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NOTE: These notes are a composite of several editions of the book. They have not yet been modified to include material from the Second Canadian Edition, but the older material is a good basis for the present edition of the book. The Exam Review Questions are based on the Second Canadian Edition. Answers to these questions can be found both in the book and in the Powerpoint slides for the chapter. If you are unable to find an answer in the text, look in the Powerpoint slides. You have to be logged in to moodle in order to access the Powerpoint slides.

Ch 4 - SPORTS AND SOCIALIZATION: Who Plays and What Happens to Them?

Table of Contents

  • WHAT IS SOCIALIZATION?
    • A Functionalist Approach to Socialization
    • A Conflict Theory Approach to Socialization
    • New Approaches to Socialization
  • BECOMING INVOLVED AND STAYING INVOLVED IN SPORTS
    • The Process of Becoming a High-Performance Athlete
    • The Process of Being Accepted as an Athlete
    • To Participate or Not to Participate
  • CHANGING OR ENDING SPORT PARTICIPATION
    • Jay Coakley's Study of Burnout among Young Athletes
    • Getting Out of Sports and Getting On with Life
    • Changing Personal Investments in Sport Careers
  • BEING INVOLVED IN SPORTS: WHAT HAPPENS?
    • Do Sports Build Character?
    • How Do Sports Affect Our Lives?
    • Real-Life Experiences: Sport Stories from Athletes
      • The Moral Lessons of Sports
      • Lessons in the Locker Room
      • Stories about Gay Male Athletes
    • Social Worlds: Living in Sports
      • Learning to be a Pro
      • Realizing Image Isn't Everything
      • Working in the LPGA
      • Sport Worlds Portrayed in the Media
    • Ideology: Sports as Sites for Struggling Over How We Think and What We Do
      • The Road to the Board Room
      • Lessons of the Anatomy Lab
      • Diamonds Are Forever
      • Is Michael Jordan Black?
  • WHAT SOCIALIZATION RESEARCH DOES NOT TELL US
  • SUMMARY: WHO PLAYS AND WHAT HAPPENS?
  • EXAM REVIEW QUESTIONS

WHAT IS SOCIALIZATION
A Functionalist Approach to Socialization
A Conflict Theory Approach to Socialization
New Approaches to Socialization
BECOMING INVOLVED AND STAYING INVOLVED IN SPORTS
Example 1: The process of becoming an elite athlete
Example 2: The process of being accepted as an athlete
Example 3: To participate or not to participate
CHANGING OR ENDING SPORT PARTICIPATION
Example 1: Burnout among young athletes
Example 2: Getting out of sports and getting on with life
Example 3: Changing personal investments in sport careers
BEING INVOLVED IN SPORTS:  WHAT HAPPENS?
Do Sports Build Character?
How Do Sports Affect Our Lives?
Real-Life Experiences: Sport Stories from Athletes
Example 1: The moral lessons of Little League
Example 2: Lessons in the locker room
Example 3: Stories about gay male athletes
Social Worlds: Living in Sports
Example 1: Learning to be a Hero
Example 2: Realizing image isn't everything
Example 3: Living in the shadow of a man's world
Example 4: Surviving in a ghetto
Example 5: Sport worlds portrayed in the media
Ideology: Sports as Sites for Struggling Over How We Think and What We Do
WHAT SOCIALIZATION RESEARCH DOESN'T TELL US
SUMMARY: WHO PLAYS AND WHAT HAPPENS?
FORUM DISCUSSIONS
Ch 04 - Patterns Forum
Ch 04 - Gramsci Forum

Ch 4 - SPORTS AND SOCIALIZATION: Who plays and what happens to them?

WHAT IS SOCIALIZATION?
A Functionalist Approach to Socialization
A Conflict Theory Approach to Socialization
New Approaches to Socialization
BECOMING INVOLVED AND STAYING INVOLVED IN SPORTS
The Process of Becoming a High-Performance Athlete
The Process of Being Accepted as an Athlete
To Participate or Not to Participate
CHANGING OR ENDING SPORT PARTICIPATION
Jay Coakley's Study of Burnout among Young Athletes
Getting Out of Sports and Getting On with Life
Changing Personal Investments in Sport Careers
BEING INVOLVED IN SPORTS: WHAT HAPPENS?
Do Sports Build Character?
How Do Sports Affect Our Lives?
Real-Life Experiences: Sport Stories from Athletes
The Moral Lessons of Sports
Lessons in the Locker Room
Stories about Gay Male Athletes
Social Worlds: Living in Sports
Learning to be a Pro
Realizing Image Isn't Everything
Working in the LPGA
Sport Worlds Portrayed in the Media
Ideology: Sports as Sites for Struggling Over How We Think and What We Do
The Road to the Board Room
Lessons of the Anatomy Lab
Diamonds Are Forever
Is Michael Jordan Black?
WHAT SOCIALIZATION RESEARCH DOES NOT TELL US
SUMMARY: WHO PLAYS AND WHAT HAPPENS?

questions related to sport and socialization:
why do some people play and others watch?
why do people dedicate their lives to sport?
why do people stop playing?  what happens?
what is the impact that sports have on people?
three socialization issues:
process of becoming involved in sports
process of changing/ending involvement
impact of sport involvement

WHAT IS SOCIALIZATION?

a process by which we learn about our world:
active vs. passive
two-way vs. one-way
involves the making of decisions which shape one's life
Coakley's definition: influenced by critical and interactionist theories
somewhat different from the definition of socialization offered by a functionalist or a conflict theorist

A Functionalist Approach to Socialization

Coakley, 1993: internalization model:
society does the socializing, and the person is molded (one-way)
prevalent during the 1970's
researcher issues:
characteristics of the people who were being socialized
characteristics of the institutions which did the socializing
specific outcomes
notion of a "significant other" - someone who has a big influence on our lives
approach looks for "causes" of sport participation
problems:
lots of inconsistent studies (some supporting, some rejecting the notion of benefits of sports in society)
not enough knowledge about the actual processes of socialization - only the products

A Conflict Theory Approach to Socialization

notion that people are passive beings, shaped by economic factors -> compliant workers, eager consumers
research issues:
how sports produced work-based, militaristic, sexist, etc. people
how low-income people were cut out of sport opportunities
how athletes were cut out of their individual rights
how powerful people maintained their own interests

New Approaches to Socialization

functionalists -> view that we are simple products of societal "needs"
conflict theorists -> view that we are pawns of economic forces outside our control
since 1980's:
critical and interactionist approaches
qualitative vs. quantitative studies (i.e. get info on the "processes" involved - the meaning of sports in people's lives)

BECOMING INVOLVED AND STAYING INVOLVED IN SPORTS

what has functionalist research showed about sport participation?  It is related to:
people's abilities and characteristics
influence of family and friends
opportunities to play
what has functionalist research not been able to identify?
ongoing processes of involvement

Example 1: the process of becoming an elite athlete

research by Chris Stevenson (1990)
interviews of elite athletes re how they became committed to sport
look like "careers:"
sponsored recruitment - e.g. via important personal relationships (significant other?)
developing a commitment to sport participation:
personal assessment of the potential to do well
creation of a web of personal relationships related to sport
establishment of a sports reputation/identity
key point is that processes do not happen without active participation by the athlete
Stevenson, 1999 - two main stages:
introduction and development - gradual involvement with sports
development of commitment
formed as personal relationships developed
development of identity as an athlete
day-to-day decisions by young people, to remain in sport

Example 2: The process of being accepted as an athlete

Peter Donnelly and Kevin Young (1988):
acquiring knowledge
associating with people from the sport
learning how to think about the sport
becoming recognized as a participant
key point is learning to "talk the talk and walk the walk"

Example 3: To participate or not to participate

Anita White (1992):
sport participation patterns of British working-class adolescents
interviews with 34 men and 26 women - participation depended upon:
personal ideas of relationship between sport and other interests
desire to develop competence and to gain recognition
physical/social support for participation
memories of earlier sport experiences
general image of sport in British culture
findings suggest that participation decisions made for different reasons throughout life
one key factor was control - children participated when sports helped them to control their lives
especially young women

CHANGING OR ENDING SPORT PARTICIPATION

philosophical approach governs the questions:
functionalists - identify the dropouts and figure out how to keep them in sport
conflict theorists - focus on exploitation and alienation
Coakley's conclusions:
people don't drop out forever or cut all ties with sport
dropping out of sport is connected to other life issues ... it's not separate
although negative experiences can cause dropping out, not all dropping out is caused by negative experiences
stopping sport is a potential problem for those with no other identity

Example 1: Burnout among young athletes

Coakley, 1992: 15 interviews of young athletes who stopped because of burnout
most (14) from individual sports
concern with a lack of identity outside the sport world ... a one-dimensional person
key point is that whether sport interferes with adolescent's development of autonomy and independence

Example 2: Getting out of sports and getting on with life

Koukouris, 1994: questionnaires done on 157 former athletes ... selection of 34 who stopped between ages of 18 - 24
process of stop-restart-stop...
connected with need to get a job, re-evaluation of their sport skills
often attempted to play sports in other, less serious ways
key point is understanding whether/how sports either limited or expanded their lives

Example 3: Changing personal investments in sport careers

Wheeler et al, 1996 - post-career experiences of athletes with disabilities
40 athletes: Israel, UK, Canada, US
sports provided meaning and identity
withdrawal from sports was a challenge
10% - emotional problems
need to change time involvement from sports back to everyday life
most stayed involved with sport in some way

BEING INVOLVED IN SPORTS: WHAT HAPPENS?

Do Sports Build Character?

many cultures have the belief that sports builds character
comparisons of participants vs. non-participants in sport ... conflicting data
e.g. Stoll & Beller, 1998: "character" is defined differently in different studies
McCormack and Chalip, 1988:
assumption that all sports provide character building experiences for all athletes
assumption that character building experiences of sport are available only in sport - not elsewhere in life
note:
sports offer different experiences to different participants
sports often select people with certain characteristics - not create the characteristics
everyone defines for themselves, what a sports experience means
sport meanings change over time
socialization comes from social relationships of participation - not from physical participation itself (friends are more important than sport)
sport is not the only avenue for presenting life lessons
conditions which Coakley feels are important to ensure that sport participation offers positive effects instead of negative effects:
chances to become someone other than just an athlete
exposure to the world
varied experiences - not just sport experiences
chances to form new social relationships - inside and outside of sports
sport as a means to life - not an end in and of itself (help people to apply sport lessons to other life issues)
chances for coaches and others to interact with athlete as a person
chances for athletes to gain knowledge outside of sport
conditions which Coakley feels will create negative effects:
any situation in which sports limit the development of a person's overall self

Power and Performance versus Pleasure and Participation: Different Sports, Different Experiences, Different Consequences

power and performance model of sports:
strength, speed and power -> push limits and dominate others
competitive success = excellence
records, body-as-a-machine, technology
participation to exclusive group only (high skills, competitive success)
hierarchical authority structures
antagonism between opponents
pleasure and participation model:
emphasis on connections (people, mind/body, environment)
"good" ethic (enjoyment, growth, teammate/opponent support)
body as a source of pleasure and well-being = empowerment
inclusive participation
democratic decision-making
competing with (not against) others
why do power and performance sports dominate?
they fit the interests of powerful people in society
concept of "meritocracy" - belief that rewards go to those who have earned them (I can't challenge the fact that you have more money than me.  You have it because you must have earned it.  It's yours, fair and square.  I should be satisfied with my station in life)
therefore competition is a natural part of social life ...determines fairly who gets what
life involves competition -> rewards go to winners -> winners should get power and wealth -> OK to rank people on power and wealth

How Do Sports Affect Our Lives?

studies which help to determine the impact of sports on people's lives:
studies of the experiences of athletes
studies exploring the social world of sport
studies which help to understand how sport ideologies are formed
current thinking on socialization by many is that sports are sites for socialization - not agents or causes of socialization
sports are fun ... we remember fun things
sports are not the only factors which change people

"Sports Build Character":  If It Isn't True, Why Do People Believe It?

  1. Halo effect ... playing field = life (ignore data which contradicts this)
  2. Good recruiting beats good coaching (people don't believe the self-selection process in sport)
  3. Only look at the best athletes (e.g. only study millionaires when studying capitalism .... sample is biased and too small)
  4. Sports = public stage ... viewers think that anything good must come from sport (other public opportunities might also allow positive character to be displayed)
  5. Media reports are produced to make athletes look good
athletes expected to be role models (punish those who aren't, rather than critically examine sports)
character is defined in male terms (aggression, lack of emotion, pain tolerance, etc.) ... this may discriminate against positive female characteristics (e.g. sensitivity to others, emotionality, health protection, etc.)

Real-Life Experiences: Sport Stories from Athletes

new types of research:
sport experiences via participants themselves
research about life in sports
research about how sport ideology is applied outside of sports

Example 1: the moral lessons of Little League

Fine (1987): 3 year study of boys in Little League baseball
moral messages presented in adult terms, but interpreted in children's terms
masculinity = toughness, dominance, disdain for females ... reinforcement and support from coaches and other adults
both boys and girls become more willing to accept pain, take risks and accept injuries as they play sport over time
boys - identity as athlete + identity as a man
girls - identity as athlete but NOT identity as a woman

Example 2: Lessons in the locker room

Theberge (1995): 2 year study of a high caliber women's ice hockey team
men controlled the team, the league and the sport
team became a community with a dynamic of its own
locker room a key place for bonding, making friends, talking about life, etc.
important relationships involved athletes, coaches, trainers, family members

Example 3: Stories about gay male athletes

Telander (1988): book describing playground experiences of low-income young black males
experiences dependent upon many factors (who they are, where they come from, etc.)
Joravsky (1995): book about basketball experiences of young men in Chicago
time and place are significant

Social Worlds: Living in Sports

have to study both the social world of the sport and the mainstream culture within which the social world exists

Example 1: Learning to be a Hero

Adler and Adler (1991): 10 year study of social world of high profile BB team
change in self-conception as a function of playing basketball
70% of participants African Americans
concept of "role engulfment" ... identities based solely on BB
goal setting, attention focusing and making sacrifices specific only to BB world ... no transfer to outside world
probably more common with men vs. women

Example 2: Realizing image isn't everything

Klein (1993): 7 year study of competitive body building
gender and sexuality key concerns
public power and strength vs. private doubts about self-worth
desperate need for attention and approval
strong homophobic tendencies in males

Example 3: Living in the shadow of a man's world

Crossett (1995): 14 month study of women's professional golf
"ethic of prowess" - use of physical competence as a basis for evaluating everyone
attempt to erase gender ideas
concept that female golfers are NOT typical married ladies

Example 4: Surviving in a ghetto

Wacquant (1992): 3 year study of social world of boxers
combination of black ghetto culture and shelter from that culture
focus on physical, visual, mental requirements of boxing ... creation of a "socialized living body"
some safety from the dangerous environment of the ghetto

Example 5: Sport worlds portrayed in the media

Ryan (1995) and Brennan (1996): elite competitive women's gymnastics and men's and women's figure skating

body over-socialization involved with eating disorders (effort to lose weight)

Ideology: Sports as Sites for Struggling Over How We Think and What We Do

movement toward consideration of socialization as a community and cultural process
cultural studies
post structuralism:
conflict theorists & critical theorists - focus on material production and material reality
poststructuralists - focus on language, media, images, symbols
notion of "stories" which are told in connection with sport (e.g. pleasant, homey stories told about American athletes by NBC during Atlanta Olympics)
only "appropriate" stories are told
community focus: Gramsci influence
attempt by governments to control pleasurable pastimes in people's lives
association between pleasurable things and ideas (e.g. like doing business over lunch)
notion of hegemony - using strategies to establish your ideas as the "right" ones
link between Coca Cola sponsorship of Olympics and its goals of establishing its ideas as right:
corporate executives like sports
selling Coke at Games makes money
having people identify big corporate sponsorship of sports as important and appropriate
having people identify with the notion of consumption
 
 
Foley - HS football only a part of social culture - not its leader
e.g. being a star did not change the inequalities related to gender, ethnicity or social class
Messner (1992) - former elite male athletes created identities in sport which added to and reinforced popular culture
Birrell and Richter (1994) - since females could redefine softball in their own terms, it is possible for sports to stretch the limits of acceptable thinking in society
Andrews (1996) - removal of the "Jordan persona" from normal African American experiences
bottom line: nobody lives outside of ideology (nothing is culture-free)

WHAT SOCIALIZATION RESEARCH DOESN'T TELL US

need to do research on different ethnic groups and social classes
do not know much about experiences of girls in ethnic groups, elderly
don't know who people decide between different types of sports
need to know more about feelings, fears and anxieties as connected with sport experiences
need to know more about the link between sports and the language used to express sport experiences

SUMMARY: WHO PLAYS AND WHAT HAPPENS?

 

 

EXAM REVIEW QUESTIONS

  1. According to Coakley and Donnelly, what is socialization? Elaborate on this by presenting two main points each from the points of view of functionalism and conflict theory. (6 points)
  2. Interactionism take a different approach about the topic of socialization than do functionalism and conflict theory. What are four main characteristics of this approach that differentiate it from the other two approaches? (4 points)
  3. Learning how to become an athlete can be explained a number of ways. Discuss this by contrasting how Stevenson (1999), Donnelly & Young (1999) and Coakley & White (1999) describe the process. (6 points)
  4. When we consider the question of dropouts, there are a number of factors which we should remember. Discuss four of these factors as presented by Coakley and Donnelly. (4 points)
  5. Discuss three lines of research based on interactionist theory, which deal with the question of changing or ending sport participation. (6 marks)
  6. Present any five of the six reasons given by the authors as to why might sports not build character. (5 points)
  7. If you were attempting to design a sport system to provide a positive effect on children's lives, discuss five opportunities that you would attempt to provide. (5 points)
  8. The link between sports and health is not automatically beneficial. Present three lines of evidence for each of two major health areas which suggest that sports could even be considered a threat to health. (6 points)
  9. Two radically different approaches to sport are referred to "pleasure and participation" vs. "power/performance." Present what you feel are the three major characteristics of each approach. (6 points)
  10. Sport experiences are very much affected by the meaning given them by participants. Discuss this point using research from Stevenson, 1991, Theberge, 2000 and Woog, 1998. (6 points)
  11. Sport worlds are somewhat removed from normal daily life. Use examples from any two of the the following research studies (Robidoux, 2001, Klein, 1993 and Theberge, 1977 & 1981) to illustrate this point. (6 points)
  12. Define hegemony and discuss how it might be seen in sport. (4 points)

NB: The following material was included in Coakley's previous Ch 4.   It is included here for reference purposes only.  There are NO examination questions taken from this material.

 

THE CONCEPT OF COMPETITION

note that we can compete in various ways: against ourselves, against an animate object (e.g. a bull in bullfighting), against an inanimate object (e.g. a mountain in mountain climbing), etc.
here, competition is defined as a process through which success is measured by directly comparing the achievements of those who are performing the same physical activity under standardized conditions and rules

Competitive Reward Structures

always involves direct comparison of participants
competition also a reward structure:
sets the rules
outlines relationships among people concerned
competition is a zero-sum situation (you win…I lose; I win…you lose)
good example is my grading scheme (20% of you will FAIL regardless of how well you do....!)

Cooperative and Individualized Reward Structures

e.g. cooperation:
success from group of people working together toward a goal
rewards shared equally
e.g. class project
e.g. individualized standards - success from reaching a pre-arranged goal or level of excellence
no direct dependence on others
e.g. classroom situations in which grades are given on the basis of achievement against a pre-set standard

Competition as an Individual Orientation

competition can also be viewed as something personal…something we aim for in our daily lives:
competitive orientation
tendency to evaluate achievement in terms of how one compares with others
cooperative orientation
tendency to define rewards so that everyone can achieve them
interest in maximizing rewards for all
individualistic orientation
tendency to see rewards as being unrelated to behaviours of others

Confusion About Competition and Achievement

question: Do we need competition in order to be motivated to work hard?
to be achievement oriented is not necessarily to be competitive
achievement goals can be obtained via different strategies
many researchers state that almost all tasks can be done as effectively by using a cooperative strategy instead of a competitive strategy
potential downsides to competitive reward structures:
they discourage participation of less confident people
they encourage too much specialization
the promote too much standardization

Back to Table of Contents

REWARD STRUCTURES AND COMPETITION IN SPORTS

competition must exist in sport but the weighting of competition need not be paramount
e.g. cooperative relationships established and maintained
e.g. personal development is enhanced
e.g. personal orientations can be changed

Competitive Reward Structures and Sports in the United States

the competition phenomenon varies from culture to culture, but especially in the US ...winning is the only thing
In the U.S. sportsmanship refers to commitment to the rules and no open animosity toward opponents...it does not mean behaviour which could lead to a loss.
Doing one's best means doing one's best in order to win.
most publications/books are about winners ...therefore, there is strong encouragement to win

The U.S. Case: A Qualification and Explanation

Special Olympics:
less "serious" than real Olympics
no negative comments
emphasis on individual effort apart from competitive relationships
countries which emphasize competitive aspects of sport are same as those which hold that individual merit is the basis for wealth and power
. . . leads people to believe that inequality is a natural part of life
. . . means that powerful groups will likely promote sport since it helps promote the "individual merit" theory
cultural ideology = what people use to understand the world and their place in it (cultural "correctness")
hegemony = idea that people in power make some ideas seem "natural" in order to perpetuate their position of power
so people with wealth promote the idea of competition (in sport, only the "best" win … get rewards … I have rewards … therefore I am "best")
season sport tickets OK as business expenses
community leaders arguing for public funding of sport
sponsoring of Olympic Games by Coca-Cola

Competitive Reward Structures and Sports in Socialist Countries

meritocracy a key concept in Capitalistic countries
collective spirit a key concept in Chinese sport
notion of person's place in the larger community

Cultural Variations and Reward Structures

competitiveness is learned through the process of socialization
in some cultures there is very little social support of competition (e.g. Zuni Indians)
winning is not celebrated
Tangu people of New Guinea (Burridge, 1957):
game of taketak in which goal is to make a spinning top hit as many stakes as possible
game goes on until a draw is reached
principle behind the game is moral equivalency

What Happens When Reward Structures and Personal Orientations Don't Match?

people learn how to compete.... Sometime North American Anglos compete when it would result in greater success to cooperate
subculture differences - e.g. native cooperative orientations
e.g. rural Mexican children > Mexican Americans > Anglo-Americans in tasks requiring cooperation
e.g. Navajo's - use of sport to improve relationships with others
group solidarity
competition with themselves
embarrassed by rewards
evidence that ideology is cultural - not "human nature"
If personal orientations do not meet reward structures, problems can arise
. . . Ogilvie & Tutko, 1966 - success phobia
e.g. it is "not normal" to not want success
what to do if reward structures and personal orientations do not match:
can change the reward structures to match themselves
e.g. Kageyama's TROPS system - Japanese traditional family-oriented games
e.g. "New Games" movement in US
can change themselves to agree with the dominant reward structures


Back to Table of Contents

COMPETITION AND CHARACTER

"sports build character" … big reason for parents to put their children into organized sport programs
19th century Britain: incorporation of sport into private school system
present day use of sport to:
help integrate immigrants
teach importance of organization, productivity and goal achievement
teach toughness, aggressiveness
Competition and Motivation
McCormack and Chalip, 1988: faulty assumptions underlying this belief:
experience of sport is common to all persons participating (kids who are cut have different experiences from kids who succeed)
athletes internalize the "character-building lessons" (maybe they are only role playing on the field)
sports are unique in the provision of character-building experiences (maybe kids can learn responsibility and discipline from a part-time job)
so why do people believe that sports build character?
  1. "halo-effect" associated with extraordinary performance on the field … great deeds = great person
  2. selection process whereby the best are attracted to a competitive situation
    correlation does not imply causation (good recruiting beats good coaching)
  3. only the best are used to evaluate the sport system (like letting Ph.D.'s evaluate education or millionaires evaluate the market economy)
  4. sport situations are public and lead us to believe that they are the cause of the behavior (but something else less public may have had a more important role)
  5. everything goes through the media, which plays up the sport-related aspects and downplays other aspects of the athlete's life

Sports as Character Builders and Athletes as Role Models

should not ignore the fact that the situation and the culture both influence athletes … not just the personal character of the athlete
e.g. pain killers prescribed by a physician vs recreational drug for boredom
e.g. striking for better working conditions and salaries

Gender Relations and Sports as Character Builders

since sports are usually thought of as "manly" activities, the traits which are developed are also "manly" traits
women are excluded
if women buy into the idea, they are condoning that which puts them at a disadvantage
domination of opponents
insensitive to others
lack of emotionality
insensitive to injury

Can Participation in Competitive Sports Interfere with Character Development?

in some cases athletes do not have to act maturely because the coach does all the thinking
existence of rigid rules encourages efforts to circumvent them
sharing, altruism and concern for others is not particularly useful in sport

Back to Table of Contents

SPORT COMPETITION AS PREPARATION FOR LIFE

everyone believes that the lessons we learn in sport carry over to later life, but in life…
cooperation and intrinsic motivation > competition and extrinsic motivation
successful business people avoid or eliminate competition
Social Darwinism: Struggle breeds Success
Sport involves Struggle
...Sport breeds Success
Sage 1980 maintains that contrary to the above, success in today's world requires cooperation - not competition
e.g. competition restriction for lawyers, doctors, dentists
e.g. monopolies
e.g. unions

Differences Between Sports and Everyday Life

it's good to be able to experiment where there are no lasting consequences … especially for children
ORGANIZED, COMPETITIVE SPORTS EVERYDAY LIFE
artificial boundaries no boundaries
competition inherent competition incidental
simplistic complex
clear cut rules ambiguous rules
success from physical skills success from interpersonal skills
seek out competitors avoid competitors
standardized, organized events, equality haphazard events, unequal circumstances
actions affect the present action affects the future

from Coakley, 1994, pg. 101
one of main advantages of sport is that it can provide an opportunity for experiencing success/failure in an activity unrelated to one's career
. . . sport is a "dry run" for life
for children sport can enhance body image and boost confidence
sport and everyday life are different
don't expect too much of sport

CONCLUSION: IS SPORT COMPETITION VALUABLE?

Sport competition = process through which success is measured by directly comparing the achievements of those who are performing the same physical activity under standardized conditions and rules (pg. 102)
not cooperation
not necessarily using individualized standards
in capitalist countries the whole notion is to support the concept of meritocracy
OK to have inequality
in socialist countries the whole notion is to promote collectivist spirit
in some countries/societies the whole notion of competitive behavior is either absent or deviant
it is not guaranteed that sports is "bad" for society (e.g. through perpetuation of inequalities) but it is also not guaranteed that sports is completely "good" (e.g. because of the lack of evidence for its value in either instilling good character qualities or in preparing children for adult life)

Back to Table of Contents

Last Revised: October 3, 2010 9:51 PM

 
Copyright © 1996 onward: Richard R. Danielson. All rights reserved

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