This article makes a substantive contribution to our understanding of youth and sport participation by exploring the interrelated ways in which situational contexts influence sportsmanship in competitive high school boys basketball. The author uses ethnographic data gathered while he was an assistant coach of boys varsity basketball, at a predominantly African American high school, and a social constructionist approach to demonstrate how players and coaches mediate notions of sportsmanship through the contexts of the game, coaches’ philosophy regarding player conduct, and the everyday social reality of the athletes. The players’ use of contexts to define appropriate sportsmanlike behavior creates a dilemma or “sticky situation” in which the young men must weigh the often-contradictory goals of winning against shifting definitions of sportsmanship. The author discusses the implications of the complex nature of sportsmanship and competitive youth sport.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science