofthe

men whofight.

Butit seemssolong agothat we were

all worriedafter the deaths of WadeBelak,of Rick Rypien,of DerekBoogaard.Their deathsraisedcomplexissuesof depression,of whether depressionwaslinked to fighting, of suicide, of the easyaccessto painkillers, of overdoses,of whatthis thing makes some mendo. The discussion flared, and. . . vanished. Nothing wasresolved.(Arthur, 2013) Nevertheless, the Parrosincident

and the continued presence of one-dimensional police-

men in the game spurred discussion about whether or not such designated punchers were needed in the staged

NHL any longerand

the beginning of the 20132014


in particular if the time

fights between enforcers from the league (Duhatschek,


season, the

had come to eliminate 2013;

NHL finally introduced

Mirtle, 2013). At a rule requiring

players to keeptheir helmets on during fightsa

change that

would reduce the chance of

a player suffering afatal headinjury from a punch or, morelikely, from falling to the ice. Even though the damaging consequences of punches and checksto the head are becoming

moreapparent, manyof the sports

to glorify rough, old-time

mostoutspoken defenders,like Don Cherry, continue

hockey. Cherrys nostalgic

1996, p. 67) of the games traditional

defence (Gillet,

White, & Young,

character resists any movetoward a less violent and

physical version of hockey. Aslong asfighting and aggressionremain markersof masculinity and hockey continues to be seen as a training

ground for


will be difficult to

remove such forms of violence from the sport. Hockey provides a public platform for celebrating a very traditional whensocietal roles for



& Whitson, 1993, p. 190) at a time

menand women are changing and opportunities for

mento demon-

strate toughness and physical prowess are diminishing. In the context of an unstable gender order, many menfear that the removal of fighting

would not only jeopardize the masculine

subculture of hockey, but trigger a wider erosion of manhoodin society asa whole. For example, some commentators havesuggestedthat taking fights and hard hits out of hockey wouldlead to the pansification


2009) or pussification

the sport. Gruneau and Whitson(1993) conclude, The

(Spector, 2013) of

ultimate threat, the threat that pro-

duces a recalcitrance to change, is the perceived threat to the malenessof the game, and beyond this to the place oftraditional

masculinityin a changing economic, cultural, and gen-

der order (p. 192). Forinstance, soon after the tragic deaths of Boogaard, Rypien, and Belak, columnist Jesse Kline (2011) attributed the reduction in on-ice violence in the NHL over the past two decadesto a concerted effort on the part of soccer moms, whose post-Cold agenda wasto turn


Westerncivilization into a politically correct snorefest (p. A3). Headded,

There islittle justification for eliminating fighting from hockey, except for those who wishto seethe sport emasculated even further.

Wevealready ceded the ground on mandatory hel-

metsand participation trophies for every kidthat plays. Lets at least let the professionals play the game asit was meantto betough,

a fraMework for Violence in sPorT

passionate and gritty

(Kline, 2011, p. A3).


Michael Messners frameworkfor analyzingviolencerelated to sport is extremely usefulin considering how different manifestations of violence areinterconnected.

Drawing upon what

Michael Kaufman(1987) calls a triad of mensviolence (p. 2), Messner (2002) suggests that

maleathletes commit three

mainforms of violence, both during and outside of their

sport: violence against women,violence againstother men,and violenceagainsttheir own bodies. According to


sport offers an institutional

context in which

boysand menlearn, largely from each other, to discipline their bodies, attitudes, and feelings within the logic of the triad of mens violence (p. 30). Heargues,Far from being an aberration perpetrated by some marginal deviants, maleathletes off-the-field violence is generated from the normal, everyday dynamics at the center of maleathletic culture (p. 28). Messner(2002) points to the interactions and gender performances of maleathlete peer groups as a crucial dimension ofthe triad of mens violence in sports (see Prettyman, 2006). Hisanalysissuggeststhat two group-based processesunderlie mens violence against women, against other men,and against their own bodies: misogynist and homophobictalk and actions and the suppression of empathy (Messner, 2002, p. 60). First, all-male groups bond through



competitive, sexually aggressivetalk (Curry, 1991, 2000) that serves to forge an aggressive, even violent, hierarchical ordering of bodies, both inside the

malepeer group and between

the malepeer group and any other group (Messner, 2002, p. 38). Misogynist and homophobic insults and banter are usedto punish and police group members,as well asto distinguish the groupfrom outsiders. Group membersare aware of an ever-present threat of demasculinization, humiliation, ostracism, and even violence that man whofails to conform

may be perpetrated against a boy or

with the dominant group values and practices (Messner, 2002,

p. 60). At the same time, within athlete peer groups, boys and menlearn to stifle any empathy they

might havefor women, for other men,and even for themselves. For example, girls

and women are frequently treated as potential objects of sexual conquest and asopportunities to perform heterosexual masculinityfor ones malepeers,rather than asequals(Lefkowitz, 1997; Messner,2002; Pappas, McKenry, & Skilken Catlett, 2004; Robinson, 1998). In the book Our Guys, Bernard Lefkowitz (1997) points to a culture of disrespectfor women as one of the factors that led a group of high school athletes in Jersey,to assault and abusetheir female classmates. Growing up within a

Glen Ridge, New hermetic all-male

world of teams andfriends and brothers andfathers, these privileged young athletes just didnt know girls as equals,astrue friends, as people you cared about (Lefkowitz, 1997, p. 91). After several membersof the Glen Ridge jock


werecharged with sexual assault, afather

whosedaughter wentto the sameschool recalled seeing the boysgetting stronger, closer, every time they got together and humiliated a girl. storiesId

Headded, My daughter would come home with

just shake myhead and wonderif they thought a girl washuman (Lefkowitz, 1997,

p. 160). Onthe whole,there is considerable researchsuggesting that the social worlds created around mens power and performancesportssubvert respect for women and promote the image of women asgame to be pursuedand conquered (Coakley, 2009, p. 213). Messner(2002) suggeststhat alack of empathy for girls and womenis one of the primary reasonsthat

maleathletes, particularly in contact sports, appearto commit acts of sexual vio-

lence against women at a higher rate than nonathletes. For example, a study of reported sexual assaults at a range of institutions

with Division I sports programs indicated that


student-athletes weredisproportionately involved in incidents of sexual assault on university campuses.For the years 1991 to 1993, maleathletes madeup 3.3% of the total


population at these schools, yetthey represented 19% ofthose reported to judicial affairs offices for sexual assault(Crosset, Benedict, & McDonald, 1995). However,despitethe evidence of the overrepresentation of maleathletes among those who engagein aggressiveand violent sexual behaviour, the precise association betweensports team membershipand sexual assaultremains unclear (Crosset, Benedict, & McDonald, 1995). In addition, disrespectful attitudes toward womenare not uniqueto sport; the issue of mensviolence against womenis a broadsocial problem related to widely held views of womenin society and culture asa whole (Coakley, 2009). In committing

violent acts against other men, male athletes are taught to objectify

opponentsas outsidersand enemiesandto displaytoughnessto their teammates(Messner, 2002). Thefollowing statement from aformer

NFL defensive back reveals how violence is

rewardedand normalizedin football whileopposingplayersareeventually dehumanized: WhenI first started playing, if I would hit a guy hard and he wouldnt get up,it bother me.[But]


when I wasa sophomore in high school, first game, I knocked out two

quarterbacks, and people loved it.

The coach loved it. Everybody loved it.

You never

stop feeling sorry for [your injured opponent]. If somebody doesnt get up, you want him to get up. You hope the winds just knocked out of him or something. play, though, the



The moreyou

moreyou realize that it is just a part ofthe gamesomebodys


get hurt. It could be you, it could be himmost

of the time its better if its him. So, you

know, you just go out and play your game.(Messner, M. A.(2002). Taking the field: Women,men,andsports. Minneapolisand London: Universityof MinnesotaPress.) Another ex-NFL player said, Anybody probably lying.

whotells you that they feel bad causing an injury is

How can you feel bad?. . . Youre taught to hurt people (Junod, 2013, p. 4).

Former Dallas CowboyJohn

Niland adds, Were

paid to be violent.

on the guy acrossfrom you (Messner, 2002, p. 49).

Were paid to beat up

Whenthe opposition becomes the

enemy,inflicting pain onthem becomesacceptable. Perhapsthe mostinnovative element of Messnersframework for understanding sporting

violenceis the waythat heconceptualizes injury as aform of violencethat athletescommit against themselves. Injuries are an expected outcome of sport, even among children. Athletes

arejudged on their willingnessand abilityto endurepain andto play hurt, evenat the risk of their long-term health and well-being. Messner(2002) arguesthat

maleathletes become alien-

atedfrom their own bodiesto someextent: Theirsenseoftheir bodiesis basedon a selfknowledge firmly bounded within an instrumental view of ones body asa machine,or atool, to

be built, disciplined,used(and,if necessary, usedup)to getajob done (p. 58). Hecontinues: Boyslearn that to show pain and vulnerability risks their beingseenassoft, andthey knowfrom the media,from coaches,and from their peersthat this is a very badthing. Instead, they learn that they can hopeto gain accessto highstatus, privilege, respect, and connection pain principle,

with others if they conform to

ingness to take pain and take risks. (Messner, men,and sports. Minneapolis and London:


what sociologist

Don Sabo calls the

a cultural ideal that demands asuppression of self-empathy and a willM. A. (2002). Taking the field:


University of Minnesota Press.)

quickest wayto earn the respect of your teammates and coaches is to play through


says NFL quarterback

Matt Hasselbeck.The

quickest way to lose respect is to

sayHey, I cant go (Junod, 2013, p. 3). In hockey, for instance, there is a long-standing certain degree of violence, tolerate pain and injury,

belief that players should accept a and persevere through difficulty and

danger. Players are expected to take their taps like squealing

or complaining

men and to refrain from unmanly

about rough play (Lorenz

(2011) writesthat todays NHLers

& Osborne, 2009). Adam Proteau

areinstructed to usethemselves as wrecking ballslaying

wasteto the other side, regardless of the consequencesfor their opponentsor


and their own bodies (p. 2). Similarly, Ross Bernstein (2006) assertsthat the warrior code demands that adds, If that

players must play through

pain and hardship

meansplaying with a broken arm, so beit. If that


(p. 100). He

meansgetting your mouth

quickly stitched up between shifts with no anesthetic, so be it. That is all part of the deal. In fact, it is not rewarded behavior, it is expected behavior (p. 100). Former NHL player and general manager Mike Milbury even responded to the assertion that a player could die on the ice at some point by saying, Some guys going to die every day. It doesnt you dont want to get hurt, dont play the game (Arthur,


2009, p. S1).

The expectation of violence committed against a maleathletes own bodyis upheld bythe sporting peer group through the same kind of misogynistand homophobic talk and actions that support other forms of violence. If a member of the group doesnt conform to this masculine standard, he facesthe threat of being labelled a girl, a coward, a queer, or a pussysomething less than a real


boy who whines about his pain and appears not to be willing to

play hurt risks being positioned bythe group asthe symbolic sissy orfaggot

who wont suck it



up and take it like a manfor the good of the team,

writes Messner(2002, p. 58). Atthe same

time, the ability to absorb pain and punishment without complaint is widelyrespected among players. A veteran NFLplayer provides aninsightful example of this attitude: If you get hurt, you feel like youve done something wrong,especiallyif you go on injured reserve.. . . Your pain threshold is usedto decide what quality of football player you are, and what quality of person.Injuries are usedas a gauge. AndIve done it, too. Manytimes, Ive been battling through injuries, soreness,or pain, and Ive seena young guy come off the field for something minute. And Im thinking, Whata pussylets

get a guyin there whos tougher. (Junod, 2013, p. 3)

Former pro football player Tim Green expressesa similar idea: Doctorsdont coerceplayersinto going out on the field. They dont haveto. Playershave beenconveniently conditionedtheir entirelives to takethe pain and put their bodiesat risk. Playersbegdoctorsfor needles that numbanddrugsthat reduceswelling andpain.. . . Takingthe needleis something NFLplayersareproudto havedone.It is a badgeof honor, not unlike the militarysPurple Heart.It meansyou werein the middleofthe action and youtook a hit. Takingthe needlein the NFLalsolets everyoneknowthat youd do anything to playthe game.It demonstratesa completedisregardfor ones well-beingthat is admired in the NFL between players.(Messner, M. A. (2002). Taking the field:


men,and sports. Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press.)

Messner(2002) concludes, In

short, in the context of the athletic team, risking ones

health by playing hurt is morethan a wayto avoid misogynist or homophobic ridicule; it is also a way of performing

a highly honored form of masculinity (p. 59).

Although this analysis of the connection between manhoodand attitudes toward painis persuasive,it does not account for female athletes responsesto injury.

Charlesworth and

Young(2004) found that female university athletes were willing to placetheir bodies at risk by accepting injuries and tolerating pain in waysthat wereconsistent sports environments frequently

(pp. 165166).

with studies of male

Similar to maleathletes, these female athletes quite

normalised and rationalised pain and injury as a necessarypart of sport involve-

ment (Charlesworth

& Young, 2004, p. 165). Forinstance, the group bonds and team com-

mitments developed by female athletes, the pressurethey felt from coaches and peers, and their acceptance of routine pain asan ordinary part ofsport werecomparable to the attitudes adopted by male athletes (Charlesworth

& Young, 2004). Likewise, Young and


(1995) argue, If there is a difference between the way maleand female athletes in our projects appearto understand pain and injury, it is only a matterof degree (p. 51). Asaresult ofthese similarities in the outlook of maleandfemale athletes, Charlesworth and Young (2004) suggestthat the data invite usto consider the fact that

while pain and

injury arelikely to belinked to gender socialisation processes,they mayalso be a product of

socialisationinto sport culture perse (p. 178). They addthat experiencesand perceptions of sports-related pain and injury may be shaped by a distinct culture that fosters a specific

attitude toward risk; a culture which mayteach athletes,regardlessof their gender,to tolerate pain and accept injuries

(p. 178). If such attitudes are prevalent among both maleand

female athletes, doessport culture encourageall participantsto accept violence against their own bodies as a normal part of sport? And whatrole do gender expectations and perfor-

mancesplayin determiningresponsesto pain andinjury? Is there a wayfor womento challenge orrecast the waysin which sport-related injuries are addressed,or mustfemale athletes



contribute to the continuation

of a

male-definedsports processreplete with violent, exces-

sive, and health-compromising characteristics (Young

& White,1995, p. 56)? Finally, more

research is neededto determine the degreeto which female athlete peer groupsinteract in waysthat are similar to


Messnersdescription of the dynamics of malepeer groups.


Another dimension of sporting violence occurs off the playing surface, in the stands and in the streets. The mostthoroughly studied aspect of crowd violence is British soccer hooliganism (Young, 2000). Examinations of the forms and causes of British soccer riots have focused on the working-class background of fans, the cathartic release offered by rituals of aggression, the sense of social deprivation and alienation felt bysome groups of men,the role of youth and working-class subcultures in soccer violence, between hooliganism and kinship ties, community

and the connections

bonds, team loyalties,

and aggressive

masculinities (Coakley, 2009; Smith, 1983; Young, 2000). In comparison, there has been relatively little research into sports crowd disorder in

North America (Young, 2000). In

addition, these theories and frameworks for understanding

British and European crowd

violence generally are not applicable to the North American context. Key explanations of spectator violence include the contagion, convergence,and emergent norm theories. In the late 19th century,

Gustave LeBon advanced a view of collective

behaviour rooted in the infectious spread of emotion, whereby crowd membersfall under the influence anonymity

of a collective

mind and individual


disappears in a sea of

(Levy, 1989, p. 70). This is the framework for contagion theory,

posesthat people in a crowd act together as one unit and frequently ous,impulsive, and irrational suggeststhat people with

action (Levy, 1989;

which pro-

engagein spontane-

Wamsley,2003). Convergence theory

common interests or goals come together as a crowd and use

the formation for protection to engagein aggressive behaviours

(Wamsley, 2003, p. 98).

According to this view, crowd violence is produced whenindividuals

with similar inclina-

tions converge on the same place (Levy, 1989). Onthe other hand, emergent norm theory questions the idea of crowd uniformity, is uniquely

maintaining instead that collective behaviour

produced through social interactions

placed in particular situations.

between individuals

when they are

New norms for behaviour result from exchanges of mes-

sages or cues between group members when circumstances change and, in turn, people respond to the moodsand actions of those around them (Levy, 1989;


A morecomprehensive theory of crowd violence is the value-addedtheory put forward by Neil Smelser(1962). In his work on collective behaviour, Smelser draws on the concept of value-added

from the field of economics, noting that afinished product only emerges

out of a particular combination

necessary conditions

of successivestages. For a collective event to occur, several

mustbe present,and these determinants mustcombine. . . in a

definite pattern, from least to mostspecific (Smelser, 1962, p. 14). Thefirst stage is struc-

tural conduciveness. The generalsocial conditions that set the stagefor collective violence needto bein place, although

manypossible outcomesremain. Theseconditions


social divisionsbasedon wealth,power,race, or ethnicity; a cleartargetfor the outburst;an available channel to express hostility; the absence of other avenues of expression; and a

meansof communicating amonggroup members.Thesecondconditionis structuralstrain, a breakdown in the social system. Several sources of strain often act simultaneously to give



rise to collective violence. In sport, this conflict could develop out of pre-existing social divisions or discontents, a majordispute, or a significant defeatfor alocal team. The third stage in the value-added modelis the growth and spreadof a generalizedbelief, which motivates potential actors. This shared belief, story, or rumour identifies

and attri-

butes characteristics to the source(s) of strain andthen determines an appropriate response (Levy, 1989, p. 71). Fourth are precipitatingfactors, which substantiate the shared belief and intensify the determinants that have already emerged. These precipitating factorssuch


a perceived bad call by an umpire or referee, or a violent act committed by a playerprovide a specific context for aggression. Such trigger events maybuild upon existing fears, introduce a newstrain to the situation, or close off an opportunity for a nonviolent outcome. The fifth stageis the mobilizationof the participantsfor action, with the emergence of leadership of the group and the determination of the specific type of collective response. Finally, the sixth stage, the operation of social control, arches involves those counter-determinants

over all the others (Smelser, 1962, p. 17). It

which prevent, interrupt,

deflect, orinhibit the accu-

mulation of the determinants just reviewed (Smelser, 1962, p. 17). Thesesocial controls including the police, the courts, the press, and community leadersmay

minimize, reduce,

or direct collective episodesin particular ways. Young (2000) identifies three mainthemes in the study of violent sports crowdsin North America. First, crowd disorder hasbeen explained in terms ofthe social and psychological conflicts taking placein society since the mid-20th century (Young, 2000, p. 383). In an increasingly fractured andimpersonal society, frustrated spectators usesporting eventsto ventfeelings of powerlessness,orto re-establish forms of groupidentification

(Young, 2000, p. 383).

Another dimension of this approach is the idea that fan-related violence is rooted in ethnic, racial, or class conflictwhat

Eric Dunning (1999) calls the

particular countries (p. 158). For example, one of the

NHL President Clarence Campbell is confronted Pictorial






by a fan.



mostsignificant incidents of crowd

disorder in the history of North American sportthe 1955has

been interpreted


Riot in



as an expression of tensions between French Canadians and

English Canadians (Young, 2000). After Montreal Canadienssuperstar Maurice Rocket Richard wasinvolved in a violent altercation

with membersof the Boston Bruins, NHL

president Clarence Campbell suspended him for the remainder of the 1955 season. When Campbell attended the next Canadiensgamein

Montreal,fans greeted him withinsults and a

barrage of tomatoes thrown from higherin the stands.

Whena tear gasbomb exploded in the

Montreal Forum,the building wasevacuated and ariot began onthe streets outside. According to Jean Harvey(2006), Anti-English

sentiment wasrampant; English-owned businesseswere

attacked andlooted, and order wasrestored only through the useofriot police (p. 38). Harvey suggeststhat the violence triggered by Richards suspension showed that French Canadians in the Quebecof the 1950sresented very keenly their status asasubordinate group, dominated and discriminated against by a wealthy and powerful English minority (p. 38). Thesecond theme noted by Young(2000) is that collective violence in

North American

sport is linked to the celebratory nature of sport (Young, 2000, p. 383). The post-event riot, whenfans respond to the outcome of significant sporting events, is the mostcommon example of this type of rowdiness. As Young explains, Combined

with factors caused by aggrega-

tion (physical closeness, milling, tension, noise), sporting contests are thus characterized by emotionally charged behavior on the part of participants andspectators alike where proceedings can, under the appropriate conditions, get out of hand (p. 383). Forinstance, whenthe Montreal Canadiens wonthe Stanley Cupin 1986 and 1993, downtown scene of considerable looting,

Montreal wasthe

numerous arrests, and a significant number of injuries to both

riot participants and police officers (Young, 2000). On the other hand, the rioting that occurred on the streets of Vancouver in 1994 and 2011 and in Edmonton in 2006 wasa responseto the Canucksand Oilerslosing the Stanley Cup Final (Dunning, 1999). Finally, crowd violence has been analyzed in relation to other precipitating

factors at

sports events, such as player violence, unpopular decisions by officials, crowd size, or the start time of games(Young, 2000, p. 384). For instance, if fans observe or expect to see violence during the course of a contest, they are morelikely to act violently themselves (Coakley, 2009; Smith, 1983). In addition, the possibility of violence maydecreaseor escalate depending on the composition of the audiencein terms of age,gender, orsocial class;the amount of alcohol consumed byfans; the strategies for crowd control used by event organizers;and the power of a particular team to provide asource of identity for spectators (Coakley, 2009). For example, if the crowd at a sporting event consists predominantly of young men who have consumed large quantities of alcohol, then there is a greater likelihood

of violence and confrontation,

particularly if security personnel are poorly trained and the gameinvolves asignificant rivalry (Coakley, 2009). This kind of analysisfits together well with Smelsers value-addedtheory.

conclusions Thischapter hasprovidedtheoretical, historical,and contemporaryperspectiveson violence

in sport. Moreand more frequently,faninterestin violentsportis cominginto conflict with the consequencesofsporting violencefor the health of participants. Atthe sametime, ques-

tions arebeingraisedaboutthe responsibilityofsportsleaguesto protectplayersfrom the damagingeffectsofsanctionedviolence.Forexample, morethan 4,600former playersrecently Violence


suedthe NFLfor the wayit handled the issue of concussions and headtrauma, alleging that the league not only failed to warnathletes about the long-term dangers of repetitive blows to head, but also actively hid information

about the threat to their

mental and neurological

health (Hruby, 2013a). The players lawsuit claimed that the NFLdistorted, dismissed,and denied evidence that football can causelong-term brain damage(Fainaru-Wada 2013). In

& Fainaru,

August 2013, a preliminary settlement of $765 million wasreached in the NFL

concussion lawsuit, although significant doubt remains about whether or not this amount of money will be sufficient to compensate all deserving playersadequately (Hruby, 2013c; Zirin, 2013). A group of retired professional hockey players also launched a class-action lawsuit against the NHL in

November 2013, claiming that the league neglectedits responsibility to

inform them of the potential dangers of concussions while promoting a culture of violence that jeopardized their long-term health (Hruby, 2013d). Theselawsuits are one of the key sites where ongoing debates over sporting violence will continue as wecontemplate, criticize, and celebrate the violent actsthat are still central to many of our favourite sports.

critical Thinking


1. Athleteshavebeenhurtingthemselvesforpeoplesamusementforcenturies,goingbackto the pankratiastsof ancient Greeceand the gladiators of ancient Rome. Even when fans know that playersare being broken and diminished for entertainment purposes,they continue to enjoy the sport. At what point would asport becomeso violent that you wouldstop watchingit? Doyouthink public interest in violent sports will continue into the future? 2. Asthe dangers of contact sports become more apparent, the standard for what is con-

sidered legitimate

violence appearsto be changing. Whataresome examplesof

violent behaviours that were once considered acceptable within the norms offootball

and hockey, but which are now consideredto be quasi-criminal actions deservingof significant punishment? 3. This chapter has contrasted biologically

basedtheories of violence with socially and


oriented understandings of violent behaviour.

you find

mostconvincing in helping to explain violence in sport?

Which of these models do Why do you find

such approaches to be persuasive? 4.

When punishing hits, brutal fights, or severeinjuries have occurred in hockey in recent

years,commentatorshavefrequently askedthe questionof whetheror not a playerhasto die as a result of such anincident for the NHL to take significant action to curtail vio-

lence in the sport.If a modern-dayplayer waskilled in one ofthesesituations, what do you think the NHLs response would be? Wouldsuch atragic outcome produce meaningful change in the waythe league deals with illegal hits, vicious stickwork, orfighting? 5. RetiredfootballplayersandhockeyplayershavesuedtheNFLandNHLforfailingto act properly in preventing headinjuries andinforming

players of the potential risks of

concussions over the pastseveral decades. Do you believe these lawsuits are justified? Why or why not? Whatissues must be considered in assessingthe extent to which sports leagues are responsible for the health of players? 6. How do you think

NHL hockey would change if the league penalized fights between

players with ejection from the gameand



perhapssuspensionsfor repeated fightsin

a waythat is similar to how other

majorteam sports deal with fighting?

Are you in

favour of such a change? Explain your position. 7.

Whatarethe weaknessesor limitations for analyzing violence in sport?

that you seein

Michael Messnersframework

Whatfeatures of sporting

quences do not fit comfortably into

violence and its conse-

Messners descriptions of maleathletes violence

against women, violence against other men,and violence against themselves? 8. ApplySmelsersvalue-addedtheorytothepost-StanleyCupriotthatoccurredinVancouver in 2011.

Whatother theories of crowd violence discussedin this chapter are usefulin

explaining violent disturbancesthat occurin the aftermath ofimportant


wins orlosses?


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Chapter10 Sportand PhysicalActivity in CanadianEducationalSystems Tim Fletcher and Duane Bratt

FPO Sport and physical activity represent important components of Canadianeducational institutions at all levels. Earlychildhood facilities (both formal andinformal) encourage children to learn howtheir bodies movethrough active play. Elementary andsecondary schools offer formal physical education, intramural leagues, and extracurricular sport, while university and college athletic departmentsrepresent a key piece of the institutional identity of those placeswhether that befor athletic participants or spectators. Thisis not to mentionthe burgeoningscholarly field of movement studies(which weuse as a catch-all term for kinesiology, physical education, human kinetics, recreation, leisure, dance, etc.), the programs of which manyreaders of this textbook are likely enrolled in. The aim of this chapteris to provide an overview of social dimensions of sport and physical activity in Canadianeducational systems,identifying keythemes or areas where important questions are being raised.In the first section, the current state of physical education in schools is examined using afour-dimensional framework employedin the

Physical education is

most effective

whenteachers and students together to develop

opportunities to participate. Blend Images/Getty






Handbookof PhysicalEducation(Kirk, Macdonald, & OSullivan, 2006), addressingthe nature and purposesof physical education; aspectsof curriculum, learners and learning, and teachers and teaching. Included in the secondsection is sport in universities, with a particular focus on the CanadianInteruniversity Sport system. How the history of Canadianuniversity sport hasimpacted the current system, particularly in relation to genderequity,is alsodescribed.Further,the practice of hazingand dopingpractices that haverecently led to negative portrayalsofseveral Canadianuniversity sportsteam in the popular mediais considered.Finally, variouschallengesto Canadianuniversitysportsin terms of financial factors (notably scholarshipsand the role of alumni) and the creeping north ofthe NCAA is examined.

The NaTure aNd PurPoses of Physical educaTioN iN caNadiaN schools Whatis physical education? Briefly, physicaleducationis a school subject wherestudents learn about and through movement.Forthe purposesof this chapter, wealsoask, what should or could physical education be? And whodecides?Thesequestionsare difficult to answerbecauseofthe diversitythat is presentin how physicaleducation hasbeenthought about andtaught. Researchersusea widevariety oftheoretical and methodologicalframeworks(including those describedin Chapter2), and curriculum developersand teachers similarly drawfrom a widevariety oftheoretical and practicalideasto shape whatgoeson in physicaleducation classes(Kirk et al., 2006).In addition, educational policyis governed bythe provincesin Canada,which means that there is widevariability in the organization andstructure of educationalsystems. Assuch, what mightconstitute a pressingissuein one province maynot be viewedin the same wayin another becauseof differencesin culture, geography,orthe political (and thusideological) climate. Thesedifferenceshavesignificant implications for funding, policiesrelating to curriculum developmentandimplementation, and the necessaryconditions and requirementsfor excellencein teaching. Certainlythe allocation of resources(financial, material,and human) to physical education in each provinceis discrepantdueto the provincial governanceof educationalsystemsin Canada. Despitealong history of debateaboutthe role of physicaleducationin schools around the world,the subjectremains animportant componentin the education of mostchildren. Sucha viewis supportedinternationally bythe United NationsEducation, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO, 1978), which identified the provision of physical education as afundamental humanright. In Canada,physical educationis arequired part of school life for children until at least Grade9, with students in some provinces being required to obtain physical education credits through to Grade12. Kilborns (2011) comparison of physical education curricula across Canada showed the following graduation standards:in Ontario and Newfoundlandand Labrador:students mustattain at least one physical education credit to graduatefrom high school; studentsin British Columbia, Alberta,and Saskatchewanmustcomplete physical education upto Grade10 at a minimum;studentsin Nova Scotia are required to complete physical education in Grade11; and Manitobaand Quebec mandatecompletion of physical education credits through to Grade12.



That physical education is mandatedthrough to completion of high school in Manitobaand Quebecmaysuggestthat policymakersin those provinces place morevalue on the subject than elsewhere. However,this masksthe significant issue that manystudents do not see enough value in physical education to chooseit whenit becomesan elective subject; that is, whenphysical educationis mandatory,students maybetaking it evenif they do not enjoy orsee valuein it. To besure,subjectssuch as mathematics, language(e.g., French), and science also becomeelective at some point in high school; yet judging by enrolment ratesin these subjects,students and parentsdeemthem to be more important than otherssuch as physical education primarily becauseof their perceived valueto preparestudentsfor the knowledge economy of the 21stcentury. Thedeclining trend in noncompulsoryphysicaleducation enrolment suggeststhis is the case(Lodewyk & Pybus,2013). Whilethere is widevariability in the language usedto describeto overall aims of the subject, physical education is concerned with children learning simultaneouslythrough movementand their bodiesand about movementand their bodies. Thereare manyreasons whythis is important, but the mostemphasizedaspectin Canadianphysical education programsis arguablyto developan appreciation of and ability to commit to a healthy, active lifestyle. Yet Canadianphysical education curriculum developersare being challenged to providestudents withlearning experiencesthat teach children aboutthings far beyond movementand healthyliving. Giventhe growing evidencelinking positive academic outcomes with participation in physical activity and physicaleducation (Sheppard & Trudeau,2008), physical educatorsappearjustified to claim that the subject enables achievement of a widerange of outcomes acrossdevelopmental domains. For example, Mandigo,Corlett,and Lathrop (2012) identify the potential of physicaleducation to support cognitive and academicdevelopment,raiseliteracy and numeracystandards,increase school attendance,enhanceschoolspirit andsocial cohesion,value diversity, and encourageattitudes of respect,fairness, andtolerance for others. Whilesuch aims are within in the scope of whatis possible from a quality physical education experience,there are doubtsabout the extent to which teachers are provided with the tools necessary to achievethese outcomes. Thereare manyexternalfactors that erode the quality of current physical education programs,such asreducedinstructional time, the introduction of userfees,lack of specialist teachers,inadequate facilities and equipment, and anincreasein standardizedtesting in subject areassuch asliteracy and numeracy. Even whenone considersthe addedemphasison the role of healthylifestyles and physical activity through healthyschools policies(such as Daily Physical Activity in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan,and Ontario) orthe provision of extracurricular sports programs,the existence of systemic barrierssuch as budgetcuts,lack of professional development or planning time for teachers, orinadequate space and equipment often stand in the way of successful programming and implementation. There are also several internal barriers that are entrenched in the history and discoursesof physical education (Francis & Lathrop, 2011), while others are entrenched in the institutional culture of schoolsin which physical education operates. In the following pages,we outline some of the challengesthat existin overcoming these ambitious goals, whilealsoproviding someexamplesof promising practicesthat may enablethese and other barriersto be overcome.









A Glimpse at the Past Despitethe emphasis on the whole child that is espousedin mostcurrent physical education curricula, earlyforms (prior to the 1950s) of physical educationin Canadaand elsewherefocused purely on the physical: Physical education wasknown as physical training, consisting primarily of military drills and calisthenics(Francis & Lathrop, 2011). Therelationship with military practices wasstrongin the early daysof physical education not onlyin terms of content andinstructional styles, but alsoin the genderedand classed views ofthe overall nature and purposeofthe subject. Sincethat time, Kirk(2010a) hasarguedthat present day physical education owes muchto shifts that occurredin the 1970s,for it wasduringthis decadethat physical education had begun to take shape as a multi-activity, sports-based curriculum. This multi-activity form of curriculum place in the yearsimmediately 50 years or more of domination


wasthe outcome of a dramatic shift that took World WarII, a shift that overturned some

of the curriculum

of physical education by various

forms of gymnastics, at least within systems of state-provided education. (p. 459)

Despitethe shortfalls ofthe sport-based multi-activity curriculum, Kirk (2010a) describes the shift to a sports-orientedform of physical education hasbeenidentified by some as leading to a moresolid justification of physicaleducation asaschoolsubject. Forexample, becausesport is a significant cultural practice, initiating young people into the institutions of sport and physical activity wasseen asa worthwhile pursuit, and schools seemed well placedto offer these experiences(Green, 2008). Thisis not to suggestthat teaching peopleabout and through sport and physical activity should belimited to learning the skills and techniques required to participatein, for example,basketball;it should involve learning sporting and physical culturethe customs,rituals, values,andtraditions associatedwiththese activitiesas wellasthe practical knowledgerequiredto participate (Siedentop, Hastie, & Van der Mars,2004). Whilesuch a holistic view of sport and physical education hasbeen praisedby manyin morerigorouslyjustifying the place of physical education,there hasbeenatendencyto focus only onthe practical whilelargely ignoring the cultural aspects. As well as generalshifts in the content and pedagogyof physical education in the 1970s,it wasduringthis time that mostphysical education classesbecamecoeducational, particularly in North Americaafter the introduction of Title IX in the United States (Vertinsky, 1992). Althoughthis offered manygirls opportunities to participatein a wider variety of activities than they previously had accessto, critical theorists revealedthat the inclusive form of physicaleducationintroduced at this time simply meantthat girls now participatedin boys forms of physical educationthat is, physical education that privileged forms of masculinitywith few attempts being madeto tailor programsto girls interests and needs(Lenskyj, 1986). Thoseinterested in the study and practice of physical education continue to wrestle with new and innovative waysto makestudents experience of the subject lead to a commitment to lifelong physical activity. However, with each advancethere comesthe recognition that muchremains contested about physical education. For example,current messages widelyseenand heardin the mediaespousephysicaleducations role in trying to prevent childhood obesity,as well asthe role of physical activity in providing cognitive



(and therefore academic) benefits to children. athlete talent athletic

Furthermore, some initiatives

linked to

development also identify the role of physical education in helping foster


While such

messages mayserve to promote the role of physical

education in schools, the ideological

nature of such arguments has also been identified

reducing the role of physical education to a type of school-based (Sykes & McPhail, 2008) on one hand or watered-down Institute


weight-loss clinic

of Sport on the other.

In addition, emphasizing the benefits of physical education for academic achievement can, in some ways, position physical education as a crutch to support excellence in other areas of schooling rather than physical education being seen asa useful, meaningful, and enjoyable part of school life in its own right.

This is not to dismissthe benefits that come

from participation in physical education; however, such positioning

may undermine the

potential of physical education subject matter and pedagogiesto develop the whole child and provide experiences that

help all students find joy and meaning in

movement and

develop their self-esteem.

curriculum For the purposes of this chapter of knowledge for learning

we consider curriculum

as the

social organization

encompassing the formal and informal activities that occur in

schools (Kirk, et al., 2006, p. 563).

Whencurriculum is viewed as a social undertaking, it

becomes apparent that conceptualizations of physical education shift with changesin the social, cultural, and political landscape of the contexts in which curriculum is developed and implemented. Physical education historians identify

German and Swedish gymnastics astwo salient

forces that shaped early physical education curricula, countries. Ennis (2006) suggests that

particularly in English-speaking

Germanforms of physical education programs were

predominant throughout the United States and emphasized physical and mental discipline

through participation in mostlyapparatus-basedactivities. In contrast, hybridized Swedish forms of gymnastics that consisted of calisthenics and little apparatus werefavoured in the

United Kingdom andits colonies,including of gymnastics that

Canada(Mandigo et al., 2012). Thetype

wasfavoured hadimportant implications for how the future of physical

education progressed in eachcontext. Forexample, Swedishgymnasticstendedto be practised (and subsequently advocated) by manyfemale physical education students (Philips


Roper,2006). Following from this point, mostcountries that adoptedthe Swedish model tended to have morefeminized forms of physical education, which included rhythmic and

danceactivities,in their early histories. However,this standsin contrastto whatis reported to have occurred in Canada. Lenskyj (1986) suggeststhat the Swedishsystem of gymnastics wasrooted in

military drills and deprived many young Canadian women of any type of

physical education experience until well after 1950. The British influence

on Canadian physical education programs expanded beyond

gymnastics; games (usually in the form of team sports) also featured strongly in Canadian physical education curricula.

The games ethic

wasa philosophical

position underpin-

ning many early physical education programs and stressedthe important petitive team games played in developing desirable

role that com-

qualities (such asleadership, loyalty,

perseverance, teamwork, etc.) in young men. This approach wasreflected in the crucial role that games played in the education of many elite boys in







Georgian and Victorian



Britain (Mangan, 1983).

While game-playing experiences havesince been offered to both

malesand females, some feel that such experiences still favour who embody jock


are athletically

males, particularly those

able, and possessstereotypically


characteristics (Hickey, 2010). Today,the physical education curriculum is often discussedin terms that go well beyond games and gymnastics. For example, in

Canadathere is currently a strong emphasis on the

development of childrens physicalliteracy.

A physically literate individual is someone who

moves with competence, confidence, and creativity in a wide variety of physical activities, and consistently develops the

motivation and ability to understand, communicate, apply,

and analyze different forms of movement(Whitehead,

2001). Developingthese skills enables

individuals to make healthy choices that are both beneficial to and respectful of themselves, others, and their environment.

Tinning (2010) points out that through experience, physi-

cally literate individuals come to know themselves in a physical sense;through, for example, the joys of movement or the limits of their physical strength or endurance. In line with the benefits of having students understand and experience a wide variety of physical activities,

mostcurrent physical education programs consist of instructional

units that represent sports (team and individual), adventure


physical fitness, dance, outdoor and

aquatics, and gymnastics.

This approach to teaching

education captures Kirks (2010a) earlier reference to a multi-activity



the intent is to provide students with brief opportunities to sample many activities the hope that they

where with

would find something in which they enjoy and experience success.

Many physical education scholars observe that the current forms of physical education in




Canada and beyond, particularly in secondary

schools (Ennis, 1999). However, what is troublesome is that of such an approach have been identified.

many problematic elements

For example, although the


curriculum provides the scope for students to learn about a wide variety of activities, those that tend to dominate programs are competitive, such as soccer, volleyball,

basketball, or floor/ball

dominate these types of curriculum


and performance

hockey. The sporting activities that

are not inherently


mented using pedagogical approaches that rely on direct instruction, approach (particularly for participation for

team sports

but when implethe


whenimplemented in a coeducational setting) limits opportunities mostgirls and low-skilled

boys; as such, they tend to alienate many

students from physical education (Gibbons, 2009). Ennis (1999) hasalso highlighted the following

problematic characteristics of the multi-activity


Short units with minimal instruction do not provide students with opportunities


to learn or develop skills in any depth. nFew

educational sequences acrosslessons, units, and gradeslimit learning.

arefew policiesto equalizeplaying opportunitiesfor low-skilled players.


displays of ability are required.



is teacher-centred

andlimits student ownership and leadership opportunities.

To avoid the negative aspectsof the multi-activity curriculum whilestill providing students with opportunities to participate in a variety of activities, research on curricular

modelsindicates their potential to promote powerful student learning by offering units that are thematically



designed; enable students to develop skills in the contexts in which

Children should incorporating

benefit from

physical education

physical, social, and cognitive

programs that

develop the

whole child,



they would be used; emphasize physical, social, and cognitive development; and provide teachers with a coherent set of teaching and learning features to promote positive learning (Kirk,





models that


have been the subject of research in physical

Games for



Sport Education,

Teaching Personal and Social Responsibility, Co-operative Learning, and Health-Based Fitness (Metzler, 2011). Kirk (2010b) feels that a models-basedapproach mayprovide one avenue for a radical reform effort in physical education.

One of the


features underpinning the benefits of a models-basedapproach is the extent to which they are grounded in learning theory.

Thinking about how learners and learning

have been

studied in physical education is addressedin the next section.


aNd learNiNg

In the preceding section

we addressed how physical education curriculum

over time but also acknowledged that

taught in

has changed

manyforms of physical education are not being

waysthat can have a meaningful and sustainable influence on students

experiences of physical activity.

Adults who have power and makedecisions about physical

education curricula and pedagogiesshould paycloser attention to whatstudents themselves have to say about physical education.

Dyson (2006) observed that,

with the odd

exception, there had been very little done to understand whatstudents think and feel about their experiences in physical education.

Assuch, it is perhaps not that difficult to see

why manystudents find that a top-down physical education modellacks relevance or meaningin their own lives inside and outside of school (Cothran







& Ennis, 1999).



Earlier in the chapter we described how the lum taught using direct instruction


multi-activity, sports-oriented

manystudents to feel isolated,

and powerless during their physical education experience. For instance,


marginalized, many athletic

females tend to find physical education frustrating simply becausethe activities offered to them are largely feminized (such asrhythmic


that all girls enjoy the same types of activities.

and there is an assumption

Using a similar logic,


many males who do

not enjoy or participate in team sports often feel isolated, becausethe assumption is made that all malesenjoy body contact, competitive playing environments, and so onthat all

malesenjoy stereotypically

masculine behaviours (Tischler

For example, an elite malefigure skater or rock climber


& McCaughtry, 2010).

maybe disengaged from physical

education programs because of the focus on team sports and pervading jock culture that tends to dominate

many programs. The diverse student body that is present in Canadian

schools tends to be divided into categories all too quickly,

meaning that assumptions are

made about the characteristics of all girls and boys, all students whose body shape is slim or not, and so on. Several researchers have begun listening to students opinions of physical education to stimulate

change in the curriculum

(2010) found that noncompetitive


process. Enright and OSullivan

many adolescent females preferred activities that



(such as boxercise, rock climbing, and dance) and could easily be under-

taken outside of schools. In addition, the pedagogies usedto teach these types of activities were highly varied and gave students greater roles and responsibilities. that participants in their study rose to the challenge [of reimagining and took

ownership of their learning,

They also found

physical education]

which resulted in a positive, energizing and

exciting experience for them and one in which deeplearning occurred and deepinsights were produced


& OSullivan, 2010, p. 203). In this example, the traditional

power dynamic in teachinglearning


was disrupted, empowering the female

participants to be active constructors and agents of their own learning. The voices of low-skilled

students have also been studied to understand what is

being done in physical education and could be done better. For example, Portman (1995) and Carlson (1995) found that physical education school for


skills, and receiving Tischler and

wasa particularly

students, citing lack of success, little


assistance to develop

or critical comments in the public space of the gym.

McCaughtry (2011) noted similar

experiences of boys whose embodied

masculinities were marginalized in physical education because they example, slower, weaker, and the wrong they did not fit the jock


unpleasant part of

may have been, for

body shape or not well coordinatedin


typically represented in high school physical education.

These boys rarely experienced success, often did not feel like they contributed to team success, and employed several strategies to remain on the

margins of the physical educa-

tion classroomenvironment. Although

Canadian schools

offer strong representations

of multiculturalism


action, relatively little has been done to study the experiences of Canadianstudents from different racial and ethnic backgrounds in whitestream

physical education classes

(see Chapter 5). One notable exception has been the work of Joannie Halasat the University



who has studied

the physical




Aboriginal youth. Recently, Halas(2011) summarized the outcomes of her broader research program, identifying




most Aboriginal youth had a profound love of sport

and physical activity,

a love that

wasfostered and encouraged by family

Yet several teachers Halasspoke to suggested their

and friends.

Aboriginal students werent taking

part in gym class; some wereskipping phys ed and few weretrying out for teams (p. 11). Halas (2011) suggests that but in the inherent

most of the blame for disengagement lies not with students


patterns, and power relations

programs. For example, several participants tremendous source of vulnerability sist and racist tension (both implicit

that can create lots

(Halas, 2011, p. 12).

and explicit)

cited changing

of physical education clothes for class was a

of homophobic, fatphobic,

Moreover, students


experiences of racism

madethem feel isolated in class,in addition to feeling that

their cultural beliefs were not valued or respected in the gymnasium. So what can belearned from these disparate studies on students experiences oflearning in physical education? From our perspective, the importance

of listening to students

about their experiences is crucial in fostering the success and sustainability education programming.

Whenstudents are provided with voice

of physical

and choice and power

in their physical education program, they tend to improve in levels of motor skill proficiency, engagement in physical activity,

perceived competence, and intrinsic


(Hastie, Rudisill, & Wadsworth, 2013). If one aim of education is to empower students to be confident

and competent





in the

educational processseems alogical step in the right direction.


aNd TeachiNg

The role of the physical education teacher is paramount in the provision of quality physical education programs and experiences. Indeed, the role of the teacher in any subject is the key to student achievement, achievement

with teacher

quality being a more salient factor in

when compared to class size or student socioeconomic

status (Darling-

Hammond, 2010). Despite the common public perception that teaching is often easy, teachers face mounting pressuresto do their job well. This includes being asked to do more with less thanks to a combination

of escalating workloads and budget cuts. As a

result, at times they have withheld afterschool coaching in various labour disputes. In contrast to the diverse group of students that enroll and participate in physical education in Canada,teachers of physical education are quite a homogeneous group. For example, Halas (2006) suggests there arefew physical education teachers or teacher-educators in Canada whorepresent visible minorities. This lack of diversity is particularly problematic if a majorgoal of physical education is to build a moreequitable society (Mandigo et al., 2012). The problem lies in the challenges a homogeneous teaching profession faces in fostering meaningful experiences that reflect, are relevant for, and are representative of an increasingly diverse student population (Halas, 2006). If there is some degree of truth to the saying

that teachers teach whothey are, then it follows that physical educationteachersteach their classesin waysthat reflect the values of a mostly white, middle-class, heterosexual,

athletically able population (McCullick, Lux, Belcher, & Davies,2012). Because teachers bring their own prior experiences, values, and beliefsto their work, it is perhaps not difficult

to seethat tensions andstrugglesexist aroundacknowledging,respecting,andincluding the values and beliefs of all students so that they feel a sense of belonging in the gymnasium.

Thisis notto suggestthat teaching inclusively is an unattainable prospect,but rather to acknowledge the difficulties and challenges involved in teaching











of the biographies of physical education teachers have revealed how

personal backgrounds and experiences shape their reasons for becoming teachers and the practices they enact in schools (Green, teaches



it is



When consideration that


are two

of teachers: physical education specialists (typically found in



middle and high schools)

and regular classroom teachers (typically found in elementary schools). a specialist does not guarantee a quality physical education

is given to who

Although having

program, they do tend to

teach better lessons than classroom teachers. For example, specialists are morelikely to have well-planned programs that consider students development acrossseveral domains (e.g., physical and affective), individualize recommended


deliver inclusive lessons, use

assessment strategies, provide opportunities for skill development,


successin enhancing students fitness levels, and have a positive impact on the overall school climate. Specialists also tend to feel better prepared to teach physical education and enjoy teaching the subject more(Mandigo et al., 2004). It

makessense that

mostspecialist physical education teachers tend to look


positively on their experiences of physical education when they wereschool students. In particular, positive experiences with sport (not necessarily physical education per se) have a profound influence

on prospective physical education teachers decisions to enter the

profession. Other noted reasons why people choose to become physical education teachersinclude positive influences of former teachers and a desire to work with young people (McCullick

et al., 2012). Because most physical education teachers enjoyed their own

experiences of physical education asschool students, they often seelittle reason orjustification to change a curriculum that is, in This is one of the

many of their

minds, a mostly strong

major reasons why there has been more


of the same in high school

physical education for about the last 50 years (Kirk, 2010b): PEteachers areinclined towardsreplicating (becausetheyfeel morecomfortable with) traditional approachesto traditional curricula. Thisis whythe sport- and gamesoriented PE programme associated with so-called traditional self-replication

built into it and has become self-fulfilling.

PE has an element of

(Green, 2008, p. 209)

Assuch, unless university teacher education programs and the culture surrounding physical education in high schools advocates and provides support for fostering change, any type of sustainable reform in physical education becomes moredifficult. Indeed, even when there are institutional

cultures amenable to change, the early socialization experi-

ences of teachers provide such strong and entrenched beliefs that they have proven to be one of the mostdifficult things to change (McCullick,

et al., 2012).

As has been done with specialist teachers, several researchers have considered the

extent to which elementary classroomteachers biographies and identities shape their experiences

of physical


For example,




Garrett and

Wrench(2007) found that whilesomeclassroomteachersenjoyedsport, physicalactivity, and physical education, for

manythe underlying discourses within these fields served to

alienate rather than encourage active participation. Forinstance, abilities in physical activity and physical education



physical activities



were often defined in terms of a dichotomous identity:

Classroom teachers oftenfelt that individuals whoparticipatedin

outside of school and held identities

closely linked

to the image

of a sporty

person gained the

most benefits in school physical education and would

make the best physical education teachers. In contrast, teachers themselves assporty

who did not view

children believed that they lacked the abilities to adequately teach

physical education (Morgan

& Bourke, 2008). Assuch, many classroom teachers source

external providers of physical activity to implement What results is that students

their physical education programs.

of public schools often have to pay for their

education experience (in the form of userfees), or they are taught in


waysthat are not

pedagogically sound or appropriate for all learners. Understanding physical education is a complex task and there are no quick fixes that enable positive,

meaningful, and sustainable change.

physical education plays an important

However, what is clear is that

role in providing children and youth with the types

of experiences that can help foster a love for being physically active and to understand how physical activity and sport can play meaningful roles in peoples lives.


of caNadiaN



Sports have been played at Canadian universities since the 19th century. Canadian Interuniversity Union (CIAU)

According to

Sport (2013a), the original Canadian Interuniversity

wasfounded in 1906 and lasted until 1955. In these initial

membership comprised universities from provide common rules and regulations.

Athletic decades,its

Ontario and Quebec, and its purpose wasto At the same time, there

were multiple regional

conferences across Canada,some of which were membersof the national body and others that

were not. There was also a parallel organization,


Union (WIAU),

which provided athletic

The WIAU would broaden beyond its WomensIntercollegiate The modern CIAU



Womens Intercollegiate


for female students.

Ontario base and change its nameto the Canadian

Union (CWIAU)

in 1969.

was established in 1961 to develop national championships,

coordinate common rules and regulations, and increase education and communication in the area of university sports. In addition to receiving funding from the participating universities, the Canadian government also provided moneyto the CIAU for the purpose of developing high-performance amateur sport at a national level. This would foreshadow the creation of Sport Canadain 1971. The CWIAU form one national governing body. In

merged with the CIAU in 1978 to

manyrespects, the changes at the CIAU reflected

the widersocietal changesin Canada,including

expansion of the university system, efforts

at gender equity, federal funding in areas of provincial jurisdiction,

and the creation of

national organizations (CIS, 2013a). The CIAU changed its name to (CIS, 2013b).

Today, the CIS is

Canadian Interuniversity

Sport (CIS) in 2001

madeup of 54 memberschools, 10,000 athletes, and

550 coaches. It administers 21 national championships in 12 individual sports: basketball, curling, cross-country, field

hockey, football,

and team

hockey, rugby, soccer,

swimming, track and field, volleyball, and wrestling. All sports have both mensand womens divisions with the exception

only), and rugby (womens only). ferences: the


University Sport (AUS).


only), field

hockey (womens

Within the CISsystemthere arefour regional con-

West Universities

University Athletics (OUA), Atlantic

of football (mens Athletic

Association (CWUAA),

Reseaudu sport etudiant


du Quebec(RSEQ), and

Theseregional conferences can sanction additional








sports. For example,

OUA schools also compete in badminton, fencing, figure skating,

golf, and rowing, among others (Ontario


Athletics, 2013).

The remainder of this chapter analyzes the key issues and recent controversies faced by the

CIS. These include

the challenge

gender equity,

presented by the

alumni funding








Association (NCAA),

models,academic achievement, and student-athlete life.

Gender Equity Women now make up the

majority of Canadian university students (Turcotte,

There has been a consistent improvement


in the degree of gender equity in the CIS, yet

there remain numerous issues. The last vestige of a parallel womens system, which was separate and unequal, finally ended when the Ontario Association

merged with the

formed the




Association and jointly

OUA in 1997. Likewise, there are now 11 womens sports recognized by the

CIS and 10for

men. Newerentrants include

and wrestling (19981999). for sport


Womens Intercollegiate


womens rugby (1998), hockey (19971998),

Excluding football, there are equal amounts of opportunity


male and female students (Donnelly,



Kidd, 2013). Nevertheless significant

gaps still exist. The first is in the recruitment

tion of female coaches. Based on 20122013 sports are female.

and reten-

statistics, only 17% of all coaches in


Counting only womens sports, this increases to 32% of coaches who

are female (Donnelly

et al., 2013, p. 33). Only field hockey has a majority of female

coaches, although basketball and rugby closely follow (CIS, 2005a). Asecond gapis in the number of athletic directors: sities are female (Donnelly

Only 13 of 54 athletic

directors at Canadian univer-

et al., 2013). Athird gapis in athletic scholarships.

A 2005

CIS-sponsored survey on gender equity showed that only 47% of member universities had achieved

equitable allocation

of athletic financial

was exacerbated by the rise in external funding the


programs that are financed


when football


dollars were awarded to women; A final

with the greater

(CIS, 2005b). Yet even the presence of star players like

Hayley Wickenheiser, who played hockey for the shift attendance patterns.


of womens programs and national champion-

have acknowledged that they promote teams

of attracting fans


of athletic scholarships (especially in

is excluded the number rises to 49.7% (CIS,

marketing and promotion

ships. CIS universities

(CIS, 2005b).

by alumni, as discussed below). In 2011

2012, only 42% of all external athletic scholarship gap is in the


To this day, the

University of Calgary, was unable to

mens teams still substantially

outdraw the

womens teams.

Athletic Scholarships Athletic scholarships at Canadian universities is a heated topic because top players flee Canada for the scholarships.

NCAA (discussed in

more detail later) and the availability

Athletic scholarships can include free tuition

of athletic

and fees, room and board,

and required course-related books. High school athletes and Canadians outside of the university sport system maybesurprised to learn that there is some financial aid available



for athletes at CISschools,although it is limited solely to tuition and compulsoryfees.In 20112012, $12.7 million wasdistributed in athletic scholarships among CIS athletes (CIS, 2013d).In fact, 43% of athletesreceivedsometype offinancial support(CIS, 2013c). But that aggregate number masksthe low per player scholarship that mostreceive. The average disbursement wasa little over $2,700 a year, while tuition alone averages over $5,000a yearat Canadianuniversities (Macleans, 2013). Athletic scholarshipsequivalent to tuition and compulsoryfees are allowed to firstyear playersif they enter university with a minimum 80% average.Forreturning players, the requirement is a minimum 65% average. Thereis a morestringent athletic scholarships policy amongthe OUA schools. Forexample,athletic scholarshipscannot be given to first-year players,and returning playersarerequired to havea minimum 70% average (CIS, 2013e). The higher OUA standard hascreatedconflict with the other divisionsin the CIS. Morespecifically, the demandfor morelucrative athletic scholarships with morelax academicrequirements haspitted somelarge schools(e.g., Universite Laval,the University of Calgary,and the University of British Columbia) against universities in Ontario and smallerschools primarily in Atlantic Canada. This demandfor athletic scholarshipsis fuelled by the beliefthat all NCAA athletes receive full-ride scholarships. However,this is only availablein Division I and onlyfor afew studentsin high-profile sports.In Division I, it is common to divide scholarships among several playersthat have to be renewed on a year-by-year basis. Poor athletic performancecanresult in ascholarship being revoked. In addition, athletes and parents who maybe blinded by the allure of a free education sometimesforget that tuition at Canadianuniversities can bethousands of dollars a yearlessthan US universities. This gapis evenlarger whenhigher out-of-state orinternational fees areincluded (CIS, 2007). Academicstandardstend to beequitable across Canadianuniversities at the undergraduate level, but there is widevariation in the quality of the educational experiencein the United States. The United Stateshassome of the worlds best universities, both private (such asthose in the Ivy League,Stanford, or Duke)and public (University of Michigan, University of California at Berkeley). There are also a number of schools with much weakeracademic quality. This meansthat graduates at some US universities received a substandard education compared to what they would havereceived at a Canadian university. Canadianemployers haverecognizedthis educational gap and often do not provide equal consideration for degreesfrom some USschools (Charbonneau, 2013). Finally, bringing in athletic scholarshipsto Canadianuniversities wouldrequire atransfer offunds from academic programsto athletic programs.It is doubtful that provincial governments(who areresponsiblefor funding universities) or the public wouldsupport further subsidizinguniversity athletics at the expenseof academics.

Doping Dopingis discussedin greater detail in the deviance chapter (see Chapter 8), so this section concentrates onissuesin the CIS. The CISfaced its own majordopingscandal in 2010 when news emerged that the University of Waterloofootball team was involved in the use of performance-enhancing substances, and a player wasunder police investigation for trafficking banned substances(human growth hormone and steroids). The university immediately askedthe Canadian Centrefor Ethics in Sport









(CCES) to test the entire football team (football playersfrom McMaster University and the University of Guelph were also tested). Sixty-two Waterloo players were subsequently tested, and nine of them tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs,admitted their guilt, or refusedto provide a sample(CCES, 2010a). Anexample of the type of prohibited substancesthat werefound in the blood and urine samples wastamoxifen, a substance usedto combat the side effects of steroids. All nine players weresuspended by the CISfor one to two years. Moresignificantly, the University of Waterloodecidedto cancelits entire 2010football season. The scale of the Waterloofootball doping scandal rocked the entire CIS. Marg McGregor,the chief executive officer of the CIS,called it the mostsignificant doping issue in CIS history. It illustrates that the CIS doping control program needsto be strengthened to ensurealevel playingfield and to protect the rights of the vast majority ofstudent-athletes whorespectthe rules and competeclean (CCES, 2010a). The Waterloo football dopingscandaldidlead to changesin the CISdrug-testing policies. CIS drugtesting wasintended to be a year-round operation, but instead athletessupplied samples only at training camp or at the national championships. The majorreasonfor this is that the costis approximately $500800 per drug test (Maki, 2012). McGregor maintained that we wantto test an athlete at any point in time and not just at the Vanier Cup. Wewant to be aware of performanceinformation to look for drasticimprovements in performance and weight gain (Maki, 2010). In addition, the CISis going to do a completereview of[its] educational programs (Maki, 2010). Other measures, in conjunction with the CCESandthe CanadianFootball League, included hostingan anti-doping symposiumatthe 2010 Vanier Cupat Universite Lavalin QuebecCity, havingthe CCEScreateanindependent taskforce to look at performanceenhancing drugsin football, increasing the number of tests allocatedto CISfootball and extending testing into the offseason(seen as a moreat-risk period), moreextensive testing of CFLtop prospectsfrom the CIS,and a public education campaign aimed at minorfootball players(CCES, 2010b).1 Sincethe 19901991 season,the CCEShasbeenresponsiblefor administering drug teststo CISstudent-athletes. From 19901991 to 20122013 there were74 positive drug tests (72 menand 2 women). Football wasthe biggest offender with 63 positive tests, which is why approximately 40% of all playerstested annually by the CCESarefrom football (CCES, 2010c). Thetop two prohibited substancesthat have been usedare steroids (30 positive tests) and marijuana(16 positive tests) (CIS, 2013f). Considering that over 6,000 CISstudent-athletes have beentestedin this time period(which is about 1in 25),it is evident that the number of athletes usingdrugsis small.2 Nevertheless,every positivetestis damagingnot onlyto the individual, but alsoto the school andthe integrity ofthe sport.

Hazing Hazinghasbeen mentionedin other chapters,sothis sectionfocusesonspecificinstances of hazingin the CIS. Thereis little societal tolerancefor hazingthroughout Canadiansport, andthis occursin the CISas well. This can be demonstratedin several ways.First,thereis moremediaattention givento allegedandactual hazingincidents. Second, manyuniversities havebeen upgradingtheir codesof conductfor student-athletes.Forexample,after a 2011



hazingincident left a St. Thomas Universityvolleyball playerdead,the universitytoughened its codeof conduct policyto include off-campusactivities (Petz, 2011). Third,the penalties for hazing,asappliedby bothleaguesandindividual universities,are higher. Whileincidents of hazingarebeing dealt with much morethan in the past,they have not completely stopped. Thereare numerousexamplesof universities punishing athletes and teamsfor hazing. McGillsuspendedits football team for the rest of the 2005season after it uncovered a serious incident during a rookie night event in August 2005. Theincident involved nudity, degradingpositionsand behaviours,gagging,touching in appropriate mannerswith a broomstick, as well as verbal and physicalintimidation of rookies by alarge portion of the team (Drolet, 2006). Other examplesof teams being suspendedfor multiple games,and even aseason,included the St. Thomas Universitys mens volleyball team in 2010 and Wilfrid Laurier Universitys baseballteam in 2012. Hazingis often seenas occurring primarily on maleteams, but there are alsoexamplesof female teams hazing players. For example, both Carleton Universitys womens soccer team in 2009 and Dalhousie Universitys womens hockeyteam in 2013 sufferedlengthy suspensionsbecauseof hazingincidents. Universities havealsotried to usepositive measures as wellas punishments. This has involved establishing newtraditions that stressthe importance of team building andteam spirit while at the sametime eliminating the degradingforms of hazing. One Canadian university encouragedits teams to participate in ceremonies in which senior students presentrookies with ateam sweater (Drolet, 2006). Hazingis policed morerigorously in the CISthan in the Canadian HockeyLeague and other junior sportsleagues.In 2011, the Neepawa Nativesof the ManitobaJunior A Hockey Leaguehad multiplesuspensionsfor coachesand players becauseof a hazing issue, but the team did not missany gameson its schedule. Whatexplains this higher standardfor CISteams? Oneexplanation is that universities areabout education, not just sports.In addition, all universities havecodesofstudent conduct that prohibit hazingand initiations throughout the student body, not just athletes. Finally, universitiesin Canada are publicly funded and therefore responsible to government. University presidents and provincial politicians havestrongly objected to hazing among university students (sports teams, fraternities, residences, engineering schools, etc.) and have demanded harsh punishmentsfor offenders(CBC News,2011).

The Challenge of the NCAA The NCAA in the United Statesrepresentsa majorchallengeto the CIS. This can be shownin two ways.Firstis the threat of Canadianschools abandoningthe CISto join the NCAA. For example,in 2012 Simon Fraser University, after several years of probation, joined the NCAA DivisionII. Their motive wastwofold: greatercompetition andsaving money.Simon Frasercompetesagainst universitiesin western Washingtonand Oregon and those schools are simply less expensive to travel to than other western Canadian provinces. Otherschools,such asthe University of British Columbia, havealso debated leaving the CISfor the NCAA. Thesecond challengefor the CISis that Canadaregularly loses its top athletes to the NCAA.3 In 20122013, approximately 3,500 Canadians were participating in NCAA athletics (Geiger, 2013). With the notable exception of hockey, Canadian










has delegated its high-performance

example, the 2012 training



mens national basketmore than

NCAA in the 20122013

The 2010 Canadian senior

meanwhile, had 13 of 22 players from experience.4


According to Canada Basketball,

Canada to play in the


to the

NCAA schools and only four players who went to

Basketball, 2012a).

70 men and 80 women left (Canada


camp roster for the Canadian senior

ball team had 26 of 30 players from CIS schools (Canada



mens field lacrosse team,

NCAA schools and all four coaches had NCAA

The Canadian womens soccer team that

Olympic Games had 16 of 18 players from the

won bronze at the 2012 London

NCAA and only two players from


schools (Canada Soccer, 2013). Players go to the


becauseit offers a better quality of play. This is because

NCAA schools have significant financial resources for large, full-time can develop new advanced athletic techniques.

coaching staff that

They also have state-of-the-art


facilities such as home rinks/fields, dressing rooms, weight rooms, specialized video rooms, and practice facilities. It is for these reasons that the NCAA is widely understood asthe pathway to professional sports leagues such asthe NFL and NBA. Another reason that

Canadian student-athletes

to experience the sports spectacle: the attendance, big-time

college sport.

(e.g., football

While there

athletes play in front glamour

soccer have


NCAA schools is

with regard to certain sports

New Brunswick,

Acadia, or Lakehead), and

basketball, and hockey), for the

most part CIS

of hundreds or, at most, the low thousands. In contrast, the

NCAA sports routinely


are exceptions

at Laval), schools (e.g.,

national championships (e.g., football,

decide to attend

media coverage, and atmosphere of


draw sellout crowds of 60,000100,000

more spectators than their

For example, in 2013 the



Other NCAA sports such as hockey, baseball, and Canadian counterparts

Mount Royal University

Calgary Dinos at the Scotiabank Saddledome in

by a wide margin.

Cougars played the

University of

Calgaryin a special game where tickets

Action during the Crowchild Classic womens hockey game between the University of Calgary and Mount Royal University. Megapress/Alamy



were given 4,000 for ordinary

away. It

drew over 2,000 for the


mens hockey. Both games set CWUAA regular

a perennial


hockey game and over

attendance records.

mens hockey game at the



Meanwhile, an North


NCAA powerhouse, typically sells out its 11,889 arena.

The major NCAA sports offootball and basketball are big businessand arealsosaturated by mediacoveragethese

sports generate billion-dollar

contracts for television rights. For

example, in 2010 the

NCAA signed a 14-year $10.8 billion contract

television rights of its

mens basketball national tournament


with CBSfor the & Siegfried, 2010).

As well, millions of viewers watch regular season televised games and there is extensive coverage of college gamesin national and local bet on high-profile football

media.Some gamblers (legal and otherwise)

bowl games and, especially, on the


March Madness

national basketball tournament. It is a mediaevent where even President Barack Obama selects his annual basketball bracket; we cannot image Prime Minister Stephen Harper, a well-known hockey fan, being asked his opinion on CIS hockey. NCAA sports are big business.In 2010, both the Big Ten and the Southeastern Conferences hit a billion dollars in athletic receipts (ticket sales, concession sales, merchandise,licensing fees, television contracts, etc.). The Ohio State University outsourced its sports merchandiseto IMG

College, a sports marketing firm, for a guaranteed $11 million

a year. Meanwhile, EA Sports paid morethan $35 million in 2010 in royalties for based video games (Branch, spending.


2011). Revenue is one side of the equation; the other is

Overall, at public universities, Division I athletic programs spent $6 billion in

2010 (Desrochers, 2013). In contrast,

CIS sports budgets are far more modest. The CIS struggles to get games

televised on sports cable stations such as TSN or Sportsnet 360. or a regional division such asthe responsible for selling their

Whenthey do, the CIS,

OUA, often pay to get their games on the air and are

own advertising.

Although there are exceptions, tickets to

games at many universities are often given away. paraphernalia are minute in comparison to the

Merchandise sales of university sports

NCAA, especially universities with his-

torically significant sporting legacies such as Notre Dameand Michigan. The overall atmosphere at major US university games provides additional entertainment and excitement.

There are tailgate parties, cheerleaders, marching bands, and pep

rallies. Some professional sports in Canada or the

United States often find it difficult to

compete with the atmosphere at a big-time college game.

Alumni Funding


Several universities in the CIS have abandoned the traditional model and adopted funding

university sport funding

modelsfor their football programs that strongly resemble the

NCAAs experience with private alumni donors. Privatelyfunded sports programsbegan with the

Universite Laval Rouge et Or, but due to its success(both on and off the field)

it has been emulated by other universities(Cardwell, 2009). Lavals program wasstarted in 1996 and is operated by a nonprofit board at arms-length from the university. Laval has

a $2 million budget, whichis four orfive times higherthan the averageschoolin Canada. Laval has usedthis

moneyto hire five full-time

coaches (most schools havetwo or three),

establish a moresophisticated weightroom, and run aspring training camp in Florida. This investment

has paid off, becausein the last 10 years Laval has won seven Vanier









Cups as the top university football team in program began in the same year that the NHLs

Canada. It is no coincidence that


Quebec City lost its only professional sports team,

Quebec Nordiques. The departure of the Nordiques to

Denverin 1995 meant

that local businesses had moneyto spend on sports advertising, and the Laval Rouge et Or became the beneficiary. The University of Regina Ramsfootball team was once one of the junior football

programs in

Canada, but in 1999 they began to compete in the

through a community partnership agreement through independent

of the


which the team remains financially

University and mustpursue a broad range of fundraising

activities in order to keep the program running



projects and

of Regina Cougars, 2012).

Similar to the Laval Rougeet Or,the Regina Rams have invested significant funds in the development

of first-class training facilities.

The University of Calgary Dinos, one of

Canadas mostsuccessfulfootball teams over the last three decades,is dependent on fundraising by an alumni group called the 5th Quarter (MacLeod, role is to raise private scholarship almost $100,000 in financial nent businesspeople in returned to competition funding

assistance. Many of the 5th Quarters members are promi-

Calgary, and they use their

careers once they graduate.

2012). The 5th Quarters

moneyfor football players. In 2012, 22 players received

The Carleton



to get Dinos players

Ravens football

in 2013 after a 15-year absence, is also following

model, asis the Lakehead University



the alumni

mens hockey team.

Academic Achievement In the United Statesthere hasbeen significant debate about the academic achievement of student-athletes.5 (GPA)

Academic achievement is typically

measuredin grade point averages

and graduation rates. The NCAA claims that student-athletes

annually outper-

form their student-body counterparts in graduation rates, and in almost all demographic

categories (2013). However,the methodologyfor that conclusion has been disputed by many academics precisely becausethe

NCAA includes

part-time students (who


higher dropoutrates and do notinclude athletes) and counts athletes whotransfer in good academic standing as graduates.

The adjusted graduation gap (AGG), a modelthat factors out part-time students, demonstrates that in

most athletic conferences, athletes graduate at rates lower than

non-athletes (Grasgreen, 2013). This gapis widestamong malefootball and basketball players at NCAA

Division I Bowl Series conferences. For example, football

ers in the Pacific 12 Conference have 27% fewer graduates than full-time students.

Richard Southall led the

among black football [in the rate


players: Its



AGG study and found that the gap was highest three times

Division I Bowl Subdivision

morelikely that black football


conferences] dont graduate at the same

as black nonathletes (Grasgreen, 2012). This gap also exists in

mens basketball,

where the number of black players who do not graduate is double that of white players (Grasgreen, 2013). Others have argued that the tion rates through degrees (Grasgreen,

major 2012).

NCAA and its

clustering [of athletes in certain


and advising, but it

manipulate gradua-

majors] and devalued

NCAA schools offer Student-Athlete

Programs that include special tutoring


member schools

Support Service

has been argued that the

purpose of these programs is simply to ensure that athletes remain academically eligible to compete, rather than fostering their

overall academic development and graduation

rates (Geiger, 2013). The CIS does not monitor the academic achievement of its student-athletes, and the research on graduation rates is not as extensive in However, the weight of the research indicates that GPAs and lower examination

graduation rates than

Canada asit is in the CISstudent-athletes


of University of Victoria athletes from

athletes had lower

GPAs than the regular student


found that student-

many different sports at a

Ontario university in the early 1990s, found that nonathletes had a higher

than student-athletes.


McTeer and Curtis (1999), in a survey of maleand female athletes

at a Canadian university from 19881993, lower

Martens (1985), in an

body and took longer to graduate.

Danylchuk (1995), in a study of maleand female athletes in large

United States. have both lower

GPAs and graduation rates than

also showed that student-athletes



had both

Miller and Kerr

(2002), in asurvey of maleand female athletes in their fourth or fifth years at a Canadian university, argue that

CIS student-athletes

significant improvement

report lower grades in year one but showed

in years four and five asthey reoriented their focus away from

athletics and toward academics. While the academic achievement

of CIS student-athletes

student-athletes, it is also clear that CIS student-athletes the NCAA.


outperform their counterparts in

There are a number of reasons for this. First, NCAA athletes are often given

preferential accessto enter university, applicants.

may be less than

while CIS athletes must compete with all other

This meansthat right from entrance into university,

NCAA student-athletes

are often weaker academically. Second, NCAA athletics, especially in the high-profile sports of football This meansthat

and mens basketball, is substantially CIS athletes have less team

larly scheduled training

more commercial than the


events to attend per week outside of regu-

and competition, since their athletic team andleague is less com-

mercialized (Geiger, 2013, p. 3). Third, numerous USstudies have shown that there is often an athletic athletes (Geiger, some faculty


of low academic expectations


NCAA student-

2013, p. 3). Finally, these same studies have demonstrated that even

members possessnegative attitudes about the academic potential of NCAA


especially black athletes (Geiger, 2013).

found a supportive academic environment

Miller and Kerr, in contrast,

among faculty, coaches, and players for


student-athletes (2002).



How do student-athletes differ from nonstudent-athletes

at Canadian universities? Asthe

previous section demonstrates, there has been muchresearch comparing student-athletes and nonstudent-athletes

in terms of academic achievement, but what about their social

experiences? There are both positive and negative features concerning the social life of student-athletes. loneliness that

Onepositive feature is that student-athletes find it easier to adjust to the manyfirst-year university students experience. Loneliness occurs because

students have either just

moved away from home or are attending a campus that is many

times larger than their former highschool without a developed network offriends. Oneof the benefits of sport participation is that fellow athletes provide animmediate social network on









campus that can often alleviate sentiments

ofloneliness and stressthat often accompany

majorlife changes, particularly the first year of university


& Kerr, 2002, p. 360).

This social network continues throughout their university career. For example, unofficial athletic residencesoff-campus after yearhave

housing that successive groups of student-athletes rent year

sprung up at most Canadian universities (Miller

& Kerr, 2002).

A negative feature is the sheer amount of time that student-athletes training and competing in their sport.


Miller and Kerr (2002) found that athletes spent an

average of 20 hours per weekin training

and competition

for their sport.

This had an

adverse effect not just on their schoolwork, but it also restricted their ability to get a parttime job, unlike mostnonstudent-athletes Student-athletes


& Curtis, 1999; Miller & Kerr, 2002).

who deal with the time pressuresof combining athletics and academics

often restrict their social circle to their teammates and can become isolated from the rest of the student body (Geiger, 2013; Miller & Kerr, 2002). They play together, live together, take the same classestogether (a very high percentage of student-athletes

are in physical

education programs), and they often socialize together.

conclusions Given that elementary and high schools and universities are very different educational contexts, we would expect to find several differences in the waysthat sport and physical activity

are offered to students.


physical education

is a compulsory

requirement for the greater part of the education of Canadian children; however, participation in university sports (whether in competition, entirely voluntary.

such as CIS, or intramurals)


However, mostchildren do not experience specialized instruction


sport and physical activity (i.e., teachers and coaches) until they reach middle and high schools. There are few specialists providing

movement education to small children, but at

the other end of the spectrum those who educate university students in sport and physical activity contexts tend to be highly specialized. Despitethese and many other differences, there are also several common themes that are present in the two contexts.

Wehighlighted the important

any consideration of assessingthe current state

of play

role that history plays in

of sport and physical activity.

In order to graspthe present and future, alook to the past provides important why things are the way they are and helps usidentify possible. In addition, concerning

clues as to

areas where sustainable change is

weidentified issues related to difference and diversity, particularly

gender, as being salient factors in understanding

how sport and physical

activity is offeredand experiencedin schoolsand universities. Whilegenderequity may have improved

over the years, there is still

much to be done to not only understand

differencesbetween malesand females, but alsoto understanddifferencesamong males and females. Although our analysis hasindicated several changes that have been madeto

improve sport and physical activity provisionin Canadianeducationalsystems,students, practitioners, administrators,

policymakers, and researchers have significant

work ahead

of them to provide high-quality opportunitiesfor participation and engagementin sport and physical activity in



Canadian educational institutions.

critical Thinking


1. Think back to your experiences of physical education in elementary and secondary school.

Whotended to be successful? Why werethey successful? Whatactivities

you recall participating in 2.


most? Compare your experiences to others in asmall group.


programs? Whatrole shouldit play?Justify your answerby consideringthe experiences of manygirls in sport-based physical education. 3. Howcanphysicaleducationprogramshelptodevelopthewholechild(i.e.,physical,


social, emotional,



programs currently

meetthis aim?

What can be done to improve


Whatfactors contribute to the perception that physical education is a marginal subject in the school curriculum?

5. Should CIS schools try to emulate


NCAA schools? If so, how?If not, why not?

Whatis the biggestchallengefacing the CIS: hazing,performance-enhancingdrugs, gender equity, or something else?


How different

are student-athletes


Canada when compared to students in the

United Statesin the areas of academic performance and social experiences?

suggested Branch, T. (2011,

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endnotes 1. Five hundred football

players were tested in 2010 because of the exposure of the


scandal, but by 2012 the number had dropped back down to 100 (out of 1,503 players) because of significant 2.Another 3.This

cost pressures (Maki,


possible conclusion is that athletes have become moreadept at avoiding detection.

section is derived from Bratt (in press).

4. Statistics for lacrosse are derived from information

at Team Canada Lacrosse (2013).

lacrosse is not one of CISs sanctioned sports, but there is a good club league in


Ontario and

Quebec, plus Simon Fraser University playsin a US university league. Thereis also a maritime university field lacrosse league, but it is of a very poor quality. 5.This

paragraph is derived from Bratt (in press).









Chapter11 Sport, Media,andIdeology Jay Scherer

The early days of sport on Canadian television.

AP Photo/Hans

Von Nolde


Thenumbersandfinancial figuresarestaggering.In 2007, Rogersand CTVglobemedia(now BCE)joined forces asa multi-platformbroadcastingconsortium and paidthe International Olympic Committee(IOC) over$150 millionto securethe broadcastingrights to the 2010 Winter Olympic Gamesin Vancouverand the 2012 Summer Gamesin London. The Vancouverrights alone were morethan three times whatthe CanadianBroadcastingCorporation (CBC) paid for the 2006 Winter Olympicsin Turin ($28 million). Likewise,in December2011, Canadiantelecommunications giants BCE and Rogerspaid morethan $1 billion to acquirea75%stakein MapleLeafSportsand Entertainment(MLSE), in part,to securethe broadcastingrights to the Toronto MapleLeafs,the Toronto Raptors,and Toronto FC(Rogersalsoownsthe Toronto BlueJays). Thesesportsproperties nowair on numerous Rogers-owned regional and specialty channels (Sportsnet, Sportsnet One,Sportsnet360, Sportsnet World),BCEs TSN and TSN2, and on a host of additional platforms (radio, magazines, and the Internet) that are owned by these deep-pocketedcorporations. All of these deals,of course,underscorethe unprecedentedvalue of popular, dramatic,live sports content as both BCEand Rogersbattle to securesubscribers andput togethersignificantaudiencesontheir platformsand distribution outletsthat canthen besoldto advertisers.

Theescalationofthe costsof varioussportsbroadcasting rights (see Tables11.1and 11.2) hasalsoprovidedvastamountsofrevenueand visibilityfor the various majorleaguesof North Americansport andtruly globalsportsorganizations like the IOC andthe FederationInternationale de Football Association(FIFA). Theseareleaguesand organizationsthat arethemselves monopoliesand cartelsthat havehistorically packagedand soldtheir exclusivesports productsto variouspublic and private networks;the ability ofthe majorleaguesto sell their productsascollectiveentities hasonly been madepossiblethanks to their ongoingexemption from anti-trustlegislation. Organized sport has,for severaldecadesnow,benefitedhandsomely from the substantial amount of free mediacoverageand the lucrative fees paidfor the broadcastrights to their events and products.Beginning withthe establishmentof the first Table 11.1

US Network

Payments for

Olympic Television


WinterLocationRightsAmountSummerLocationRightsAmount 1960United









































$87 million























































$1.18 billion






$1.2 billion








2018South *In


Korea NBC paid

Table 11.2



for the






League Baseball)

NBA (National NFL(National






Games from

Basketball Football



Hockey League)






EPL(English Premier League)


to the


Network Payments for Professional Sports Broadcasting






media rights

millions in deal in


NHL history,

TSN (Canada)


BSkyB, BT Group


ESPN, FOX, Turner Sports

US$12.4 billion







Rogers (Canada)**

C$5.2 billion



US$2 billion


rights and




from sport




media rights



billion (US$5.1



billion billion









sportssectionin dailynewspapers andthe emergenceofspecialistsportjournalistsin the 1880s, regular detailed mediacoveragepropelledthe majorleaguesinto the mainstreamof popular culture and amplified an already broadening public interest in commercial menssport (Goldlust, 1987). Tothis day,for example,dailyprint andonline newspapers providecommercialsport with an endlessamount of promotionalcoverage,commentary,statisticsandinjury reports(especiallyfor fantasysport enthusiasts),andtraderumourson acontinuous newsand publicity cycle(Lowes, 1999). Asthe noted Canadaauthor andsports writer Roy MacGregor remarked,the sheerubiquityofsportin the mediahasbeen worthits weightin goldfor various teamsandleaguesoverthe years:Ever seeateam advertise? Whywouldyou advertisewhen you havea dailyadvertisementcalledthe newspaper?(quotedin Gilbert,2011,p. 251). Atthe sametime, the creation of exciting sportsproducts has,historically, provided advertisersvaluable opportunities to reach significant audiences(of mostlyaffluent men) to markettheir products and brands.Indeed, in the rapidly changing digital landscape where Canadianshaveaccessto aseemingly endlessflow of popular entertainment content on multiplefamily television sets and,increasingly, on mobilephones and tablet devices,the value of live sporting eventsfor capturing significant and predictable audienceshas never been greater;this is precisely whysponsorsare willing to paysignificant amounts to advertise during sports broadcasts.Theliveness of exciting televised sport content is the crucial elementin these economic calculations. Thatis, unlike other popular showsandfilms that can berecorded or purchasedindependently oniTunes or Netflix (allowing viewersto skip commercial messages), sporting events are generally consumed in real time and,thus, havefar greater potential to exposeaudiencesto advertising. Thislatter point hasonly beenreinforced in recent years withthe price of a 30-second time slot duringthe SuperBowlrising to an astronomical US$4 million;in 2013,an estimated108.4 million people watched Super Bowl XLVII in the United States alone. Likewise,in Canadathe mostpopularsporting eventscontinue to capturesignificant audiencesfor advertisers.In 2010,for example,an averageof 16.6 million Canadianswatched Canadabeatthe United Statesin overtimein the Olympicgold-medalgamein Vancouver onthe CTV/Rogersconsortiums eight channelsan all-time viewing record in Canada. In 2013,the final gamein the first round playoffseries betweenthe Toronto MapleLeafs and the Boston Bruins on CBCs HockeyNightin Canada(HNIC) set an audiencerecord with 5.1 million viewers. Boththe IOC and FIFA, meanwhile,claim to reach global audiencesof billions of viewersduringthe Olympic Gamesandthe World Cup, whichis why television revenues haveexpandedsignificantly overthe courseof the last three decades (Whannel, 2005). Still, its alwaysimportant to interpret these statistics with a degreeof skepticism;sport organizations(like FIFA andthe IOC) report the highestaudience numberspossiblesimply becausethesefigures entice greateradvertisingrevenue and, by extension, morevaluable broadcastingcontracts(Kuper & Szymanski,2012). Beyondthese economic figures, there hassimply never been a better time to be a sportsfan: Canadiansare now provided with an unprecedentedamount oflive sports content on television and other digital and mobile platformsthat weresimply unthinkable even a decadeago. Eventhough Canadiansremain avid television watchers,in 2010 our useof the Internet for news,information, and entertainment surpassedthat oftelevision, markinga decisiveshift in how weconsumepopularculture (Marlow, 2010). Despitethe recent expansionof viewing opportunitiesfor sportsfans,though, there are nowalsogreater coststo accessdigital sport content. Thisis particularlyimportant in light of the powerof a small number of distributors(e.g., Rogers,BCE, Shaw,and Quebecor)to bundletelevision 232Chapter


channelstogether in expensivepackages, in addition to the emergenceof a widerange of expensivespecialtysport channelsthat increasingly target niche marketsand audiencesof fans. AsI discusslater in this chapter, there alsoremain significant limits in terms of the types of sportsthat Canadiansare exposedto on aregular basis,including an ongoinglack of coverageof womenssport, Paralympicsport, and amateursport in general. Nonetheless, in the digital erasportsfans can nowfollow not onlythe North American majorleaguesandthe mostpopularsport mega-events, but a hostof othercompetitions(such asthe English PremierLeagueandthe UEFA ChampionsLeague)that wereonceinaccessiblefor Canadianaudiencesin an earlieranalogueera.Indeed,for studentsbornin the 1990s and who have never known atime whenthe Internet, Twitter, mobile handsets,and the multi-channeldigital television universedid not exist,it seemsunfathomableto think that there wasa period whensports broadcastingandtelevisionitself wereemergentphenomena in Canadaand an even earlier era wherelive sports coverage waslimited to the listening opportunitiesprovided by another onceinnovative and popularform of broadcasting:radio. Giventhe sheeramount of digitalsportscontent that Canadiansconsumeontelevision andincreasingly online,there is little doubtthat mediatedsportis asignificant component of popular culture and to understandit betteris to understand moreabout the culturein which welive (Whannel, 1992,p. 2). In this chapter,I provide a briefreview ofthe symbiotic and mutuallybeneficial multibillion dollar partnershipbetweenthe media,professional sportleagues/organizations, and advertisersin Canada.BysymbioticI meanthat theseinterestgroupsare nowso highlyintertwined andinterlocked that they cannot be understoodas separateentities and, crucially,they are motivatedby a mutualdesirefor financial gain and subsequentlyflourish and profit by protecting and promoting each othersinterests. Or,as the UScommunicationsscholar Robert McChesney(2008, p. 213) explained: Onthe one hand, the staggering popularity of sports is due, to no small extent, to the enormous amount of attention the

provided to it by the

mass media. Onthe other hand,

media are able to generate enormous sales in both circulation

based upon their extensive treatment

of sports.

and advertising

Media attention fans the flames of

interest in sports and increased interest in sports warrants further


Together,theseinstitutionsform the sports-media complex(Jhally, 1984)andsharenot only similareconomicagendasbut a hostofideologicalintereststhat set distinctlimits and pressures onthe productionand consumptionofsport contentin Canada,albeit underthe governanceof the publicregulatoryagency,the CanadianRadio-televisionand TelecommunicationsCommission(CRTC). However,the Canadiansports-mediacomplex hashistoricallybeena contestedterrain, so I beginthis chapter byfocusing on the political, economic,andideological strugglesbetweenvariouspublic and private networksto securethe mostpopular Canadian sportscontent,especiallybecause telecastsof Canadian teamsandathletes(amateurand professional) qualifyas Canadiancontent (accordingto the CRTC,all networks must fulfill specific Canadiancontent requirements). Thesedevelopmentshave,for now, culminatedin an oligopoly(a marketdominated by asmall number offirms) controlled by verticallyintegrated telecommunicationempires(Rogers,BCE,and Quebecor) that ownanddistributevastamounts ofsportscontentto subscribers acrossa hostof print, radio,television, andInternet platforms. Whilethese broadeconomic dynamicsand,indeed, our personaldigital viewing habits mayseem entirely natural and normalizedincluding the relatively new practice of payingfor sporting and other mediacontentthere is, in fact, afascinating history of sports broadcastingin Canada,especiallyin the context of a much broader struggle Sport,




betweencompeting visionsand modelsof broadcasting(e.g., public versusprivate). These strugglesinevitably raise questions of cultural citizenship and whether key elements of national popularculture (such as NHL hockeygames)and events of national significance (like the Olympic Games)ought to beavailablefor all Canadiansin English and French over the air without additional costsorfees(Scherer & Harvey,2013). Popularsportscontent distributedbyvarious mediaplayacritical rolein organizingbroader ideologiesthrough which Canadiansmakesenseofsocialrelations andthe waysthat they see themselvesand debateaboutsociety,culture,politics,andsport. The media,of course,doesnot sell an innocent product: Theyproduceincreasinglyspectacularculturalsportingtexts and rituals that are manufacturedaccordingto a host of economic,ideological, andinstitutional pressures, including widelyembracedcommonsenseunderstandingsabout whatconstitutes good television (Gruneau,1989). Yetthe sheerpresenceof mediated sport contentand the narrativestructure oftelevisedsportin particularis so deeplytaken for grantedandfamiliar that weoften onlyfully appreciateits existenceas asocial constructionin the rareinstances whenthe flow ofsport contentis significantlyruptured. Thisis preciselywhatoccurredbetween Augustand October2005 when,thanks to a Canadian Media Guildstrike, CBC broadcast several CFLgameswith neither commentarynor additionaleffects(e.g., pregameprofilesand storylines,instant replay,close-upimages,statistical graphics,varioussound effects). Assuch, following manyof the theoreticalideas outlinedin Chapter2 on critical theories,I examine some ofthe ideological effectsof mediaassitesof struggleover various meanings and cultural identities, especiallythose associatedwiththe social constructionof popularunderstandingsof community/nationalidentity, gender,race/ethnicity, and militarism within andthrough various mediated sportrituals (the GreyCupand SuperBowl,the Stanley Cup,etc.). Finally,it is alsoimportant to considerthe role of sportsjournalists in promoting the fused economic andideological interests of a male-dominatedsports-mediacomplex and some ofthe uniqueoccupationalstructuresthat continueto set powerfullimits and pressures on the agency ofjournalists that workto restrict a broaderrange of coverage(including critical commentary, coverageof female and amateur athletes, etc.). However,thanks to widerprocessesof convergenceand concentration andthe emergenceof a host of technological developments(most notably Twitter), the workroutines and labour practices of sportsjournalists have undergonesubstantialtransformation. Thereis now moreaudience interaction than ever beforebetweensportsreporters,fans, and at times playersthemselves, markinga profoundtransformationin the way Canadiansconsumedigitalsport content.

Box 11.1

Key Terms Mass

media: The institution


to sport:


and cultural ships,



are themselves






apart from


of their




and distributes

commercial to emphasize

of sport

that the


and produces

media produces

made and re-created

by generations


media and all of the relationships

must see the

world at the same time the



active relationships






and cultural



of Canadians

world is

which they relationships



and distributes against the that the the

are always involved: (Grossberg,

and entertainment



We cannot

and ideology.


means that study


mass audiences.


as the

of a host of political

media are involved

media. This






in the

media debates

as active relationmedia cannot

media apart from

Wise, 2006,

p. 7).

be the

The CAnAdiAn

SpoRTS-MediA CoMpLex

The Early Days of Canadian Television1 Theera oftelevisedsport beganin Canada in 1952, whentelevised hockey was introduced on Canadaspublic broadcaster,CBCin Englishand Radio-Canada in French. Despitethe initial trepidation of leaguepresident ClarenceCampbell,whocalledthe arrival of television the greatest menaceof the entertainment world (Rutherford, 1990,p. 242), by the mid-1950s watching HNIC on CBCand Lasoireedu hockeyon Radio-Canadahadbecomea quintessential Canadianpastimeinsertedinto the rhythms ofthe Canadianyear. Pointingto the significanceofthe emergent mediumoftelevisionin the sports-mediacomplex, bythe late 1950s revenuesfrom bothbroadcasts had becomeasignificant factor in the profits ofthe Montreal and Toronto NHLteams and in the finances of the public broadcasteritself (Rutherford, 1990).Importantly, the popularity of these hockey broadcastsalso provided muchneeded Canadiancontentfor CBC,which was, to the chagrin of manyhighbrowcultural nationalists, dependenton popular USimports to pleaseaudiencesand attractadvertisingrevenue. The early daysof Canadiantelevision and the televised sports-mediacomplex have been widelyacknowledgedasa golden age (Rutherford, 1990). This wasan erain which CBC and Radio-Canadaenjoyed a monopoly position as national broadcaster with a mandateto expressand promote aseparate Canadianconsciousness,especiallygiven the increasing presenceand popularity of USculture and Hollywood productsfor Anglophone Canadiansnorth of the border. This wasalso,importantly, an erain whichthe ideological valuesof publicservicebroadcasting wererelatively dominantin Canadiansociety. Thefirst ofthese valuesincluded universal accessibilityand the establishment of the viewing rights (Rowe, 2004a) of Canadiansthe ability to maketelevision programming,to the extent that wastechnically possible,availableover the air to all Canadians, including households in rural andremote areas,in both officiallanguageson CBCand Radio-Canada.Theprinciple of universalaccessibility wasclearlyaligned with a broaderpostwarpolitical agendaasthe Canadiangovernmentsoughtto providefor all citizens,rich or poor,the basiceconomic necessitiesoflife, but alsoa nationalstandardof public cultural andleisure amenities,including accessto libraries, recreationfacilities, and populartelevision content on CBCand Radio-Canada. Thesecond value of the public broadcastingera wasuniversalaccessto a breadth of programsthat wererepresentativeof a common culture, a notoriouslydifficult conceptto definein light of the numerousdivisionsin Canadiansociety, mostnotablythe enduring linguistic and regional divisions between Anglophones and Francophones. Still, the Canadiangovernmentscommitmentto asplit service public networkin Englishand French madeit possibleto introduce a diverseand ambitiousarrayof visual programs(musical game shows, highbrow quizzes,historical docudramas,concert music,and intellectual panel discussions)and a host ofsporting events,including CFLfootball, wrestling,boxing, womens softball,roller derby,and of courseongoingcoverageof hockeyon HNIC and Lasoiree du hockey.Duringthe 1950s,then, watchingsports on CBCand Radio-Canadawasquickly naturalized and, through all of these developments,live televisedsport becameunderstood asimportant componentsof a Canadianwayoflife and asapublic good that added to the lives of manycitizensin both officiallanguages.In fact, agrowing appetitefor weekendsports coverageacrossthe country prompted CBCand Radio-Canadato expandtheir programmingto include curling, soccer,international hockey,bowling,skiing, swimming,





figure skating, and golf (Rutherford, 1990), although it wasnationally significant events that capturedthe biggestaudiences.Forinstance, 5 million Canadianswatchedthe 1959 Grey Cup matchbetweenthe WinnipegBlue Bombersandthe Hamilton Tiger Catsonly the final gameof the Stanley Cupplayoffsgainedalarger audience(Cavanaugh, 1992). In the earlydaysoftelevision,then, the Canadiansports-mediacomplex wasboth a public anda privateinstitutiona mixtureof publicbroadcasting,professionalandamateursport,and commercialadvertising.It wasa alsoa predominantly masculineexperience,and CBCand Radio-Canada suppliedan overwhelmingamount of malesport that wasconsumedby mostly maleaudienceswithgreaterlevels of disposable income andinfluencein family households.For example,Canadiansport historianandformer OlympianBruceKidd(1996a) hasrightly argued that the partnershipbetween CBCandthe NHL distortedthe developmentof Canadiansport and culturealongtwo keylines. First,the sheerquantity of airtime dedicatedto NHL hockey onthe public broadcaster reinforcedthe symbolic annihilation of womenssport withregard to mainstreammediathat hadpublic authority (Kidd, 1996a,p. 259).Indeed,onceadvertisersdiscoveredthe remarkable ability ofsportsbroadcasts to assembleaffluent maleconsumers for their sponsorsappeals (Kidd, 1996a,p. 260),the new broadcastingterrain wasquickly structuredto ensurethat womenssport washeavilyunder-represented. Second,telecastsofthe mostpopular menssportson CBClike NHL hockeyandthe CFLwere alsopubliccelebrations of hegemonic masculinity(Connell, 2005),anissuethat I willreturn to shortly. Oneofthe mostsignificant developments in the Canadian sports-mediacomplexoccurred in 1961 when CBCsdualrole asnational broadcasterandregulatorendedthanksto the longstandingstruggleby private broadcasters andtheir ideological alliesto establishanindependent broadcastingregulator, the Boardof Broadcast Governors(BBG), nongovernment stations(secondstations)in cities where CBC wasinstalled and,crucially,the first national private network, CTV. NicknamedThe Network That MeansBusiness, CTVs emergence ran in stark contrastto the birth of CBC, which wasintended to bea publicinstrument of nationhood. Whilethe pursuitof profit unabashedlymotivatedthe businessmenwhoinvested in CTV,they alsosharedanideologicalaffinity to showcaseCanadianprivateenterpriseand to destabilizethe ideological valuesassociatedwith public broadcasting (Nolan, 2001). Theparamountrole ofsport in the establishmentof CTV cannot beunderstated. The BBG hadearlier awardedJohn Bassett,the owner ofthe CFLs Toronto Argonautsfootball club, the television licence for the lucrative Toronto market,and to the surpriseof CBC, Bassettpurchasedthe 1961 and 1962rights to broadcastthe BigFour(eastern CFL)games andthe first right ofrefusalfor the Grey Cup. Bassett,however,lacked the facilities and a national networkto distribute his newly acquired CFLcontent and,assuch, he wasunable to providethe games with sufficient exposurefor advertisers. Oneof Bassettsrival applicantsfor the television station in Toronto, Spencer Caldwell,however,hadreceived BBG approval to form a national network in 1960, and Bassett would ultimately join with Caldwells networkto securea distribution systemfor the CFLgames, which werevaluable Canadiancontent. This agreement,in turn, promptedthe otherseven newlylicensed privatestationsto alsosign upto the network, and ultimately securedthe BBGsfinal approval in 1961for CTV to begin operating. As Nolan(2001, p. 27) notes,(w)ithout the Big Four easternconferenceof the CFL, CTV might never haveemergedasa network. Theentrance of CTV signalleda newera of competition for sports broadcastingrights betweenthe public and private networks,resultingin significant increasesin televisionrevenuesfor varioussportsleaguesincluding the NHLandthe CFL. Meanwhile,Canadiansports



fansfrom coastto coastenjoyedan evengreateramount of over-the-aircoverageof sport on CBCand CTV. Bythe mid-1960s,within aclimate oflow unemployment,high disposable incomes,suburbanization,newlevels of homeand car ownership,andsubstantialincreasesin the purchaseof light consumergoods,both CBCand CTV continued to staketheir claims and battledto deliversignificant weekendaudiencesfor advertisersvia expandedsportsprogramming. Thesport-driven audiencecommodity (Smythe, 1977)a very predictableand stable demographic/marketcomposedof mostly maleviewerswas alwaysthe overriding productthat these networks wereputtingtogetherto sellto variousadvertisersandsponsors. CTV,for example,washighly influenced by U.S.modelsandthe behaviourof American audiencestowards sports broadcasting (Nolan, 2001, p. 143), and the Canadiannetwork beganto showlessexpensivebroadcastsof WideWorldof Sports(obtainedthrough an arrangement withthe USnetwork ABC)that blended major USandinternational sportingcompetitions and, crucially, a numberof live ortaped Canadiansporting events.For example,the 19641965 seasonof WideWorldof Sports featured a mixof waterskiing,softball, horseshows, wrestling,car racing, golf,soccer,andtennis. CTV,importantly, underscoredthe value of a combined USand Canadiansports television packagefor its stations acrossthe country, which hadto meet Canadiancontent requirements:Self-Balancing Canadian Content (Nolan, 2001,p. 143)that wasableto deliverthe younger,larger, higherincomefamiliesin CTVsten vital marketingareas (Nolan, 2001, p. 143). CTV alsointroduced newtypes of colourfuland provocativesports-relatedprogrammingsuch asthe SportsHotSeatthat featured an opinionatedpanel of questionersand astrongguestfrom the sporting worldto respondto acontroversial,topical issue[to] stimulateinterest among viewers (Nolan, 2001,p. 145). Sportstelecasts werethus the lifeblood of the private broadcaster (Nolan, 2001, p. 144) and deliveredsignificant audiencesthat could besoldto advertisers.By 19651966, for example,sponsorswerepaying $1,050for a 60-secondspot during 26 consecutive weeks of CTVs WideWorldof Sports(Nolan, 2001). CTVs executivesalsorecognizedthe ability of specific sports to deliver different marketsegmentsto advertisers.For example, more affluent menwatchedcoverageof golf andrepresenteda valuablecommodity that could be sold to moreupmarketcompaniesvia advertising. Coverageof golf continuesto capture a demographicof primarily affluent, middle-aged,white men,whichis preciselywhy,to this day, BMW, Rolex,and bankandinsurance companiespaysignificant amountsof moneyto advertise duringthe mostprestigiousgolf events and tournaments aroundthe world(in 2013,for example, over $1.6 billion wasspent on golf sponsorship). Networkshave historically useddifferent sportsto deliverspecific audiencesto advertisers.Forexample,comparethe audiencecommodity that networks put together for advertisersduringthe Brier curling championship versusvarious World WrestlingEntertainment(WWE) events. Still,it was the mostpopularsportsthat capturedtruly nationalaudiences,and CTV continued to stakeits claimsin the Canadiansports-mediacomplex by providingcoverageof a successionof Winter Olympicsbeginning withthe 1964 Games in Innsbruck, Austria. CTV also beganairing NHL hockeygameson Wednesday nights,capturingsignificant national audiences for advertiserseven on weeknights.CBCand Radio-Canada,meanwhile,enjoyeda significant presence in homesacrossthe countrythrough telecastsof professionalandamateur events,including Canadiancollegeathletics,track andfield meets, alpineskiing, andthe SummerOlympic Games.However, it wasthe sport of hockeyand weeklybroadcastsof HNIC and Lasoireeduhockeythat remainedthe mostvaluableand popularsport programfor the public broadcaster.Despite the entranceofthe privatesectorin the Canadiantelevisionsports-media





complex, CTV and CBCcomplementedeach other on a number oflevels. Both networks providedasignificant amountof over-the-aircoverageoflive USand Canadiansportingcontent, including joint coverageof a numberof high-profileeventsincluding the 1972 Summit Seriesbetween Team Canadaandthe Soviet Unionandthe annual GreyCupgame.

A New Sport Broadcasting Order? Bythe early 1960s,the entrance of cabletelevision had already begunto radically transform the continental medialandscape, thus opening the door to UStelevision signals whilesiphoning audiencesawayfrom both CTV and CBC.In the context ofthe full emergence of cabletelevision duringthe late 1960sand early 1970s,the competition between the public and privatesectorintensified andfurther escalatedthe cost ofsports properties, andincreasedthe pressureon CBCand CTVto retain Canadiansportscontent. In an effort to meetits 80% Canadiancontent requirements,for example, CBC continued to expandits coverageof sport to include international hockey,the Olympicand Commonwealth Games, in addition to covering Canadastwo MLBteams,the Toronto BlueJaysandthe MontrealExpos. Withinthis context, the amount of airtime dedicatedto sports on CBC emergedasthe target of criticism on two widely different fronts. First, CTVs executivesresented havingto compete againstthe public broadcasterfor the most popularsports broadcastingrights that capturedlucrative national audiencesfor advertisers,especiallyasthe emergent cableindustry wasgraduallyerodingits marketshare. Second, manyof Canadascultural elite openly disagreedwith the significant presenceof professionalsport and other examplesof mass/commercial entertainment (especiallypopular USprograms)on CBCat the expenseof otherhighbrow programming (i.e., the arts). In fact, CBC wasactively targeted on both of thesefronts duringits CRTClicence renewal hearingsthroughout the 1970sand wellinto the 1980sand hadto continually defendits role in providing popularsports content for all Canadians(Scherer & Harvey,2013). Atthe dawn of the 1980s,[w]ith economictremorsfrom the end ofthe postwarboom rocking the economyand U.S.satellite signalsnibbling at the edgesofthe broadcastsystem, the federal government developeda new policy vision for the communications sector (Skinner, 2008,p. 7). Centralto this newnational communicationsagendawasan expanded subscription cablesystemto provide anincreasedrange of specialty Canadianandforeign programmingservicesto helpretain Canadianaudiences.Unlike CBCand CTV, which were networksthat wereavailableover the air for all Canadians,these newspecialty channels werediscretionaryservicesto bepurchased from cabledistributorsaspart of bundledpackages. It waswithin the context of the expansionof cabletelevision that anothersignificant developmentin the history of the Canadiansports-mediacomplex occurred:In 1984the CRTClicensedthe countrysfirst 24-hourcablesportsspecialtychannel, TSN,ownedbythe Labatt Brewing Company(its sister network,the all-sportFrench-language service RDS, was licensedin 1989). TSN wasclearlyestablishedto promotethe Labattbrandand products,but it wasalsoa crucialcircuit of promotion (Whitson, 1998)for the breweryto marketits MLB team,the Toronto BlueJays,to a principally maledemographicthat advertiserswantedto target. TSN quickly emergedasa competitorto the majornational networks(Sparks,1992) and, asaresult ofits solefocus onsport,the emergentcablechannel wasableto providefull coverage of entire tournaments,sporting events,and playoffseries without disruptingregularly scheduled prime-time shows. Sucha development gave TSN an immediate competitive advantagethat offered guaranteedexposurefor sporting events, whichin turn enticed other 238Chapter


leaguesandevent organizers to side with TSNratherthan anyofthe otherbig three Canadian conventional broadcasters (Global, CTV,and CBC) (Neversen,2010,p. 37). In addition to these developments,other political pressureswerealsoonthe horizonfor CBCasthe neoliberal era ascended(see Chapter4). In 1984, a new ConservativePrime MinisterBrian Mulroneydeclaredthe countryto beopen for business,settingthe stagefor the landmark freetrade agreement withthe United Statesin 1988.Importantly, the federal governmentimmediately directed CBCto cut its budgetby 10% (Raboy, 1996) andinitiated a host of marketreforms that wouldeventuallylead to the further expansion of the broadcastingsystemin favour ofthe privatesector. The political and economic pressureon the public broadcaster wasfurther heightened during the early 1990s as a result of the impacts of globalization (see Chapter14) and the emergenceof newsatellite and digital technologies that wereradically transforming the broadcastingand telecommunication industries. Indeed, all ofthese developmentssignalleda decisivepower shift towards the subordination of the public interest to private, commercial interests (Winseck, 1995, p. 101), andthe ascensionof a neweraof consumer-driven digitaltelevision characterized by unprecedentedlevels of consumerchoice and customizedchannels(Skinner, 2008). Theentrance of TSN/RDSalsoradically heightenedthe competition for popularsport programming.It wasatthis point that privatebroadcastersandtheir ideological alliesmost notably the Globeand Mailstepped up their lobbying effortsto force CBC and RadioCanadato abandonits coverageof the mostlucrative and desirablesports, mostnotably NHL hockeyandthe Olympic Games (Scherer & Harvey,2013) duringan era offiscal austerity. However,just asthey had donefor the pasttwo decades,CBC and Radio-Canada executivesvigorouslydefendedthe commitment they had madeto HNIC and Lasoireedu hockey in general,andto televisingthe playoffsin particular,pointing to the hugeaudiences that hockey attracts and the advertising revenues that hockey telecasts bring to the networkrevenues that subsidizeother programmingand Canadiancontent. Whilethe publicsector wasdealing withsignificant cutbacks,the CRTCcontinuedto license newspecialtysport channels owned by majorcorporate playersin the broadcasting industry (e.g., Sportsnet2),whilelongstandingregulatoryframeworksthat kept broadcasting andtelecommunications marketsseparatewererescindedbythe federal Liberalgovernment. Barriersthat onceseparated print, broadcasting,telecommunications, and information/ computersectorsevaporatedandtriggeredan unprecedentedaccelerationof mergers andacquisitions(Mosco,2003).In 2000,for example,BCEbought CTV(Canadaslargestprivatetelevision network) and withit acquired TSN/RDS. BCEthen struck an alliance withthe countrys premier national newspaper the Globeand Mailand combined CTV andthe Sympatico-Lycos portal(andits othercontent creationassets) to form Bell Globemedia.Ayearlater, Rogers (the ownerofthe Toronto BlueJays)acquiredSportsnetfrom CTV. Coinciding withthesepatterns of convergenceand concentration wasthe entrance of digital television and,in 2001,over 200 CRTC-approveddigitaltelevision channelswerelaunchedin Canada, including a hostof newspecialtysport channelsthat werefinancially backedbythe mostsuccessfuland,indeed, pre-establishedmediaplayersin the Canadianmarket(Neverson,2010). All ofthese developmentsheraldedand encouragedtighter integration in the communications and infotainment industries as deep-pocketedmediaconglomerateslike BCEand Rogersbeganto aggressivelycompetefor premiumsport content that could be distributed and cross-marketed to subscribersthrough a hostofintegrated digitalinformation and entertainment servicearenas.Giventheir size, Rogersand BCEalsohavethe ability to overpayfor varioussports broadcastingrights and amortize those costs over various properties and Sport,




platforms(television channels,Internet, radio, and print properties),including multiple feeds(TSN2, RDS, RDS2,Sportsnet One,etc.) and mobilephones.3Rogersand BCEhave alsojoined forces as a consortiumto securebroadcastingrights, just asthey did to winthe rights to the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouverandthe 2012 Summer Games in London with an exorbitant and entirely unprofitable bid of $153 million. Assuch, these telecommunications giants are now ableto vastly outbid CBC/Radio-Canada,which are inevitably limited by constraintsonthe public purseandlack similar distribution networks.4

The End of Viewing

Rights for Canadians?

Predictably,in the new millenniuma numberof propertiesthat hadonceaired on CBC(e.g., CFLfootball, curling,the 2010/2012 Olympic Games, the FIFA World Cup, MLSSoccer, andthe Toronto Raptors)werepurchasedby BCEand Rogers to supply muchneededpopular content to their growing number of distribution networks.In 2004, moreover,RDS(and its parent company BCE)securedthe exclusiverights for all French-languageNHL hockey broadcasts,markingthe demiseofthe venerableLasoireedu hockeyat Radio-Canadaandthe ability of French Canadiansto have over-the-air accessto nationally significant sporting events,including the gamesofthe MontrealCanadiensandthe Stanley Cupplayoffs. Despitewidespread speculationthat CBC wouldsufferasimilarfate andlosethe national broadcastingrights to NHL hockeyand HNIC, in 2007 CBCand the NHLsigned a new six-year dealrumoured to be worth $600 milliona stunning increasefrom the previous annualfee of $65 million. Thedeal wascrucialfor CBC, which hasfor manyyearsstruggled to developgenuinelypopular Canadiancontentthat consistentlyreachesnational audiences throughout the broadcastingweek,especiallyduring prime-time hours. HNIC also provides CBC with animportant promotional platformfor the public network,andthe show continuesto providea vital revenuestream(long rumouredto behalf of CBCsadvertisingrevenue) that subsidizes the widerange of other programmingon the network. Accordingto Richard Stursberg(the former headof CBCsEnglishservices),so centralis HNICto the financing of the public broadcasterthat withoutthe showthe CBC wouldfall into agravefinancial crisis that wouldimperil its survival (2012, p. 148). Moreover,givenits current budgetarycuts, CBCsimply could neverafford to replacethe 400+ hoursof prime-time Canadiancontent with original dramatic programsprograms that wouldbe expectedto competeagainstthe mostpopular USprogramsthat air on CTV and Global. AsStursbergnotes, An average one-hour drama coststhe commission on a total

CBC between $400,000 and $450,000 per hour to

budget of $1.21.4

million (the rest being

made up from the

Canadian MediaFund and tax credits). Given their normal audiences, Canadian dramas rarely

make$200,000 in advertising revenue. This meansthat each hour of drama com-

missionedby the CBC produces aloss of atleast $200,000. It can beseen,then, that if four hundred hours of hockey werereplaced withfour hundred hours of drama,the CBC would needto find an additional $80100 would have to be supplemented television

million. At the sametime, the Canadian MediaFund with another $80100

production tax credits would befurther

million, and the governments

drawn by a comparable amount. In

other words,if the government wanted the CBC to eliminate hockey and replace it with original

Canadian drama, the costs would be somewhere between $240 million and

$300 million. (The Tower of Babble: Sins, Secretsand SuccessesInside the CBC, Richard Stursburg, 2012, Douglasand McIntyre. Reprinted with permission from the publisher.)

By2012,it wasonceagain widelyanticipatedthat the public broadcasterwouldbeeasily outbid by TSN and Rogers for the English-languagehockeybroadcastingrights. Andin 2013, 240Chapter


Rogerspurchased the exclusive Canadianrights to the NHLfor the next 12yearsat astaggering costof $5.2billion whilealsoshutting outits competitor TSN. CBC did, however, manageto securean agreement with Rogers to continueto air HNICfor an additionalfour years oncethe public broadcasterscontract withthe NHL expiresin 2014. While CBC will pay nothingfor this arrangement,it will not receive a cent of revenuefrom the advertisingthat airs during HNIC. Rogerswill alsoassumetotal editorial control overthe show. Still, even without editorial control andthe ability to generateadvertisingincome, the continuation of HNICin the short term will providevital prime-time Canadiancontent andspare CBCfrom havingto produceothercostly original programmingto fill the voidleft by hockeytelecasts. Canadianswill haveconsiderablechoicein hockey gamesthat will air on a number of Rogers-owned specialty channels(albeit at a cost)in addition to the Rogers-controlled HNIC on CBC until at least 2018(although notin French). However,at the conclusion ofthat agreement, Canadiansfrom acrossthe country mayberequired to payincreasingly costly feesto accessNHL content on Rogersstelevision channels and online platforms. Thesedevelopments will signal the end of the viewing rights of Canadiansto have accessto over-the-air coverageof hockeytelecasts(events of national significance), while also markinganother stagein the privatization ofthe sports-mediacomplex.Indeed, CBC and Canadiantaxpayers have built and supported the NHL for over 50 yearsthrough extensive and high-quality coverageofthe sport, although it appearsthat the privatesector is nowset to reap the substantial benefitsfrom this historical public foundation. All of these developments, moreover,raiseimportant questionssurroundingthe institution of public broadcastingin Canadaand the type of role that the public broadcaster should playin contemporary Canadianlife. Forexample, will CBC beableto survive without NHL hockey? Oris it destinedto morphinto a PBS-like model(subscribersupported) that only providescontent that the private networksdeemto be unprofitable? Whatwould Canadalook like without the presenceof a public broadcasterthat hasthe ability to providea widerange of content (including sport) for all Canadians,regardlessoftheir level of income? Shouldthere belegislation, asthere is in Australiaand manyEuropeancountries, to enshrinethe viewing rights of Canadiansto haveover-the-air accessto sporting events of national significance(Scherer & Rowe,2013)? Theseare not solely the privateissuesof hockeyfans, but rather a public matterof nationalinterest that affectsall Canadians.

The IdeologIcal

Role of The MedIa

(Re)presenting Sport I have notedthroughout this chapterthat the organizationand structure of varioussports have been profoundlytransformedinto increasingly exciting and dramaticspectaclesthat could besoldto television networks. Thesenetworks,in turn, producedentertainingsports programmingto capturethe imagination and attention ofsizableaudiencesto bedeliveredto advertisers.Beginningin the 1960s,the imperatives oftelevision dictatedsubstantialchanges to professional(and amateur)sport, including rescheduling gametimes to primetime to maximizetelevision viewing audiences,the introduction of prearrangedtelevision timeouts for advertisersthat inevitably interrupt the flow of variousgames,the relocation offranchises to urbancentres withlarger television markets (and, hence,the prospectof greatertelevision revenue), and even the creation of entirely newsports that are supported by television revenue (e.g., mostrecently, Twenty20 cricket). Networkexecutives, meanwhile,lobbied





variousleaguesto makespecificrule changesthat would makesportseven moreexcitingfor television viewers. The NHL,for example, hasadopted a number of rules overthe years, including shorter overtime periods(with fewer playersallowed onthe ice) andshootoutsto further dramatize the sport of hockey. The NBA implemented the three-point shot to increasescoring,andthe AmericanLeaguein MLBapprovedthe useof designatedhitters to increaseoffensiveproduction. Thereplacement of matchplay(player againstplayerover 18 holes)for stroke play(wherescorescumulate overfour daysof play) hasheightenedthe dramain golf and madeit moreappealingto viewing audiencesaroundthe world. As notedabove,the economic pressureto cultivatelarger television audiencesin addition to the widerange ofinformational possibilities madepossiblebytelevision and a host of newtechnologies haveradically restructuredthe live sporting experienceasasportstelevision program. You arelikely well aware of the vast differencesbetweenattending alive sporting event and watchingcoverageofsport ontelevision or on variousnew mediadevices. Or,as Richard Gruneau,David Whitson,and Hart Cantelon(1988, p. 266) havesuggested, The representation of sport on television . . . presentsa different event in which the conventions of camera workand narrativecombineto renderideology much morepresent than it is when oneis viewing the event live, without mediation. Ratherthan merely capturing andrecordingsporting events,television transformsthose eventsthrough replays, soundseffects,graphics,close-upcamerashots, commercials,and vastamounts of pre- and postgamecoveragethat expert commentators drawfrom selected dominant narratives and codes.To alarge extent,though,it is through the live verbalcommentarybythe broadcastingteamthat the television sport narrativeis constructed(Goldlust, 1987)a narrative that privilegescertain culturalidentities andideologieswhile leaving others meanings and valueswhichcould bereadily associatedwithsport very muchin the background (Gruneau et al., 1988, p. 267).In other words,both sport andthe mediaare important sitesin the construction of acommon sense which makesexistingsocial practicesandsocial relations seemlike reflections of naturerather than productsof history (Gruneau et al., 1988,p. 265). Televisedsporting eventsaresubsequentlycontoured by producersand commentators accordingto varioushierarchies.Thesehierarchiesinclude the actualsportselectedfor television, but alsothe type ofsocially constructedcontent associatedand prioritized withthe event including personalizationstrategies(e.g.,afocus onindividual star athletesand hero-making) and variousdescriptive andinterpretive accountsthat arealwayscontextually specific. As notedat the start ofthis chapter, CBCattemptedto cover a CFLgame with noaudio(other than crowd noise)orspecialeffects, muchto the irritation ofleagueofficials whorecognized that their television product wasbeing devaluedandthat audiencesweretuning out. Clearly, manysporting eventsneedextensivenarrativeand dialogueto createappealingstorylinesand dramaticcontent to realizetheir potential astelevision spectacles.Forexample,the production of alpine skiing events demandsconsiderablenarrative,in partto identify individual competitors who wearsimilar equipment and clothing, but alsoto simply know whohadthe bestrun (Cantelon & Gruneau,1988).In turn, producersof alpineskiing events workhardto manufactureand emphasizevariousentertainment valuesthat focus onspectacle,individual performance,humaninterest, competitive drama,uncertainty, and risk (Gruneau, 1989, p. 148). Sportssuch as baseball,golf, and cricket, meanwhile,require significant amounts of narrativeto heightenvariousdramaticelementsto keepthe attention oftelevision viewers duringlulls in the action (Goldlust, 1987). Othersportsthat havehighlevels of continuous dramaandaction(such astennis and hockey)simply do notrequireas muchin-game narrative.



Equallyinteresting is that the style of commentary associatedwith particular sports often variestremendously andis reflective of the intended television audience: For example, compared to with the

style of television origins.

most other sports, tennis has been traditionally

middle and upper-middle classes, played in commentary



well appointed tennis clubs. The

tennis tends to reflect those social

At Wimbledon, the tone of the television

commentators is hushed and rever-

ent; they remain silent during the points, asthe spectators are expected to do.. . . In sharp contrast,

the television


strongly identified

commentary with the



various codes of

working and lower-middle

to beloud, continuous and overly descriptive. (Goldlust,


1987, pp. 9697)

Thesesentiments can easily beidentified in Canadaif wecomparesome of the commentary on Don Cherrys Coachs Cornerto coverageof majorPGA golf tournaments. Thus, whilethe Canadiansports-mediacomplex producesspectaclesof accumulation and consumerism,also producedarespectaclesoflegitimation that socially construct and privilege certain cultural identities andideologies over others(MacNeill, 1996).In what follows, I presenta brief outline of some of the ideological meaningsand themesthat are prominent within sport mediacontent in Canada. WhileI have addressedthese issues individually, I encourageyouto consider howthey intersect and connect with each other to form dominant meaningsand values.

Gender and Sexuality Giventheir substantialinvestmentsin sports broadcasting rights andtheir ownershipof variousprofessionalsportsfranchises,it is of nosurprisethat Rogersand BCEcontinueto commit significant amountsofairtimeto their properties on arange of platformsto securesubscribers

Television transforms ALAN







andsizable maleaudiences for advertisers.The mostobviousconsequenceofthese economic dynamicsis that, despitethe growthin the numberof girlsand womenplayingsport acrossthe country,coverageofsportin Canada remainsalmostexclusivelydevotedto mensprofessional sport, with the exceptionof the Olympic Games(everytwo years)and othersportssuch as figure skating, curling, golf,tennis, andincreasingly coverageofthe highly successfulCanadian womenssoccerteama perfectexampleofsociallyconstructedhierarchy.Interestingly, BCEdid commitsomeresourcesto establishingaspecialty digital sport channel exclusively devotedto womenssport,the WomensSport Network(WTSN) in 2001,but the channel wasultimately abandonedin 2003for two interrelated reasons.First, WTSN wasunableto generatesignificant audiencesto attract advertisingrevenue,andthe executivesat BCE were simply unwilling to tolerate evenshort-termlossesto keepthe channel onthe air and commit to along-term increasein the coverageof womenssport. However,accordingto Neversen (2010), the demiseof WTSNalso needsto be understoodin the context of the ideological assumptionsheld by manyofthe businessmen in the sports-mediacomplex whosimplyregard womenssport asaninferior product and not worththe airtime. Thefusion ofthe allied economicandideologicalinterests ofthe sports-mediacomplex has,for somescholars,pointedto the ascendanceof aTelevised Sports ManhoodFormula (Messner, Dunbar, & Hunt,2000) asa powerful,overarchingnarrativethat cutsacrosssports broadcastsand commercials. Thisformula celebratespopularunderstandingsof hegemonic masculinity(that menshould betough, aggressive, stoic/unemotional, and presumablyheterosexual)and consumptionin waysthat supportand expandthe economicambitions ofthe sports-mediacomplex. Forthe sociologist Mike Messner (2012), the cumulative impact of the Televised Sports ManhoodFormula is that it ties manyof our ownsportsfantasiesand understandingsof masculinityto our ownfears, anxieties,and failures as menin an everchanginggenderorder. Theformula, for example,habituallysells boysand mena glorified packageof what masculinityis andshould be,regularly nudgesus withremindersthat wedo not measureupto this standard,andthen offerscompensatoryproductsbeer, underwear, cars,shaving productsand,yes,erectile dysfunction medications. . . . (p. 115). Maleviewersarealsoroutinely exposedto crushing hits(legal and otherwise),violent fights betweenplayers,and a widerange of otherthundering altercations duringthe everpresentdaily highlight shows(e.g.,the hits ofthe week clipsthat air on TSNs SportsCentre, Sportsnets Connected, and on weeklysegmentsincluding Don Cherrys Coachs Corneron CBC). Sotoo areaudiencespresentedwith a never-endingrange of commercialsdesignedto reach maleaudiencesthat celebrateandlink these actions with variouscommodities.In fact, so naturalizedand laudedis the warrior mentalityand the useof mensbodiesas weapons (Messner, 1990)that, even after asequenceof catastrophicinjuries andthe deathsof NHL enforcers DerekBoogaard,Rick Rypienand WadeBelakin 2011,sportsfans wereprovided with only a briefcritical discussionofthese publicissuesonthe majornetworks.5 Nonetheless,whilethe audiencecommodity hashistoricallybeen a decidedly maleone, marketers haveslowly cometo the realizationthat they haveexcludedasignificant population offemaleviewersand, morerecently,the lesbian,gay,bisexual,trans, queer(LGBTQ) population (Robinson,2002).In recentyears,there hasbeenasubtlerecalculation ofthe Televised Sports ManhoodFormula, representinga newstagein the commodification of various male athletesandan expansionofthe style of masculinityto marketandsell a widerrange of productsto both menand women.Recentsportsstarsincluding David Beckham,Sidney Crosby, and Dan Carterof the NewZealand All Blackshaveeachappearedin a variety ofsexualized



commercialsthat wouldhavesimply been unthinkablefor an earliergenerationof maleathletes. Therehascertainly been morediscussionabout LGBTQ athletes(within definitelimits) in the Canadianmedia than everbefore,especiallyas moreand moreathletescomeout(including athletes whoarestill in the midstoftheir professionalcareers, suchasbasketballplayerJason Collins)and asvariouspolitical projectslike the You CanPlaycampaigngain momentumand areendorsedby high-profileathletes.Still,thereis an obviousabsenceof LGBTQ commentators andsports writers,whileold stereotypescontinueto linger. Duringcoverageof the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games, for example, RDScommentators Alain Goldbergand Claude Mailhotengagedin the following dialogueabout USfigureskaterJohnny Weir(Sager,2010): Mailhot: This may not be politically

correct, but do you think

helost points dueto his

costume and his body language? Goldberg: Theyll think example.


all the boys who skate will end up like

him. It sets a bad

make him passa gender test on this point.

I havealreadydiscussed some ofthe limitations surroundingthe sheerlack of coverage and systematic under-representationof female athletes and womenssport in the media, including ontelevision andin newspapers and various magazines like SportsIllustrated,where female athletesremainlargelyignored andsilenced.In alongitudinal study of SportsIllustrated between19901999, Lumpkin (2009) discoveredthat only 9.7% offeature articles wereon womenssportsorfemale athletes,andthe femininity ofthe athletes wasat times highlighted through sexistlanguage. Women, in fact, rarelyfeature onthe cover of SportsIllustrated,with the exceptionofthe magazines swimsuit edition. The CanadianAssociation for the Advancementof Womenand Sportand Physical Activity(CAAWS), meanwhile,producedanannual reportthat detailedthe newspaper coverageof womenandsport. Foryears,the level of coverageoffemale athletesconsistentlyrangedfrom 2%to a high of 8%,and CAAWS eventually stoppedreleasingtheir reportssimply because those numbersneverchanged(Robinson,2002). In a morerecent longitudinal study, Cheryl Cooky, Michael Messner,and Robin Hextrum(2013) underscoredafamiliar paradox: Whilegirls and womenare playingsport in greater numbersthan ever beforein high school, college, and at the professionallevel, after a briefincreasein womenssport coveragebetween19891999 (59%), the coverage offemale athletes on UStelevision subsequentlydescendedto its lowest amount of 1.6% in 2009. Ona moreoptimistic note,these researchersfound that the pattern ofideological trivialization andsexualization of womenin sports broadcastshasdeclinedin recent years. They also observed, however,that female athletes werestill framed in relation to four themes: (a) rare momentsof respectful coverage,(b) sexualized gagstories, (c) fights, assaults,and scandals,and (d) womenas wives,girlfriends, and mothers.Lesshopefully, the authorsacknowledgedthat the declinein negativeportrayalsof womenhasnot been accompaniedby anincreasein respectful,routine newscoverageof womenssport.Instead, whenthe newsand highlightsshows ceasedto portray womenathletesin trivial andsexualized ways,they pretty muchceasedto portraythem at all (Cooky et al., 2013, p. 223). Despite the continuedlack of coverageoffemale athletes,the digital eraandthe expansion of varioussport highlight shows(e.g., TSNs SportsCentre, Sportsnets Connected)have raisedthe profileoffemale broadcasters and asmall numberofreporters,althoughthesetrends havesimultaneouslyworkedto trivialize the voicesof womenin the sports-mediacomplex.For the mostpart, womenremainrelegatedto the role ofsidelinereportersor asyoung,sexualized sportsanchorsemployedto seeminglycapturethe maleaudiencecommodity.Indeed,there are





Former gold casts to boost Jeff


medal Olympian, Cassie Campbell-Pascall,

now commentates


NHL broad-

male audiences. via

Getty Images

regularonline discussions about whois Canadashottestfemalesportscaster andit scarcely needs statingthatthesepredominantly youngandattractivewomen areheldto widelydifferent standards thantheir malecounterparts whoexhibitafar greateragerangeandlevel of attractiveness(Houston,2011).LauraRobinson (2002) hasdescribed asimilarpatternastheponytail rule, wherebypredominantlyyoung,white,attractive,and presumablyheterosexual women receivethelions shareofraresponsorship and mediaopportunities in the worldof sport. Allofthesedevelopments, ofcourse, speakto the extentto whichthe bodiesof professionalandamateur femaleathletes(who pose in variousmensmagazines orcalendars to augmenttheir income),in additionto popularfemale mediacommentators such as Cassie Campbell, JenniferHedger, and HazelMaenowexistascommodities to attract male audiences.

Militarism and Nationalism Sincethe Englishnovelistandsocialcritic GeorgeOrwellfamouslydescribed international sportaswar minus theshootingin 1945,sportsociologistshavedrawnourattentionto the sociallyconstructed links betweennationalism, internationalsportingcontests,and militarism, and howthe languageofsport commentatorshashistoricallybeeninterlaced with militarythemesandsayings(Burstyn,1999).Today,coverageofsportremainsso heavily saturatedandsteepedwithsymbolsof nationalidentity, militarism,andhegemonicmasculinity thatthe presence ofthoseimagesandideologiesand theirseemingly natural link to professionalmenssportin particularare oftentakenfor granted.Consider all ofthe militaristicsayingsandwar-speakthat areregularlyassociated withsport(long-bombs,blitzes, bounties,defensive lines,battlingin thetrenches).Ofcourse,ourregularexposure to images offighter jets and other militaryequipment,CanadianForcespersonnel,and eventhe memorialization offallen Canadian soldiers(e.g.,onshowslike CoachsCorner)hasnothing 246Chapter


to do with whatis happeningonthe ice or onthe football field. Thetelevision presentation ofthesethemes,though, is usuallyelaboratelydesignedand orchestratedto emphasizevariousdominant ideological positionsand national myths(and indeed the militaryindustrial complexin general),overlappingand equatingthe context ofthe hypermasculinewarriors of professionalsport with militarypersonnelandinterests(Scherer & Koch,2010). Indeed,thanks to its representational power,sport andthe mediacontinue to serve as powerfulsitesthrough which wetell stories about ourselves,about our communities, and about whatit means to be Canadian. Sport has, of course,long provided popular and compelling spectaclesto dramatize dominant national qualities, just asit hasalso provided occasionsfor public assertionsof us versusthem, especiallyduringinternational sporting competitions like the Olympic Gamesand other high-profile eventsincluding both the 1972 and 1974 Summit Seriesbetween Team Canadaand the Soviet Union (Scherer & Cantelon,2013; Scherer, Duquette, & Mason,2007).In theselatter contests, for example, hockeyacted as a mediumnot just for the expressionof national identity, but alsofor the reaffirmation of a preferredversionofnational character: tough and hard, passionateyet determined,individualistic (Gruneau & Whitson,1993, p. 267). Thesetypes of associationshaveplayedoutin innumerable countriesaroundthe world and, asJean Harveynotesin Chapter12, variousgovernmentscontinue to link dominant understandingsof nationalidentity and national character withthe lives of ordinary people and with widelysharedpopularexperiencesincluding sporting eventsand athletes.In other words, mediatedsporting experiencesthat commonlyfeaturetaken-for-granted connections to other national symbolsand rituals (e.g.,flags, anthems, political leaders) are powerful aspectsof what MichaelBillig (1995) hascalled banalnationalismthe habitual, day-to-day representationsof Canadathat workto socially construct powerful hegemonicunderstandings of nationalidentity, solidarity, and cohesiveness.Still,its alwaysimportant to question whetherthose visions of Canadianidentity haveinspired anything that even remotely approachesthe imaginedideals of a unified nation, especiallyin light ofthe fact that there have always been subordinated groups (French Canadians,First Nations, working-class people,and manywomen)who havebeen historically excludedfrom the processofimagining Canadaasa national community (Gruneau & Whitson,1993, p. 273).

Race and Ethnicity The mediahassignificant powerin socially constructingandshaping our understandingsof raceandethnicity. Forexample, ChrisSpence(1999) and CarlJames(2005) havearguedthat the over-representationof blackathletesin heavily mediated sportslike basketballandfootball (and, conversely,the under-representationof black menin other mediacontent andspheresof life) hasnaturalizeda widelyheldbeliefthat black menare naturallyathletica beliefthat has encouragedyoung mento internalize asenseof biologicaland cultural destinyandto aspireto be professionalathletesaboveother morerealistic occupations.Both Chapter5 onraceand ethnicity and Chapter8 on deviance, meanwhile,haveaddressed the role of the mediain representinghigh-profile Canadianathletessuch as BenJohnson(Jackson,1998) and NHL goalie RayEmery(Lorenz & Murray,2013) asracialothers, the social constructionofstereotypical racialidentities in the advertisingassociatedwiththe Toronto Raptors(Wilson, 1999) and,controversially,the useofindigenousimageryto marketandcelebrate Canadianidentity duringthe 1976 MontrealSummer Olympics,the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics,and the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics(OBonsawin, 2013). There aresignificant historical Sport,




antecedentsto theseissues.Forexample, Aboriginal marathonerTom Longboat(18871949) wassubjectedto biasedmediacoverage(see Chapter5), whilethe legendary Canadiansprinter HarryJerome(19401982) wasthe subject ofracist mediacoverageduring his athletic career (seethe wonderfuldocumentary MightyJerome). Meanwhile,hockeyplayer Herb Carnegie (19192012), whowasnot allowedto playin the NHLsimply becauseofthe colour of hisskin, remainsunelectedto the HockeyHallof Fame(aform of media). For manyyears,the vast majorityof sports writersand commentators were,of course, white men who wieldedconsiderablepowerin terms of not only representing athletes of colour but alsoin rendering whiteness invisible. Still, Canadiansociety hasundergonesubstantive demographicchange,especiallyasaresult of unprecedentedlevels ofimmigration, andthese changeshavebeenreflectedto some degreein various mediacontent andcoverage. Relatedto this latter point, CBC Sportsextendedthe reach and depth of HNIC throughout anincreasingly diversecountry by providing broadcasts in Punjabi, Mandarin,and Cantoneseat different points overthe courseofthe last decade.Thereis alsoanincreasingly diverse numberoftelevision anchorsand on-airsportscommentators,such as CBCs Kevin Weekes and David Amber,and TSNs John Lu, Farhan Lalji, Jermain Franklin, Cabral Richards, Nabil Karim,and GurdeepAhluwalia. However,not all Canadianshave welcomedthese changes.For example,in 2013 Karim and Ahluwalia werepairedtogether as anchors on TSNs SportsCentre and weresubjectedto a numberofracist commentson Twitter by various anonymoustrolls (Dowbiggin, 2013). Former MLSEanchor Adnan Virk (who currently worksasan anchor at ESPN)respondedto the incident by notingthat hehad neverreceived racistinsults while workingin the United Stateswhilealsoremarking Canada hasthis pluralistic impression of itself and thinks ofitself as multicultural. Maybewere not asforward thinking as wethink weare (Dowbiggin, 2013). Finally, there remains a decisivelack of female journalists and sports commentators of colour in Canada,which maysuggestthat network executivesdo not yetregardfemale minoritiesassellablecommodities.


And neW MediA

The professionofsport journalism hasbeen centralto the growth of both newspapersand commercial sport, while variousjournalists have played crucial roles in the social construction of sports newsand the representation of sporting eventsin Canada.Indeed, it is precisely becauseof their centrality in the sports-media complex itself that significant criticism hasbeenlevelled at sportsjournalists and various punditsfor beinglittle more than the toy department (Rowe, 2007) of the news mediaunabashed promoters of sport and boostersof specificfranchises, asopposedto rigorous,investigative, and critical commentators who work at a degreeof distancefrom the sportsindustry. Manyoftheseissueshavelong-term historicalantecedentsthat datebackto the foundation of the sports-mediacomplex in the latter decadesof the 18th century and the early decadesof the 19th century, an era of growthfor the advertising-dependingpressandthe consolidationof menssport(Burstyn, 1999). Aidedbythe developmentofthe wiretelegraph and the establishment of centralized newsagencieslike Reutersand the American Press, centralto the growth of massnewspaper circulationin this era wasabonding processbetween the daily pressandsport (Burstyn, 1999,p. 105). Regular sportsectionsprovedto beintensely popular with North Americanreaders,including agrowing middleclassof mostlymalereaders (the audience commodity). Onthis note, regular and detailed newspapercoverage



provided variousestablishedleaguesand competitions with culturallegitimacy and visibility and helpedto cultivate fans, resultingin asteady growth of payingspectatorsa developmentthat onlyjustified morenewspapercoverageandfuelled the promotionalrole of the press(Lowes, 1999). Theearlysports writers(nearly always men)were mainlypromotersfor the teamsandthe playerswith whomthey travelled (Hall, Slack, Smith, & Whitson,1991, p. 147),and helpedto makeheroesout ofstarathletesby mythologizingtheir athletic exploits whileignoring their privatelives. Sportsteamsrecognizedthe value of this publicity and grantedconsiderableaccessto athletesin locker rooms (a distinctly genderedoccupational structure)in addition to providing mediafacilities in variousarenas,stadiums,and ballparks to accommodatejournalists on the sportsbeat (i.e.,journalists whocover aspecificteam throughout the seasonand provideregular, detailedcoverageon a daily basis). It is precisely becauseof the close,longstanding, mutually beneficial relationship betweensport andthe mediathat the Canadiancommunicationsscholar MarkLoweshas simply notedthat Sports journalism is an oxymoron (quoted in Gilbert, 2011, p. 252). For Lowes,the role of sportsjournalists andthe mediain generalis not simply to entertain orto provideinformation and stories, but to marketprofranchises,their players,and the majorleagues while alsocreating an endlessflow of public buzzthat is indispensableto the franchise owners whoseprofits depend onfilling their stands with paying customers and selling the wholespectacleto television (quoted in Gilbert, 2011, p. 252). Lowess point is a crucial onein light of the sheer amount of coverageof gamestories, previews, and player profiles, which can all too easilyslip into simple cheerleadingand boosterism. It is alsoimportant to re-emphasizethe synergiesbetweenthe sports media,wealthy individuals, andthe concentrated group of corporationsthat now own variousfranchises and exert significant influence in the majorsporting leagues. As noted earlier, there is now unprecedentedownership of sporting properties bythree dominant telecommunications corporations(Rogers, BCE, and Quebecor)who,increasingly, cover their ownfranchiseson a massivenumber of platforms and distribution outletsthat they also own. How can wepossiblyexpect Rogerssemployeesto provide substantial critical coverageof the Toronto BlueJaysor the Toronto MapleLeafs(both Rogerssproperties)? Oris the main role of sportsjournalists and commentators to simply promote the expansiverange of productsandservicesin the Rogersempire on a continual basis? The corollary of these ownership patterns and the dominance of this promotional ideology in the pagesofthe sports section is a means not to know about amateursport, Paralympicsport, and womenssport in general.Indeed,it remainsstriking just howgenderedandincestuousthe sports-mediacomplexremains. Forexample,it is not uncommon for former playersand coachesto pursuetemporary andsometimes permanent careersas mediacommentators on sports panel showsthat, predictably, promotethe economic and ideological interests ofthe sports-mediacomplex ascommon sense. And whilethere have beensome gainsin terms ofthe number of femalesportsjournalists and commentators,it will take many moresubstantial changesto increasethe quality and quantity of the coverageof amateurand womenssport simply becauseofthe powerful vestedinterests that the deeplygenderedsports-mediacomplex hasin maintainingthe economic and ideological status quo. As Gilbert(2011, p. 255) hasnoted,this is a status quofrom which others, mostly men,stand to gain: owners, management,players, players agents, union leaders, sports equipment companies, ad agencieseverything thats integral to the professional sports behemoth,including the sports press.6





Nonetheless, the workroutines andlabour practicesofsportsjournalists haveundergone substantivechangesin recent years,andit is questionablewhethersport organizationsremain anywherenearas dependentonsportsjournalists andthe pagesofthe sportssection asthey werein an earlier era of commercial sport. First, a host of new mediatechnologies have allowed variousleaguesandindividual franchisesto independently producetheir own content and distributeinformation and commercial messages withoutrelying on sportsjournalists ortraditional mediaaltogether(Scherer &Jackson,2008). Mostfranchises,for example, simply post majorannouncements(trades, hirings,andfirings) on Twitterrather than relying on pressreleasesorindividual journalists to breakthe news.Increasingly,sportsteamsand organizationsarealsorestricting journalistic accessto athletessimply becausethey can control the flow ofinformation and publicity ontheir own networksand platformsrather than relying ontraditional journalists (although as weshallseebelow,there havebeen numerous information accidents by bothteamsand playerson various mediaplatformslike Twitter). Second,the heavily concentrated newspaperindustry in Canadahasbeen decimated thanks to declining subscriptionrates,substantially diminished advertisingrevenue, and a widerange ofissuesassociatedwiththe adoption of newdigital platformsto accommodatenew habitsof mediaconsumption.Sincethe 2008economicrecession,newsroomsacrossthe country havesufferedsignificantlayoffs,and budgetsto varioussportsdepartmentshaveundergone sizablecutsascost-savingandrestructuring measures.Asaresult,sportsjournalistsin Canada are now expectedto simply do morewithless (and onthe samesalary)andto continually produce unprecedentedvolumesof content for a host of online platforms(including blogs, podcasts,and varioussocial networkingsiteslike Twitter,let alonetheir normal storiesfor the newspaper) to appealto sportsfansin the digital era whodemandimmediateinformation andinteraction. Traditionalsportsjournalists mustnowcompete with other blogsandfreelance reporters,leading some observers to bemoanthe lack of qualityin contemporarysports journalism andthe presenceof evenlesscritical commentary(Hutchins & Rowe,2012). Whilethereis somesubstanceto these claims, Canadiansportsfans arefar from cultural dupes who apolitically ingest and regurgitate the dominant ideologies embeddedin the sports-mediacomplex.Forexample,in 2000 Canadians resoundinglyvoicedtheir opposition to the federal governments proposedsubsidyof CanadianNHLfranchisesto such an extent that Ottawa wasembarrassinglyforcedto rescindtheir subsidy proposal within daysof the original announcement(Scherer &Jackson,2004). Canadianshavealsotaken to Twitter, for example,to debateissuesrelating to both hockey and broader political issues during hockeytelecasts(Norman, 2012), whileother onlineforumssuch assport-relatedblogs, messageboards,YouTube,and varioussocial networkingsites(e.g., Facebook)allowfor perpetualand at times politicizedinteraction between mediaproducers,distributors,and users. Onthis latter note,the ascensionof various new mediatechnologiesin the digital era has been one of the significant developmentsin the formation and normalization of networked mediasport (Hutchins & Rowe,2012). Indeed, whilean older generation of Canadiansconsumedsport in an era of relative scarcity of qualitysport content and alimited number of analoguetelevision channels, a digital plenitude now prevails and has becomeaninescapablepart of the normal rhythm of the dailylives of most Canadians, especiallyfor a youngergeneration whohavegrown upin an era whereit is simply natural to accessaseeminglyendlessamount of digital sportscontent on phones,tablets, and other devices. However,rather than erodingthe audiencefor televisedsport and destroyingthe televisedsport experience, new mediatechnologies aresupplementing and enriching the



experienceof watchingsport ontelevision. Indeed, broadcasters like CBCare nowencouraging viewersto comment on variousissuesand engagein discussionson Twitter and Facebookthroughout broadcastsof HNIC. CBC haseven developedaSecond Screen option that encouragesviewersto accessa host of additional interactive information and experiences on their smartphones, tablets, and laptop computersin tandem with the actual hockeybroadcastitself. Thekeyidea behindthesestrategies,of course,is to becontinually engaged with audiencesand sportsfans whoare encouragedto personalizetheir experiences with various brands and commodities acrossas manydigital platforms as possible (Scherer, 2007). Andit is no surprisethat the North American majorleagues,the UltimateFighting Championship,andthe mostprestigiousEuropeansoccerleaguesareregularly the leading trending topics on Twitter each week,whiletelevision numbers(and the valueof broadcastingcontracts)remain significant (Hutchins & Rowe,2012). Still,the unprecedented level ofinteractivity in the digitalera hasalsoproducednewchallengesfor varioussport organizations,media,andevenindividual athletes whostruggleto control information andimagesin unpredictableonline environments.Forexample,the message boardsof varioussport organizationsneedto becontinually monitoredby mediastafffor distastefuland abusivecomments, whileeven critical postingsaboutsponsorsare often censored andremoved (Scherer, 2007).International sport organizationssuch asthe IOC havealso establishedbloggingguidelinesthat contain arange of conditions,including the useofsocial media,to both protectthe commercialinterests ofsponsorsandto discourageathletesfrom makingcritical or politically chargedcomments(Hutchins & Rowe,2012). Ofcourse,star athletesthemselvesare nowthe subjectsof an endlessstreamof commentson Twitter;these newconditionsof digital productionand consumptionhaveresultedin a numberof controversialinteractions by variousathletesandsport organizations.Forexample,after Switzerlands 21 loss to South Koreaat the 2012 Summer Olympic Games,Swisssoccer player Michel Morganellawasexpelledafter hetweetedthat hewanted to beatup South Koreans,that they shouldburn andthat they wereabunch of mongoloids (Saraceno,2012). Closerto home, in 2013 DallasStarsplayer Tyler Seguinpostedanti-gaycommentson Twitter, commentshe blamed on hackers.Finally,in 2012 NFLplayer Chad Ochocincoupdated his Twitter page duringactualgamesactions that earnedhim a $25,000finefrom the NFL(Holden, 2011). The possibilities of the new digital sporting worldseem endless,especially when we further considerthe vastgrowth of sports gamesandfantasy sportsleaguesthat point to newtransmedia sport experiencesthat movebetweenthe television, desktop,computer, tablet, and smartphonescreen (Hutchins & Rowe,2012, p. 151). Thetremendous popularity of EA Sportsandthe licensing of gamesby variousleagueshaveresultedin billions of dollarsin revenue, whilethe gamesthemselves are now alsoimportant elementsin the broadcastand coverageof professionalsport. Forexample,thanks to a partnership between EA Sportsand ESPN,gametechnology wasembeddedwithin television coverage,which then referred backto a computergamethat simulated and built uponthe television experienceenjoyed by both viewersand gamers (Hutchins & Rowe,2012, p. 160). Thetremendous popularity of the MicrosoftXbox, Sony PlayStation,and Nintendo Wiiarealsotransformingthe experienceof sport, physicalactivity, movement,and playfor young people and their families in the comfort of their own homes(Millington, 2009). Finally,fantasysportsleaguesareattention multipliers (Hutchins & Rowe,2012, p. 168), and millions of mostly maleenthusiastsspend vastamounts of time online and watching television to take stock of injuries, playerstatistics, and othertrends and patternsin the





Fantasy sports leagues Greg Balfour

and video games are growing in popularity.


world of professionalsport, all in the nameof managingtheir teams. Whatis clearfrom all of these developments,then, is that it is nolonger possibleto think of the interplay betweenthese newtechnologies and consumption habits asemergent cultural phenomena,but rather asa dominantset ofsocialrelations within the digitalsports-mediacomplex.

conclusions In this chapter,I haveemphasized arangeofideologicalandpoliticalstrugglesassociated withthesports-media complexsincethe entranceoftelevisionin Canadian society.Asthe competitionfor sportsbroadcasting rights hasescalated to unparalleled levels,the historicalrole of CBCand Radio-Canada in providinglive telecastsofsportingeventsof national significancefor all Canadians in bothofficiallanguages asaright ofculturalcitizenshiphas erodedconsiderably.And,thanksto a numberof political,economic,andtechnological developmentscoupled witha now dominantideology of consumerchoicethe winnersin the digitalerahavebeenan oligopolyof verticallyintegratedtelecommunications empires(Rogers,BCE,and Quebecor) that nowcontrolsignificantsportingproperties in additionto vastdigitaldistributionoutletsand mediaplatformsin a nearfully privatized sports-media complex.So,too, havevariousleaguesandsportorganizations profitedhandsomelyfrom expansivebroadcasting contracts;thisisrevenuethat hasbeenusedto paythe increasinglyhighsalariesof professional athletes.Canadians,meanwhile,haveaccessto unprecedented amountsofsport contentin the digitalera, albeitthroughincreasingly costlysubscriptionpackages andotherassociated products(mobile phones,tablets,etc.). Onthislatter note,it isimportantto rememberthat oneofthe mostsignificantand enduingideologicaleffectsofthe sports-mediacomplexin Canadian societyhassimply beenthe naturalizationofconsumptionpracticesandouridentities asconsumers. Indeed, because the dominantinstitutionsin the sports-media complexsharebothideologicaland commercialinterests,they subsequentlypromotea host of culturalidentities, social



definitions, andideologies asnatural and normal, especiallyto attract primarily male audiences(as subscribersto various Rogerssor BCE products and services, but also as commoditiesthat arethen sold to advertisers). As David Rowe(2004b, p. 7) reminds us, A trained capacity to decode mediasportstexts and to detectthe forms of ideological deployment of sportin the media,is irrespective of cultural taste, a crucialskill. Manyyoung Canadians are,ofcourse,wellversedin thesecritical capacitiesandtheyrealize that the meaningsaudiencesembraceandinternalize from programssuch as HNIC or TSNs SportsCentremaynot bethe precise meanings that wereintended by producersand advertisers.Variousresistantpossibilitiesarealsoalwayspresent,especiallyin the digital era, thanks to the agencyofindividuals and groups with varying degreesof resources.The useof variousnew mediadevicesandsitessuch as YouTubehas,for example,allowedskateboarders, surfers,BASEjumpers,andindividuals whoengagein othersportingsubcultures(e.g.,parkour) to creativelyproducealternative content and,at times, to challengedominant definitions of sport and varioussocialrelations. Othernew mediatechnologieshaveallowedcitizensto organizeand opposethe useof publicfundsfor the constructionof arenasandstadiumsfor professionalsportsfranchises,in additionto a hostof other political debates(Scherer &Sam,2008). Assuch,the sports-mediacomplexin the digitalera will continueto existasacontestedterrain that Canadians shapeand areshapedby,albeit againstthe backdropof a hostof political and ideologicalstrugglesthat exert powerfulsetsoflimits and pressures on Canadiansociety.

Critical Thinking 1.


Whatdoesthe term sports-mediacomplex mean?

2. HowhastheCanadiansports-mediacomplexchangedsincetheentranceoftelevision in the 1950s? 3.

Whydoesthere remain solittle

mediaattention devotedto womenssport?


Whyhascriticism beenlevelled at sportsjournalists overthe years?


Whyis sport such a valuable mediapropertyin the digital era?

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The spectacle of accumulation:

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Lowes, M.(1999). Inside the sports pages. Toronto, MacNeill,


Material and cultural factors in the evolution


Critical Sociology, 12, 4157. ON: University of Toronto Press.

Networks: Producing Olympic ice hockey for a national television


Sociologyof SportJournal, 13, 103124. Scherer, J., & Rowe, D.(Eds.). (2013). Sport, public broadcasting, and cultural citizenship: Signallost? New York, NY: Routledge.

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