The mid-life ‘market’ and the creation of sporting sub-cultures

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Events dedicated and marketed to Masters/Veteran's sport 'consumers' are gaining popularity across Western countries, with most of the participants aged in their 40s and 50s. Moreover, Masters sport has become a commodity as evidenced by the increased corporate involvement in mass adult sporting events (Hastings, Cable & Zahran, 2005). Drawing on the talk and practices of mid-life Australian Veteran women field hockey players, male and female Masters athletes from individual events (e.g., track and field, swimming, cycling) and Australian Masters women netball players (Confederation of Australian Sport, 2014; Litchfield & Dionigi, 2013), this chapter shows that the Masters movement is dominated by sub-cultures, including women-only teams, sport party-goers, sport travelers and performance-oriented athletes, that value and exclude particular ways of ageing, consumption and sport participation. For instance, performance-focussed athletes seem to resent the idea that Masters sport is 'just for fun'. They go to some lengths to emphasise it as 'serious competition' and distance themselves from the sport 'party-goers'. Many of the women-only teams practice 'off the field' team bonding and cultural rituals such as consuming alcohol at the grounds, dressing-up in costumes, having team mascots and playing practical jokes on each other. This chapter highlights the inclusive/exclusive nature of sport participation in mid-life and how its focus on 'recapturing one's youth' can reproduce ageism in society by valuing youthfulness, activity, social gatherings, consumption and performance and disparaging other ways of ageing. For example, some Masters athletes explicitly criticise what they see as the laziness and moral inferiority of others who do not follow their lead. These findings raise fundamental questions about risks, equity and access; the Masters/Veterans' sport context is dominated by white, Western, heterosexuals who have sufficient resour
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSport and physical activity across the lifespan
Subtitle of host publicationCritical perspectives
EditorsRylee A Dionigi, Michael Gard
Place of PublicationBasingstoke, UK
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781137485625
ISBN (Print)9781137485618
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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