Canadian Sport And Class Inequality Essay

This essay has a total of 2661 words and 12 pages.

Canadian Sport And Class Inequality

Canadian sport is divided amongst its classes. Not all people engage in the same sports or
do the same things to stay physically active. In following pages, I have critically
examined explanations on how to tell there are differences within classes, and what these
differences mean to sport and physical activity in Canada.

After examining some reasons why there is division within classes in Canadian sport, I
will discuss what steps or measures would be necessary to take in order to achieve
equality among the classes. I will suggest some things we can do to mesh all classes
together in a unified plan. I will show how Canadian sport would be different if we lived
in a ‘utopia' of equality among classes - essentially having no classes.

Class equality may not be what is best for sport in Canada. I will also weigh whether or
not it would be best for Canada to be without classes in its sporting system.

I will conclude with my recommendations on what steps must be taken for the future of
Canadian sport to ensure the most efficient and equal program is in place for everyone.


Class is very closely related to money and income. The more money you have or the more
money your household brings in, the higher status you have. Power is also related to class
and may not always belong to the coaches. In formally organized sports it may be who has
the knowledge or resources desired to play the game that has the most significant amount
of power.

"Formally organized sports could not be developed, scheduled or maintained without
material resources."4 This certainly implies that some people hold a significant amount of
power over others and remain in a class above others in sports. It should also be noted
that formally organized sports are not democratic.

The idea of class division is fully entertained when defining, "Rich and powerful people
tend to be defined as worthy winners, while the poor and powerless tend to be defined as
lazy losers."

To say there is a division of classes within sport without clearly defining each specific
class, we must take a class logic mindset. Class logic can be interpreted as "economic
success (winning) becomes proof of individual ability, worth, and character." I must also
mention the class logic comes to emphasize achievement through individual competition and
domination over others.3

As we enter a new millennium, it is easy to draw conclusions on some things that have
happened in the last. Looking back we can see that the amount of money an athlete in a
sporting event has, or how much money their family has, is directly correlated to how much
money they can spend on their sporting event.

Even looking back to 1983 we can easily note that golf courses show and promote a division
of classes. Golf course green fees ranged from 3 dollars to 27 dollars for public courses
while green fees were as high as 65 dollars for private courses . Private courses that
felt they were in competition with public courses raised their price even higher, which
makes little sense economically, unless you entertain the concept of class division.

Golf course structure is also a marker showing division within classes. "Golf-course
design reflects the society that pays for, builds and utilizes it." The greater the golf
course, the more prestige and higher class is associated with that golf course.

Resorts have lately been encompassing golf courses in their array of physical activities
to offer and have taken golf's class division along with it. "Resorts (and their golf
courses) have become a showcase to attract (tourists)…"

Following along with other examples already shown, when we look back to 1986 and see that
57% of resorts are private and only 14% are public (26% belong in resort chains) we can
once again see a clear division of private and public. The same clarity can be seen in
athletic clubs - 70% of racquetball and multipurpose clubs are reserved for the private
sector.

It is also easy to see that "More than ever before, it now takes money to play certain
sports and obtain the coaching necessary to develop sport skills." Without subsequent
funding or wealth, some sports can just not be participated in.

It does not take money to just play sports today; it takes money to even watch sports.
Many stadiums and arenas have different divisions within it for people who can afford to
pay more for seating. Most professional site rinks today have accommodated to large
companies that wish to have season boxes held in private quarters to watch live sporting
events. This segregation is continued even in home viewing of sporting events. Cable or
satellite programs cost money and are a symbol of status or class.

In the Olympics, ‘wealthy aristocrats' who organize and sponsor modern Olympic games
have shown that amateur athletics has now become such that the athletes with wealthy
backgrounds have an advantage. They have also conversely excluded the less privileged and
attempted to refine the athletic games to their own tastes and preferences.

So, we can easily determine after examining the numerous examples shown that there is a
clear division within sports. People with more money and power are in a class of their own
and have far more advantages than the unfortunate lower class people. Although there is no
set guideline to put each person in society in a certain class, you can comparatively
judge who within any group a people will have the greater opportunity to encounter sports
based on money, power and class alone.

In order to eliminate classification within sport, huge barriers must be surpassed.
"Because class relations are tied closely to economics and politics and because they often
involve a combination of intergroup tension, conflict, exploitation and oppression…"
Things such as ‘tension, conflict, exploitation and oppression' are not simply overcome
by a few people getting together and deciding a new way sports should be carried out. In
order for these obstacles to be overcome, everyone must come to a general conclusion that
things should be more equal. One side or class deciding things should be more equal is not
enough.

The people in power can, however, make a huge difference in swaying the sporting worlds
vision of the way things should be. People in the greatest power have the ability to shape
sports and do so to fit their own values and morals. If these ‘people' were to look at
sports as something that should be worked as an equal opportunity program, they in essence
could change or shape sports to be less class biased. These same ‘people' decide "what
should be important in people's lives"14 and if they were to decide sports should be equal
opportunity for all classes, then that is what would be important to people in the
sporting world.

Canada and the United States have similar political set-ups in that the government gives
funding to businesses. Although the numbers may be somewhat different, occurrences are
still the same. "In the 1990's about eight billion dollars of public money in the U.S. was
used to build stadiums and arenas that were turned into private revenue generators for
wealthy individuals and powerful corporations owning professional sport team franchises."
Politicians must help out in order to create class equality in sports. This example shows
the rich and powerful becoming more rich and powerful and separating the classes even
further.

Not only would everyone be given a chance to participate if all were equal, but everyone
would be given equal chances to have fun. "Fun must occur within a framework created and
sustained by adults who use their resources to support the programs." If a certain class
has more resources, which they do by definition, there is inequality in availability to
have fun. A consistent amount of resources must be allotted in order to maintain an
optimum level of fun for everyone.

The rising of prices also makes retail and resource marketing a "commercial,
profit-clearing function." This concept must be diverted onto a larger goal of equal
opportunities. Without some diversion, we will get further and further away from equality.

When debating the community development model versus privatization in leisure-services
organizations, we see that rising fees in all spectrums of sports is keeping potential
participants away. The lower class of society is thus excluded from growing in
participants.

In one survey "The majority of ‘sports-oriented teens' (50% of the boys, 22% of the
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