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Mills, CathyHoeber, Larena
Figure skaters and their families: Tensions and reflections
North American Society for the Sociology of Sport
Conference presentation delivered at the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport (NASSS), Tampa, Florida, 2016.
The presentation examined the complexity of figure skaters’ familial relationships both at home and at the skating rink. Narrative inquiry gave us insight into athletes’ family-related stories increasing our understanding of their subjective and complex worlds (Smith, 2010). We explored seven former figure skaters’ reflections at both personal and social levels (sociality), over time (temporality), and as their participation in high performance sport changed (place; Connelly & Clandinin, 2000). While participants spoke extensively of parental support, they also often spoke of strained/distant relationships with fathers and siblings as well as guilt associated with their participation in the sport (e.g. taking mom away from the family / not achieving potential). While limited time at home sometimes contributed to strained relationships with their family at home, it often resulted in the creation of a ‘skating family’ or a ‘second family’. However, strong relationships with coaches and friends at the skating rink, built on common goals and passion, shifted in negative ways for some athletes when they retired from the sport or went through coaching changes. Participants highlighted tensions surrounding both families as they moved throughout training and retirement.
Family relationsFigure skatersFigure skatingAthletes--Family relationshipsSkaters--Family
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