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Canadian student-athletes on the move : narratives of transition through time and space Falls, Dominique 2009

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CANADIAN STUDENT-ATHLETES ON THE MOVE: NARRATIVES OFTRANSITION THROUGH TIME AND SPACEbyDOMINIQUE FALLSB. Sc., Creighton University, 2007A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTSFORTHE DEGREE OFMASTER OF ARTSinTHE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES(Human Kinetics)THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA(Vancouver)October 2009© Dominique Falls, 2009ABSTRACTEvery year, approximately two thousand Canadian student-athletes, aged 17-23, cross theborder to pursue their university education in the United States (Barnes, 2008). However, there isa scarcity of in-depth research that considers the experiences of these athletes. More pertinently,little is known about how student-athlete movement can be understood in relation to research on‘detraditionalization’ and ‘individualization’ which suggests that the influence of traditionalties(e.g. class, gender, ethnicity) on young people’s experiences and identities is diminishing. Withthese concerns in mind a study was designed that explored the following two researchquestions:1) how might processes of detraditionalization and individualization inform anunderstanding ofthe transition experiences of female Canadian student-athletes movingto the United States fortheir university education?; 2) how are female Canadian student-athletes’ experiencesandidentities shaped by the transitions they are faced with in their move to andtime spent in theUnited States? To pursue these questions, in-depth interviews were conductedwith 12 Canadianfemale student-athletes who pursued their education at and graduated from a UnitedStates’university.Key findings included: the women’s decisions to attendcollege were influenced by aninterrelated set of sport-related factors (e.g. a desire to pursuesport at the ‘highest level’) andnon-sport factors (e.g. to break free from the familiarity of home); transitionexperiences werecomplex and context dependent and were also influencedby sport-related factors (e.g.relationships with the coach and teammates) and non-sportfactors (e.g. degree of culture shock).The research also showed that the womenused diverse strategies to deal with their disconnectionfrom home (e.g. use of various communication technologies)and that negative experiences werecommonly reframed in positive terms.In sum, the women experienced processes of individualizationand detraditionalizationbut the structure of the sports team provided someof the stabilizing influences thought to bediminishing in the contemporary moment.This thesis concludes with a discussion of waysthatthese findings could be useful for athletes who areexperiencing various forms of transition,andthe coaches, peers, parents, and others who areattempting to support them.11TABLE OF CONTENTSAbstractiiTable of ContentsiiiList of TablesVAcknowledgementsViDedicationvii1 .Introduction1Rationale2Relevance and Research Questions3Organization of Thesis42.Literature Review5Introducing Identity and Transition5Risk Society and Youth6Increased Youth Mobility in a Risk Society10Mobility and space10Mobility and youth12Transitions within the Sociology of Sport15Women inland Sport17Beyond ‘Whole Circumstances’19Sport and Mobility21Moving Forward: Future Research on Transition in theSociology of Sport 243. Methods25Rationale25The Method26Sample27Justification of sample28Recruiting31Data Collection32Protocol33Doing Oral History Interviews33Challenges Encountered35Analysis and Interpretation36Transcribing36Concept and Code Development374.Results and Discussion39Transitions through Time and Space40Phase 1: Before University41Thinking about going away to school41The ‘ad hoc’ recruiting process45Decision making- where do I want togo and why2 47Phase 2: During University — Multipleand Concurrent Transitions 50The soccer transition: (re)evaluating toughness,athleticism, and durability 51“It’s way more intense — not only mentally but physically”51111Win, win,win.52Relief and burnout along the “roller coaster ride” 54The coach: friend and foe 55“Having everyone there with you aching helps you get through it” 58Becoming a “better person” 59The school transition: balancing the classroom and the pitch 60“It would have been really tough if I wasn’t an athlete” 62The cultural transition: experiencing and embracing a ‘newness’ 64Not fitting in65Comprehending, learning, and embracing 67The transition from home: growing (apart) physically & emotionally69Finding “community” in the team 70Far flung and dispersed networks 72Visits from family and friends 74“Believe it or not, I started to miss the flatness of Nebraska”75“It became hard to relate to my friends and family back home”76Going away to school as a transformation process78Phase 3: After University- Experiencing, Learning, and Reflecting81“I was not ready to be done yet”82Uncertainty, disorientation, and new selves83“When I finished soccer, it was like I lost my identity”85Individualization and Detraditionalization88“It’s my life” — “That’s what I wanted to do”88“On my own in the real world”90Freedom vs the Way of Life of an NCAA Athlete925.Conclusions and Implications94Contributions to the Sociology of Sport95Contributions to an Understanding of Youth, Transition, and Risk Society98Practical Implications: Sharing Experiences of Transitionand Mobility 99Future Research100References102Appendices119Appendix A119Consent Form119Contact and Information Form122Demographic Questionnaire124Appendix B125Interview Guide125Appendix C127UBC Research Ethics Board Approval127Notes129ivLIST OF TABLESTable 1.1 Interviewee Information Summary 37Table 1.2 Interviewee Information Summary 38vACKNOWLEDGEMENTSLike many other graduate students, the encouragement I received along the way wasinstrumental in helping me write my thesis. When the ending seemed so far away, many peoplekept me motivated, excited, and best of all, smiling. First and foremost, I want to thank myadvisor and friend Dr. Brian Wilson for helping me get over the bumps in the road — both in andout of the classroom. Thank you for your patience, dedication, and commitment to my passion.To my family, thank you for your unconditional support and enthusiasm for all of my past andfuture endeavours. The same goes to my partner who showed great understanding when I had todedicate my Friday evenings to transcription and coding, and for putting up with ‘academic talk’on our way up the Grouse Grind! Thank you to my fellow socio-cultural classmates whoencouraged my ideas and who were there when I felt lost. Last, but not least, thankyou to theSociology Department at Creighton University for allowing me to relate every paper to the worldof sport and for the lessons upon which I have built my love forsociology. To all others whohave been part of my journey into the world of academics, thankyou.viHA7wftodcfr1cM1o/C/fl’1QJ/U4-QJNOIWHU3U1INTRODUCTIONIt’s getting away from home, not only leaving your country and home city but going somewherejust like [Hawaii]Steve Bell-Irvin (Quoted in Zacharias, 2006b)It’s an adjustment in itself moving out to go to university. Then it wasgoing to a smaller townand a new country. There was a lot of adjustment.Katie Ward (Quoted in Zacharias, 2006a)It was a real culture shock going from Richmond to SouthCarolina. They still hang theconfederate flag in places down there.Pasha Bains (Quoted in Zacharias, 2006a)This study explores the experiences of female Canadianstudent-athletes who havepursued their education in the UnitedStates. Every year, approximately two thousand Canadianstudent-athletes, aged 17-23, cross theborder to pursue their university education in the UnitedStates (Barnes, 2008; Deacon & Dwyer, 1997; Dheensaw,2008; Paskey, 2000). For most, thismovement entails a transition from high schoolto university and to a new ‘athletic community.’In many cases this also means moving away from homeand living in a different country for thefirst time, and/or moving from a small cityto a big city (or big city to a small city).Although there is some research focusedon this phenomenon, student transitionforyoung Canadian athletes has receivedmost attention from journalists who haveportrayedpursuing an education in the UnitedStates, on the one hand, as ‘making it’in athletics (e.g.Briones, 2008; Mirtle, 2008; Zacharias,2006a), and on the other hand as ‘robbing’the Canadianintercollegiate athletic system of itsbest talent (e.g. Barnes, 2007; Bassett, 2007;Beamish, 2005;Deacon & Dwyer, 1997). This movementof athletes is commonly attributed to ‘pushfactors’ inthe Canadian higher education system(e.g. the lack of scholarship money in Canadaversus the1availability of ‘full ride’ scholarships in the United States) and ‘pull factors’ in the Americanequivalent (e.g. a higher level of competition associated with NCAA sports) (Beamish, 2005;“Chan”, 2007; Deacon & Dwyer, 1997; Grossman, 2000; Paskey, 2000; Wieberg, 2006).RationaleWhile the various journalists noted above have offered important insights into thepatterns of student-athlete movement from Canada to the United States, there is a scarcity of in-depth research that considers the experiences of these athletes. In essence, little is knownaboutthe how student-athletes experience and interpret their move to the United States. Morepertinently, little is known about how student-athlete movement can be understoodin relation toan emerging literature that describes the implications of current patterns in migration,globalization and ‘stage transitions’ for the identity development ofyoung people. For example,Furlong and Cartmel (2007) have argued that transitions for young peoplein the currenthistorical moment are more complex and stressful than ever before becauseof the unprecedentedrange of choices that young people are exposed to — yet littleempirical data exists that pertains tothe experiences of the population with these choices and undergoing these verytransitions.Beyond academic contributions, the results from this studycould be used to set up apartnership with sports organizations to help young athletes dealwith issues and concerns theymay have about moving and adjustingto a new phase in their athletic or non-athletic lives. Forthis reason, this study’s goal is to shed some light on howstudent-athlete movement impacts andshapes the experiences and identities of student-athletes, and howstudent-athletes negotiate andmake sense of the various options and anxieties they encounterduring moments and times oftransition.2Relevance and Research QuestionsThis study builds on previous research that states that youth today are experiencing moreuncertainty because key social and cultural aspects of young people’s transitions to adulthoodareradically different from what they were in the past (e.g. youth are moving awayfrom home at ayounger age but also returning home after this initial ‘launch’). For instance,young people aresaid to be more disconnected from traditional social ties (e.g. family ties,class ties, ethnic ties),and their identities are said to have become individualized (Furlong& Cartmel, 2007; Miles,2000; Skelton, 2002; Thomson et al., 2002).Accordingly, this study considers the following tworesearch questions:(1) How might processes of detraditionalization and individualizationinform anunderstanding of the transition experiences offemale Canadian student-athletes moving to the United States for their university education?;(2) How are female Canadian student-athletes’ experiencesand identities shapedby the transitions they are faced with in their moveto and time spent in theUnited States?The focus will be on the student-athletes’ experiencesduring and interpretations of their timespent in the United States (e.g. 4-5 years). Thisis not to be confused with the process itself ofmoving. The transitions to be exploredin this context include: the transition to a varsity sportprogram, the transition away from ‘home’ (i.e. parents’home, home city or town, and thesupport systems associated with this), the transitionto university, and the transition out ofuniversity (sport). In addition, the study willexplore student-athletes’ experiences with changingsocial networks and support systems withinthese transitions. This study will also use the ‘socialposition’ (i.e. class background, gender,age, ethnicity) of these student-athletes asa lens throughwhich to analyze their interpretations of their experiencesof transition.Organization of ThesisThe thesis research is reported and contextualized in the following sections. First, a briefliterature review will cover relevant works concerning youth, transitions, mobility, sport relatedsocialization, and identity formation in a risk society. Particular attention will be paid to the waysin which young student-athletes are said to manage multiple and concurrent transitions. Theproject’s methodology will next be discussed with a focus on the use of oral history interviews inresearch on transitions and mobility. The context of the interviews as well as challenges whicharose along the way will also be discussed. Finally, the results and discussion will describe theobjective and subjective components of the ‘career’ of the female athletes interviewed in thisstudy. The focus of this section will be on the identities and experiences of the female studentathletes. The conclusion will argue that student-athlete movement to the United States presents aunique case for the interpretation of risk society influences on young people. Finally,the thesiswill end with some recommendations on how to utilize these findingsto help current and/orfuture athletes deal with multiple and concurrent transitions in their lives.42LITERATURE REVIEWThe literature on which my study will draw is divided into two sections. In the first, Idiscuss the theoretical framework developed by Giddens (1990) and Beck (1992) on the modernrisk society, as it has been adapted by Furlong and Cartmel (2007), Miles (2000), and severalother researchers who study youth identity formation, mobility, and youth transitions.Second, Idraw on the work of Coakley & Donnelly (1999), Wyllemann, Alfermann and Lavellee(2004)and other authors who study identity, mobility, and transitions as they relateto sport. With this inmind, I begin with definitions of the concepts ‘identity’ and ‘transition’— terms that I refer to anddevelop throughout this chapter and thesis.Introducing Identity and TransitionThis thesis utilizes Schlossberg’s (1981) definition of‘transition’ which states that atransition is “an event or non-event that results in a change inassumptions about oneself and theworld and thus requires a corresponding changein one’s behaviour and relationships” (p.5).Although developed to investigate life transitions,Schlossberg’s definition of ‘transition’ hasbeen applied by a number of researchersto the sport setting (Baillie & Danish, 1992; Danish etal., 1997; Wylleman, Alfermann. & Lavallee, 2004).Schlossberg’s (1981) definition is pertinentto this project as it highlights the way inwhich transitions involve interpretations of experiencesand the impact of these experiences on identity formation.Here, my use of the term ‘identity’ relies on complimentarywork by researchers whostudy youth and by sport sociologists(see Andrews & Jackson, 2001; Baker & Boyd,1997;5Calhoun, 1994; Hall & du Gay, 1996; Laclau, 1994; McDonald & Birrell, 1999; Rizvi, 2005;Singh, Rizvi, & Shrestha, 2007; Taylor & Littleton, 2006; Youdell, 2006). Generally speaking, Iconsider identity formation to be a life-long process which occurs as individuals internalize, onthe one hand, “who they create themselves as and present to the world,” and on the other, “whothat world makes them and constrains them to be” (Taylor & Littleton, 2006, p.23).Second,identity is considered “situational and changeable; it shifts and changes with time, contextandinteraction with others; therefore, it is constantly in the process of being (re)created” (Hall,1996;Kondo, 1990; Shogan, 1999 as cited in Weis, 2001). In other words, identityis always “in arelative state of formation,” and any ‘closure’ arounda particular identity — feminine, athlete,young or Canadian — is seen as provisional and conditional(Rattansi & Phoenix, 2005).Moments of transition are considered particularlypertinent to the (re)creation of identities. Thisbrings me to the third point: the interplay of these multipleidentities means that “some are rigidand long-lasting, whereas others quickly fade away” (Weiss,2001, p.396). Moreover, “identitiesfrom multiple spheres may complementor conflict with each other” (Weiss, 2001, p.396). Thismay especially be the case in momentsof multiple and concurrent transitions, such asexperienced by the women in this study, inwhich the interaction of complementary andconflicting identities (e.g. ‘academic identity’and ‘athletic identity’) may be more pronounced.The ‘athletic identity’ will be discussedfurther on in the project.Risk Society and YouthThe theoretical notion of the ‘risk society’ developedby Beck (1992) and expanded byGiddens (1998) has been widely used to helpthose who study youth and youngadults describehow young people negotiate theirexperiences, identities, and transitionsin an increasinglyunpredictable world. Accordingto the risk society thesis, the western worldis witnessing an6historical transformation. Industrial society, based upon “industry and social class, upon welfarestates and upon the distribution of goods organized and distributed through the state” (Beck &Willms. 2004, p.2), is being replaced by a new modernity (or ‘second modernity’), whichinvolves the distribution of bads (i.e. nuclear radiation, global warming, poverty, technology)that flow within and across various territories and that are not confined within the borders of asingle society. Here, the old, ‘scientific’ world view is being challenged as the predictabilitiesand certainties characteristic of the industrial era are being threatened, and a newset of risks andopportunities are being brought into existence (Furlong & Cartmel, 2007, p.3).In a related way, risk society is characterized by a cultural shift describedasdetraditionalization. Detraditionalization refers to a process whereby the influenceof ‘traditionalties’ (such as the family, education, and employment)on individuals’ life choices begins towane. It is contended that in the industrial era social structuresand overlapping and intersectinginstitutions ‘structured’ people’s lives. People’s experienceswere “contained, ordered, andregulated” (Beck & Willms, 2004, p.8). In the late modernera, these structures (morespecifically, their influences) are said to have partially dissolved.Lives are becoming less andless determined by structural and positionalconditions and more and more determinedby how anindividual’s identity relates to those conditions (Furlong& Cartmel, 2007; Miles, 2000). That isto say, in a society with more fluid understandingsof families, employment, and community life,people have no choice but to develop individualizedand reflexive approaches to the managementof their life projects (Cieslik & Pollock,2002, p.4). Consequentially, detraditionalizationhasproduced an environment characterizedby insecurity — where, (according to these authors)people have nowhere to turn to but oneself,and for this reason they experience more doubtsabout their identity, career, and biography choices(Miles, 2000,p.59; Tully, 2002, p.21)7Researchers who study youth such as Miles (2000) and Furlong and Cartmel (2007) areparticularly interested in how detraditionalization has impacted young peoples’ transitions toadulthood (cf. Cieslik & Pollock, 2002; Pollock, 2008). For these authors it is thought that youthtransitions are undergoing significant change. Specifically, young people are apparentlyplayinga more active role in shaping their identities thanin the past. The responsibility associated withthe freedom young people have to make a decision about life direction(e.g. which postsecondaryinstitution to attend; which city to live in) is of heightened importance(Whalter, 2006, p.122). Ina world such as this one, individuals frequently re-evaluate theirdaily practices — they mustbecome ‘reflexive’ (Giddens & Pierson, 1998,p.116)2.As cultural traditions that at one timedictated the roles and identities adopted by youthbegin to change, young people feel they canexercise more freedom and creativity over the ways in whichthey map out a sense of self(Cieslik & Pollock, 2002, p.10). Consequently, within latemodem risk society discourses oftransitions, youths are said to experience more non-traditionaltransitions both out of childhoodand into the workforce. There is said tobe an increase in the complexity of pathways andaconsequent increase in types of pathwaysthat young people can take as they begin to organizetheir life choices more around personaldesires and needs (Pollock, 2008,p.470; Cieslik &Pollock, 2002, p.8).At this point it is worth noting that many authorssee the risk society portrayed by Beckand Giddens to be provocativeand important — and perhaps overstated (e.g. Atkinson,2007;Cieslik & Pollock, 2002; Cebulla, 2007;Mythen, 2005). Furlong and Cartmel and Miles, forexample, argue that Beck and Giddens overemphasizethe significance attached to howindividuals interpret the worldand subjectively construct their social realities. ForFurlong andCartmel the “grand paradox” of latemodernity is that although “collectivefoundations” such as8class have become more obscure, they still provide “powerful frameworks” which guide youngpeople’s experiences and life chances (Furlong & Cartmel, 2007,p.159). It is within theseframeworks that young people make sense of their own realities (Furlong & Cartmel, 2007).Instead of arguing that class is a ‘zombie’ category which no longer has explanatory power(Urry, 2004 as cited in Beck & Willms 2004, p.lO-ll), Furlong and Cartmel and Miles arguethat class still matters, albeit in different ways and to a different extent than in years past.This can be exemplified by what Melucci (1992) calls the ‘multiplicity of memberships’that characterizes today’s youth. Today’s youth participate in a number of “areas, groups anddimensions of social and cultural life” (Miles, 2000, p.154). That isto say, being born into aspecific family or following a certain occupational pathways is no longer enough to defineoneself, although these memberships remain relevant for analysts examining the optionsavailable to young people. As explained by van Eijck and Bargeman(2004) in their study on theinfluence of social background on contemporary lifestyles, “traditional boundariesare shiftingand sometimes weakening, yet people still live their lives according to preferences(heavilydriven by socialization) that are tied up with their socialbackground” (p.456). As insisted byLash (1994,p.133), socialization still makes some directions/choices (far) more obvious thanothers (as cited in van Eijck & Bargeman, 2004, p.456). In the end,being born into a certainfamily or class continues to influence identity formation and life direction, althoughthisinfluence is less obvious and straightforward than in timespast.The key point here is that young people in contemporary societiesare said to have fewerstable reference points by which they can plot theirlife-courses. Without these reference points,young people may feel as though the risks they face areto be overcome as individuals rather thanas members of a collectivity (Furlong & Cartmel, 2007,p.9). In this respect, answering the9question, ‘Who am I?’ becomes an individual, sometimes isolating task where having enoughoptions to choose from is crucial (Miles, 2000, p.153). In this way, youth transitions are beingexperienced under such different circumstances than those experienced by previous generations,that descriptions of ‘youth transitions’ merit a reconceptualization altogether — one whichaccounts for issues of mobility and identity (Furlong & Cartmel, 2007, p.9).Increased Youth Mobility in a Risk SocietyMobility and spaceWith this in mind, researchers such as Rizvi (2005), Thomson and Taylor (2005), Gabriel(2006), and Jensen (2006), have recently turned their focus on processes of youth migrationandmobility. For these authors, notions of mobility — movement in time and/or space (Jensen, 2006)— are central to young people’s transitions into adulthood in risk societies. It is important to notethat one might engage in physical, virtual, imaginary or communicative mobility(Jensen, 2006;Larsen, Urry, & Axhausen, 2006):1. The physical travel of people for work, leisure, family life, pleasure,migration, and escape;2. The physical movement of objects delivered to producers,consumers, andretailers;3. Imaginative travel elsewhere through images and memories seen on texts,T.V., computer screens and film;4. Virtual travel on the internet (often in real time so transcending geographicaland social distance); and5. Communicative travel through person-to-person messages via letters,postcards, birthday and Christmas cards, telegrams, telephones, faxes,emails, instance messages, videoconferences, and ‘skyping’The point of departure for this particular research project will be the physical travel ofpeoplefor education and sport and the communicative travel these student-athletesexperience throughperson-to-person messages via their emails and phone callshome, instant messages, and‘skyping.’10Within this use of the term mobility is a specific conceptualization of the term ‘space.’Here, the work by Massey (1993, 2006) is extremely influential and is worth briefly highlightingsince the women’s transitions spanned across time and space. For Massey (2006), the concepts of‘space’ and ‘time’ are intricately intertwined but are not synonymous. Time is understoodas thedimension of change, while space is the dimension of multiplicity of processes.Space is thenalways in process; it is never finished because there are always connectionsand relations yet tobe made or not made (p.90)3.Therefore, because space is conceptualized as something ina “stateof becoming” (Singh, Rizvi and Shrestha, 2007, p.199), people’s experience with that space isnot frozen:[This experience] is part of on-ongoing story. The ‘landscape outthere’ is not asurface but a constellation of on-going human and non-human trajectories— thebuildings, the trees, the rocks themselves, all movingon, changing becoming. Itis not travelling across a surface but rather travellingacross stories. (Massey,2006, p.9l-92)Space is then seen as socially constituted because itpresents us with the experiences of othersthrough time and place. It recognizes that whenstudent-athletes move to another place (city andcountry), their experiences of that place and of the placethey left behind change over time asthey experiences new places, meet new people, and‘make new spaces’. Going back and forth,these student-athletes “imagine, conceive, and experiencebeing insiders and outsiders in bothplaces of origin and destination”(Singh, Rizvi, & Shrestha, 2007,p.196). In doing so, theycontribute to a production of distinctivespace which is neither ‘here’ nor ‘there’,neither ‘backthen’ nor ‘now.’11Mobility and youthIt is argued that young adults have generally become more mobile: “they are more likelyto travel for leisure or business pursuits and to move from country to country” (Mitchell, 2006,p.13). Mitchell follows by providing reasons for this shift:Cultural values of independence and autonomy, improved transportation methods,the relatively cheap cost of airline travel, corporate business travel in anincreasingly global work environment have no doubt made [increased mobilityamong young people] possible. Prior to the 1960’s[...] it was relatively rare foryoung adults (particularly single women) to spend time traveling, or for them towork in other countries on visas for a short time period. (p.13)For other researchers, the increase in student mobility is symptomatic of the expectation forstudents to “take advantage of the opportunities offered by global expansion of higher education[...]and to see, imagine, and experience labour market possibilities beyond the nation-state”(Singh, Rizvi, & Shrestha, 2007,p.195). Work on changing youth transitions and theglobalization of education has yielded considerable insights, particularly in terms of“understanding the complex and multi-layered nature of individual migration decisions amongyoung people and changes in migration pathways over time” (Gabriel, 2006, p.34) — a point thatwill be of particular significance for this study of student-athlete cross border movements.The emphasis on the individualized level of youth migration or mobility has lead to ashift away from describing patterns of movement to investigating experiences of young people’smove away from their home (Gabriel, 2006,p.45). In turn, researchers have focused on howyoung people manage emerging differences between themselves and their families and peersafter leaving home — a crucial topic in this proposed study. Gabriel (2006) etal.’s study is anexample of this. Using qualitative interviews with youths who moved for work but still retainedcontact with home (similar to student-athletes), Gabriel explored young people’s experiences ofmanaging their relationships with their friends and family after leaving home,and their12experiences of visiting and returning to work. When reflecting on their experiences of leavinghome, young people expressed concern not only in relation to the spatial distance betweenthemselves and their hometown, but also the cultural gaps that were opening up between youngpeople and their friends and families. For instance, those who had not moved were describedas‘still living traditional lives’ very much in line with family, education, and employment ties. Incomparison, those who had moved away from home described themselvesas more‘cosmopolitan’ and ‘modern.’ For these youths, the social distance betweenthemselves and theirfriends and family grew bigger and bigger year after year and eventuallylead to the dissolutionof some of their relationships.In a similar way, Rizvi (2005) has interviewed internationalstudents about how theyexperience mobility, transition and travel, as wellas formal learning. He was particularlyinterested in how these events shift students’ perceptionsof their identity and of their owncultures. Additionally, he was concerned with howtransnational experiences affect studentidentities, identities that are both local and global(p. 2). In a related project, Singh, Rizvi, andShrestha (2007) examine how internationalstudents’ identity shifts over time, “from theirconceptions of life abroad, through their perceptions oflife overseas, and to their livedexperiences at home and away” (p.196).In other words, they study how the students’experiences of mobility, transition, and travelimpacted their identity formation. Rizvi(2005)paints a picture of youth lives where “comingand going, being both here and there,acrossfrontiers at the same time, has becomethe normal thing” (p.5). This observationis akin to whatFurlong and Cartmel call ‘living away from’vs. ‘leaving’ home or what Mitchell(2006) calls“the boomerang age.” Moving backand forth from home, especially during universityyears, isnow more common than ever (Mitchell, 2006,p.1). Research by Jensen (2006) confirmsthis13argument. In his interviews with young people about their attitudes towards mobility — whichincluded broader questions pertaining to their life situation, identity constructions, and ideas ofthe future (p.344) — Jensen emphasizes the role of mobility in young people’s everydayexperiences.With this background, it would be fair to suggest that mobility is now considered centralto the material and symbolic practices through which young people move from the status ofchildren to that of adults (Thomson & Taylor, 2005). However, it must be acknowledged thatmobility means different things in different places, and young people within different sociallocations may engage differently with mobility. While it has been explicitly stated that the role ofclass in the modern risk society has deteriorated as a social tie to identity and experiences, andthat no matter where in the world they are, the lives of young people are becomingless and lessprescribed by traditional ties in their transition to adulthood (Nilan & Feixa, 2006), class stillaffects to a certain degree the life choices that are available to some and not others (Furlong &Cartmel, 2007). For example, Albert & Hazen (2004) found that international students from‘developed countries’ had different motivations for and experiences of their move than thosefrom ‘developing countries’.In addition, gender may also play a significant role in young people’s experiences ofmobility. What is surprising is how scarcely it has been theorized in researchon youth andmobility. In the aforementioned studies, gender is either not mentionedat all or mentioned inpassing as a descriptor of participants (see Gordon & Jallade, 1996,for one of the few studies todistinguish between the experiences of male and female internationalstudents). In the broadercontext of migration studies, authors argue against the ingrained assumptionthat the typicalmigrant is young, single, and male with economic motivationsfor moving (cf. Kelson & DeLaet,141999; Knorr & Meier, 2000; Noun, 2006; Sharpe, 2001); in fact, women constitute just under 50percent of international migration (Kelson & Delaet, 1999; Sharpe, 2001). Whilethis work hasadded invaluably to research on migration, its focus has mainly been on socio-economicallydisadvantaged female migrants. Although this focus is “well chosen since it contributesto abetter understanding of the precarious living circumstances among some migrant women”(Scheilbelhofer, 2008,p.116), it is also essential to continue the research on other womenintransition if a richer understanding of gender and mobility is tobe attained. The research on moreadvantaged women which I undertake in this thesison female student-athlete movement is a steptoward this broadened understanding.So far, this thesis has discussed youth transitions withinthe risk society framework andhas argued that mobility is a central part of young people’stransitions to adulthood in thecontemporary context. In general, the highlightedauthors argue that the changing nature of youthtransitions is an important area of inquiry for thosewishing to study young people moregenerally in the modern contemporary context. Moreover,that issues of risk, detraditionalizationand individualization are important aspects of the modernyouth context. Since this study will belooking at transition experiences of student-athletes, itis equally important to discuss workin thesociology of sport that has described transitional experiencesof athletes.Transitions within the Sociology ofSportWhile researchers who study youth have primarilybeen concerned with the transitioninto adulthood in terms of issues relatedto risk, detraditionalization, andindividualization,researchers studying athletes have typicallyaddressed transitions with regards tosocializationinto, in, and out of sport for athletesof all ages. More specifically, authors inthis research area15have addressed ‘transitions’ mostly in terms of sport experiences specifically related to retiringfrom sport.One of the most comprehensive collections of research in this area comes from Coakleyand Donnelly (1999) who highlight the ways individuals get involved in sport, identifythemselves as athletes, experience sport, and choose to terminate their involvement in sport. Forthese authors, researching transitions into sport demands that we ask how people are introducedto sport participation and how they attach meaning to that participation. For example, Coakleyand White (1992), interested in how teens make decisions about whether or not to participate insport, found that decisions were integrally tied to the way young people view themselves andwhat they want with their life. Participation in sport, for these teens, was tied to concerns theyhad about growing up and being seen as competent, but were also conditioned by factors relatedto gender. For instance, some of the girls chose not to participate in sport because it was seen as“un-feminine.” Moreover, those who had dropped out of sport expressed feelings of beingpressured out by the boys and family members who did not endorse the girls’ competitiveengagement in sport.The majority of research in this area has focused on the transition athletes make out ofsport. These scholars describe the transition out of sport to be a challengeto the athletes’ identity(e.g. Grove, Lavellee, & Gordon, 1997; Yannick, 2003), career aspirations(e.g. Blinde &Greendorfer, 1985; Harrison & Lawrence, 2004; Lavellee & Andersen,2000; Sinclair & Orlick,1993; Ungerleider, 1997), and body image (Stephan & Bilard, 2003). These challengesareespecially pronounced when athletes have been extremely invested in theirathletic role andidentity and/or lack the social and material resources to enterother careers, activities, andrelationships (Coakley and Donnelly, 1999, p.201).16Coakley and Donnelly’s edited collection includes qualitative descriptions of experiencesrelated to becoming, being, and ceasing to be an athlete. Moreover, and in line with Furlong andCartmel (2007), Coakley and Donnelly’s accounts take into consideration the role that “wholecircumstances” (p.63) (e.g. class, age, ethnicity, gender and so on) have in the development ofone’s athletic identity and experience. That is, while they view the identity formation process asactive and self reflexive, they also stress the importance that socializing agents such as parentsand siblings as well as gender, social class, and culture have on the ability or inability of athletesto enjoy their athletic experiences (see Lantz & Schroeder, 1999). For instance, access toeconomic means may help or hinder access to organized sport and general physical activity(Fenton & Frisby, 1999; Romero, 2005). The cost of memberships and equipment can beconsiderable for certain sports. Athletes considered as part of a “racial minority” negotiate theiridentity among racial threats, stereotypes and discrimination which are structurally embedded inmany contemporary sport organizations (King, Leonard, & Kusz, 2007).Women in/and SportOf particular significance to this study, it has been argued that female athletes in NorthAmerica shape their (athletic) identity in a society which considers themto be second-classcitizens: “the de facto norm or standard against which performance ismeasured [is] maleness”(Creedon, 1998, p.90; Hargreaves, 1994 as cited in Hardin& Sham, 2006, p.323). While barriersto women’s participation have been weakened, and cultural views of femaleathletes have beenrevised, women’s sport continues to be marked by a strugglefor control of both the institutionsthat regulate women’s participation and the meaningsof their sporting experiences (Theberge &Birrell, 2007, p.167). Through the practices of individuals,the rules and hierarchies ofinstitutions, and dominant symbols of belief systems, women’sexperiences and17accomplishments in sport remain trivialized and marginalized (Messner, 2002; Wachs. 2005). Asa result, women continue to be awarded fewer sport participation and career opportunities, andfewer resources devoted to their programs and less media attention (Eitzen, 2006,p.124).According to many sport scholars, this assumption that sport is the domain of men (Fink,2008) is maintained because of processes associated with hegemony a form of control based onpersuasion, not coercion (Gramsci, 1992). In sport, hegemony acts to reinforce and preservesocial norms of masculinity and femininity. As articulated by Shaw & Frisby (2006):[B]eliefs about the role of female athletes in society are often situated in subtleand usually taken-for-granted structures, policies, and behaviours embeddedinorganizations. Such characteristics serve to continually reinforce and perpetuatethe gendered nature of sport organizations. (as cited in Fink, 2008,p.146)Therefore, while the increased presence of women in thesporting community can be argued toreflect change in the composition of sport, greater presencedoes not inevitably result in greateracceptance andlor equivalence of the female sporting experiences(Mean & Kassing, 2008,p.127).On another note, while researchers studying women in sport have donea commendablejob outlying the context of women’s sport more generally(Cohen, 2001; Eitzen, 2006; Fink,2008; Hardin & Sham, 2006; Hargreaves,1990,1993;Robinson, 1997; Theberge & Birrell,2007, Wachs, 2005) and the experiencesof professional and recreational female athletes(Douglas & Carless, 2009; Heuser, 2005; Mean, L. &Kassing, 2008; Mennesson, 2000;Theberge, 1995; Wachs, 2005; Warriner& Lavallee, 2008; Young et al., 2006), the experiencesof female intercollegiate athletes have been relativelyneglected. Most research focuses on thehistory of Title TX5 and its impact on the structureand composition of the NCAA (Anderson,Cheslock, & Ehrenberg, 2006; Carpenter& Acosta, 2005; Cohen, 2005; Gavora, 2002; Simon,182005; Suggs, 2005; Ware, 2007). However, Eitzen and Sage (2003) argue, if researchers are tochallenge hegemonic discourse in sport, research has to go beyond examining legislation:Prejudices are not altered by courts and legislation [;J culturally conditionedresponses to gender ideology are ubiquitous and resistant to sudden changes.Therefore, laws may force compliance in equality of opportunity for females inthe world of sport, but inequities in sport continue, albeit in more subtle andinsidious forms[...].(p.310)For this very reason, this study focuses on the women’s experiences of transitioning into collegelevel sports more generally. This thesis will conclude with an examination of how themaintenance of traditional gender roles in sport runs in contrast to processes of individualizationand detraditionalization which are said to be the consequences of more openunderstandings ofthe roles of women in society.Beyond ‘Whole Circumstances’Returning to general accounts of socialization and sport, what Coakleyand Donnellyhave not taken into account, are theories of youth developmentthat account for issues related torisk society and its impact on young people’s lives/transitions. When Coakleyand Donnelly dotake into consideration that youth transitions outside of the sportingrealm “such as changingschools, getting a degree, getting a job, getting married,and becoming a parent” are part of anathletes’ career (p.201), they do so in regards to retiring fromsport. For these authors, transitionsout of sport are often triggered by transitions in other partsof the athletes’ lives and thereforeplay an important role in why athletes choseto retire.However, to more responsibly theorize athletic transitions,it is important to also accountfor the variety of transitions that are taking place alongside(and in relation to) the sport relatedtransitions. After all, as much as young athletes mayidentify themselves as athletes, they stillshare many experiences with other young people — they willmostly likely move away from19home, will make education and employment related transitions, and they must at some pointmake decisions about their future. In this regard, Wylleman, Alfermann, and Lavallee’s (2004)holistic, whole-person approach to transitions in athletes’ lives is a well-developed model forlooking at transitions in athletes’ lives and is extremely pertinent to a sociological analysis oftransitions among young athletes. Based on research from intramural athletes, student-athletes,professional and elite athletes, and former Olympians, this model encourages researchers toconsider “how transitions and developments in different spheres of an athlete’s life overlap andinteract” so that one transition, such as going from high-school to university, is understood topossibly be impacted by or impact another, such as making the national team (Pummellet al.,2008, p.428).This model consists of four overlapping and simultaneous stages in athletic,psychological, psychosocial, and academic/vocational development transitions6.These stages aresaid to interact to influence the ‘athletic development of the individual and vice versa’(Pummellet al., 2008, p.428). Pummell et al. offer an example that demonstrates how this model mightbehelpful for theorizing athlete transitions:An athlete making the athletic transition from mastery toperfection may beconcurrently making the psychological transition from adolescenceto adulthoodas well as the transition from secondary to higher education.Such multipletransitions might create difficult life situations for an athlete. In additionto this,at the social level, the primary interpersonal support network for anathlete at thisstage may shift from peers, parents and coach to partnerand coach. (p.429)By drawing on Pummell et al.’s approach, I considerthe complex ways that studentathletes moving to a United States university experiencetransition, while also theorizingmobility in a way that is somewhat unique in thesociology of sport.20Sport and MobilityResearch on mobility and athletes has primarily approached the topic in terms of howprofessional athletes who move to another country represent another form of migrants and labourworkers who must, for various reasons, ‘ply their trade’ outside of their home country (Maguire,1999; Maguire & Pearton, 2000; Murphy-Lajeune, 2002; Sekot, 2005). For these authors, sportlabour migration is symptomatic of the growing mobility that characterizes globalization moregenerally (Falcous & Maguire, 2005, p.140). In other words, the movement of athletes from their‘hometown’ to their place of initial recruitment into elite or professional sports clubs isconsidered part of the now increasingly “socially and geographically mobile workforce”(Maguire & Pearton, 2000,p.’76). As so, mobility has primarily been equated with travel andmigration and has not accounted for issues mentioned by Larsen, Urry and Axhausen (2006),such as the use of communication technologies and notions of time and space.Like research on youth and mobility, early work on sport labour migration utilizedquantitative statistical research to map out patterns in sport migrationand describe which sportswere involved, how these sports were affected, and whatinternational patterns were beginning toemerge (e.g. Bale, 1990; Magee & Sugden, 2002; Maguire &Stead 2000; McGovern,2002).More recently, qualitative interviews have been used to focuson how these patterns areexperienced by the migrants themselves (Falcous& Maguire, 2005; Molnar & Maguire, 2008;Stead & Maguire, 1998, 2000). Here, research has exploredwhy professional athletes becomeinternational labour migrants, what they experience, how theydeal with the personal andprofessional challenges that arise and whattheir views are about migration (Sekot, 2005; Stead& Maguire, 2000). For example, authors have reportedon social-psychological problems ofdislocation and adjustment due to the constantback and forth between different cultures andethnic or racial settings (Sekot, 2005, p.65), questionsof attachment to place;7and notions of21self-identity and allegiance to a specific country8(Maguire & Pearton, 2000; Maguire & Stead,2002; Sekot, 2005). These issues, related to what Gabriel (2006) calls “socio-spatial identities”(p.34), may also be experienced by student-athletes who often travel back and forth for vacationperiods and who keep ‘one foot’ in each country — one at home with their parents and friends,and one at school with their team-mates. Moreover, given how ethnically and culturally diverseCanada and the United States are, there is a chance that players may find themselves in a culturalsetting very unfamiliar to home.Unfortunately, and although research on sport labour migration has providedconsiderable insight into the population movement of athletes, it has been produced almostexclusively from interviews with professional (male) athletes (see Agergaard [2008] for the onlystudy to date to look at female sport migrants). Self-admittedly, sport labour migration researchhas generally not included women in its analysis since, it argues, “it is men who have chieflymade up the various ‘talent-pipelines’ which have criss-crossed the world’s sporting stage”(Maguire, 1994,p.18). Taking issue with Maguire, I argue that it is crucial to consider female(student) athletes who, for example, make up just under fifty percent of intercollegiate athletes inthe United States (NCAA, 2004). Furthermore, and as emphasized by Hargreaves (2000),“women in sport from all over the world have been affected by the increased interconnectednessbetween countries, the encountering of other cultures, and the growth and accelerated pace andcomplexity of informational and cultural exchanges” (p.9-10). Clearly, there is reason forconcern about excluding women from any analysis of sport migration or mobility.On another note, issues related to being a professional and ‘older’ labour migrant, forexample, may vary significantly to those of youth, amateur athletes (e.g. having to consider one’sspouse and children in decisions to move, making decisions based on the best salary). Therefore,22and although there may be similarities, the data gathered from sport labour migration literaturemust be used with caution in research concerning other athletic populations such as femalestudent-athletes.Sport labour migration research is also geographically limiting as it has focused mainlyon issues of relations between ‘developing’ and ‘developed’ countries (see Bale & Sang, 1996;Darby 2000, 2007; Maguire & Stead, 1996). In fact, Bruner et al.’s (2008) research on Junior Ahockey players’ transition experiences is one of the few studies to focus on athletes movingbetween and within ‘developed’ countries. For the young players (ages 16-18) interviewed intheir study, moving away from home (whether to a new country or to a new city) and relyingona new network of social support was a crucial part of the transition to Junior A hockey. Themove was a ‘culture shock’ that the players believed madethem more mature in the end because,as one of the players remarked, “you [have to] grow up in a hurry” (p.246).Shifting supportnetworks from their parents and old friends to billets and teammatesalso meant growing upfaster and being more independent for these young men. However,this move can also beinterpreted in a negative light. For instance, Dubé,Schinke, Hancock, and Dubuc (2007)explored how playing in a geographically remotetown was particularly difficult for youngplayers trying to adapt to playing Junior A hockey and beingaway from home. Moreover, Crowand Rosner (2002), O’Hara (2000), and Robinson (1998),have commented on the problemsassociated with rites of passage (e.g. hazing) for juniorhockey players, and the culture ofprivilege and abuse that sometimes existsin and around these teams.While Wylleman, Alfermann, and Lavallee’s modelof multiple and concurrenttransitions and Bruner et al.’s (2008) workon young male hockey players are an encouragingstart in better understanding and describing transitionexperiences of young athletes, neither takeinto account issues around risk society as related to youth transitions. The sociology of sport issure to benefit from this study focused on youth, sport, transition and identity in a risk society — astudy of young people undergoing transitions in both their athletic and non-athletic lives.Moving Forward: Future Research on Transition in the Sociology of SportAt this point, I argue that on the one hand, the sociology of sport has not done a rigorousenough job of theorizing transitions because it has not taken into account issues of the risksociety and its impact on young people’s lives/transitions. Moreover, the sociology of sport isjust starting to explore the concurrent sport and non-sport transitions experienced by youngathletes, transitions which may also involve issues of mobility. The proposed study onintercollegiate athletes goes some way to address this gap by examining how processes ofindividualization and detraditionalization might manifest themselves in transitionexperiences ofyoung student-athletes. On the other hand, researchers who study youth often times overlooktransitions that take place alongside the normative ‘stage transitions’ (childhood to adulthood,school to work, single to family). This study will attempt to addressthis gap by studying sportrelated transitions in young female student-athletes lives.243METHODSThis section summarizes the research methods used in this study: a mixture of an ‘oralhistory interview’ and a ‘semi-structured open-ended interview.’ The use of the interviewmethod was intended to yield insight into how the event of moving to theUnited States foreducation may have shaped the experiences and identities of the female Canadian student-athletes in the study population.RationaleMy rationale for using a mixture of oral history and semi-structured open-endedinterviews is two-fold. First, and more broadly, risksociety research has been strongly criticizedfor “operating on the level of a grand theory, with little useof empirical work into the ways inwhich people conceptualize and experience risk as a partof everyday lives” (Lupton, 1999, p.6).In reaction, authors such as Tulloch and Lupton (2003)have urged future researchers to orientthemselves toward exploring the ways in which peopleunderstand, negotiate and deal withindividualization on a routine day to day basis(p.11 as cited in Mythen, 2005,p.139).Second, and as a reaction to these remarks, the fewauthors who have empiricallyexamined risk society, youthtransitions, mobility, and identity issues have extensively reliedupon the ‘biographical interview approach’(see Furlong & Cartmel, 2007; Gabriel, 2006; Rizvi,2005; Thomson et al., 2002). Sometimes calledthe life story or life history approach, thebiographical approach invites the interviewee “to lookback in detail across his or her entire lifecourse” (Bryman, 2004,p.322). This type of interview is extremely unstructured,where the25interviewer may not have any questions beyond "tell me about yourself." The oral history is a sub-type of the biographical interview where the interviewee asks participants to focus on a specific event in their life instead of retelling their entire "life story" (Bryman, 2004, p.323)9. For these authors, allowing young people to recount their biography "helps [researchers] understand agency and the ways in which individuals negotiate uncertainty and attempt to manage their lives" (Furlong & Cartmel, 2007, p.7). Moreover, it is believed that by focusing on people's current life situations, reflecting on important changes, anticipating future directions and considering the meanings of adulthood, this method can aid in an understanding of how individuals make sense of their lives within the dynamic processes of transition and change. Furthermore, it may help to highlight how different strands of transitions may interact and how these biographical changes in young people's lives are related to wider social processes (Furlong & Cartmel, 2007, p.7; Thomson et al., 2002, p.336-338). Furlong and Cartmel additionally argue that it is an effective way of learning about young people's interpretations of their experiences and of discovering the ways in which they attempt to plan their futures and put together the pieces of life's jigsaw. The Method The oral history method relies upon two assumptions (Chaitlin, 2004, p. 3). First, it is assumed that although "each individual being interviewed has a unique story to tell and a unique understanding of that experience" (Rosenthal 1993, 1998 as cited in Chaitlin 2004, p.3), these experiences are also tied to social structures, dynamics, cultural values, mores, and norms in which the individual lives (Cuadraz & Uttal, 1999). This point reflects what Furlong and Cartmel argue is the 'grand paradox' of late modernity. Second, "people do not speak in random, unconnected sentences; when they relate their life [experiences], they are choosing what to say 26 and how to say it” (Chatlin, 2004, p.3). In this sense, and in line with the individualization thesis,individuals ‘construct their own biographies and identities’ (Lauder et al., 2006, p.21).The goal in using this method of interviewing is to learn about the lived experience ofmoving to the United States as a Canadian student-athlete, get at how and where this experiencefigures into the student-athlete’s life, and how the student-athlete understands life in light of thisexperience. In other words, I consider this in the context of a ‘risk society’, connecting microand macro elements of my participants’ experiences. As nicely summarized in Mitchell (2006):Micro-level phenomena should be viewed in terms of macro-level contextualfeatures, and conversely, macro-level phenomena should be viewed in lightoftheir significance for and impact on micro-level phenomena. Social forcesnotonly “trickle down” from social structures to individuals’ lives, but also“percolate up” from individuals’ action[...].(p.26)Simply, this study recognizes that young people negotiate their own lives asindividuals as wellas members of specific, historically informed groups. My goalas a researcher then, is tounderstand how the “current historical moment and historical processes both shapehowindividuals view their experiences and live their lives”, bridging individualexperience withsocial context (Cuadraz & Uttall, 1999, p.179).SampleTwelve interviews were conducted for this study. Thisnumber of interviews allowed forfocus and depth, with enough breadth to allowfor a discussion of themes and patterns (Bruner etal, 2008; Gearing, 1999; Pummell et al, 2008). WhileI acknowledge that I will not achieve arepresentative sample, this is not my intention (Cuadraz& Uttal, 1999; Belgrave et al. 2002). Myintention is to study a small sample in orderto get an in-depth analysis of the experiences andstories of the interviewees.27Justification of sampleI chose to interview females for two reasons. First, I am responding to calls for “accountsof women’s sports centered on sportswomen’s own narratives and experiences” (originalemphasis, Tannsjo & Tamburrini, 2000, p.3). These calls are directly related to the patterns insport research which have focused on “the assumptions, values, and ideologies of males,maleness, and masculinity” (Dunning, 1986; Hargreaves, 1994; Kidd, 1987; Maguire, 1986;Messner & Sabo, 1990 as cited in Maguire et al. 2002). For example, female athletes have notbeen included in studies of sport migration as they have traditionally been consideredto betravelling as ‘partners’ of elite athletes, not as elite athletes themselves. If, as Messnerand Sabo(1990) argue, “we wish to understand a broader experience insport than just the dominant maleone, we must talk to, and take seriously, as many athletes as possible” (ascited in Tannsjo &Tamburrini, 2000, p.3). It is the position of this thesis that the perspectivesof female athletesshould be sought and considered with sensitivity to the wealthof research that speaks toinequality in and around sports.Second, research on young people has been criticized fora lack of attention paid to youngwomen (Rattansi & Phoenix, 2005). Earlier studiessuggested that young men were at the centerand women at the margins of youth (sub)culture.Furthermore, and as Mitchell (2006) argues, theshift toward egalitarian gender roles which hasproduced changing economic opportunities,increased labour force participation, and the need forhigher education among women hasaffected the kinds of choices young women make. Forthis reason, it is important to documentwhat choices young women are makingand how they are making them.It is also important to note that I have chosen femalesoccer players. In her article whichwas part of Soccer & Society’s specialissue entitled “Soccer, women, sexual liberation”(2003),Hong suggests that “soccer, the traditional bastionof masculinity and the symbol of men’s28prestige and privilege, has become something of a significant talisman for women’s egalitarianprogress in sport.” (p.268). While she and other authors in this special issue argue that the“institutionalized game still represents male superiority and female inferiority” and that “womenplayers get far less and poorer quality media exposure and far less sponsorship” than men(p.269), in Canada and the United States it is the women’s game that has attaineda uniqueprominence in the world rather than the men’s game. As sociologist Ann Hall remarks, soccerhas become the “game of [female] choice” in Canada (2003,p.30). In 2002, just under fiftypercent of kids playing soccer in Canada were girls and females now accounted for overonethird of new registrations each year (Hall, 2003, p.30). In the Americancontext, Markovits andHellerman (2003) insist that “nowhere else is women’s soccer thecultural equivalent of— oreven superior to — the men’s game as it is in the UnitedStates” (p.14). Moreover, they suggestthat “with American football, baseball, basketball and icehockey completely covering the male-dominated sports space in the United States” womensucceed in a niche that has remainedunoccupied by the men (p.14). The substantial presencethat women have in Canadian andAmerican soccer communities and their growing presencein the greater sports landscape mayallow for unique insights into the experiencesof female athletes in the current historical moment— a contemporary moment caught in between, on theone hand, great advances in participationand opportunities for women, and on the other, continuinginstitutional and structural masculinehegemony.The following tables provide a summaryof participation information.29Table 1.1 Interviewee Information SummaryName Age Ethnicity Post- Soccer Degrees other thansecondary experience after undergraduateoptions other graduationthan UnitedStatesCary 29 Caucasian None Professional & Masters (2)National TeamKaren 28 Caucasian None Semi-professional NoneErin 23 Caucasian Canada Recreational Phd (in progress)(soccer)Gail 23 Caucasian Canada Competitive club None(soccer)Linda 26 Caucasian None Recreational MedicalSchool (inprogress)Amy 30 Caucasian None Semi- Masters,Phd (inprofessional, progress)professional,competitive clubSarah 23 Caucasian Canada Semi-None(soccer) professional,National TeamLoona 23 Caucasian Canada RecreationalMedical School (in(academics) progress)Nicole 26 Caucasian None RecreationalNoneNora 25 Caucasian NoneSemi- Phd (in progress)professional,competitive clubCarmen 26 Caucasian Canada NoneNone(soccer)Rachel 29 Caucasian NoneCompetitive club Masters30Table 1.2 Interviewee Information SummaryName Parents’ Occupation Parents’ EducationCary Dad — Engineer Dad — UndergraduateMom — Homemaker Mom — High schoolKaren Dad — Soccer coach High school (both)Mom — CaregiverErin Home — Homemaker Dad — High school & firefighterDad — Fire Captain academyMom — Nursing LPNGail Dad — Sales Coordinator High School (both)Mom — Project CoordinatorLinda Dad — Entrepreneur Dad — High schoolMom — Interior Designer Mom — Assoc. DegreeAmy Dad — Freelance Illustrator High school (both)Mom — Civilian officer, Police Dept.Sarah Dad — Architect Undergraduate(both)Mom — Elementary school teacherLoona Dad — Network management Dad — Bscand CertificateMom — Lab Technician Mom — MscNicole Dad — WelderHigh school (both)Mom — Project ManagerNora Dad — Engineer Dad— Engineer DegreeMom — Teacher’s Assist. Mom — College Dipi.Carmen Dad — Executive Director Undergraduate (both)Mom —_Mental_Health_TherapistRachel Dad — High school teacherUndergraduate (both)Mom — Regional Office manager (BothRetired)RecruitingAfter obtaining ethical approval from the Research EthicsBoard Association (REBA) atthe University of British Columbia,I began recruiting participants. Purposive, convenienceandsnowball sampling was used in this study. Theparticipants were chosen based on theirstatus asCanadian intercollegiate female student-athletes whohad attended and from a UnitedStates university. Convenience samplingwas used because I have connections to individualsinthe local sports community. Snowballsampling was used in two cases whereinterviewees gavemy information to some friends they thought would be interested in taking part in my study.Both cases provided future interviewees. Convenience and snowball sampling have also beencommonly used by authors studying sport-related transitions and issues of identity (Bruner et al.,2007; Gearing ,1999; Pummel et al., 2008; Roderick, 2006).Each potential interviewee was initially contact through Facebook1,emailor in person.This initial contact served two purposes: to provide each potential interviewee withthe basicdetails of the research project and to inquire aboutpossible participation in the project (seeAppendix A). After participants confirmed their intentionto participate in the study, they wereemailed the consent form as well as a demographic questionnaire(see Appendix A). Theparticipants were given three weeks to read over and fill-outthe consent form and thedemographic questionnaire and were askedto bring them to the interview. In a few instances, theparticipants emailed signed scanned copies of theforms. If the participants forgot to bring theforms, I had spare copies on hand. The interviewonly proceeded once I had verbally reconfirmed that the participants had signedthe consent forms because they wanted to take part inthis study and not because they feltobliged to. All approached female student-athletesacceptedto take part in my study.Data CollectionMy interviews were conducted from early December2008 to mid February 2009. Withthe exception of one interview,interviews took place near the participants’ homesor workplaces. Importance was placedon meeting where it would be convenient forthe participant. Fiveinterviews took place in a coffee shop,three at the interviewee’s house, and four ina library.32ProtocolAll interviews began with a basic description of the project. It was important for metogive the participants the time to ease intothe interview and to establish rapport (Amis, 2005). Ifimportant material was talked about before the microphone wenton, I made sure to ask theparticipant for permission to use the information inmy final project. All interviewees were alsogiven a chance to ask me as many questions as they wantedto and many of them did so.Because the interviewees were cognizantof the fact that I had also gone to the United States formy undergraduate education, and because the soccercommunity in the Lower Mainland is quittight-knit, interviewees asked questionsabout who else I had interviewed. In this instance, itwashard for me to negotiate my role as a friendor acquaintance to all of the participants withmyrole as a researcher.In response to this dilemma, I describedthe ethical guidelines that researchers aresuggested to follow (Bryman, 2004). Althoughthis project can be considered minimal riskforthe participants, I went over issues of confidentialityand anonymity where issues such as theidentity of other participants were discussed.The women were reminded that all researchmaterial would be kept confidential.Doing Oral History InterviewsWhile the traditional oral history methodrefers to a complete open-endedinterview inwhich the interviewer asks nomore than an initial question about theinterviewee’s past (e.g. Tellme about your childhood?),this study adopted a more interactiveapproach, such as the one usedby Phoenix and Sparkes (2007)in their study on young athletes and theirnarrative maps ofageing12.Following their propositions,I acted as an active listener (Wolcott,1994, as cited inPhoenix and Sparkes, 2007, p.4).Thus, rather than adopt a distancedstance towards theparticipants as is suggestedin the traditional oral history method(Chaitlin, 2004) an empathetic-‘3stance that displays interest and openness was adopted throughout the interviews. This was donein the following ways.By asking a “grand tour question” (Lally, 2007, p.89) at the beginning (Would you mindtelling me about your experiences going down to the U.S?), the participants were given thechance to answer in any way they wanted, to talk about whatever they felt like talking about,andto answer in any format they wanted. Giving the interviewees ‘answer-freedom’ is beneficialtothe research process as people are likely to feel more comfortable whenthey are allowed toidentify issues that are relevant to them (Roderick,2006). Typical of the open ended format,some interviewees were unsure in which direction to go. Theyasked questions such as, “So doyou want me to talk about how I ended up down there?”; and“So the social aspect as well as thesport?” Following the oral history tradition, I replied that the choice wastheir own and that theyshould feel free to talk to me about whatever was importantto them (Chaitlin, 2004).In all cases, intrinsic questions — that is, probes or questions that arisefrom the interview-were used in order to flesh out more detail,an example, or for clarification (Chaitlin, 2004;Lally, 2007; Phoenix & Sparkes,2007). An example of an intrinsic question is: “Canyou talk tome a little bit more about that?” This processalso required me to condense, and interpret themeaning of what the interviewee describedand ‘send it back’ (Kvale & Brinkmann, 2009,p.195).Similar to Ross and Shinew (2008), an interviewguide was also used to ensure thatthesame general areas of information werepresented to each interviewee (see AppendixB).Questions were theoretically informedand revolved around issues related tothe transition awayfrom home, from high school to university,and to a new sports community.They also addressedissues of support networks, communication,mobility, and identity. In some cases,very few3extrinsic questions were posed as the interviewee mentioned topics to be covered in the questions(e.g. multiple and concurrent transitions). The following are examples of extrinsic questions:“How did you feel going back and forth for your four years?” and “How or do you think thatyour four years have shaped who you’ve become or who you are today?” Most interviewees usedstories and anecdotes to describe their experiences, thus confirming Kvale and Brinkmann(2009) view that people commonly use narratives and stories to “organize and express meaningand knowledge” (p.135).Interviews lasted between 45 minutes to an hour and a half with most lasting roughly anhour. This is consistent with oral history interviews used in others studies(e.g., Bar-On, 1995;Chaitin, 2003; Chaitin & Bar-On, 2001; Rosenthal, 1993 as cited nChaitlin, 2004).As suggested by Kvale and Brinkmann (2009), most of the interviewees commentedabout how they enjoyed being interviewed because it gave themthe opportunity to reflect upontheir experiences in a new way. For example, reflecting on the ups and downsof her collegeexperience allowed one participant to step back and realizethe opportunities it had given her. Inresponse, she said, “Now that I think of it, I am really gladI did it.” One interviewee told me sheenjoyed talking to me because it gave her the opportunityto reflect on her experiences as awhole instead of in separate parts as she usuallydoes with her friends.When the interview was finished, interviewees wereasked if they wanted me to sendthem their transcript to look over. All of themsaid that given their busy schedule, they did notand would rather see a finalcopy of the actual work.Challenges EncounteredThe main challenge encountered in this studywas arranging interview dates and times.Most participants were swift in getting back to me withtheir availability. However, someparticipants who had expressed interest in being interviewed waited more than a month to replywith their desired dates. Others simply ‘vanished’ over email. One of the participants “forgot”about the interview and was a ‘no-show’ on the intended interview date. Inclement weather alsocaused some re-arranging of interviews.Another challenging aspect of the interview process was dismantling my interviewees’negative assumptions about ‘doing interviews’. Even when I described the basicprocedure fororal history interviews, I got the impression that theyassumed this interview was going to be asurvey-based interview in which I sat in front of them with a listof questions and asked them oneby one (Cuadraz & Uttat, 1999,p.160). Thankfully, the format of the oral history interview wasconducive to easing this ‘artificiality’ and ‘weirdness’ initiallyexpressed by these participants.Technological difficulties only arose during one interview.In this particular interview,the batteries ran out and the recorder stopped recordingwithout the interviewee or I noticing.Consequently, the interviewee and I ‘recapped’ what wehad talked about and continued ourconversation after I had inserted new batteries. Therefore,fewer direct quotations are used fromthis participant.Analysis and InterpretationTranscribingI was the sole transcriber in the research project.Digital audio files were transferredto apassword protected computer immediatelyafter the interviews. Interviews were transcribedwithin days of the interview inorder to maximize my ability to remember non-verbalqueues andcontextual factors of the interviewsetting. Interviews notes (e.g.“She was smiling while talkingabout her friendships but was veryagitated while talking about her soccerexperiences”) wereused during the transcription process in order to confirm or make clearer the intonations or tonesin the interviewee’s responses. Microsoft Word was used to transcribe my interviews.Concept and Code DevelopmentI was the sole coder in the research project. I used a “personal intuitive” analysis (Kvale& Brinkmann, 2009. p.278) which is a mixture of a ‘bricolage method’ and ‘theoreticalanalysis’, to develop themes, concepts, and codes. The bricolagemethod is a common mode ofad hoc interview analysis. The researcher may read through the interviews and getan overallimpression, then go back to specific interesting passages. Thismay include counting statementsthat are indicative of a certain perspective, mappingout patterns, creating metaphors andnarratives to capture key findings (andso on) (Kvale & Brinkmann, 2009,p.233-234). Forexample, in this study I noticed a chronological pattern emergingin the interviewees’ response.As such I created a chronology for each interviewee’s narrative followedby a generalchronology for the entire group of women. Thislater became the organizing scheme fortheresults section.Guided by Grbich’s (2007) assertion that “themesmay come from previous relevantresearch which you have reviewed from myths/evidencewithin the area being studied, or fromyour gut feeling, as well as from the viewsof those being observed or interviewed”(p.32), initialcodes were broken up into two types: codesthat were based off of my interviewguide and codeswhich were developed throughmultiple readings of the transcripts (Kvale& Brinkmann, 2009,p.202). Similar to what Grbich calls the“block and file approach” (p.32), each codewas thenassigned a post-it or a highlighter colour.Transcripts were read once for eachcode individuallywhere data was highlighted or markedwith a post-it. This process was undertakenmore thanonce for each code as the definitions wererefined and clarified. Becausethe data were kept in37the physical context of the interview, data that were ‘tagged’ for multiple codes were recognized.This was the first step in the recognizing overlapping and interacting codes.The next step was ‘displaying’ my data. After multiple readings of the text, andconfidence in the codes developed, data were ‘decontexualized’ (that is, taken out of the physicalinterview text) and organized in Microsoft Excel. Each code was assigned a ‘page’.Quotes foreach code were then displayed in Word format and grouped by interviewee. These files werethen individually reviewed for sub-categories, key quotes, and key themes.Interpretation involved moving beyond a description of the experiences describedby theinterviewees. In what Cuadraz & Uttal (1999) consider the first of two phases ofinterpretation inin-depth interviews, “individual accounts are treated as individual experiences”(p.173). Here,the researcher asks how the interviewees view the topic under study.In the second phase, “theinterviewer asks how the categories, views, and issues thatemerge from a collection ofindividual accounts are possibly shaped by each respondent’ssocial location” (Cuadraz & Uttal,1999, p.l’73). This step:recognizes that the individual’s understanding of theirown life is shaped by boththeir situational location (the contemporary momentthat they are reportingabout) and their social location (morethan situational location; a location shapedby particular social histories of race, class, gender),as well as the contemporarysocial context (the stratification of societyand the politicization of certaintopics).This step contextualizes the individualviews in the current historical moment, identifiescommon experiences across individualaccounts, and “brings the material context of their livesinto the analysis” (Cuadraz & Uttal, 1999,p.173).4RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONAlthough the women in the study came from a diversity of backgrounds, allof them wentthrough a decision making process during late high school, all transitioned away from home,to anew country, to a new city, to a new school, and to a new sport context. In addition,the womenshared the experience of competing as athletes at the collegiate level outsideof their homecountry and city. However, the diversity of experiences in relationto these common processescannot be understated. The relationship each woman had with hercoach and her team, the waysthe student-athlete roles were negotiated, and approaches to maintainingconnections with familyand home, taken together, were the basis for aset of unique experiences transitioning throughtime and space.As a way of explaining and contextualizing these experiences,I have divided the findingsinto two sections. The first describes the unique andcommon experiences of the female student-athletes interviewed and demonstrates how transitionexperiences of young female athletesarecomplex and interconnected. I also illustrate inthis section how the ‘career’ model (a modeldrawn from interpretive sociology) is auseful aid for interpreting processes underlyingathletesocialization. The second section discusses theseexperiences in relation to processesofindividualization and detraditionalization.Here, it is argued that while these processes wereevident in the experiencesof these student-athletes, they were conditionedby the studentathletes’ involvement in the highlystructured and contained social institution ofintercollegiatesport.Transitions through Time anti SpaceGuided by the tradition of research that explores sport ‘career’ involvement (Hastings,1983; Heuser, 2005; McQuarrie & Jackson, 1996; Murray, 1985; Mennesson, 2000; MessnerSnyder, 1986; Stevenson, 1990, 1991), the following section is divided into the three ‘phases’which represent the “career-like process of moving from one stage to another” in the experiencesof the women interviewed (Heuser, 2005,p.49).The sections are: before university, duringuniversity, and after university. These reflect the stages of socialization described by Donnellyand Coakley (1999) which are ‘being introduced to sport’, ‘becoming an athlete and identityformation’, ‘being deeply involved in one’s sport’, and ‘transitioning outof the sport field’. Inthe first section, the women speak about their decision to go to the United States and therecruiting process more generally. In the second section, the women take us through theirexperiences of the multiple and concurrent transitions they faced in their moveto the UnitedStates. These include the transition into a new soccer program, to a newcity and country, intouniversity, and away from home. Finally, the third section highlights the women’s experiences ofthe transition out of university athletics and into their ‘new selves.’I acknowledge that the interviewees did not arrive at these categories themselves.Rather,I have ‘organized’ their experiences to emphasize the similaritiesacross stories, whileaccounting for differences within and across phases. Thisis in line with Heuser (2005) whoargues that research on the careers of athletes must accountfor the objective and subjectivefeatures in the experiences of athletes. In other words,rather than attempting to present an imageof a singular ‘career of a female student-athlete’,I present individual lived experiences of thefemale student-athletes in this study, while notingsimilarities and ‘social processes’ that wererevealed during analysis (Ross & Shinew, 2008).40Phase 1: Before UniversityI remember that feeling of, “ok, we’re talking to all these different schools, andthere are any, any, number of reasons why you could chose any of the schools.And just thinking about it hurts your head because you’re like, “well, do I careabout this, or that?” (Sarah)Desforges (1998, 2000), who has written extensively on youth travel, argues that traveland identity are intricately linked to the standard ‘youth narrative’ in Western countries.’3One’sdecision to travel, for instance, often comes at an important stage in youth identity development.This “critical moment” — an event which has important consequences for their lives and identities(Thomson et al., 2002) — is seen as a time when individuals have the freedomto find out aboutthe world and about themselves. As described by Giddens(1991), these significant points oftransition in individuals’ lives encourage increased reflexivityabout the (future) self.Thinking about going away to schoolThe young women in this study expressed differing reasons for wantingto go to school inthe United States. In contrast to media narratives,the stories told by the group as a wholerejected the image of student-athletes motivated solelyby money and sport excellence. Yes, forsome, pursuing soccer at the highest level was something theyhad always planned. For Rachel, awoman who told stories of regret concerningnot having sleepovers as a child because of hercommitment to soccer, going down to the United States wasa natural progression in her athleticcareer. As she explains:It was always a big goal of mine because I lovedplaying soccer and I had spentmy whole life playing it, and that’s what I knew.And I wanted to obviouslypursue soccer to as high a level as I could and atthe time I felt like going to theStates was the best option. I guess I just hadthis thing in my head that that wasthe place to be if I wanted to be a good soccerplayer. That was where all thegood soccer players went and where the level wouldbe higher than here.41Rachel’s focus on progressing as a soccer player was important because soccer was “all [she]knew.” Similarly, Cary who described herself as “very diehard soccer,” said that her focusat thetime was “becoming as good of a soccer player as [she] could.” She wanted to be inanenvironment where there would be other people like herself— other “diehards”.Karen, whosefather was a professional soccer coach, who was “always known as the ‘good soccer player’ inhigh school,” and who had “identified with that for so long” felt like theUnited States was whereshe belonged. At the time, these women’s athletic identity — “the degreeto which [they]identified with the athlete role” (Albion, 2007; Erpic, Wylleman,& Zupanic, 2004) — guidedtheir decision making (Weis, 2001). In other words, theUnited States was seen as the placewhere these women could ‘be who they wanted to be’ andso the move was a crucial step in thisidentity maintenance and development.For one young woman, the decision making processprivileged a re-understanding notonly of her identification withthe athletic role, but also with “who she was”. Likethe othersabove, Amy was “soccer, completely soccer” beforegoing to university. However, due to herparent’s “messy” divorce andher “coming out,” she re-evaluated the role that soccerplayed inher life. In a heartfelt manner, Amy reflected:[It was about] me figuring out who I was. AndI kinda started to be like, “whoam I?” My life had been soccer, completely soccer.And now all of a sudden,myself as I know it, is not — I don’t know it. Andso with the soccer me in mylife: “Do I want it to be my, do I wantit to be all about me?” And I remembermy graduating year I got voted “the mostlikely to go to the Olympics” and Iactually took offense to that becauseI was like, “all you think of me as is thisjock” you know? And I thought[...]the people that I go to school withonlyknow me as “the good female athlete”and I had this kind of resentment. But yet[soccer] gave me all these amazing experiences14.The tension between Amy’s athleticand ‘other’ identity/ies is evidentin her statement. WhileAmy embraced her athletic identityand related experiences, she wanteda change that would42allow her to carve out a new path. Desforges (2000) suggests that the decision to start travellingis often closely linked to moments in individuals’ lives when self-identity is open to question.These moments are often triggered by a “need for a new beginning” (White & White, 2004). Inthis case, going to the United States was Amy’s “ticket out of [her] home town, the scene,thepeople, [her] family.” She wanted to “take on a new chapter” in her life where“nobody wouldknow [her], nobody would know [her] past, no one would know anything.”She could just “startfresh and figure out who [she was].”For Linda, Erin, Gail, Sarah, and Nicole, all of whom also identified themselveslater onin the interview as “sportos” or “athletes,” playing soccerin the United States was never ‘theplan’. They “played soccer to play soccer” insteadof “playing to go to the States,” suggestedErin. As Linda elaborated:I had the attitude that if the opportunity presenteditself, “yeah, sure, I’ll do it.”And if I go on a visit and I like the school, “yeah,I’ll do it.” That would besweet to get my school paid for and play soccer whiledoing it.Their desire to move abroad was not necessarily drivenby their athletic identity. Theydid want to play soccer in university and they knew theywanted to go away for school; but, thesteps they took to get there were not as calculated asthose of the first group. This sentiment wasexemplified in the women’s descriptionsof this process as “a fluke,” “random,” or “weird.” ForNicole, who was a high level basketballplayer but who had started playing soccer lateron in herlife, going to the United States just “nevercrossed [her] mind.” Sarah, who later went onto playfor the Canadian National Women’s Team, always imaginedherself at a Canadian university,playing intramural sports, joining groups,and meeting friends. “There was school,and therewere friends”, she understood. It was notuntil her last years of high school, whenshe realizedthe opportunities that were available inthe United States, that she said“ok, cool, I’ll try this.”43Laughing, she laments, “part of me, even today, feels like I never had that ‘universityexperience’ that I pictured, because I had the ‘college’ experience in the United States.”Another group of women expressed a “non-specific need for change” — a sensethat therewas more to life than the everyday routines of home (White & White, 2004,p.206). Going awayto school was also about ‘getting away’: it was about “going as far away fromhome as possibleand experiencing other cultures”; about the freedom away from [their]parents’ rules(Holdsworth, 2009); and about not wanting to“stay at home and keep doing the same thing.” Forexample, Nora felt that she needed to challenge herselfby stepping out of her comfort zone:Sure, 18 years old was young. But I was the typethat was really close to myparents — to an extreme. I didn’t even want togo away on weekend trips oranything. So for me, it was about getting out of that. It was aboutsaying, “Nora,you know what? You can’t limit yourself to Vancouver. Youneed to go seewhat else there is out there.”For this group of women, it did not matterwhere they ended up going away to school; whatmattered was that they did. Once again,it was not about servicing their athletic identity.Rather,it was about the development and negotiationof the multiple and concurrent identities(Weiss,2001).As is evidenced by the discussion above,the women presented a diversity of reasonsforwanting to go away to school.Some women focused on their soccer careers whileothers wantedto ‘get away.’ Some always knew they wantedto go to the United States while others sawit asan option among others. However, whatthe women shared was a desire to go touniversity andlive away from home. These resultsare similar to Ateljecvic & Doome’s (2000)study whichfound that young women travel fora variety of reasons such as “a newmeaning in life,” as a“process of transformation,” as wellas to mark a break and change in theirhabitual patterns ofdaily living (as cited in White& White, 2004, p.201). In addition,some of the female student44athletes interviewed here travelled for career advancement — a decision traditionally associatedwith male (sport) migrants (Maguire, 1994; Maguire & Pearton, 2000; Nolin, 2006; Sharpe,2001).The results reflect what Loker-Murphy and Pearce (1995) argue is commonamongmiddle to upper classes in Western countries. That is, the ease with which youngpeople are ableto integrate mobility into their day to day lives and career pathways. In this way,young people inmiddles to upper classes no longer understand mobility as a privilege— it is a part of life. Thesignificant place that mobility holds in the experiences of manyof the interviewees in thisproject is perhaps related to their somewhat privileged social background.The ‘ad hoc’ recruiting processHigh school students wishing to go onto to post-secondary educationmust eventuallystart the process of choosing where they want togo. While this usually entails sending transcriptsand filling out an application form, student-athletes mustalso meet the coach and players anddecide whether the team will be agood fit for them. Contrary to the well-documented recruitingprocess of American college athletes into American universities(see Lawrence, Kaburakis, andMerckx, 2008; Reynaud, 1998; Rooney, 1987; Tenkin,1996 for a detailed description of therules and procedures involved inthe recruitment of college athletes in the United States),verylittle is known about Canadians (and international)student-athletes at American universities.While Canadian high school students have accessto academic counselors whose mainjob it is tothe help them navigate their way through theCanadian university application process,no suchformal support network exists for Canadianstudent-athletes who wish togo to the United States.Instead, Canadian student-athletes navigatetheir own way through a network ofcompanies andindividuals — some affiliated with Provincialor National sport organizations, others privately45owned. With no governing body to assure consistency and quality, student-athletes and theirfamilies are often left to their own devices. This results in a process which may look verydifferent from one family to the next.A group of the women in the study (Nora, Nicole, Linda, Rachel, Karen, and Cary)perceived that going to the United States for school was “not a common thing” to do at the timeof their departure.’ This was in stark contrast to now, remarked Karen, when “it seems anyonecan get a scholarship to the ‘University of Anything’!” These perceptions were generallyreflected in the experiences of the older women in the group; namely, the women who graduatedhigh school in the late 1990’s. In 1996, the NCAA published a report entitled NCAA Study ofInternational Students where it was reported that roughly 2,500 Canadian student-athletes playedin Division I-Ill sports. Unfortunately the report did not break downthe results by gender. Whilerecent journalistic pieces suggest that the number of Canadianathletes playing in the NCAA hasremained constant over the past decade or so, it is not evident whetherthis number reflectsfreshmen or the general student body. Regardless, what is importantis that the women perceivedthemselves to be part of an uncommon phenomenon. Their lackof knowledge about “others likethem” (and perhaps the associated support networks) causedthem to feel “lost” or at a“disadvantage.” Linda felt strongly about this:I found it hard on my own because you know, in the States,there are all these —you talk to friends in the States, they are almostraised that way. They are raisedwith that as an option and this is what you need todo. Whereas here I found thatit was like, if you want to do it, you have to figure itout for yourself kinda thing.Moreover, the process itself (deciding where to go,contacting universities, sendingletters, communicating back and forth andso on) was described by this group of women as‘relatively uncharted’ where they felt theyhad to be innovative and persistent. Whether it wassending emails back and forth, looking upschools on the internet, or sending out VHS tapesin46the mail, some women in the group described the process as “ad hoc” and “learned along theway.” With a comedic tone, Carmen described the process:My sister and I went into Google and were like, “University of...Idaho! Ok!”And I had this letter that I had written and I just went through and changed allthe names of all the things. I definitely didn’t have any idea what I was doing oranything like that. I never really hired anyone or spoke to — I mean there werefamily friends who had done similar things or had coaching experience inuniversities and gave opinions or help or whatever, or advice. But as foranything concrete or somebody helping me do it, or writing the letter, orsomething, nothing. It wasn’t — I don’t know the word I am looking for — reallyput together or anything like that. It was just kinda like, “well, I will give it atry” and see how it goes.With no formal direction, Carmen figured her way through the process. Linda, on the other hand,relied on “intuition.” When asked why she decided to go down to school in Louisiana,Lindalaughed in a somewhat embarrassed tone and said, “I had a dreamabout Louisiana and so Iwent.”An interpretation of the why one group of women felt as thoughit was uncommon forCanadians to go down to the United States on scholarshipmay be due in part to their access toresources. In other words, the arrivalof the internet in most Canadian homes in the late 1990’s(Dryburgh, 2000) provided future student-athletes with resources thatwere more accessible,efficient, and numerous. Carmen’s use of Google exemplifiesthe transition from the older to theyounger group.Decision making- where do I want togo and why?After realizing they wanted togo away to school, contacting the necessary people, andgoing on recruiting visits to respective schools,the women had to decide where theywanted togo to school. For Cary, this decision was an importantlife decision that forced her to re-evaluatewhat was “important” to her:47When I was making the decisions, I just kinda thought 5 years down the road, or10 years down the road, and like, I just felt like it was the biggest challenge onevery front, you know? And I think with all those things, that was sort of whatpushed me towards going there.Since intercollegiate athletes not only choose a university, but also a team and coach, theircollege selection process — or what is “important” to them — may be much different than non-athletes. Although there has been much research focusing on the decision making processofstudents, the literature focusing on student-athletes’ decision making processes is limited to theAmerican context (see Adler & Adler, 1991; Doyle & Gaeth, 1990; Kronnert& Giese, 1987;Letawsky, 2003; Mathes & Gurney, 1985). Earlier work foundthat “sport related” factors weregenerally important. For example, the opportunity to play earlyin their career, the availability ofathletic scholarships, the academic reputation ofthe university, the perceived future inprofessional sports, the campus environment, and the reputationof the coach were influential instudent-athletes’ decision-making. The most recent studiessuggest that the degree programoptions, the academic support systems on campus,and the type of community in which thecampus is located are more important to today’s student-athletesthan “sport related” factorswhich were found to be influential forearlier generations of student-athletes (Letawsky,2003;Pauline, Pauline, & Allen, 2008).’6For students, the academic reputationof the university,majors available, cost of going to university,and the influence of family and friends have beenfound to significantly impact their decisionmaking (Gallotie & Mark, 1994; Hu& Hossler,2000; Sevier, 1993).The women in this study provideda variety of important ‘criteria’for their final decision.While Erin and Karen felt that itwas important to go somewhere wherethey would come outwith more thana “Mickey Mouse Degree,” as Erin put it,it was the connection that Caryhadwith the coach that drewher to an otherwise mediocre program:“I always said that if he had48been at the ‘United States Crap school of America’, I would have wanted to go there.” Karen,along with, Erin, Loona, Nora, and Amy, focused on “places [they] would want to live.” In anapologetic tone, Erin remembers feeling uncomfortable during her recruit trips on the East coast:“it was just too fast paced with too much money.” For Amy, being in Michigan was a “nobrainer” because it was a good way to get out without “going too far.” As she jokingly remarked,“I mean I can drive three hours in Ontario and never get out of the province!” After going onseveral recruiting trips, Nora, who went to school in Hawaii, and Karen, who went to school inCalifornia, felt like it was a cultural (and scenic!) opportunity they could not give up. For Cary,the fact that she was able to connect with a coach who happened to be within a driving distanceof New York and Boston was also a bonus. For Nicole, it was plain and simple: “go somewherewhere the people are nice and they will treat me well.”While journalistic accounts have suggested that scholarships are the main reasonforwhich Canadian student-athletes move to the United States(Beamish, 2005; “Chan”, 2007;Deacon & Dwyer, 1997; Grossman, 2000; Paskey, 2000; Wieberg,2006), and while eleven ofthe women were on full athletic scholarships and one was ona 90 percent athletic scholarship,only two of the women mentioned the availability of money/scholarships asan important reasonfor choosing their school. The availability of funding was a factor that, in retrospect,the womenfelt provided them with the opportunity togo to the United States. But, it was for personal,academic and athletic development that they wanted to go in the first place.This finding suggeststhat the decision-making process for this group of women wasmuch more complex than isportrayed in media accounts. It also suggest that issues pertinentto young people’s contemporarytransitions into adulthood (i.e. identity developmentthrough mobility and an early desire tobreak free from the familiarity of home)also factored into the women’s decision-making and49should be considered in future research on transition experiences of young athletes. In addition tothis finding, and as will be discussed further on, it is interesting to note that almost allof thewomen exhibited characteristically ‘individualized’ narratives of decision making.The sheervariety of reasons and the extent to which the women displayed ‘freedom’ in choosingtheir ownpaths is characteristic of changing youth transitions.However, it is important to acknowledge that the womenin this research came from arelatively similar and privileged social location. Femalestudent-athletes from other economicbackgrounds may have revolved their decisions more aroundfinancial availability than a desireto become mobile. Moreover, the extent to which womenof lower a economic status have the‘freedom’ to choose their own pathways must be acknowledge.This statement points to a need tocontextualize research on young athlete’s experiencesof transitions.Phase 2: During University — Multipleand Concurrent TransitionsThere was something really refreshing about beingin this new place, in adifferent country, this new stage in your life,this new chapter, and just kindataking it head on. Embracing the newness. (Amy)Urn definitely 18 was young.. .andso on top of going to a new country, new city,new university, like starting out all new, I was aminority. (Nora)Just like others transitioning into post-secondaryeducation, the women in this studyencountered adjustments relatedto leaving family or familiar supportive environments;findingnew accommodation; balancingfull-time or finding new part-time work (in this case,balancingsoccer with school); making newfriends; establishing new networks; andmanaging their manyand varied roles, of which “student”is but one (Krift & Nelson, 2005as cited in Nelson et al.,2006). The following sectiondiscusses these multiple and concurrenttransitions faced by thisgroup of young women. Whileeach transition contributed to aunique set of experiences in the50women’s lives, the transitions are not mutually exclusive. Rather, as Wylleman, Alfennann, andLavallee (2004) emphasize, these transitions — and the athletes’ experiences within them —overlap and interact.The soccer transition: (re)evaluating toughness, athieticism, and durabilitySoccer is your life while you’re there. (Gail)We all connected along the lines of being a student-athlete because to be a student-athletewas essentially a way of life. (Amy)“It’s way more intense — not only mentally but physically”The existence of intercollegiate sport provides many student-athletes with the opportunityto play the sport they love and experience the thrill of going to university. However,intercollegiate athletics, especially in the United States, have beenassociated with an intensedesire to succeed financially and to win-at-all-costs (Chu, 1989; Dealy, 1990; Ronney,1987;Sack & Staurowsky, 1998; Zimbalist, 1999). In this context, intercollegiateathletes commonlydeal with physical exhaustion, mental fatigue, increased anxiety and stress, as wellas demandingcoaches (Humphrey, Yow, & Bowden, 1980).While the women interviewed in this study may have played ina variety of soccerprograms’7,they shared many common experiences transitioninginto college sport and a newstyle of play. For all of the women interviewed, gettingused to the intensity and physicality ofuniversity soccer, both on and off the field,was part of the transition. As Carmen described:It’s way more intense and way rougher. I guess that wouldbe it in a nutshell: thehuge difference is the intensity on the field — not onlymentally but physically,it’s just, I mean it’s so much more physical,especially — and we’d find that,especially as BC players going down to the States toplay against Americanteams. They were way more physical. And Ifound the referees would allowmore physical tackles and that kind of thing.51Cary and Karen found the soccer transition difficult because they felt underprepared forthe physical level of play — a style of soccer which has been described as “characteristicallyAmerican” (nscaa.com). Karen, who has since had substantial semi-professional experience, andCary who has played professionally and on the National Team, laughed when they said theyadmitted they weren’t ‘starters’ on their respective university teams. They suggested that thecoach preferred bigger and tougher players, and felt like they had to work exponentially harderjust to get to the level that the other players were at. Cary and Rachel remember being atpractice and asking themselves whether they had ever played soccer before.The emphasis on strength and conditioning was also a surprise to Nicole, among many,who had “never stepped foot in gym until pre-season.” Sarah, a National Team player andexperienced defender, recalls her coach’s disappointment every pre-season whenshe wouldn’tbe “winning slide tackles or fearlessly heading the ball.” Erin’s injury duringthe first game inpre-season was a stark reminder that the level of play was going to be much more physical.“American college soccer was about toughness, athleticism,and durability” she said in anominous tone, “it was about how you recovered froma really bad Charlie horse in less than 24hours.”Win, win, winThe intensity off-the-field was also something thatsome of women felt they needed toadjust to. In a revealing story about her transition into collegesports, Carmen remembers the firsttime she realized what it was going to take to be a college athlete:We went on a camping trip freshmanyear for a team building thing and thecoach went around the circle and was askingrandom questions and we weresupposed to answer them [laughing]. So he wentaround the circle and asked,“Would you rather play really well and lose,or play really badly and win?” andhe went around and everyone had to answer.I remember saying, “I would ratherplay really well and win. I don’t want to winif I didn’t deserve to win and I’d52rather give it my all on the field — give it everything I have — and come awayfeeling prideful of what I’ve done rather than finishing a game and going, “wow,we snuck that one in.” His answer was, “I would rather play really badly andwin, because winning is everything basically. You need to win. It doesn’t matterwhy you’re losing. If you lose, you still lost and it’s still a loss” So I think thatwas when I realized it was a lot more intense. They just want the result. Theywant the score board to read, “We won” and he just wanted to put goals away.So I think that was bit of a culture divide between — and most of the girls aroundthe circle, said, “I’d rather play bad and win” — so it was kind of, they were all,after the result. They wanted to win. So I don’t know. It’s definitely a very, verycompetitive culture. So urn, yeah it’s definitely how I first felt about it. When Ifirst got down there.Although Carmen had been part of the Junior National Team and therefore “knew what ittook toplay at the top level,” she felt out of place in an environment that emphasized results overdevelopment. She did not identify with “American sports culture”— a culture which Franks andCook (1995) state “has always demanded winnersin school, business, politics, and sport” (ascited in Eitzen, 2006, p.54.). While Carmen’s team environmentmay have displayed these‘stereotypically American’ characteristics, research also suggests thatmale coaches tend to havemore aggressive and demanding mentalities which areapparently evident in their approach tosport as ‘you gotta go out and get it’ and ‘win, win, win’(Frey et al. 2006). Moreover, and whilethe data in this thesis cannot directly speak to this,I suggest that the intensity described byCarmen may be more representative of the NCAA cultureand more specifically of a school in aState where most university sports are considered “big-time.”In a similar way, Sarah and Erin felt that theirteammates’ intensity and competitivenesswas unbelievable. Whereas they wereused to teammates pushing each other on the field, theircollege soccer environment was characterizedby individuals pushing themselves, and as Sarahputs it, “Everyone was workingto better their own cause.” “We were teammatesand friends offthe field, but we were trying to takeeach other’s starting positions,” recallsNicole, “it was justDiso intense.” Since scholarships are renewed on a year to year basis, and are more often than notbased on athletic performance and contribution to the team’s success, student-athletes may putindividual success ahead of their relationship with the team. Remarked by Eitzen (2006), in thistype of atmosphere the “athletes soon realize that winning is the important thing, not how theyplay” (p.61).Relief and burnout along the “roller coaster ride”Some women spoke in terms of “relief’ when the season was over. Karen recalls that bythe end of season she and some of her teammates would want to lose because they were “sick ofit.” They were sick of the intensity and felt that their mental and physical healthwould “gobackwards” because they were over-trained and exhausted. Having to get up for early morningpractice before class, going to class, going to study hall and then going to lift weights tooka tollon their health. “We would go here, go there, and have no time to catch our breath,” recallsKaren. At the end of every season, “I didn’t want to touch a soccer ball.” Erin felt thatalthoughthe season was only three months long, it was the most soccershe had ever played in her life. ForKaren, Gail, and Nora, the cumulative effects of this intensity weresometimes too much tohandle:It was not a good experience at the end. I think it was literallya build-up ofthose five years: working so hard, having that muchstress on my body, all theschool, and then I never felt that I had time to deal with anything elsein my life,right? It was just like, “ok, I can’t deal withit. I just needed to survive.” (Nora)These findings would seem to support Eitzen’s(2006) lengthy call for a reform of collegeathletics where he argues that the physicaland emotional stress placed on student-athletesexceeds what is morally responsible. Hesuggests lowering the in-season (practice, weighttraining, film sessions, meetings, and travel)and off-season commitments (spring practice, fall54practice before classes start, mandatory off season workouts) to manageable limits (Eitzen, 2006,p.164-165).On top of feeling physically burnt out, several of these players were mentally worn outfrom the “roller coaster” ride of emotions they experienced during the year. It was “peaks andvalleys” according to Carmen:It was like: one minute “I am a star. I am playing every minute of every game”to “I am on the bench and I am too slow to compete at this level and will neverget to play again” to “you’re a star again” to back down again. They changedtheir opinion about me every season. So it was really hard to handle. It was like,“who is the flavour of the month!”Gail and Carmen had a theory that “everyone had their glory year.” Gail remembersher ownbecause it was the year her coach let her wear her Adidas boots.At the time, the team wassponsored by Nike but if the coach liked you, he would letyou wear your own boots. She laughs,“I only got to wear them for one season.” This story reflects an overall themein the women’sexperiences: a lack of control over their experiencesof college athletics. While I will discuss thisin more depth later on, it is worth acknowledging that whilethe women had exhibited (to acertain extent) freedom in their decisionto go to their university, their experiences of collegeathletics were structured, regulated, and ordered. Thecoach, among many others, wasresponsible for this structure.The coach: friend and foeExpressed by the women in this group, and arguedby Frey et al., (2006), the “rollercoaster” ride and the burn outs often hadto do with the relationship the women had withtheircoach. In their study of twelve NCAA femalestudent-athletes, Frey et al. (2006) found thatthecoach-athlete relationship has profoundimpacts on athletes’ satisfaction, performance, andoverall life experiences.55For instance, when asked about her general experiences of college, Gail’s biggest regretwas that she didn’t take the time to get to know her coach and his coaching style before she wentdown to school. After all, “you’re going to be with these people 24/7. You have to get along withthe team. You have to get along with your coach and the way he coaches has to be. You have toeither adjust to it or it has to be your style to begin with, right.” Gail went on to suggest that itwas the “worst coaching experience of [her] life.” She remembers sitting in the lockerroomwhen her coach was punching the walls, screaming, and telling everybodythey sucked. That washis way of “bringing up the intensity” before a game, Gail saidrolling her eyes. Sherman, Fuller,and Speed (2000) suggest that not onlydo female athletes not respond to the overemphasis of acoaches’ power or authority, this can be counterproductive.Cary, Karen, Sarah, Loona, Carmen, and Rachel also hada hard time with their coach.Linda’s and Carmen’s experiences ofcollege changed “180 degrees” when their teamexperienced a change of head coach. Because neitherof them fit into their new coach’s vision,they “didn’t see the pitch” for the last yearsof their university soccer career. This left themdisengaged from the team and the sport. Rachel endedup transferring to another school becauseshe and her coach “did not see eye to eye.”As a result of Karen’s difficult relationship with hercoach, she did not describe her generalcollege experience (including her ‘good years’,likefreshman year) in positive terms.While Sarah showed indifference towardsher relationship withher coach, she longed for a positive andfulfilling experience. As a result, she oftenquestionedher decision to go to the United Statesmore generally. Cary could not understand whyher coachtreated her like his best friend in theoff-season but completely ignored her duringseason.On the other hand, Linda, Amy,Nicole, and Rachel (at her new school) consideredtheircoaches as friends. These womenalso showed no dissatisfaction withthe structure of being an56NCAA athlete. For example, Rachel ended up working as an assistant coach at her universitywhile she finished up her Master’s Degree because she had “so much respect” for her coach.“She knew the game so well and was so dedicated.” Amy particularly spoke about her coach inendearing terms:There was something about him that was just like a true soccer coach. And urn,of all the male coaches that I’ve had, he was a) the most knowledgeable b)themost self-confident and c) self secure and had no problem with strong women.And that I learned over my years is soo hard to come by.In a further discussion, Amy also spoke about how her coach createda “safe space” forhomosexual soccer players and how she respected him greatly for this.She felt that she waslucky to be in an environment where a strong man worked side-by-sidewith strong women.Nicole and Rachel felt that their coaches were their“second mothers” and relied on them formore than just advice on the field. During the interview,Nicole continuously referred to hercoach as her best friend, “even if she could be somewhatof a‘#$A$%”sometimes,” she laughed.While research suggests that personal relationships between femaleathletes and malecoaches are very different from the relationships betweenfemale athletes and female coaches(Frey et al. 2006), the experiences ofthe women in this study suggest otherwise. Five ofthewomen in the group were coached eitherexclusively by women or by both womenand men.Positive experiences with coaches werenot exclusive to the women who had femalecoaches, norwere negative experiences exclusive amongwomen who had male coaches. Rather,the type ofexperience the athlete had was relatedto the type of personal connectionthe athlete had with hercoach (Frey et al. 2006). Moreover, womenwho had a personal connection withtheir coacheswere more likely to accept or embracethe structure imposed upon them bytheir coach.Likewise, the women who had negativeexperiences with their coaches spoke outabout theirfrustration with the control that was imposedon their day to day living.57“Having everyone there with you aching helps you get through it”While extensive research on male sports has shown that being part of the team is one ofthe defining features in the career of male professional hockey players, Theberge (1995) arguesthat women athletes also spend extensive amounts of time together and have ample opportunityto enjoy the bonding, camaraderie, and the sense of togetherness that male athletes enjoy. In arecent study by Heuser (2005), the female athletes interviewed suggested that beyond the lovefor their sport, the camaraderie “made it worth it in the end” (p.52). This is particularlypoignantsince research on the experiences on young people in the contemporary contextargues that withthe waning influence of traditional ties, young people have no one with themselvesto turn to intimes of struggle.While the women interviewed in this study experienced the physical,mental andemotional intensity of college soccer differently, the bond that manyof them created with theirteammates and the shared identity they developed was crucialin their attempts to deal with thelarger and smaller challenges they all faced during their varioustransitions. The fact that they“were all going through that togetherhelped,” Loona describes, “because we pulled each otherthrough. Of course it was hard, really hard. You ache.You are exhausted. But just havingeveryone there with you aching helpsyou get through it.” Karen, could only get through gruelingpre-season training camps because her teammates werelaughing and crying with her. WhenLinda’s team hired a new coach, shefelt like quitting. However, she adamantly stated, “thethingthat kept me from, say, quitting, ornot playing soccer anymore, was the fact thatI loved myteammates so much and couldn’t see myselfgoing to school without seeing these girls everysingle day.” One of the most memorableparts of Nora’s Hawaiian experience was thefriendships she developed with her teammates andErin’ s fondest memories wereof the talks shehad with her teammates.58Becoming a “better person”According to Sage (1998) and Miracle and Reese (1994), one of the most common“myths” about sport is that it enhances ‘character development’. This myth suggests that throughsport participation, people acquire socially desirable characteristics such as a willingness “tostrive for excellence, to persevere, to sacrifice, to work hard, to follow orders, to work withothers, and to be self-disciplined” (Sage, 1998 as cited in Eitzen, 2006, p.53) and thereforebecome ‘better people.’ However, these authors are skeptical about sport’s ability’ to contributeto character building — especially in light of the well-documented cases of physical, verbal, andemotional abuse, discrimination, and cheating (Eitzen, 2006; Miracle & Reese, 1994; Sage,1998). It is significant then, that the women in this study believed that their sporting experienceshad ‘made them better people’. Karen, Nicole, Carmen, and Norah felt that they developed“thicker skin for criticism” and that “it was way good for [them]to go through [their negativeexperiences]” because such experiences prepared them for the ‘real world.’ For example,learning to fend for herself was an important life lesson for Karen:I was shot down way hard and had to pick up my own pieces. Ijust think I am abetter person for it and maybe that’s typical but I think it was really goodI wentthrough getting chopped down by my coach. I had neverhad that. I had never hadanyone tell me I wasn’t good enough. I needed to stick it out, showmyself, showother people I am tough, I did this.Because Karen reframed her less-than-idealexperiences as “part of life” and as instrumental inteaching her to be “what the world is really about”,she perceived her soccer transition aspositive on the whole despite the fact that manynegative experiences existed and persistedthroughout her transition. This sentiment wasperhaps best exemplified in Carmen’s closingremark during our interview. When askedto recap her experiences in general, Carmen said:I always say to people that I meet or people’skids who ask what I think aboutgoing down, I say, “I recommend it to everyoneto go down and try it. If you’rethinking about it, just try it and go down andsee how it goes and you might find59a few people that are terrible and a horrendous coach, but it will give you a lifeexperience that you can look back on and say, “oh, it wasn’t for me, or it was forme or whatever” and you might find the exact opposite. Or it was amazing andyou love it and you know, it’s just so worth the experience... I just find it such apositive experience for people no matter how it worked out in the end. I thinkit’s positive.This is an important finding for work in the socialization of athletes because it suggests that theway in which athletes reframe their experiences (at times positively portraying a system in whichthey have had negative experiences) can serve to re-enforce the very system theystruggled in.This is not uncommon among athletes, argues sociologist George Sage (1998), who providesareason why they rarely contest the conditions under which theylabour:In one way, it can be expected that the athletes would not find anythingtoquestion: they have been thoroughly conditioned by many years of organizedsports involvement to obey authorities. Indeed, most college athletesare faithfulservants and spokespersons for the system of college sport. They tendto take theexisting order for granted, not questioning thestatus quo because they arepreoccupied with their own jobs or making the team..As the next sections will highlight, notonly did the women ‘gloss’ over the negative soccerexperiences, their relatively more favorable academicexperiences also led them to view theiroverall transition experiences in a positive light.The school transition: balancing the classroom andthe pitchSo I would be running in, sweating, heartracing trying to calm down, you know,trying to basically go from this mentalstate from practice and physicalwhatever, to sitting and trying to collect, what doI know to put on this paper todo well on this test. So that was really hard.(Erin)For many of the women in thisstudy, one of the hardest parts of beinga student-athletewas balancing school with soccer.Although it is evident that all of these womenhad to balancethese two components of theirlives during high school, the added pressureof being on60scholarship is what made it that much more important. On the one hand, it has been welldocumented that athletes in commercialized sport have a hard time reconciling the rolesassociated with their dual status of athlete and student (Adler & Adler, 1987; Sack & Theil,1985). This is because the athletic role, in the eyes of many coaches and athletes, supersedes thestudent role.On the other hand, women, ‘whites’ and athletes in non-revenue sports (where womenare over-represented) have been found to exhibit less role distancing. For example, researchindicates that female college athletes tend to outperform male college athletes (Birrell,1988;Settlers, Sellers, & Damas, 2002), they take more responsibilityfor the creation of theiracademic schedules (Bedker-Meyer, 1990), and they tend to graduateat a higher rate than malecollege athletes (NCAA,2005)18.Moreover, female college athletes graduate at a higher ratethan women in the general student body (Harrison et al., 2009,p.88). The women’s stories in thisstudy tend to support this more positive view of the relationship betweenathletic involvementand academic performance — although onlysome athletes appeared to be highly invested in theirstudent identity. Harrison et al. (2009) went on to suggestthat the reason why female collegeathletes experience less role distancing has to dowith the fact that they tend to compartmentalizetheir (at times) conflicting identities as studentand athlete (p.83).For example, although Nicole, Gail, Linda, Loona,and Nora, felt that school was“essentially a write-off” during seasonbecause of time constraints, they devoted extra timetotaking more than a full courseload in the off-season and/or had to complete degreerequirementsin the summer. For Sarah and Erin,this meant taking an extra year to graduate.Anothercomponent of the “balancingact” was maintaining enough energy throughout theday to“survive”; many of the women reliedon their “power naps” to get them throughthe exhaustion61brought on by waking up at 5am to go weight lift, go to class, practice, and study until midnight.While their exhaustion could have impacted their desire to do their homework, most of thewomen “managed to squeeze it all in.” Others relied on teachers who were sympathetic of theirbusy schedule (Eitzen, 2006). It also helped when the women had coaches who valued theiracademic pursuits. Whereas Nicole’s coach wouldn’t let the girls“miss practice for anything,”and gave her athletes greater positive reinforcement for their athletic performancethan theiracademic performance (Adler & Adler, 1991), Gail’scoach “was great” with giving thembalance: “If you needed to miss practice because you had tostudy, it was ok. He treated us likestudents first and then like athletes.” Finally, althoughthe off-season provided little respite fromconditioning and practice, almost all of the athletes talkedabout how it was a time when they“threw themselves” into academics. These aregood examples of how the women negotiated theirroles as athletes and students instead of distancingthemselves from one altogether.“It would have been really tough if! wasn’t anathlete”The athletic departments at the universities attendedby the interviewees all had academiccounselors who were in charge of makingsure the student-athletes’ academic needswere takencare of. This can mean giving the studentsadvice on certain degrees orcareer paths, providingtutors, writing letters to teachers, or simplymaking sure homework is being done (Eitzen,2006,p.l4O). Although balancing soccerwith school was at times very challengingfor some of thewomen, they felt as though they weregiven all the tools to succeed: “Wehad study hall; we hadmillions, and millionsof computers, printers, tutors, every different kind.Like anything youneeded to pass,” expressedGail. It was further expressed thatthese tools alleviated the transitionthat some freshmen feel when theyget to university. Being a student-athletemay have been62challenging, but it was precisely because they were student-athletes that the women were givenextra help to succeed.Cary believes she would have been overwhelmed with the transition into university hadshe not had the type of support afforded to her by the athletic department. She compared herexperiences to that of her brother’s, who was not a student-athlete, and felt it was much easiertotransition because she was “so well taken care of.” This is a particularly interesting pointtoacknowledge as is demonstrates how one transition impacts another (Wylleman, Alfermann&Lavalle. 2004). The women’s transition into university (academics) was alleviatedby a transitioninto university athletics. Had the women transitioned more generally into university withoutthatconcurrent transition into university athletics, they may not have been affordedthe same kind ofacademic support nor would their meals and accommodationhave been taken care of— a bigstress for the “average” college student (Nelson et al., 2006).As a result of these more positive experiences related to their academictransition, someof the women enjoyed school more than they did soccer. For example,Karen “ended up likingschool better than soccer. Soccer wasn’t a particularly positive experiencefor me but I felt like Icame away from the whole experience witha great degree and that’s what was going to matter inthe end.” Erin’s last two years as the captain of herteam “weren’t great” because she began tofeel disconnected from her teammates. For this reason,she began to embrace her relationshipwith her classmates. Like others, she also got involvedin extra-curricular activities like theChemistry Club. When Sarah’s knee injuryforced her to miss an entire season, she joined twocampus organizations which she remained heavilyinvolved in until she graduated. Meetingpeople outside of soccer was important for herto get a different perspective on life. AfterLoona’ s team hired a new coach, she focusedher attention on running and various other campus63organizations where she felt she could at least “contribute” something more than sitting on abench.While women like Amy, Sarah, Nicole, Erin, and Linda had relatively “goodexperiences” with soccer, it was the opportunities, the support, and the variety of courses theywere exposed to that “opened up their world.” Whereas Amy “didn’t pay attentionin highschool” and “went through the motions without thinking about the larger picture,”herperspective and thought process “focused in university.” By being exposedto new subjectmatter and allowing herself to “fall into her academics,”she figured out “not only who [she was]during university, but also who [she] wanted to be.” Erin’sacademic successes caused her to seeherself in a different light. Whereas she said she “was someone whodid things” in high school,she “was someone” in university. Sarah’s involvement in extra-curricularactivities,volunteering, and being on a college campus fullof life were some of the aspects of universityshe was going to remember more than any on-fieldmemories. While Cary was the only womanto adamantly suggest that her core self andher true friendships were based on herhigh schoolexperiences, she nonetheless felt as thoughher university experiences added another dimensionto her woridview. Her degreein Gender and International Studies and her experiencesmentoringa low-income girl lead her to start her owncompany focused on inspiring young girls to beactive members of their community— both physically and socially’9.The cultural transition: experiencingand embracing a ‘newness’It was so hot and humid. My eyelidssweat. I never knew eyelids could sweat![Laughing] (Gail)The flight comes in[...]and you’re like, “uh — it’sso flat. God. It’s just flat.”[Laughing] (Sarah)64Moving somewhere new is often met with “culture shock”: culture shock refers here to,(a) a form of alienation from the ‘familiar’ and (b) “an attempt to comprehend, survive in, andgrow through immersion in a second culture” (Adler, 1975,p.14). Relocation to a newenvironment, as Hechanova-Alampay et al. (2002) suggest, is often accompanied by “a profoundsense of loss [and] intense feelings of anxiety and confusion” (p.459). Adler (1975) alsosuggeststhat this process can lead to “cultural learning, self-development, and personal growth” (p.14).The women’s experiences of being somewhere new were met witha mixture of alienation,learning, and personal growth. The extent to which the women experienced cultureshockdepended on how “different” they felt they were from their host environment and how muchtheyalready knew about the environment into which they transitioned. For example,those who wentto school in the southern United States gave more accounts of culture shockthan did thosewomen who went to school a few hours away from home.Not fitting inInstead of feeling completely alienated, which Adler (1975) suggestscan lead to panicand anxiety (p.13), the women described situations inwhich they felt as though they did not “fitin.” This was a constant theme in theconversations the women and I had about livingsomewhere new. For Cary, it was because “thetype of people who go to [that school] are superelite — preppy — and I say that in quotation marks.But there’s just a certain amount ofpretentiousness about them and that’s totally not who I am.” Nicole,who was raised in a staunchItalian Catholic family, went to schoolin the “Bible Belt” which was a “whole new thing”forher. She said, “Going to Catholic school,I had never met a Baptist in my entire life.” For others,it was the change in demographics. As Loonarecounts, “I came from somewhere where thebiggest ‘racial minorities’ were EastIndians, Pakistanis and Asians. Then whenI got down there,65I could count the numbers of Asians on one hand. African Americans and Hispanics wereeverywhere.” Karen, who went to university in a white Californian upper class city, talked aboutfeeling out of place in terms of being exposed to a considerably large homosexual population.Geographic segregation was also something the women talked about.Cary, Gail, Amy,Erin and Loona all described their campuses as being “in the middleof poverty.” Cary reflected:I think that was very representative of the American socio-economicsystembecause you have the most prestigious and most rich campuses inthe worldbasically, and then you literally walk a block outside of campus andyou werein the ghetto. And that again, that was a huge adjustment because youknow,[as a kid growing up in Canada] the farthest you venture is to [a suburb]for asoccer game or when you get older, to a club or somethingbut you don’t seethat kind of poverty unless you go to the Downtown Eastside.So anyways, Ijust felt like it was a huge shock to me, to see just again,the difference of whatyou know, like one side of the street had versus the otherside of the street had.Gail did not ‘see’ segregation on her campus,but the minute she stepped outside, there was astark difference: “in the houses, the streets,and the kids running around.”What the women also had in common weretheir stories of being picked on “for beingCanadian.” For instance, Nora’s firstfew years on her team were “tough”because she was fromCanada and “no one could relate to [her]because [she] was so different.” Loonaalso did notenjoy feeling “different”:Initially, what really upset me wasthat everyone would make fun of youall thetime as “the Canadian.” Abouteverything. Everything, and everythingyou said,was the butt of the joke. If oneperson did it, it was fine and you brushit off.“You’re just being ignorant or whateveror trying to be funny or something.”Butif everyone does it, it just getsto the point where you are like, “Iam just fed upwith it!” and you get angry atthem!Carmen also remembers “standing apart”the minute she opened her mouth andpeople wouldsay, “um, you’re Canadian, aren’tyou? Can you repeat about?” Amylaughs loudly when sheremembers how strong some of themisconceptions were about Canada:“In minus 40 degree66weather, people would turn to us and go, ‘you know, you should be able to handle this, you areCanadian! Dont you have snow eight months of the year?’ and we’d be like, no!” Othersdescribed more subtle instances where they felt being from another country made them standapart. For instance, Carmen didn’t know how to react when the academic advisor on her recruittrip referred to her as a “foreigner” and Amy and her Canadian roommate felt out of place at theorientation for international students because it was all about “learning the English language!”Although “being Canadian” was something that made the women stand apart, it alsobrought them together. For instance, Adler (1975) and Hechanova-Alampay (2002) suggest thatindividuals may seek our relationships with those ‘like themselves’ when they have negativeexperiences in their new surroundings. Some of the women in this study described instanceswhere they would “seek out” other Canadians on campus forthe “comfort” it provided themwith. For example, Carmen felt like every time she met a Canadian, they were automatically“best friends.”Comprehending, learning, and embracingAdler (1975) suggests that people are able to critiquetheir own and new cultures oncethey have become comfortable in their new environment.Reminiscent of this, while many of thewomen in this study initially highlighted the differentbehaviors, values, and attitudes theyencountered, they also provided examples ofthe ways in which being exposed to differentmentalities and cultures allowed them to be more criticaland reflexive of their own and newenvironments (Adler, 1975). For example, Cary was criticalof her school’s multiculturalorientation week: “If the whole point of this is to have everyonebe united, why would you havea week prior to school where you can only comeif you are not ‘white”?” Although it was hardfor Linda to understand why people felt like “becausesomeone was born a different colour, it67made any difference in that they are a person” these encounters opened up her eyes. It made herreflect: “Ok, that’s how they were raised. It doesn’t make it right, but how can you help opentheir eyes a little bit better?” Linda also shared a story about the role of religion on her team:It was interesting to see religion because I wasn’t raised really religious. So I godown there and everyone was praying before games. I was laughingbecausewe’d get in a huddle and say a prayer before our game. It was interesting to seehow much people put faith into their skills. For someone who is neutralbasically, it was really hard. I was 16 or 17 and it was hard to sit back andsay,“Do you really think this is going to help?”Similar to the participants in Gabriel’s (2006) study who werealso from a ‘small town’, Amyand Rachel were critical of where they came from and how they were raised:If you take into consideration the demographics of where Iam from. I mean, Iam not saying anything bad about [it] but it is ‘small-town’. When I was there,itwas mostly populated by a lot of white people. Therewere a lot of Europeansthere. Um now I mean it’s different. But I thinkgetting out of that securitybubble and then exposing me to what life was reallyabout was an important partof my life. (Rachel)Relocating somewhere new and experiencing cultureshock was an important part of Rachel’slife — a part which she felt was what life was reallyabout. As a whole, the women learned toexperience and eventually embracethe ‘newness’ that surrounded them, although to differingdegrees. While a group of women were initiallyuncomfortable in their new surroundings,theywere able to speak about how their experienceshad “opened up their eyes”, had madethem moreaware of “what else is out there”,and had “impacted who they had become.”Some embraced their surroundingsso much that they stayed in the United States for a timeaftergraduation.68The transition from home: growing (apart) physically and emotionallyThe day to day is what I think makes you progress as a person. Kind of, youknow and you’re building — I am, all of a sudden I am at university, I’m out ofOntario, I’m way from my family, I am living this life of new independence, I’mfree from the emotional stress from my family’s divorce, or my parents’ divorce.It was obvious [we] had grown apart you know? And no matter how many timesshe came down on the weekend to visit, it was still just a visit. It wasn’t; youcan’t recap your life on a weekend. (Amy)Many researchers studying youth transitions in the contemporary moment have turnedtheir attention to the way in which support networks have changed. The current moment is saidto be characterized by a “time-space compression” (TSC) (Harvey, 1989). New systems oftransport and communication technologies have caused the pace of life to become faster andfaster. For example, business memos which at one time took days or weeksto reach theirrecipients can now be received almost instantly via email; business partners working halfwayaround the world from each other may never meet face to face.Larsen, Urry, and Axhausen (2006) also suggest that TSC involvesa time-space“distanciation” — that is “a geographical spreading ofpeople’s networks” (p.1). Symptomatic ofadvancements in transport and communication technologies,as well as the consequent increasein travel worldwide, people are said to find community in networks(not groups) which are nowspread beyond cities, regions, and nations. In contrast to Hoggart’s(1930) study which arguedthat social networks were located withina physically confined space such as a neighbourhood (ascited in Larsen, Urry, & Axhausen, 2006), today communities“are argued to be far-flung,loosely-bounded, sparsely-knit and fragmentary” (Larsen,Urry, & Axhausen, 2006,p.15).“There seems to be a shift from ‘little boxes’ of spatiallydense and socially overlapping69networks to networks where connections are spatially dispersed and memberships of onenetwork does not necessarily overlap with that of others”, contend Larsen et al. (p.1).An examination of the women’s experiences with changing support systems andnetworks, however, suggests that some young people may experience a spreading out of theirnetworks while still finding a community in groups. This was especially the case in freshmanyear — a period in young people’s identity formation which Lubker and Etzle (2007) suggestincludes the mourning of the loss of growing up, leaving old support systems, making newattachments with others, and coping with the responsibilities of being a college student. For thewomen in this study, the transition into university was alleviated because of the ready-madesupport networks afforded to them by their role on a team.Finding “community” in the teamBriefly, it was customary for the women to arrive to school at the beginningof Augustfor pre-season — well over three weeks before the semester started.2°For thosethree weeks, thecampus was occupied by athletes and the occasional internationalstudent. The “bondingexperience [with the athletes] was awesome,” recalls Erin, “cuz it’sa whole new thing. Youdon’t know anybody and you are meeting all these new people. I rememberthat a lot.” Becausethe team spent so much time together in isolation, Carmen remembersthe “instant connection”she developed with her teammates. “Everybody isgoing out and you’re automatically includedin everything right away. I never had nights where I wasjust sitting around with no one to phoneand no one to hang out with.” After all the running, the twopractices a day, the weight liftingand all around body fatigue, “We all united in despisingour coach,” she laughs, “we all becamefriends.”70As a result, it was common for the women to feel that their involvement in intercollegiateathletics mediated their feelings of homesickness, especially every pre-season. Rachel did notcall her parents for the first three weeks of pre-season because she was “having the time of herlife.” Having others to “show you the ropes” was something the women knew they wouldn’thave had if they weren’t athletes:Even though I moved to the United States and I moved to Lincoln, Nebraska,which is extremely different, you know [laughing], itmade it so easy becauseyou were doing soccer and you felt comfortable. It wasn’t like “new student onthe first day of class” — you didn’t have to worry about that stuff. Youwere on ateam and you listened to what they said [because they had done itall before].You were on your way and so it made it a lot easier. (Sarah)Knowing that they “essentially had another family” waitingfor them eased what Erin felt wouldhave otherwise been a “pretty daunting” transition. “Ican’t imagine going away to schoolwithout that,” said Carmen. In retrospect, Nora knows howfortunate she was to have that instantgroup of friends. When she moved backto Canada, she realized that “you don’t automaticallymove somewhere where you have this groupof people, right? It’s scary!”Hechanova-Alampay et al. (2002)suggest that moving to a new environment deprives anindividual from his or her pre-establishedsupport networks, which in turn may cause feelingsofbeing uprooted, lost and homesick (p.4.62).In the case of international students, supportnetworks are crucial in helping withadjustment to the new surroundings (Hechanova-Alampay,2002, p.462). It is often assumedthat international students know very few(if any) people uponarriving to the host country and thereforehave to work much harder than domesticstudents toidentify social support (Hechanova-Alampay,2002). However, the findings in thisstudy suggestthat membership in a sports team andthe private time the team spends on campusbefore othersarrive provide a rich “already made”support system and therefore may alleviatethe transitioninto a new environment for internationalstudents-athletes.71In a related manner, it is suggested that transitions have become more individualized andthat young people feel as though the stress and anxiety associated with transitions is to be dealtwith on their own. Yet, the findings in this study reveal that the support network found in a teammay replace, to some extent, the role previously held by ‘traditional ties’ and may thereforemediate feelings of “being alone” in moments of transition. For example, while the women’sexperiences of their team varied, and while some women (more thanothers) adopted their teamas a ‘second family’, the team still figured prominently in most of the women’s narrativesoftransitions.Far flung and dispersed networksWhile the women in the study did find a community through their membershipon a team,they also experienced a distancing of their old communities and networks.As a result, they reliedon techniques to manage this distance. Researchers suggeststhat with the increase the distance ofpeople’s networks has come an increase in “longer-distance”communications such as cell phonecalls, text messaging, emails, instant messaging,and Skyping. So, suggest Larsen et al (2006).,while transport and communication technologies haveallowed for far-reaching networks,so toohave they “reconnected people by helpingto afford intermittent visits, meetings, and frequentcommunication-at-a-distance” (p.1). What resultsis a phenomenon which the authors call the“disconnection and reconnection of social networks”:People can travel, relocate and migrate andyet still be connected with friendsand family members ‘back home’ and elsewhere.So, increasingly, people whoare near ‘emotionally’ may be ‘geographically’far apart; yet they are only ajourney, email or a phone call away.Similarly, and while the teamprovided interviewees with a communityand “family,” there werestill times when some of the womenwere homesick and neededto talk to their “real family andfriends.” Referred to as “meetingness”(Larsen, Urry, & Axhausen, 2006,p.19), talking,72emailing, travelling, and visiting was integral for the maintenance of some of these women’s preestablished networks. Different modes of communication were used by the women to keep intouch. For ‘older’ women in the study (Cary, Rachel, Karen, Amy), phone calls and email werethe most common way of communicating. As Cary laughed, “I don’t want to date myself, but Ididn’t have an email account until I went away to university!” While phone calls andemailswere still mentioned in the younger group of participants, instant messagingservice such asMSN or TM and social networking sites such as Facebook were used more often.“MSN was mysaviour” said Nora. Free internet calling services such as Skype were not availableuntil theyoungest participant was in her third year. Because the participants did not haveaccess to theseinexpensive or free callings services, and because of the high costof international calls madefrom cell phones, most women used land lines and callingcards. This often meant scheduling atime to talk to their families.Some women maintained communication with theirfriends and family back homebecause this community or support network wasstronger than new ones. For Gail, it wasespecially important to talk to her parents whenher injury socially removed her from the teamand she subsequently became depressed. Moreover,she also talked to people at home moreoftenwhen “soccer wasn’t going well.” Carysent email “essays” back and forth with one of her highschool friend who happened to also be an intercollegiateathlete: “That’s who I would vent towhen I was having a bad time withsoccer.” Even though Carmen felt as though she was“prettylucky to be on a team where everyonegot along,” she knew that “if there was ever a problemora crucial incident in [her] life,” she would phonea friend or a family member at home.Ofcourse, Rachel reminded me, “I also calledhome just to chat. Just to update themafter a game.How was the game, did you score.You know, that type of stuff.” Carmen would giveher dad73“play by plays.” “In the first years”, Erin describes, “you discuss your plans and what you aregoing to do. You know, groceries, or laundry or whatever [laughing]. You are just thinkingoutloud so you can have their approval.”According to Larsen, Urry, & Axhausen (2006), because moreand more people are onthe move and thus somewhere else, ‘catching-up’ has become an indispensablecondition inorder to re-establish social contacts. As a result, networks which were otherwisebased onnarrative and experiential sociality have become informal and hardto maintain (Wittel, 2001,p.52 as cited in Larsen, Urry, & Axhausen, p.21). The changing natureof relationships will beexplored further on.Visits from family and friendsLarsen, Urry, and Axhausen (2006) are also interestedin why people travel. They suggestthat although communication technology has affordpeople with the ability to re-connect witheach other, people still travel becauseof a powerful “compulsion to proximity” — the needto bephysically co-present and to fulfill socialand cultural obligations with significant others(p.5).As suggested by Gail, for the women’s family and friends,travel was perhaps seen as anopportunity to alleviate homesickness and to visita new city and/or country. The women’sparents typically came to visit once a yearwhile those who lived within driving distance camemuch more frequently. Although Loonaunderstood that her parents came as muchas they couldgiven the cost and the timing, she felt “it washard when everyone’s parents wouldcome to townfor a game and you would go backto your dorm with no one.” The visits also allowedAmy,Nora, and Gail to show their parents whattheir day to day life was like. Amy andNora agreedthat they “couldn’t recap their lifeover the phone” and that it was importantfor their parents tosee what was going on. “It wasamazing. It was such a special time forus,” said Nora. However,74especially when visits came during season, life got so busy that it was hard for Gail toaccommodate her visitors:You get in your routine. I remember my mom came during seasonand the timeswhere I napped before practice, I was with my mom andI was like, “oh my god.I’m so glad you’re here. But this is my nap time!” Thisis my routine that I haveto follow to get through every day to have enough energy to godo this, or wakeup the next morning at 5:30 to go do this, you know? It was so goodto see thembut it really ruins your routines. You have to adjust everything.This is one example of a time at which old networksconflicted with new networks; where thewomen’s experiences and lives away from their familyand friends caused a disconnectionbetween the old and the new. So, not only is it importantto highlight the reasons for whichpeople travel and how these have changed overthe past decades (Larsen, Urry, & Axhausen,2006), it is also important to highlight the reactionsor the impact of this increased travel onthose who are being visited.“Believe it or not, I started to miss theflatness of Nebraska”Going home was also an important partof the women’s experiences. Almost allof thewomen went home forChristmas break and summer to visit theirfamily, play soccer, and workfull time. Those who didn’t go home stayedat their university during the summer towork. Thesewere also the women who tended notto “miss home” as much or who did notfeel as much of a‘compulsion for proximity.’ Forinstance, Erin “couldn’t imagine stayingthere any longer thanshe had to” and Karen“was on the first plane out after finals.” Conversely,Amy stopped goinghome after her second year becauseshe didn’t have a good relationship withher parents andhadn’t kept in touch withmany of her friends: “I just didn’tfeel like that’s where I wantedto beanymore.” Linda and Nicole alsoonly went home for winterbreak as they started to considertheir university towns as “home.”These are also the three women who,after graduating, did notimmediately return backto their hometown. They stayedin the United States to workor continue75school. This is reminiscent of the youth respondents in Gabriel’s (2006) study, who indicated themore time they spent away from home, the more they felt that they no longer belonged oridentified with their hometown.While some women wanted to go home more than others, other women mentioned thatgoing back and forth became harder and harder. Every time Gail went home, she wouldtell herparents she “wasn’t going back.” There was something comforting about being home. However,as Gail, Nora, and Sarah women made more and more friends at schooland embraced theirsurroundings, it wasn’t “as easy to take off,” remembers Sarah. Everythingthat was going on intheir life was at school, recounted Gail. This was illustrativeof what Gabriel (2006) foundamong her interviewees: “the participants found that beyond anecdotes[about school], theirexperiences outside the region were of limitedinterest to their friends and family” (p.40).Moreover, in this study, the women’s friends who hadgone away to university(especially in Canada) stopped coming home. Asa result, Nora feared that she “could only spendso much time with [her] family before [she]realized there was no point on coming home for aslong anymore.” At the beginning of college,some of these women wanted to stay home foraslong as they could but at the end it was hardto leave their friends behind. “Believe it or not,”laughs Sarah, “I started to miss the flatnessof [the Midwest]”“It became hard to relate to my friends and familyback home”One of the main reasons why most of the womenfelt their “allegiance” to home changeover time, was because theirrelationship with people at home changed.Very similar to Gabriel’s(2006) findings, the socio-spatial distancebetween home and their university experiencesgrewtoo large to maintain relationships inboth places. When reflecting on theirexperiences ofleaving home, these young womenexpressed concern about the spatialdistance between76themselves and their hometown, as well as the cultural, social, and emotional gaps that wereopening up between them and their friends and families. They had constructed a view of whothey were and how they wanted to live that, for some women, was at odds with their hometownfriends and family and way of life. This happened for a few reasons. First, theyfelt as though theshear amount of change that had occurred in their day to day life wastoo much to compensatefor:I mean all of a sudden I was in university; I was out ofOntario; I was away frommy family; and I was living this life of new independence.On top of that, I wascompletely focused on soccer and every minute was scheduled. I felt like Iwasso consumed with the life I was living down there that it became hard to relatetomy friends and family back home. (Amy)The women felt as though they couldn’t recapture theirexperiences, their ‘hometownidentities’, over the phone or over a weekend visit.For Nora, who was “not a drive away”fromher friends and family, going homemeant trying to “squeeze people in.” After a while, it didnotfeel genuine telling her friends thatshe would “see [them] soon!” when she knewit would beanother year or so before she would return.The defining moment for Loona was whenshe wenthome and realized she had not metnor knew anything about her best friend’s boyfriend.Her bestfriend had been an integral part of herlife yet she felt extremely “disconnected.”As a group, the women also mentioned the“awkwardness” of coming home and having“superficial” conversations. “The conversationwent something like this,” recallsGail:“So, how’s soccer?”“Good, what are you doing?”“Oh going to school”“Oh good”“And then you are just standingthere staring at each other.” Norahated “having the sameconversation over and over again.”These moments triggered whatsome of the women referred77to as a conscious move to avoid “situations like that.” Interviewees in Gabriel’s (2006) study alsobegan to view reunions with old friends as an obligation rather than a pleasure (p.39). By goingaway, the women realized who mattered to them and what friendships were “worth saving.” As aresult some women dissolved ties with former friends while some took a break from thesefriendships in the short term (Gabriel, 2006, p.42). Cary and Carmen specifically mentionedthese short breaks. Although leaving their home town had changed them and their relationshipswith their friends, “they continued to share interests with these friends, and it was this commonground that they emphasized when they returned home for a visit” (Gabriel, 2006, p.41). Theywouldn’t talk to some friends for months and then when they wouldsee each other “it was likewe had never left each other”; they would ‘snap right back intoit’ (Gabriel, 2006, p.42).Going away to school as a transformation processThe degree to which the women drifted away fromtheir friends at home was dependenton the extent to which they connected with the peopleat school and therefore, the degree towhich they felt that they had changed themselves. For example,although Cary made somefriends in university, she felt as though she “never really changedor got influenced by what shewas surrounded by in university”:I feel like I’ve done all these cool things, and I’ve goneto all these cool placesand lived far away and whatever, but I just feellike “this is who I am, myidentity is with [my high school friends] as opposedto anything else. But then Ithink the fact that I have this strongnetwork of friends allows me to travel allover the place because I know who I am: myroots are here.However, all of the other women emphasizedfeeling as though the reason they had driftedapartfrom so many of their friends was because theyhad ‘matured’ while their friends hadn’t.Thewomen continuously talked about howthey had “grown-up” and “matured” incomparison to78others who had stayed at home. As Linda remarked, “it took them longer to get to the sameplace.21”The others were “still 17”:I changed while others stayed the same. Coming back and feeling like everyoneis still 17. You guys are the same people. You are still friends with the samepeople. You have the same interests. They still do the same thing. They haven’tgrown as people. (Gail)The women felt they had matured exponentially because they had been on their own for fouryears (some more), in a different country, in a different culture, without anythingfamiliar to fallback on. In general, for these women the differences between those who had stayedand thosewho had left had grown over an extended period of time and as a consequenceof their diverseexperiences living away from home (Gabriel, 2006, p.36). It was obvious thatthe womenperceived going away to school and the associated transitionsas a ‘transformation process.’They considered mobility, development and change as positivein contrast to “stagnation andpassivity which they associated with ‘the others’ who stayed at home” (Wiborg,2001, p.33). Asa result, they felt disconnected from their peers at home.Many researchers studying youth transitions in the contemporary contexthave also drawna “clearly demarcated line between those who moveand those who do not” (see, for example,Bjarnason and Thorlindsson, 2006; Gabriel, 2006; Jamieson,2000; Jones, 1999). Mobility hasbeen positively linked to the transitionsto adulthood, independence, ‘well rounded’ personaldevelopment, acquisition of social andcultural capital, and identity development (Holdsworth,2009). For example, Christie (2007)argues that researchers often suggest how it is “theprocessof leaving home [that allows] students to constructa new and individual identity for themselves,free from the ties of their families or connectionsto their home spaces” (p.2445).However, Holdsworth (2009) warns against takingmobility, particularly transitions outof the parental home, “as the only markerof independence and maturity” (p.2). While thewomen79were “keenly aware of how their mobility was associated with being free from the constraints ofhome life” (Holdsworth, 2009, p.9) and with independence, simultaneous events in their livesalso contributed to this feeling. For instance, Rachel attributed her feeling of maturity to themultiple and concurrent transitions which she went through:I think going away was huge. Getting out of that security bubble and thenexposing me to what life was really about, and especially going to Texas, I meanthat’s huge culture shock.. .And it taught me a lot about responsibility and thensome of the ups and downs I went through, because I had to deal with it a lot andthen my parents being on the other line, kind of over the phone, you learn kind ofhow to adapt on your own. So I think it’s a lot about maturity. [I meanit’s]amazing what you do when you are in a state of desperation: when you don’t haveyour mom or dad’s door to knock on or someone there to help you. You justfindways to do it. I think I learned that a lot. When I was down there, I was like,“Idon’t care what you say, I am going to do whatever ittakes because this is ‘myplan’ and I am going to do whatever it takes. (Rachel)Going away, experiencing new cultures,the ups and downs of soccer, and being away from herfamilial support network were important markers inher personal growth. In different words,Carmen agreed that it was not only going away but ratherputting herself out of her comfort zoneand being somewhere where she didn’t have her closefamily and friends to fall back on that was“character building.” “Picking up things along the way”and having “so many experiences” madeCary feel as though she had “grownas a person” and “added more layers to her foundation.”Personal growth was the biggest stepfor Nora who had convinced herself to “go out, get out,andexperience.”Linda, Nicole, Erin, Carmen, Sarah, who werecaptains of their soccer teams, emphasizedthese feelings of maturity. Forexample, Nicole believed that the stress and theadded pressureshe endured in the captain’s seatcaused her to age twice as fast as her teammates.She wasexpected to be an “adult” eventhough she had come from a “tight-knit,over-protective family”80that had coddled her. She adjusted “extremely quickly” and has been on her own since leavinghome.As a whole, the data suggests that the experiences of becoming independent and maturewas recognized and celebrated by the women. They perceived that their sport and non-sportrelated experiences and their subsequent impact on ‘who they had become’ affected theirrelationship with their family and friends at home.Phase 3: After University- Experiencing, Learning, and ReflectingOut of all the transitions in an athlete’s life the transition out of sport is perhaps the mostresearched (see, for example, Blinde & Greedorfer, 1985; Coakley, 1983;Douglas & Carless,2009; Lavallee, Gordon, & Grove, 1997; Parker, 1994; Rosenberg, 1984; Werthner& Orlick,1986; Young, Pearce, Kane, & Pain, 2006). It is suggested that the transitionout of sport can betraumatic to an athlete’s identity, sense of self and mental well-being (Kerr& Dacyshyn, 2001;Sparkes. 2008; Webb, Nasco, Riley, & Headrick, 1998). This isparticularly the case when careertermination is abrupt and not expected. In this study, all of the women experiencedan ‘expectedtransition’ out of university sport. That is, they either endedtheir career because they finishedtheir eligibility and/or because they graduated from university.This is a standard exit fromintercollegiate athletics.Transitions out of sport — even ‘standard transitions’— can be traumatic when the athleteidentifies strongly with the role and identityof ‘athlete’ (Douglas & Carless, 2009). Lally (2007)and Albion (2007) contend that it is common for athletesto strongly identify with the athleticrole because it differs from other role identitiesin that it is often formed and internalized muchearlier than other role identities. Also,because of the public dimension and the kudos associatedwith sporting excellence, sporting identityis likely to dominate and subsume all other identities.81For this reason, the premature adoption of a personal or career identity occurs frequently amongathletes.Recent work on the transition out of sport also suggests that the process of transition cantake place over a period of time alongside, and in conjunction with, other potentially significanttransitions in athlete’s lives (Wylleman, Alfermann, & Lavallee, 2004). As such, the transitionout of sport is a complex process within which a high degree of individualvariation exists(Douglas & Carless, 2009). For instance, in the case of the women in thisstudy, transitioning outof university sport was almost always met with the transitionout of undergraduate education.Also, some women went directly into the work force andsome continued with graduateeducation. Some women moved back home,some stayed in their university city, and somemoved somewhere new. Manyof the women transitioned out of soccer or teamsportscompletely, while others still play recreationally,and a few continue to play soccer at an elitelevel. As a result of this diversitysome women felt th transition was very difficult becauseitinvolved an ‘identity crisis’ while othersfelt it was a natural progression into their soccercareers.“I was not ready to be done yet”Only two woman in the study expresseda desire to “keep going” in soccer afteruniversity. These were also the womenwho described their intercollegiateathletic experiences inmore positive terms than didthe other women. In her senior year, Amy was“not ready to bedone yet” and consequentiallywent on to play (and still plays) semiprofessional soccer. Perhapsthis was due in large part to the factthat Amy had disconnected with soccercoming intouniversity and may have thereforere-engaged with the sport through herpositive experienceswith her coach and team. However,her positive academic experiences alsolead her to pursue a82graduate and post-graduate degree alongside her playing career. Cary, who went to an IvyLeague university which focused much more on academics than on athletics, did not feel asthough she had peaked in university. As a result, she continues to play semi professionally inEurope, plays for the Irish National team, and owns her own soccer school. As with Amy, Caryis also in the process of finishing a graduate degree and plans on pursuing postgraduateeducation.Uncertainty, disorientation, and new selvesIn contrast, the other women in the sample experienced uncertainty and disorientation.However, they were eventually able to construct new selves and identities(Kerr & Dacyshyn,2001). For instance, some of the women’s relationship to soccer changedso significantly initiallythat they questioned their identity. As Amy said, “being an NCAA student-athleteis a way oflife.” When that way of life was gone, said Karen, I had to think, “whatam I then?” However,over time, Karen rebounded from her negative college experiences and nowplays semiprofessionally in Vancouver as well as coaches and works full-timefor a school board. Erin, whoat once trained with the Junior National team and “who was alwaysa sporto” realized that“soccer wasn’t [her] whole life.” Upon graduatingshe took two years off soccer and is nowconsidering playing again. She is also startingher postgraduate education. Nora, whoseexperiences as an intercollegiate athlete were markedby racism, extreme homesickness, andeventually a full-blown burnt out, andwho tried-out for professional teams in Europe upongraduating, realized that soccerwas no longer the most important part of her life:No matter how much you put intoyour sport, into your school, or intoeverything else, the most importantthing in life is the people you love.Becoming a doctor or being a soccer playeror having gone to school abroad —all those other things that you put on yourresume — they really don’t have muchmeaning. It took me a long time torealize that and part of the experience wasfiguring that out.0-,Although she knew that she would always be a competitive athlete at heart, she no longer wantedto push her body to the extreme that it was pushed during university. As a result, she developed a“balance” in her life. She continues to play club soccer but is also heavily invested in herpostgraduate degree and her volunteering efforts.For some women, discovering new selves involved a re-orientation of their athleticidentity to a more recreational based role. While they still considered themselvesathletes, theyno longer identified with the structure of elite college sport. For example, when Linda graduatedshe was “sick ofjust playing soccer and working out twenty-four hoursa day, seven days aweek.” It took her over two years after graduationto say, “Ok, I love soccer and I love sports toactually want to play it again.” The time she took “off’from soccer while she went to medicalschool was necessary for her to realize that she stillloved the sport but did not like the structureassociated with elite competition. Nicole was also “completelyretired from it” because she grewtired of the structure of an NCAA athlete’s life.Today she seldom plays structured sports andprefers to be “on her own schedule.” Carmen, whoalso trained with the Junior National team,echoed this sentiment. She was sickof the commitment and being stuck on someoneelse’sprogram:[Graduating] made me realizehow much I value my free time. I enjoybeing incharge of what I am doing. I really enjoybeing able to do what I want wheneverI can do it. I love that sense of beingable to, you know, and especially right afterI finished, I just remember, it felt awesome workingout whenever I felt like it,doing whatever I wantedto do whenever I felt like it. It was definitely freeing.That was a really important thing andit’s something that I have discovered isreally important. How I wantto be. And to be able to just really enjoy havingfree time when you are nottied down to certain things.Instead of being committedto a team and to a coach, Carmen took uptrail running where she feltshe could be on her own scheduleand set her own goals. Linda, Loona, andNora also “replaced84soccer” with individual sports such as running, hiking, road biking, snowshoeing, and skiing;they wanted to be in control of their bodies and of their own time.“When I finished soccer, it was like I lost my identity”Most elite athletes go though that phase of realizing how much of their self-worth and identity is wrapped up in their sport and what kind of a negativethingthat is. (Cary)For two women in the study, transitioning out of university sport was met withregret anddisillusionment when they realized they no longer identified themselvesas “student-athletes” nordid their day to day life consists of being part of a team. In contrastto Cary and Amy, whocontinued to play semi or professional soccer after graduationand who therefore still had the“daily presence of soccer in their lives”,these women felt that the transition out of universitysports was the hardest out of all the transitions they faced. Theyhad gone from playing soccerevery day, their entire life, to graduating and “havingto get a real life.” Rachel said powerfully,When I finished soccer, it was like a lost my identity. Iwas working my ass offat the gym but why? I didn’t know howto make friends because it was sonatural for us to be part of a soccer program andhave friends instantly. I didn’thave to try. And then now it’s like, “you meanI actually have to engage inanother activity? Or do something outside of sports,like work?” That seemedweird to me. It’s just completely different.I have different focuses in my life. Igot depressed my 3rd year in grad school when I realized,“wow, this is all goingto end for me. No more college soccer life. It’sgoing to be completely different”As echoed by Eitzen (2006), Rachel missedthe camaraderie of being on a team; the travelling;the atmosphere at homes games;and the celebrity status that athletes received on campus.Eventually, Rachel got overher initial “trauma” and has since become an integralmember of herclub team and has found a new senseof community among her teammates.85However, Loona who was in her first year of medical school, feels as though she is stillhaving “withdrawal” — “some sort of identity crisis” — because she is not going to school forsoccer nor is she playing on a soccer team:When you are on a team, your whole day consists of going to class andtopractice. You have this core group of girls that you are seeing every single day.But now, you are still going to class, you are still going to school, but you havethat gone. I used to define myself as an athlete but now I don’t feel I am anathlete anymore because I am not doing that: I am not training, I am not havinggames, I am not on a team. I think I’ve kinda realized this recently in mylife.That group of people you shared that common interest with. You couldbe socompletely different but somehow that made you be able to relate to each other.And I think that that’s what I am really missing coming out here. I movedouthere for school, and you know, yes, I am a soccer player, but I don’t haveanyfriends that play soccer. So that’s just weird. And it’s hard. I feel kinda emptybecause that part is not filled as it normally was.Although she has since successfully taken up competitivelong-distance running, she has a hardtime identifying herself as an athlete. Sarah, who has also recently graduated,is also having ahard time adjusting to life without her “team.” “The hardestthing and the thing that ‘hurts themost’ is being home and not having that team there withme.” Although she wants to pursuemedical school, her desire to be part ofa team is pushing her towards playing professionalsoccer.This group of women found it hard to transitionout of sport because they had lost whatthey had focused on for so long and theprimary source of personal identity: the team. Thesewomen echo sentiments that Lubker andEtzle (2007) have found to be common among females.In their study on college adjustment inathlete and non-athlete populations, the authorscontendthat for females, “relationships are historicallyviewed as an important part of one’sworidviewand are linked to one’s own identity”(p.473). Moreover, peer group support is alsoseen as animportant part of female adjustment totransitions. Therefore, just as the transition intocollegeathletics was found to be alleviatedby the existence of a “ready-made” supportnetwork, the86transition out of sport and out of such a peer group triggered an identity crisis. Thisis no surpriseconsidering most of the women described their best memories or their best experiencesas thosewith the team: the talks they would have, the pre-seasonand road-trip bonding and the sheeramount of time they spent together played heavily in their experiencesof university.In summary, some of the women in the group experienced a relatively‘stress free’transition out of university sport. Their more positive experiences oftransition were perhapslinked to the fact that they still play soccer at a high levelwhere a strong sense of communityand athletic identity reinforcement is common. Thesecond group of women experienced initialshock but were able to re-establish (albeit in a different way)their identities as athletes. For somethis entailed a re-evaluation of the role that competitivesoccer played in their life. For others thismeant completely forgoing any structuredenvironment and taking up individual sports instead.This group managed to balance their athleticidentity with other parts of their lives. Forthe lastgroup of women the transition outof sport was particularly difficult becausethey still identifiedstrongly with their athletic identity — one whichwas based on being part of a team. Althoughthisgroup of women tried to supplementtheir feeling of loss and identity crisis bytaking up othersports and focusing on school or work, theydid not fulfilled.These findings support research whichsuggests that transitioning out ofsport is acomplex and context dependent process.While some athletes find the transitionout of sportextremely difficult, others suggestthat it is ‘just another transition’ in theirlife — one whichallows them to explore new interests.Research on female athletes hasparticularly argued thattransitioning out of sportis not necessarily as traumatic to an athlete’sidentity and that thecontext of the transition (e.g. female,male, amateur, professional) shouldbe discussed (seeDouglas & Carless, 2009;Young et al., 2006).87Individualization and DetraditionalizationAs noted previously, in the modern contemporary context young people (especially thoseundergoing transitions) are said to have become the makers of their own futures; their paths areno longer mapped out for them as they were for past generations. As such, their own agencymore so than their reliance on traditional ties, is said to determine their future (Skelton, 2002).This paints a picture of “increased independence, self-determination, and self-realization”(Miles, 2000, p.68).However, and as I discuss in the following section, for the group of female athletesin thisstudy, this picture is not as clear. While the women did feel on their own and incharge of theirown life (especially with regards to mobility) their place inorganized college sport and itsassociated ‘community’ served as a “powerful framework”(Furlong & Cartmel, 2007) whichguided their experiences and identity formation.“It’s my life” — “That’s what I wanted to do”Contemporary patterns of transitions among young adults suggest that theindividual hasincreasingly gained some freedom to choose and create hisor her own lifestyles duringtransitional events (Lauder et al., 2006). This sense ofpersonal choice was especially evident inthe way these women spoke about the decisions theymade regarding going down to the UnitedStates for school. They felt as though theyhad the freedom to decide whether or not they wantedto go away to school and where they would endup.“I needed to go” emphasized the self-described“sheltered” Karen. Although Noradescribed herself as a ‘dependent homebody’, she“wanted to do it, would love to do it,so didit.” Cary, who has “always beensort of strong willed”, “always knew what she wantedto do.”88She made her decision when her father was away because she knew that he would try to exert asmuch influence on her decision as possible:He was so pissed when he came home but I knew I just had to make thatdecision before he came back. I really knew that’s where I wanted to go and thatI would regret it if I didn’t go. I felt strongly that it was my life and I was goingto do whatever I felt was going to help me achieve my goals.Similarly, Erin’s mother “knew it wasn’t her life” — it was Erin’s. Her mother’s friends “couldn’tbelieve” that she had let Erin go away: “they would be afraid I would find someone and marryand never come home.” However, Erin’ s mother felt as though “those are the things you can’tcontrol and that’s not my decision to make.” Carmen’s parents encouraged herto do what shewanted: “It will work out if you want it to. We will support your decision” theysaid. WhenRachel was forced to transfer soccer programs after her first year, she thought:“I was going todo whatever it took because it was ‘my plan’.”For this group of women, decision making was an individualtask. However, for someauthors (e.g. Cieslik & Pollock, 2008; Jensen, 2006), it is highlydebated whether or not thisboundless freedom of choice is beneficial to young people’s journeysinto adulthood. On the onehand, this individualization of transitions presentsyoung people with new opportunities toexperiment with their social identities and lifestyles (Polhemus,1999; Muggleton, 2000 as citedin Cieslik & Pollock, 2008). On the other hand, it createsnew dilemmas about how they shouldconstruct their biographies. For instance, while all theseoptions offer freedom of choice they canalso be a source of confusion since they make it hardto decide which choice is the ‘right’ choice(Jensen, 2006,p.347; Melucci, 1992, as cited in Miles, 2000, p.154).In contrast to the womenabove who ‘enjoyed’ the freedom associatedwith the individualization of transitions,Sarahthought it was a “scary’ process becauseof the range of options she was given. “At least”shesays, “I knew I wanted to play soccerso that’s what I based my decision on.” Coming outof89university, however, playing soccer is no longer Sarah’s goal. She is caught in a decision making“frenzy” which she finds stressful:Do I want to go to school? Do I want to travel? Do I want to play pro soccer? DoI want to get a job or do I want to go to medical school? They are all socompletely different! And I am not sure exactly what I want to do!”Although she sometimes takes individual responsibility for her problems, and feels as though herdecisions are “the worst in the world,” Sarah suggested that she looks to other people for supportand comfort. She attributed her “passion for community and support networks” to the fact thatshe developed an intense bond with her teammates at school. As a result of graduating, however,Sarah had lost this community and now feels “on her own” in her decision making — a feelingshe attributed to “today’s society.”“On my own in the real world”One of the main arguments in research on youth transition in the modem contemporarycontext is that youth feel as though they have to undergosignificant transitions on their owninstead of as members of groups (Furlong & Cartmel, 2007). Withinthe women’s narratives,however, was a constant dialectic between being “ontheir own” and “alone” at university, andtheir most cherished memories of the built-in support networkof friends and confidants they hadas part of a team. For some this was their teammates, forothers their coach. Many of the womengave lengthy stories about the memories they had withtheir team and spoke about the team interms of a “second family.” However,throughout the women’s narratives, a distinction arosebetween “being alone” and “being onyour own.” The women never felt alone because they wereconstantly surrounded by teammates: “I neverhad a night where I couldn’t call someone up to dosomething,” said Linda. Yet, they felt“on their own.”90Although the women maintained contact with their friends and family at home throughcommunicative travel (i.e. phone calls, emailing, instant messaging, and skyping)as well asthrough physical travel (either going home or having family members and friends visit them atschool), the women felt “on their own.” For example, although Nora’s parents were “ontheother [phone]line”, she had to “figure it out” by herself. Even though Erinspoke in great lengthsabout how important it was to have those weekly conversations withher parents, she felt asthough she was “fending for herself.” Moreover, Nicole, who developedmany new friendshipsduring university, still described herself as an “orphan”because she was away from her parents.“When you don’t have your mom or dad’s door to knockon or someone there to help you, youjust find a way to do it on your own”, stressed Rachel.Being physically distanced from theirfamily, friends, and/or “the familiar” causedthe women to feel “on their own.”However, there was also a conviction amongthe group of women that “being on yourown” was what the “real world was about”. Having continuoushelp from family and friends wasnot going to last their whole life. Theywould eventually “figure it out” but going away touniversity allowed them to do it sooner.Nora described her “realization”:I was kind of brought up in a littlebubble and my mom always mademe feellike everyone was good and everyone wantedthe best for you. And that wasprobably the hardest thing there. Was learningthat you are fighting for yourself.And when you’re in the real world,and you don’t have any family, youhave tobe really strong just to get by and survive.Rachel also described “gettingout of that security bubble” (home)and realizing “what life wasreally about.” It was about “responsibility”and “adapting on your own”; it wasabout “survival”and being “strong and confident”for Nora; it was about “takingcare of yourself’ for Nicole; itwas about “fending for yourself’for Erin. Karen and Gail believedthat life was about picking up91their own pieces in moments of adversity and conflict. It was about personal responsibility forLinda: “It was hard [going through all those transitions] but I put myself there.”Freedom vs the Way of Life of an NCAA Athlete[Today’s young people] are no longer obliged to do what a particular group is doing but canlegitimately choose to do their own thing (Miles, 2000, p.68)While Miles (2000) suggests that people have been freed to some extent from theconstraints associated with traditional ties, the findings in this study suggest thatby theirmembership in the NCAA, intercollegiate student-athletes’freedom to do their own thing istempered. As independent as the women may have become,and as much as they may havedescribed their journey “on their own,” they werealso part of a highly structured environment(Eitzen, 2006).Reactions to this highly structured environment variedamong the women. Some lovedthe environment while some grew tired of its rigidity.For instance, Cary “loved” her life “in thesense that it was structured with soccer;you had people to play with, the weight training, and thephysiotherapist, and the good coaching.” Amy also enjoyed“setting the alarm, putting on [her]stuff, and walking to the change room.”Others like Karen felt like they could never “catchtheirbreath.” Her day to day life was structuredfrom the minute she woke up to the minute shewentto bed: “it was all like ‘get up,go, go here, go there” mentioned Karen. Nicole gaveparticularlyvivid examples of how “restricted”her life was:We practiced twice a day and we hadto watch film. Our life was pretty muchsoccer. So socially, our coachessaid there were three important “s’s”.There wasschool, soccer, then social. Those werethe things that we had to follow.So wehad curfew at 10:30. They’dcome and check on us. Noboys in the rooms. Whenyou have scholarships, they make surethat you live in the athletic dorms. Thenwhen you moved off campus,there were more restrictions. So theyhad specialmeals for us, they could check ourcafeteria, to make sure we wereeating, and92how often we were eating. Everything was very, very planned out. So theyweighed us, they did everything. They monitored us like crazy.Although not all of the women were “monitored like crazy” theydid describe their day to daylives as “packed” and “scheduled.” Their descriptions providea unique perspectives on whatmany researchers have considered the “old way of life”where people’s experiences were“contained, ordered, and regulated” (Beck & Willms,2004, p.8).935CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONSBy interviewing Canadian female student-athletes about how their identities andexperiences were shaped by their move to the United States and by describing and discussingthewomen’s pathways through their careers as intercollegiate athletes, the complex andinterconnected nature of their experiences were highlighted.Not only did these careers involvemore ‘standard’ youth transitions (e.g. moving away from home, movinginto a new culturalenvironment, and going to university), they also involvedsuch sport-related transitions asmoving to the next level of competition, playingunder a new coach and with a new team, andadjusting to a new ‘style’ of play.Key findings from this study were described in relationto literature on: (1) transitionexperiences and socialization in and through sport; and (2) individualizationanddetraditionalization processes. Prominent results andthemes that emerged in this context include:the women’s decisions to attend college were framedby an interrelated set of sport-relatedfactors (e.g. a desire to pursue their sportat the ‘highest level’ and to play in the ‘bestenvironment’) and non-sport factors(e.g. a desire to develop their identity through mobilityandto break free from the familiarity of home);transition experiences were complex and contextdependent and were influenced by sport-relatedfactors (e.g. relationship with the coach andteammates as well as the adjustment toa ‘new style of play’ and sport mentality)and non-sportfactors (e.g. academic support received,degree of culture shock and feelingsof ‘fitting in, andextent of homesickness); the womenused diverse strategies to deal withtheir disconnection from94home (e.g. decreasing pre-established ties, using various communication technologies to ‘stay intouch’, and visiting home during breaks); and negative experiences were reframed into positiveones and were contextualized in terms of ‘life experiences’ (e.g. in terms of ‘character-development’). Speaking more generally, these insights into the career of an intercollegiateathlete not only allowed for a richer understanding of the socialization processes of youngathletes, they also presented novel thinking about ways that work on ‘risk society’ explains theexperiences of geographically young and mobile athletes. For example, the student-athletes inthis study experienced processes of individualization (e.g. in their decision-making, aroundeducation, in their mobility pattern and relationship with home and family),but the structure ofthe sports team provided some of the stabilizing influences thought to be lost ina ‘risk society.’Contributions to the Sociology of SportThis study worked within and moved beyond a tradition of research in the sociologyofsport that focused on the socialization experiences ofathletes (see Coakley and Donnelly, 1999),on transitions in athletes’ lives (see Wylleman, Alfermann& Lavallee, 2004) and on the careersof female athletes (see Heuser, 2005). The study didthis in three ways in particular. First, thestudy focused on the sport and non-sport transitions experiencedby athletes along theirpostsecondary education-related career pathwaysand in doing so gave voice to the experiencesof Canadian intercollegiate athletes.Unlike sports journalists, who commonly interviewprospective student-athletes before their ‘big movesouth’, this study included interviews withstudent-athletes after their careers hadended. In these interviews, the student-athletes sharedtheir experiences along their careerpath and were able to reflect upon these experiencesas theyrelate to their identities.95The implications from the findings reveal that the student-athlete experience is muchmore complex than has previously been described. For instance, one of the most significantfindings in the study is that the experiences related to moving away from home, moving intoanew environment, and moving into post-secondary education were just as meaningful in theidentity formation of the young women as ‘becoming an NCAA athlete.’These other factorsimpacted the decisions these women made about going to schoolabroad, which school theychose, how much they enjoyed their time in the UnitedStates, and how they transitioned out ofstudent and intercollegiate athlete roles. Significantly then, and whilethe media accountsuncovered in my research paint a picture of the student-athlete focusedsolely on athletic goals,the women’s accounts in this study suggest thatstudent-athlete experiences and identities arerelated to the multiple and concurrent transitionsthey go through. These accounts also suggestthat Canadian student-athletes movingdomestically may also encounter similar experiencestothose who cross borders (e.g. missing home,adjusting to living ‘on your own’, and gainingindependence). While crossing the border might haveplayed a significant role in the women’sinterpretations of their experiences‘away from home’ (e.g. increased feelingsof ‘not fitting in’,increased desire to come home),student-athletes moving across the country,across the province,or even across town may have many ofthe same experiences. This would suggestthat mediareports should also pay attention to the multipleand concurrent transitions facedby athletes onCanadian intercollegiate athletic teams.Second, by attending to issues relatedto the female athletes’ movement awayfrom home,this study extends workon sport transitions to include conceptualizationsof mobility. Previousresearch conceptualized the physicalmovement of athletes from one placeto another as a formof labour migration (see Maguire, 1994),focusing mostly on economic reasonsfor movement96(i.e. salary) and largely excluding amateurs and female athletes. However, this study’s findingssuggest that the women’s movement involved more than economic motivations (e.g.scholarships). Rather, a constant reshaping of identities, of support networks, and of relationshipsfigured prominently in the women’s experiences. Strategies were required to deal with thedisconnection from home: communication technologies such as Skype, instant messaging andemail, as well as visits back home played a significant role the women’s ability to manage newand ‘pre-established’ support networks. By accounting for the multiple consequences of andcontexts of mobility, this study pushes sport sociologists to broaden their understandings of whatit means for athletes to move away — an understand which includes new ideasabout the identitydevelopment of young female athletes.Third, this study supports research which highlights women’spositive (e.g. Blinde, Taub,& Han, 1993; Mennesson, 2000; Wachs, 2005) and negative experiencesin sport (e.g.Hargreaves, 1990; Messner, 2002; Theberge & Birrell,2007). What is more significant is that theresults reveal how the women glossed over theirnegative experiences as part of their ‘characterdevelopment’ and ‘life experiences’. Although thedata cannot determine whether or not genderplayed a role in the women’s experiences, what is importantis that by reframing theirexperiences, the women consented to a system whichhas traditionally been oppressive to femaleathletes (Hall, 2002). Other authors have alsofound that female athletes and/or females workingin the sport environment who do not directlyexperience discrimination, belittlement, or sexismhave a tendency to consent to the status quo (Hardinand Sham, 2006; Tomlinson, 1997).Significantly then, the women’s narrativessuggest that it is important to recognize therelationship between experiences and the structuralconditions under which they exist.97Contributions to an Understanding of Youth, Transition, and RiskSocietyThis study also complimented and provided a new context for the application of researchby authors such as Furlong and Carmel (2007), Miles, 2000), and Mitchell (2006) on risk societyand young people’s transition experiences. This study didso in three distinct ways. First, it iswell argued that one of the consequences of an individualized society is the dismantlingoftraditional support networks and that young people have toturn to themselves and to loosely-bound informal and/or temporary support networks (Miles, 2000). However, theexperiences ofthe women in this study suggest that participation inintercollegiate athletics may have providedsupport networks best described within ‘older’ modelsof social relations. For example, thewomen in this study were constantly surroundedby, and looked for support from, theirteammates and other athletes who were goingthrough tribulations of their own. In some cases,this support network was so strongthat it replaced the “family” — one of the most ‘traditional’support networks. As such, the results suggestthat the student-athletes experience processes ofindividualization (e.g. in their decision-making, aroundeducation, in their mobility patterns andrelationships with home and family),but that the structure of the sports team providedsome ofthe stabilizing influences thought tobe lost in a ‘risk society.’Second, it is also contended that in the industrialera people’s experiences were“contained, ordered, and regulated”(Beck & Willms, 2004, p.8) and that oneof the definingcharacteristics of the contemporarymoment is the dissolution of this order.However, the resultsin this study reveal that intercollegiateathletes experience both containment andfreedom. Whilethe women experienced freedomin terms of deciding to move away toschool and to take-onnew experiences and challenges,their lives were heavily structuredand regulated (e.g. regulationof daily routine, diet, academics andmobility). This finding suggests thatthe context of98transitions is crucial when assessing the extent to which individualization anddetraditionalization processes are at work.Third, women are said to have benefited from processes of detraditionalization andindividualization as these have pushed a ‘progressive’ picture of a woman’s freedomto chooseand create her own lifestyle (Mitchell, 2006). However, the positioning of women(and athletesmore generally) in the NCAA — an organization which is arguedto be bound largely by theperpetuation and promotion of traditional gender roles and patriarchalrelations (Bryson, 1987;Hargreaves, 1990; Messner, 2002) — shows howfreedom is context dependent. In this sense,traditional institutions like the NCAA and young people’s experienceswithin them need to beconsidered alongside broader observations of young people’s livesin risk societies.Practical Implications: Sharing Experiencesof Transition andMobilityAs was mentioned by the women, leaving home at a youngage to go play soccer inanother country was a life changing experience. However,these women also faced manychallenges: deciding where to go to school; navigatingthe ‘uncharted’ territory of recruitment;‘fitting into’ their coach’s playingstyle and mentality; missing their family and friends;experiencing culture shock; and transitioningout of intercollegiate athletics. As such, I suggestthat the examples provided throughthe diverse experiences of the female student-athletescouldbe useful to high school counselors, families,coaches, and teammates in their effortto helpfuture Canadian student-athletesnavigate their way through their own multipleand concurrenttransitions. The results from this study couldalso help the media write a more well-roundedaccount of the Canadian student-athleteexperience. A social networking site wouldbe an ideal99place to bring together media accounts with past and future student-athletes, teachers, familymembers and coaches.Also, by acknowledging that mobility is playing an important role in young athletes’lives, the results in this study could be used to start a dialogue between sport organizations andyoung athletes and their families. For instance, young Canadian athletes presented with theopportunity to move to the other side of the country to pursue their National Team dreams mayhave questions and concerns about being on their own, in a new environment, and withouttheirparents. As such, sport organizations may want to use results from studies like this onetoencourage athletes to make informed decision about their move.Lastly, and with particular significance to coaches, the results in this study highlight howtransitions in all parts of an athlete’s life may have an impact on their athletic successesandexperiences. Therefore, it would be in coaches’ best interests to understand andhelp youngathletes deal with issues and concerns they may have about movingand adjusting to a new phasein their athletic or non-athletic lives.Future ResearchWhile this thesis has contributed to work in the sociologyof sport and youth, it has alsoopened up dialogue for future research. Three suggestions aremade here. First, future studiesshould be conducted with athletes from a variety of socialbackgrounds (e.g. ethnicity, gender,sport, sexuality, and socio-economic status),sports, and pathways along their athletic careers (i.e.returned home early from the United States)because research shows that these factors canimpact athletes’ experiences of sportparticipation (Coakley & Donnelly, 1999; Eitzen, 2006).Second, risk society theory wouldgain from an examination of young people’s experiencesinsocial arenas (such as sport) in whichthe conditions of individualization and detraditionalization100(e.g. loosening of traditional gender roles, support networks, and social structure) are not asevident. Third, different types of mobility should also be considered for sport sociologistsinterested in how young athletes deal with ‘being on the move’. For instance, future researchcould examine experiences of road-trips may factor into the identity development and personalgrowth of athletes. 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Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.118APPENDICESAppendix AConsent FormSee next pages.119THE UNIVERSITY OFBRITISH COLUMBIASchool of Human Kinetics210, War MernorialGym6081 University BoulevardVancouver, B.C. Canada V6T IZ1Tel: (604) 822-3838 Fax: (604) 822-6842www.hkin.educ.ubc.calSchoolINFORMATION AND CONSENTSHEET: FOR A STUDYOF CANADIAN INTERCOLLEGIATESTUDENT-ATHLETES’EXPERIENCES AifEN Dl NGUNlVERSES IN THE UNITEDSTATESBrief description of thestudy: This study aimsto find out moreabout theexperiences of Canadianstudent-athletes (like yourself)who went to theUnitedStates for their universityeducation. Specifically,I am interested inbefterunderstanding howinvolvement in intercollegiateathletics shapedtheexperiences of these students.I also intend to identifyother factors thatimpactthese experiences,such as living awayfrom home, livingabroad, andtransitioning academicallyfrom high school touniversity.The hope is that thisstudy will uncoverinformation thatwill, in the future,guidestudent- athleteswho are faced withdecisions about movingabroad to pursueacademics andathletics. A further goalis to better understandhow identities ofstudent-athletes are shapedby their various experiencesoffending universitiesinthe UnitedStates.This study is conductedthrough the Schoolof Human Kineticsat the University ofBtish Columbia and willbe conducted by DominiqueFalls (a Mastersstudent),who is working underthe supervision of Dr.Brian Wilson (an AssociateProfessor).The Interview and YourParticipation: Yourrecollections aboutyour time asanintercollegiate student-athletein the United States wouldbe extremelyhelpfuland much appreciatedas I try to find out moreabout the topicsmentionedabove. The interviewwill take approximately1-2 hours of yourtime, dependingon your availability,travel time, and thenature of the conversationthat takesplace. The interview willbe audio-recorded.Confidentiality:Your name will not bereferred to in anyof the documentsemerging from thecompleted study.The transcripts fromthe data willbesecured by passwordon a computerand the audiotapeswill be secured inalocked cabinet.The data will be keptin a UBC facility. Datamay be used inDominique Falls’ future academicpublications and presentations.Version 1.2 September30, 2008120Your Voluntary Participation: Your participationIn the study is entirely voluntary.You are free to not answer anyquestions, and you may withdraw from theinterview at any time. If you haveany concerns about your treatment or rightsas a research subject, you may contactthe Research Subject Information Line inthe UBC Office of Research Services at604-822-8598 or by e-mail toRSI L@ors. ubc ca.Further Contact Information: If you have questionsor desire further informationabout the project please contactthe student-investigator Dominique Fallsat604-910-2928 or her research supervisor Dr.Brian Wilson at 604-822-3884.ConsentI have read the above infàrmation andunderstand the nature of the study.Iunderstand that participation in thisstudy is entirely voluntary andthat I mayrefuse to participate in or withdrawfrom the study at any time.I hereby agree to the above statedconditions and consent to participatein thisstudy.Your signature below indicates thatyou have received a copy of thisconsentform for your own records. Yoursignature indicates thatyou consent toparticipate in this study.Subject,SignatureDatePrinted Name of the SubjectVersion 1.2 September 30, 2008 121Contact and Information FormSee next page.122THE UNIVERSITYOF BRITISH COLUMBIASchool of Human Kinetics210, War Memorial Gym6081 University BoulevardVancouver, B.C. Canada V6T1Z1Tel: (604) 822-3838 Fax: (604) 822-6842www.hkin.educ.ubc.caiSchoolDateDearMy name is DominiqueFalls. I am aMaster’s student in theSchool ofHuman Kinetics atthe University of BritishColumbia. For myMaster’s Thesis,I am conductinga study that is intendedto find outabout theexperiences of Canadianstudent-athletes whowent to the UnitedStatesfor their universityeducation. I amparticularlyinterested in betterunderstanding howthese experienceswere impactedby factors such asmoving away from home,transitioning academicallyfrom high school,and playing sportsat an elite level.The goal of this lefferis to request aninterview with youabout yourexperiences going tothe United Statesfor your universityeducation, Yourinvolvement in thisstudy would be mosthelpful in my attemptto find outmore about the experiencesof young athletes,identity formation,and lifechoices,I have attached an informationand consent sheetthat includesa moredetailed overviewof the study. Whenyou have hada chance to lookover the informationand consent sheetattached, pleaselet me know ifyou are interestedin being involvedin the study (eitherby e-mail atdominique.falls@ubc.interchange.caor by phone at 604-910-2928).If youare interested, we canthen work outa time and locationfor an interviewthat is most convenientfor you.Thank you very muchfor your timeand for consideringthis request.I lookforward to being intouch.Sincerely,Dominique FallsSchool of Human Kinetics(604)-91 0-2928Dominique.falls@ubc.interchange.caVersion 1.2 September30, 2008123Demographic Questionnaire1. GeneralAge: Home town/city: Current town/city:2. Education: Please write “in progress” if you have not yet finished to date.Your major in undergrad:Your specialization in your Masters (if applicable):Your specialization in your Phd (if applicable):Other certificates/degrees:Your parents’ level of education (list highest):3. Soccer:If you played soccer after graduating, please be specific and describe in what capacity(ie:National Team, USL...) and whether or not you are still playing:4. Employment:Did you work during university? If so, when, where, and what was yourjob (i.e. duringthe summers...):Are you currently employed? If yes, briefly describe your job and whetheror not it is inthe area in which you graduated.Your parents’ current job/occupation:5. Living situationSince graduating, have you lived with your parents?If so, for how long? Are you stillliving with your parents?If not, are you living alone? With a partner? Withroommates?124Appendix BInterview Guide1. (General question) I’d love if you could talk about your experiences going down to theUnited States. Talk about whatever you feel like and take as long or as little time as youwant. I’m interested in anything you talk about so feel free to go in the direction you wantto.2. (University context) So I want to know a little bit more about the university setting whereyou went to. Can you tell me a little bit more about the university you were at? Size,rural, general atmosphere? Role of the sports team? Athletes? Your work load?Otheractivities? Live on campus? Know anyone before? Was there a Canadian contingent oncampus? Examples. Your relationship to them?3. (Decision process) Could you tell me a little bit more aboutyour decision to go down tothe States? The process? Think about it in high school? Academics? Stressful?Otherplayed a part? Friends doing it too?4. (Moving away from home) Going away to university can sometimes meanmoving awayfrom home for the first time. Do you mind if I ask youa little bit about this? How did itfeel to leave home? Always in plans? Ready? Impactexperiences? How old? Ever livedfrom home before? This impact adjustment to move? Prior travel experience?5. (High schoo1- University) On the academic side,what was it like to go from high schoolto university. Issues you remember facing? Work load? Lifestyle? Relationship withteachers? How prepared did you feel?6. (Local-varsity) What was is like going from your club,or provincial program soccer toa varsity program? Issues? Problems? Being Canadian? How prepareddid you feel?7. (Networks, support system) How do you thinkyour support network, or those who yourelied on the most for advice, help, support (sports ornon sports) changed when you wentto university? Explain who. Coaches? Teammates? Friends?What was your relationshipwith the team like? Canadians? Hang out?8. (Communication) For people who study youngpeople’s travel experiences, keeping intouch with a home base is something they are interestedin since this has changedsubstantially over the decades. How did you stayin touch with people (etc...) at home?Hard? What did it mean to you?1259. (Mobility) Part of staying in touch can also mean going back and forth between schooland home. How often did you get to go home every year? For what reasons? Anyonecome visit you? How important was this for you? Change over the years?10. (Relationships) Can you talk a little about your relationship with people at home? Withyour family? Boyfriend or girlfriend? Long distance? What changed? Was it hard toaccept? Did you try to keep them going? Still keep in touch with people you met inuniversity?11. (Identity) Like I mentioned before, sociologists are interested in issues of identityformation. I am interested in how your experiences have shaped your who you are? Doyou mind sharing your thoughts on this?12. (Wrap-up) Strongest memories you have about your time in the United States? Anyregrets? Do you wish things had gone differently? What do you remember the most?126Appendix CUBC Research Ethics Board ApprovalSee next page.127https://rise.ubc.calrise/Doc/0/68I SDLAG10LK 1 B4EQP2T7JFPB6/L.LJI3CThe University of BritishColumbiaOffice of ResearchSeivicesBehavioural ResearchEthics BoardSuite 102, 6190 AgronomyRoad, Vancouver, B.C.V6T 1Z3CERTIFICATEOF APPROVAL- MINIMALRISKPRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR:INSTITUTION I DEPARTMENT:UBC BREB NUMBER:Brian WilsonUBC/EducationlHuman KineticsH08-01679INSTITUTION(S)WHERE RESEARCH WILLBE CARRIED OUT:InstitutionI SiteUBCVancouver (excludes UBCHospital))ther locations where the researchwill be conducted:rhe location will be determinedby the subject (the goal is forthe subject to be comfortablein the location, and tobe in alocation that is easily reached).Sites will include a university classroom,university office, and publiclocation of subjects’choice.O-INVESTlGATOR(S):Dominique AlexandraPayette FallsPONSORlNG AGENCIES:Social Sciences and HumanitiesResearch Council of Canada(SSHRC)University of British ColumbiaPROJECT TITLE:anadian Student-Athletes:Narratives of Transitionthrough Time and SpaceCERTIFICATE EXPIRYDATE: September 19,2009DOCUMENTS INCLUDEDIN THIS APPROVAL:PATE APPROVED:September 19, 2008Document NameIVersionIDateonsent Forms:rransition Consent Form1.2 September 30, 2008Letter of Initial Contact:rransition Contact Form1.2 September 30, 2008rhe application forethical review and the document(s)listed above have beenreviewed and the procedureswereound to be acceptableon ethical grounds for researchinvolving human subjects.Approval is issuedon behalf of the Behavioural ResearchEthics Boardand signed electronicallyby one of the following:Dr. M. Judith Lynam, ChairDr. Ken Craig, ChairDr. Jim Rupert, Associate ChairDr. Laurie Ford, Associate ChairDr. Daniel Salharil, Associate ChairDr. Anita Ho, Associate Chair1NotesOther reasons used to explain this student-athlete exodus from Canada to the United Statesinclude athletes believing that a professional sports career is more attainable from a United Statesuniversity (Besson, 2008; Deacon & Dwyer, 1997; Mustafa, 2008) and the NCAA’s reputationfor offering the ‘best’ coaching and facilities (Deacon & Dwyer, 1997; Quan, 2000). Athletes’own egos (Beamish, 2005) and the peer pressure put on athletes by their coaches,parents, andfriends to ‘play at the top’ (Beamish, 2005) are also factors apparantely influencing student-athletes’ decisions. Reasons for returning to Canada part-way through student-athletes’degreeshave also been granted attention. Some of these motivations include missing family,being on alosing team, lack of play time, spending money on flights home, paying taxeson scholarships,culture shock and disappointing academics (Zacharias, 2006a,2006b).2In a similar manner, Lauder et al (2006) argue that one of the defining characteristicof thecurrent contemporary context is that “decisions made often have consequences for others wholive perhaps thousands of miles from where those decisions are taken.”These trends, as theauthors state by quoting Giddens (1994) reveal that “decisions haveto be taken on the basis of amore or less continuous reflection on the condition of one’s action. ‘Reflexivity’[then], refers tothe use of information about the conditions of activity as a means of regularly reorderingandredefining what activity is” (p.22, italics added)According to Massey (2006), there are two common waysof misconceptualizing space. First,there is a tendency in both research and every-dayspeech, to “turn space into time, geographyinto history” (p.90). For instance, remarks Massey (2006),reactions to global inequality andpoverty are often expressed in such termsas “they will catch up” or “they are behind”. This wayof conceptualizing space conceives differencesas temporal and therefore as ‘solvable’ withtime. The second way of misconceptualizing space, andperhaps the most common, is as asurface. In casual talk, space is equated with “somethingout there” — it is a landscape, thesurface of the ocean, the surface of the table (p.91). Withparticular significance to this study,travelling or ‘mobility’ is rendered ‘travellingacross a surface’.Generally speaking, most of the literature on internationalstudent migration has focused onstudents moving from ‘developing’ to ‘developed’countries. As a result, motivations oftensurround issues of economic betterment,future immigration, and language acquisition (Balaz &Williams, 2004; Baruch, Budhwar & Khatri, 2007;King & Gelices, 2003; Rizvi, 2005).In 1972, the United States Congresspassed Title IX of the Education Amendments. TitleIXwas passed to provide inclusion andequal opportunities for women and men in all educationalactivities, including intercollegiateathletics. While participation of women in schoolathleticsincreased dramatically after its inception, debateremains around issue of equality, equity,andrepresentation (see Wushanley, 2004 fora detailed account of the history and development ofTitle IX).1296Athletic stages include initiation, development, mastery, and discontinuation. Psychologicalstages include childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, with psychosocial stages highlightingchanges in the athletes’ significant social agents as they mature (e.g. parents, siblings, peers;peers, coaches, parents; partner, coach; and family, coach). Academic and vocational transitionsinclude those from primary to secondary, and on to higher education and/orprofessionalvocation.Sekot argues that sport migrants may have little sense of attachment to a specificplace or localcommunity because their status is derived mostly from the ethosof hard work, differentialrewards and a win-at-all-costs approach (p.65). This is also supportedby Molnar and Maguire’s(2008) piece on Hungarian athletes.8For example, issues of taking up nationality in a hostcountry (See Takahashi & Home, 2001).A benefit of this method is that it can be used to studythe lives of many as opposed totraditional biographic accounts which have a tendencyto focus on one or two lives (Squire,2000,p.198In. Bryman, 2004b, p.323).10I acknowledge that not all Canadian female intercollegiateathletes remain in the United Stateslong enough to graduate and that an early homecomingmay be due to the difficulty somewomen might encounter in their adjustment to multipleand concurrent transitions.‘At the time of submission of this document, theREBA at the University of British Columbiadid not have a policy regarding social networking sitesas recruiting tools.12Lally (2007) refers to asking participantsto recall past experiences as the ‘retrospectiveapproach.’13Loker-Murphy & Pearce (1995) arguethat young people in Western countries are morelikelyto travel for pleasure than those in ‘lessdeveloped countries.’ Generally speaking, in post-industrial societies more and more young people areafforded the ability to postpone theirentrance into the workforce until theirlate 20’s. Many receive continued financial support fromtheir parents who endorse these travelsas ‘character-building’ and necessary in a globalizedworkforce. In contrast, the majority ofyoung people in ‘less developed’ countries become activemembers of the workforce much earlier in orderto survive.14Amy’s experiences relate to what Rossand Shinew (2008) have acknowledged is commonamong high school girls: that despite morefemale participation in athletics sincethe 1950’s, amajority of male adolescents continueto want to be remembered as outstanding athleteswhilemost females want to be remembered asoutstanding students (p.42).16There is no indication whether or notearlier studies included female athlete responses.Resultsfrom recent studies may bea result of the inclusion of femaleathletes; female athletes are said topay more attention to their academicrole (Harrison et al., 2009).13017It has been argued that the experiences of Division I, II, and III athletes can vary substantiallybecause of the extent to which athletes are expected to manage their dual student and athleteroles (Baucom & Lantz, 2001). Moreover, researchers have also been cautioned not to generalizeabout sport programs within NCAA divisions as these can range for a variety of reasons such assize of school, existence of a football program, size of city and so on (Baucom & Lantz, 2001).For this reason, I note that although all the women attended Division I schools, the soccerprograms into which they transitioned were different from school to school. Moreover, the placesthe women lived in ranged from small ‘typical college towns’ to large metropolitan cities.18All of the women in this study graduated with a Bachelor’s degree. See Appendix C for a fullprofile of the participants.19I only interviewed women who graduated and therefore may have had more positiveexperiences.20The university soccer season begins at the end of August and typically runs until the middle ofNovember (depending on the success of your team). While most university’s academic calendarsstart at the end of August and go until the beginning of May, some schools chose to start theirsemesters at the end of October and end at the end of June. As a result, some soccer players maybe on campus for over two months before they meet another ‘regular’ student.21While Bruner et al.’s (2008) study reports that the young men also felt as though they hadmatured as a consequence of having moved away from home at an early age, the methodsused inthe study (e.g. interviewing the men shortly after their move) did not yield insight into the waysin which the men negotiated their relationships with people back home.131


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