Showing the approaches and methods that have been used to work out why and when athletes drop out of their sport, usually in the early teenage years. In these last two sections, empirical studies are cited with a view to gathering information on the findings, but also reviewing the methods that are used to elicit useful data. Finally, in the conclusion, there is a brief summary of the main points of the literature review with some preliminary conclusions from the literature reviewed and an enumeration of the areas which still remain to be explored further.
Rugby as a sport originates in the public school system of the English upper classes. It is a particularly physical sport, involving physical strength and speed, good hand-eye coordination, close teamwork, and a certain amount of risk-taking since injuries are frequent and often serious enough to warrant hospitalisation. It has been pointed out that in Wales rugby rose in popularity as a part of the formation of Welsh nationhood, envisaged as a separate entity situated within the larger grouping of countries that made up “ Great Britain” : “ The Imperial Welsh nation, centred on Cardiff – the other carbon jewel in the crown of the British Empire – was a product of Welsh nationalism and British Imperialism” (Andrews, 1991, p.
Welsh coal supplied fuel for British industrialisation, and Welsh troops fought in international wars alongside their dominant English neighbours and this collaboration was perceived both as fruitful alliance and a form of ignominy and oppression. The rugby field opened up an avenue for playing out old rivalries and new alliances. It allowed the nationalism of Welsh people to have a safe outlet in the twentieth century, at a time when world events required the British to pull together in order to survive external threats.
With the loss of the majority of Britain’ s colonies in the mid-twentieth century, the rivalries closer to home provided an alternative spectacle which had all the trappings of bitter war, without any of the human cost. This historical connection of rugby with nationalism and imperialism is closely linked with its image of excessive masculinity.
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