Despite the antiquity and inherent sexism of the language in this passage from a late nineteenth-century edition of Cassell’s Book of Sports and Pastimes it is clear that its sentiments still resonate with much of the thinking about the role of sport within contemporary western social formations. Without necessarily seeking to do so, social considerations of sport have tended to be framed by structure functionalist narratives such as this which emphasise what sport does to people and for ‘society’. In this sense we want to argue that the sociology of sport is heavily implicated in the reification of the kinds of social distinctions and judgements which underpin our present day ‘understandings’ of what it is to be ‘deviant’ in sport.