Trim: 6 x 9
978-1-4985-8398-5 • Hardback • December 2019 • $111.00 • (£85.00)
978-1-4985-8399-2 • eBook • December 2019 • $99.50 • (£77.00)
Suzanne Stefanowski Hudd is professor of sociology at Quinnipiac University.
Introduction: “Did That Really Happen to Me?”: The Moral Transformation of Team Players
Chapter One: Morality via Hard Work: “I Was Never Unwilling to Get my Nose Bloodied”
Chapter Two: Morality via Attachment: “I Didn’t Want to Let the Team Down”
Chapter Three: Morality via Self-Other Merging: “I Was an Academic Standout Myself Now”
Chapter Four: Becoming, Belonging and Believing: “You Play for the Person Next to You”
Conclusion: Character Building in Sport: Covenant or Contract?
Suzanne Hudd’s beautifully written book illuminates what is often overlooked in academic discussions of sport. While the individualism and win-at-all-cost ethos of modern achievement sports are real, so too are opportunities for character building, moral transformation, a sense of belonging, and the merging of self with others. The Athlete's Covenant clarifies the underlying motivations of team players and offers a novel sociological framework for understanding them.— Joshua Woods, West Virginia University
The culture of team sports abounds with moral clichés—“no pain, no gain”; “there’s no ‘I’ in “Team”; “teamwork makes the dream work”; “it builds character.” In an era where many have argued that individualism, egoism, and “gamesmanship” have eclipsed teamwork, self-sacrifice, and sportsmanship at both professional and amateur levels, such well-worn sayings may seem particularly quaint and perhaps little more than wishful thinking. Yet, in listening closely to the voices of athletes themselves and directing her sociologically-trained vision toward all the morally-laden routines, relationships, and practices that occur outside of the field of play, Suzanne S. Hudd demonstrates that engaging in contemporary team sports can still be a morally transformative endeavor. The Athlete’s Covenant shows that, at its best, team sport can still provide a model for understanding how to work through and maybe even transcend some of our deepest moral antagonisms: competition vs. cooperation; self vs. other; the individual vs. the collective.— Daniel Winchester, Purdue University
The Athlete’s Covenant connects classical sociological theory to the world of sport and to the identity of “athlete.” Susan S. Hudd’s interviews reveal that it is not the sport itself that athletes remember—not the events or contests themselves—but the experiences which surround our participation in sport—our identity as athletes, and as members of a team. Reading this book from the perspective of a sociologist, I was struck by how clearly the author demonstrates the continued relevance of classical sociological theory. By connecting Emile Durkheim’s theories of morality and the moral community to sport and the social identity of athlete and teammate, Hudd provides an insightful framework for understanding the experience of team sports participation. Sport is not about winning or losing, or even how you play the game; it’s about with whom you play the game, and, more tellingly, who you are when you are part of a team.
— Matthew E. Wilkinson, Coastal Carolina University