chapter  2
Snapshots of Changed Lives
Pages 28

This chapter will introduce 35 people who represent a cross section of power soccer athletes whose lives have been altered in profound ways through their involvement in the sport. Although ethnographic research involves methodologies for gathering and interpreting data, at the end of the day it is not about presenting “just the facts.” Ethnography presents people and their stories, people who are worthy to be known by virtue of what their lives teach us about our shared existence. It is one thing to conduct research in which you administer a questionnaire and have people whom you have never met answer it and submit their responses to you. You can then analyze that data, run a myriad of statistical tests, and write up and publish the results without ever pondering who the participants really are. Oh sure, you can tell me if the people who answered a particular question identified themselves as male or female, what they reported their age, education level, income, and religion to be. But can you tell me their names? Can you pick out their faces in a crowd? Can you tell me a single story about their lives? Can you tell me if they smiled when they answered a particular question, or if they had to pause to think a while before they could answer, or if tears welled up in their eyes when they checked the box on your questionnaire?1