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18 Pages

Introduction

ByNICK WATSON

This volume comprises papers delivered at the Inaugural International Conference on Sport and Spirituality (IICSS), August 28-31, 2007, that was hosted by the Centre for the Study of Sport and Spirituality (CSSS, 2003-2009), York St. John University (see Collins, 2007). Although there have been two valuable past conferences in North America on sport and religion,1 this meeting was the fi rst to bring together such a diversity of academics and practitioners for a critical discussion about the spiritual and religious dimensions of sport. Over 70 delegates from 11 countries attended this event and these included ex-Olympic and amateur athletes, historians, theologians, clergy and a rabbi-sport psychologist, sport chaplains, Olympic scholars, philosophers, sociologists, sports coaches and physical education teachers and those involved in disability sport and sports ministry. One of the defi ning aspects of this conference was the ‘coming together’ of academics and practitioners (e.g., coaches, physical educators, sports chaplains and ministers etc.).2 This is something which it is hoped will continue in this fi eld and will be one aspect of the Second International Conference on Sport and Spirituality, that will be hosted by the Centre for Sport, Spirituality and Religion (CSSR) at the University of Gloucestershire, England, under the leadership of Professor Andrew Parker.