Sport and spirituality: mastery and failure in sporting lives

Hutch, Richard (2012) Sport and spirituality: mastery and failure in sporting lives. Practical Theology, 5 2: 131-152. doi:10.1558/prth.v5i2.131

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Author Hutch, Richard
Title Sport and spirituality: mastery and failure in sporting lives
Journal name Practical Theology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1756-073X
Publication date 2012
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1558/prth.v5i2.131
Volume 5
Issue 2
Start page 131
End page 152
Total pages 22
Place of publication Durham, United Kingdom
Publisher Acumen Publishing
Collection year 2013
Language eng
Formatted abstract
The spiritual dimension of sport is examined from the point of view that
it is a unique human experience per se; no association with any religion
needs to be made. How does sport serve as spiritual practice in the life
of the individual, especially for the person who may not actually have
any religious affiliation? Explored is the function of sport in the life of the
person who says, “Okay, I am NOT religious, but I AM spiritual, and my
sporting life has bearing on this.” The argument is that lives are empowered
not by brute strength and tenacity alone, but also by sustaining personal
coherence within the lived experience of one’s sporting activities.
Such coherence is not only about being masterful and victorious in what
one does, but also about doing so on a conscious backdrop of an everpresent
possibility of failure and defeat. Falling short of the mark (even
humiliation and injury playing sport) serves as a valuable counter-point
to what otherwise would merely be human hubris. A focus is on whether
the technological enhancement of sporting performance plays a constructive
role in the formation of human character, an issue that has for a long
time enlivened debate in studies of sport, religion and human spirituality.
Consideration is given to recognizing human possibilities in the light
of physical limitations; how comfort zones in sport may expand and/or
collapse; and whether sport is an imprecise craft, an engineered achievement,
or a combination of both.
Keyword Spiritual practice
Sport and religion
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2013 Collection
School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry
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Created: Mon, 18 Mar 2013, 14:19:16 EST by Lucy O'Brien on behalf of School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry