Rugby Mum’s perspective: a story of care and chronic social damage observed from the touchline

Keeling, Joanne and Palmer, Clive Alan orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-9925-2811 (2022) Rugby Mum’s perspective: a story of care and chronic social damage observed from the touchline. Journal of Qualitative Research in Sports Studies, 16 (1). pp. 87-106. ISSN 1754-2375

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Mums know everything, don’t they? The process of becoming the Rugby Mum was the catalyst for this ethnographic PhD investigation, during which many rich and informative events have been observed around the touchline of Rugby League. Events so rich in fact, that a definitive tactic in reporting was needed to protect the culprits, the victims, and the researcher. Thus, we have the storied ethnography, creative but non-fictional, establishing links and synthesis to philosophical critique about moral and ethical behaviour. In this paper we set out some of these instances for context (featuring two field episodes i. A tale of care and wanting for the best, ii. A short play of ‘social damage’) but also the rationale for this research concerning the ‘game plan’ and research objectives. The notes on writing style point not only to the kind of reading experience that the PhD thesis will present, but also the inspirations to communicate in certain ways, underpinned by the social analysis that those authors and performers demonstrated in their work e.g. from Victoria Wood to Eminem the rap singer. With the field research phases now completed, the paper concludes with some ideas to navigate the philosophical terrain of rules, attitudes and values in the sport of Rugby League, prompted by the behaviours witnessed in the course of this research. So, do mums really know everything? I think we can safely say the Rugby Mum knows a great deal more now than when she started and continues to learn with wisdom and humility.

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