Rituals in Australian Women's Veteran's Field Hockey

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The emergence of Masters and Veteran's sports over the last three decades has provided a platform for women to participate in sport as they age. Although Masters and Veteran's sporting events can be highly competitive, these events are typically framed in participatory discourses which emphasise fun and friendship on and off the field. This study examined the experiences of women (aged 45 years and over) competing in a State Veteran's Hockey tournament in New South Wales, Australia. In-depth interviews and field observations were undertaken at both the hockey fields and the tournament's championship dinner. Ritual was a key theme to emerge from data analysis. This notion of ritual had two broad and interacting dimensions: recurrence and cultural norms. The tournament itself was a special event that these women planned for and returned to year after year. The championship dinner was a recurring highlight of the tournament that always included a dress-up theme, alcohol consumption and dancing. Other off the field cultural norms included practical jokes, comedic team mascots and uniforms, and ensuring alcohol was available at the grounds. Overall, these rituals in women's veteran's hockey allowed for team bonding, social connections, enjoyment and feelings of empowerment that extended beyond just playing the sport. Focusing on the stories and lived experiences of older sportswomen offers alternative meanings of ageing, sport and gender.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-189
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of sport and society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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