The game of (your) life: professional rugby careers

2015-03-19T11:11:07Z (GMT) by Christine Coupland
Taking the perspective that a professional sports person regards their sport-craft as work, it is timely to consider how this embodied, short, publically performance-measured, ultimately degenerative, career is given credibility by those who are engaged in it at an elite level. Drawing on Bourdieu the analysis of ethnographic empirical material from a study of a UK-based rugby league team playing at the Super League level (the highest level in the UK) illustrates how the natural order of things is crafted. Advancing understanding of an embodied-career resonates with contemporary understandings of short-term contracts which require the individual to be flexible and adaptable, be prepared for exit, and yet remain immersed and dedicated to the current sphere of employment. This kind of immersion requires alternatives to be, temporarily at least, silenced and in this context renders the accrual of bodily capital as fit, but only temporarily fit for purpose.