chapter  4
25 Pages

‘Expected Masculine Performances’ in Mainstream Sports: Serious Competitors, Natural Athletes and Casual Enthusiasts

In this chapter, I explore mainstream sports participation and how the gendered body becomes a central factor in not only constructing ones ‘position’ in relation to it but also further successful participation. By incorporating empirical material collected through ethnographic research (including, participant observation in a range of sports settings, such as team sports, sports clubs and gyms, as well as interviews with a range of men who took part in them),1 I assess the ways constructions of ‘real’ or ‘natural’ masculine performances are played out. Empirical evidence is also used to highlight the ways in which the body becomes signifi cant in the formulation of masculine sporting identities-and how the practices inherent in mainstream sports settings contribute to this.