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Elitist and non elitist sports

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Post by Adam D on Fri 09 Nov 2012, 8:18 am

After the discussion this week of what people thought was the most challenging sport when it comes to burn out, I thought that I would start a thread about elitism in sport.

And by elitism, I am talking about getting into sports and how easy it is.

Now I am guessing things like sailing are going to feature highly, so lets keep this to mainstream sports on the whole - which sport is the most socially exclusive when it comes to class? And vice versa, which sport has the lowest common denomiator.

Remember this is just a discussion, so try not to get personal with each other!

A few suggestions from me:

Boxing - although quite a few very well spoken and highly intelligent people have been at the top level (just look at the K brothers for example, although admittedly I dont know much about their families riches growing up), the sport appears to have a lot of rags to riches stories, more so than other sports imo.

Tennis - most of the top stars in this sport seem to have come from richer families. And the money needed to become a top star is much higher than that of boxing for example.

Golf - Possibly the most exclusive at grass roots level? What does it cost to join a club these days? £1000+? And thats before equipment.

Lets hear your thoughts.....


Last edited by Adam D on Mon 12 Nov 2012, 8:15 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by Biltong on Fri 09 Nov 2012, 8:38 am

Rowing in SA is definitely an elitist sport, I bought some kayaks for the family and wanted to join one of two clubs close to us for getting into the rowing thing.

You basically got zero chance, unless you know some big knob in the committee, they give you such a run around, you must speak to so and so who is never available, you can't get them to call you back etc.

Basically blew my top and got fed up.
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Post by rodders on Fri 09 Nov 2012, 9:37 am

I suppose it depends on the place. Golf isn't particularly elitest over here (NI)...for example neither McIlroy or McDowell came from wealthy backgrounds.

The likes of Rugby and Hockey would be mainly Grammar School sports at underage level but again the clubs are fairly welcoming to people of all backgrounds.

Tennis I think is probably pretty elitest from the point of view of the cost of lessons but most sports are accessable to anyone over here, equipment costs not withstanding.

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Post by Stella on Fri 09 Nov 2012, 9:43 am

Golf is pretty easy to start up. yes, there is the expense of golf clubs but there are hundreds of course around and some are quite good value.

Some elitist sports in England:

Rowing
Show jumping (anything with Horses)
Fencing

Non-elitist

Football
Darts
Pool & snooker
Cricket (apart from schools)
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Post by ChequeredJersey on Fri 09 Nov 2012, 10:02 am

Rowing is pretty elitist though work is being done to change that an Uni clubs like my own teach mostly people from scratch without professional coaches. Uni teams (though still arguably a form of elitism, less so now days) allow people to play all kinds of elitist sports. As for cost, my rowing subs are less than my rugby subs!

Rugby in England is pretty elitist with a gradual but too slow change in attitude. I think it needs a public perception change

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Post by Notch on Fri 09 Nov 2012, 10:52 am

I think Boxing is a very working class sport over here in Belfast. Most of the most successful boxing clubs are in very poor inner city areas, like the Falls and Sandy Row. It's a very accessible sport for kids growing up in these areas.

When I was doing the 11 plus in NI (which was irrelevant, because I moved to Scotland the year before I would have gone secondary school) it was very much the case that secondary schools all played football as their main sport and the much richer grammar schools all played rugby as their main sport. Therefore, a very pronounced class difference between the supporter and playing base of the two sports has maybe developed. For years rugby in NI has been the preserve of middle class Protestants. I think the sport is slowly getting out of that, and people from non-traditional rugby backgrounds are getting interested in rugby but it would probably still be perceived as such by many.

A good effort is being made to get rugby played in more schools, and Ulster are now casting the Academy net wider than the traditional schools with Brain McLaughlin at the forefront, but at schools level the sport is dominated by a clutch of wealthy grammar schools so in that sense it could be perceived as elitist. You're gonna get a boost by going to the right school.
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Post by rodders on Fri 09 Nov 2012, 11:02 am

True but wasn't O'Driscoll a talented amateur boxer?... there must be some clubs down in D4.... Whistle
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Post by super_realist on Fri 09 Nov 2012, 11:07 am

No such thing as Elitist sport. Just sports that are more expensive to take part in. Nothing wrong with that.


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Post by Stella on Fri 09 Nov 2012, 11:09 am

Don't you think we may have a better pool of tennis players if the game was easier to play, as in more public courts?
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Post by super_realist on Fri 09 Nov 2012, 11:10 am

Tennis is not expensive. It's far cheaper than a season ticket to a football club.

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Post by Stella on Fri 09 Nov 2012, 11:13 am

True but there are a lack of public courts, certainly around our way.
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Post by super_realist on Fri 09 Nov 2012, 11:18 am

Almost every village up here has one.

I really don't know what people expect of sport. Running a club of any sort is pretty expensive. Sport of any sort isn't all that cheap, but in terms of elitism, do people really expect to get annual membership and use of facilities for 50p a year?

We aren't a communist society, and while it would be nice to have government subsidy for sports development, if you know where to look do a little research then partaking in sports like rowing, horse riding, golf, tennis etc isn't really that expensive, nothing for free or peanuts, but certainly affordable.

People seem to just have an attitude that all these sports are for rich people and that no one else can do them. It just isn't true.

I think there is also a confusion between "elitism" and "affordability".

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Post by rodders on Fri 09 Nov 2012, 11:18 am

Notch wrote:
When I was doing the 11 plus in NI (which was irrelevant, because I moved to Scotland the year before I would have gone secondary school) it was very much the case that secondary schools all played football as their main sport and the much richer grammar schools all played rugby as their main sport. Therefore, a very pronounced class difference between the supporter and playing base of the two sports has maybe developed. For years rugby in NI has been the preserve of middle class Protestants. I think the sport is slowly getting out of that, and people from non-traditional rugby backgrounds are getting interested in rugby but it would probably still be perceived as such by many.

No I don't agree with that. It's definitely true that the Grammar schools are the back bone of grass roots level Rugby in NI and that traditionally they have been attended mainly by protestants due to the segregated school system.

However Catholics have been playing club level rugby for as long as I can remember, especially in rural areas and many clubs are catholic dominated.

At elite level i.e. at Ulster senior the majority of the players tend to be from a protestant background but that is because the better players tend to come from a small core group of school - RBAI, Method, Inst etc. and this I think gives a skewed impression of things. I know of quite a few Catholics who have played representative rugby at underage levels but just didn't make it at senior/pro level.

Anyone involved in grassroots rugby will know that the game has a fair bit of support from catholic/nationalists although mainly in the middle classes.




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Post by rodders on Fri 09 Nov 2012, 11:24 am

super_realist wrote:
People seem to just have an attitude that all these sports are for rich people and that no one else can do them. It just isn't true.

I think there is also a confusion between "elitism" and "affordability".

Agree. I'm sure elitism exists in some sports but generally if you have the right attitude and ability 99% of clubs and sports will welcome you with open arms.

People like to talk themselves out of things and make excuses I think.

If people think boxing is just for the underclasses then get down your local gym and take a few shots and you'll soon earn respect... same with rugby, if you are good enough and put your body on the line 99% of people won't care if you are a Surgeon or a Bin man.

True elitism is when you are judged on ability and commitment, not social status.
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Post by Notch on Fri 09 Nov 2012, 11:38 am

rodders wrote:
Notch wrote:
When I was doing the 11 plus in NI (which was irrelevant, because I moved to Scotland the year before I would have gone secondary school) it was very much the case that secondary schools all played football as their main sport and the much richer grammar schools all played rugby as their main sport. Therefore, a very pronounced class difference between the supporter and playing base of the two sports has maybe developed. For years rugby in NI has been the preserve of middle class Protestants. I think the sport is slowly getting out of that, and people from non-traditional rugby backgrounds are getting interested in rugby but it would probably still be perceived as such by many.

No I don't agree with that. It's definitely true that the Grammar schools are the back bone of grass roots level Rugby in NI and that traditionally they have been attended mainly by protestants due to the segregated school system.

However Catholics have been playing club level rugby for as long as I can remember, especially in rural areas and many clubs are catholic dominated.

At elite level i.e. at Ulster senior the majority of the players tend to be from a protestant background but that is because the better players tend to come from a small core group of school - RBAI, Method, Inst etc. and this I think gives a skewed impression of things. I know of quite a few Catholics who have played representative rugby at underage levels but just didn't make it at senior/pro level.

Anyone involved in grassroots rugby will know that the game has a fair bit of support from catholic/nationalists although mainly in the middle classes.

Oh I know all that. I just think for years you were more likely to get somewhere in the sport if you went to the right school. It's broadening the base of Ulster Rugby beyond that which is making it more accessible and less elitist.
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Post by Notch on Fri 09 Nov 2012, 11:39 am

rodders wrote: True but wasn't O'Driscoll a talented amateur boxer?... there must be some clubs down in D4.... Whistle

BOD is not from D4! Smile
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Post by dummy_half on Fri 09 Nov 2012, 11:46 am

I think the issue is that there is elitist attitude in some sports teams / clubs, not that the sport itself is elitist.

Golf is a good example of this - plenty of pay and play courses and clubs that will accept almost anyone as a member provided that they behave reasonably, but some clubs that are incredibly snooty and where you wouldn't be welcome if you drive anything cleaper than a mid range Merc or BMW. The problem then becomes of projection and perception - because there are snooty golf clubs (and rowing, sailing, tennis etc), the public tends to think that all golf clubs are snooty...

OK, there are sports that are more expensive to participate in than others (taking it to the extreme with motor sport, where you need commercial sponsorship to compete at anything above the lowest of grass roots level), but that's always going to be the way.

A second issue is whether a sport is costly to learn - football, rugby etc can be taken up and be rewarding to play with no specific coaching, and then the clubs will provide the coaching to allow improvement, whereas in tennis and golf there is the perception that to play the sport 'correctly' it is necessary to have some one-on-one tuition even as a beginner, which is obviously much more expensive.

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Post by Stella on Fri 09 Nov 2012, 11:52 am

I once e-mailed my local running club, regarding joining up. I was surprised to read a reply that said I would need to be running approx 10 min miles. At the time I could (I'm no Seb Coe) but thought this was perhaps a little elitist.
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Post by super_realist on Fri 09 Nov 2012, 11:52 am

Totally disagree, I play Golf to a fairly high level, also played Tennis at a good level too back in my younger days, never had more than a couple of golf lessons and I was already a 2 handicap by then, nor is it necessary if you just want to enjoy the game.

I learned how to play tennis by knocking a ball over a chute in the playpark against mates.

Tuition/Guidance is often done by a friend or family member and therefore free, but as in most sports the best way to improve is by practice and playing with people of a better standard.

I

Golf and tennis are almost criminally cheap.

Stella, come on, even Shane Lowry could run a 10 minute mile. You can walk a mile in not much more than that.




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Post by Stella on Fri 09 Nov 2012, 11:55 am

I play Golf from time to time and do agree that some do like to show off their new 7 wood but that's their problem. My work colleagues and I have no such issues, and will quite happily go round in our old trousers that have become tighter and tighter over the years Very Happy
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Post by Stella on Fri 09 Nov 2012, 11:56 am

super

You sure. I know loads you cannot, not over a 3 mile stretch anyway.
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Post by super_realist on Fri 09 Nov 2012, 12:00 pm

I don't think there is anything wrong in asking for a standard to be set. 10 minute miles ought to be achievable for anyone who can stand. If not, hold back on joining the club until you can. It's not elitist really, just sensible.

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Post by Stella on Fri 09 Nov 2012, 12:02 pm

I disagree with that.

I even asked a few posters on Runners World and they were surprised at their attitude.

I wasn't expecting to be in their team but IMO they should be welcoming as many as possible. The revenue would benefit the club as well.
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Post by rodders on Fri 09 Nov 2012, 12:04 pm

Notch wrote:
Oh I know all that. I just think for years you were more likely to get somewhere in the sport if you went to the right school. It's broadening the base of Ulster Rugby beyond that which is making it more accessible and less elitist.

Ah no you're right there.
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Post by super_realist on Fri 09 Nov 2012, 12:05 pm

I agree they probably should have been more welcoming, and there are different levels of running clubs in almost every city. Some are seen to cater for people of a higher standard, some are more social, inclusive and split runs into groups.
Perhaps you were just unlucky though and picked the wrong one, or got someone on a bad day.

Keep running though and don't let it put you off joining a club.

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Post by Stella on Fri 09 Nov 2012, 12:05 pm

I've just been back on their website and it looks like they have beginners and improver's night, which is a good idea.
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Post by Stella on Fri 09 Nov 2012, 12:07 pm

super_realist wrote:I agree they probably should have been more welcoming, and there are different levels of running clubs in almost every city. Some are seen to cater for people of a higher standard, some are more social, inclusive and split runs into groups.
Perhaps you were just unlucky though and picked the wrong one, or got someone on a bad day.

Keep running though and don't let it put you off joining a club.

My knee is bad at mo but I will once I'm back on my feet. I was fit once............ Crying or Very sad
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Post by rodders on Fri 09 Nov 2012, 12:09 pm

Stella wrote:I once e-mailed my local running club, regarding joining up. I was surprised to read a reply that said I would need to be running approx 10 min miles. At the time I could (I'm no Seb Coe) but thought this was perhaps a little elitist.

I think its fair enough for a club to have a prequisite standard for joining. Some clubs don't have resources for dealing with a wide spectrum of abilties. If everyone else there is running 8 minute miles then a complete beginner isn't going to get much out of the sessions.

I mean if I emailed Ulster rugby to see if I could tag along with their training I think I know what they'd say....
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Post by super_realist on Fri 09 Nov 2012, 12:12 pm

They'd probably say provided you wear a blazer and beige slacks, can drink a pint of puke, stand at the bar chatting up a bird with your genitals in a glass and flaming toilet paper up your rectum you can join straight away. Laugh




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Post by rodders on Fri 09 Nov 2012, 12:13 pm

BOOM Count me in then! Smile guinness
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Post by Stella on Fri 09 Nov 2012, 12:15 pm

rodders wrote:
Stella wrote:I once e-mailed my local running club, regarding joining up. I was surprised to read a reply that said I would need to be running approx 10 min miles. At the time I could (I'm no Seb Coe) but thought this was perhaps a little elitist.

I think its fair enough for a club to have a prequisite standard for joining. Some clubs don't have resources for dealing with a wide spectrum of abilties. If everyone else there is running 8 minute miles then a complete beginner isn't going to get much out of the sessions.

I mean if I emailed Ulster rugby to see if I could tag along with their training I think I know what they'd say....

Well, I didn't e-mail Crystal Palace, just a local club. If I were to e-mail a local Football club and ask to join, they would say yes and if I was useless, I wouldn't get a game but could still train and perhaps improve enough to get one.
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Post by MrsP on Fri 09 Nov 2012, 12:17 pm

I think you need to differentiate between being able to participate in a sport from getting to the top level.

Clearly just about anyone can afford to knock a tennis ball against the wall but lessons are expensive and pretty much all the world class players seem to head off to a "Tennis Academy" when they are about 12 which is clearly beyond the reach of many.

Rugby really is very cheap to participate in and Ulster are reaching out to non schools and others who would not traditionally have played or watched rugby. The increase in the profile of the club recently will help that further.

Rodders,

One of the 2 schools (Inst and RBAI are the same school) you mentioned is actually almost 50/50 in terms of the background of their pupils now!

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Post by super_realist on Fri 09 Nov 2012, 12:21 pm

Mrs P, the majority of people who are in Football clubs or Rugby clubs aren't doing it to become professional either. It's for fun, yet there seems to be an assumption that in golf or tennis you are doing it to get to an elite level. I'm not sure why people think this or why people think training is even necessary.
If you go to any tennis or golf clubs you'll see people who do it for recreation and enjoyment, just as much as you'd see a fat knacker playing sunday Rugby or Football.
Nobody needs, or is required to take lessons in any mainstream sport as far as I can see.

Anyway, why would tennis training sessions not be taken like football is by parents?


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Post by ChequeredJersey on Fri 09 Nov 2012, 12:23 pm

If it's group running, there has to be a minimum speed or it ruins everyone else's run or you'd just run by yourself.

Runners' World has some douches though. I was marathon training and got injured a few times and was slightly behind on schedule and adjusted my target slightly to account for this. I then badly hurt my knee and asked for training/injury advice regarding how to change it, telling them on a forum what my injury was and what distances I'd been running. Some people were helpful, some people said that if I were only running those distances at that point I'd never finish and shouldn't bother aiming sub 4.30 hours, not in a supportive but in a condescending way.

They were wrong. Ignore those Muppet
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Post by ChequeredJersey on Fri 09 Nov 2012, 12:24 pm

Actually that may have been a differe t running website...
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Post by Stella on Fri 09 Nov 2012, 12:27 pm

ChequeredJersey wrote:If it's group running, there has to be a minimum speed or it ruins everyone else's run or you'd just run by yourself.

Runners' World has some douches though. I was marathon training and got injured a few times and was slightly behind on schedule and adjusted my target slightly to account for this. I then badly hurt my knee and asked for training/injury advice regarding how to change it, telling them on a forum what my injury was and what distances I'd been running. Some people were helpful, some people said that if I were only running those distances at that point I'd never finish and shouldn't bother aiming sub 4.30 hours, not in a supportive but in a condescending way.

They were wrong. Ignore those Muppet

I agree to an extent but not 10 min miles. Anyway, it looks like they have entered the real world and catered for the non athletes.
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Post by rodders on Fri 09 Nov 2012, 12:27 pm

MrsP wrote:
Rodders,

One of the 2 schools (Inst and RBAI are the same school) you mentioned is actually almost 50/50 in terms of the background of their pupils now!

Well there you go then! I've been out of the schools loop for too long! Gees I always wondered why Inst and RBAI never played each other .... Smile
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Post by rodders on Fri 09 Nov 2012, 12:33 pm

Stella wrote:
Well, I didn't e-mail Crystal Palace, just a local club. If I were to e-mail a local Football club and ask to join, they would say yes and if I was useless, I wouldn't get a game but could still train and perhaps improve enough to get one.

No I accept that but it doesn't matter what level, it's a clubs right to set their joining criteria. I think abilities based is the fairest way.

You would hope that any club would welcome new members and cater for all levels but this isn't always possible.
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Post by Stella on Fri 09 Nov 2012, 12:39 pm

rodders wrote:
Stella wrote:
Well, I didn't e-mail Crystal Palace, just a local club. If I were to e-mail a local Football club and ask to join, they would say yes and if I was useless, I wouldn't get a game but could still train and perhaps improve enough to get one.

No I accept that but it doesn't matter what level, it's a clubs right to set their joining criteria. I think abilities based is the fairest way.

You would hope that any club would welcome new members and cater for all levels but this isn't always possible.

I know it's their right but was surprised to hear it from a local club, who from what I can gather have no international athletes in their ranks. Like I mentioned, they are now catering for the rest of us now, which is nice to see.
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Post by mystiroakey on Fri 09 Nov 2012, 12:40 pm

oh this topic again..

great topic though!!

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Post by rodders on Fri 09 Nov 2012, 12:47 pm

Stella wrote:
rodders wrote:
Stella wrote:
Well, I didn't e-mail Crystal Palace, just a local club. If I were to e-mail a local Football club and ask to join, they would say yes and if I was useless, I wouldn't get a game but could still train and perhaps improve enough to get one.

No I accept that but it doesn't matter what level, it's a clubs right to set their joining criteria. I think abilities based is the fairest way.

You would hope that any club would welcome new members and cater for all levels but this isn't always possible.

I know it's their right but was surprised to hear it from a local club, who from what I can gather have no international athletes in their ranks. Like I mentioned, they are now catering for the rest of us now, which is nice to see.

I don't think 10 minutes per mile is international standard, just a basic base level to filter out those who maybe weren't at the required level.

I know my local athletics club checks PBs at 5k, 10k, half - marathon and marathon if you want to join. Theres no prerequisite that I know of but if you want to jump in with the training I suppose they want to check you won't have a coronary.....

The point is that every club is different and they are responsible for the needs of current members as well as new ones.
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Post by Stella on Fri 09 Nov 2012, 12:51 pm

Is that not being elitist?
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Post by MrsP on Fri 09 Nov 2012, 12:53 pm

super_realist wrote:Mrs P, the majority of people who are in Football clubs or Rugby clubs aren't doing it to become professional either. It's for fun, yet there seems to be an assumption that in golf or tennis you are doing it to get to an elite level. I'm not sure why people think this or why people think training is even necessary.
If you go to any tennis or golf clubs you'll see people who do it for recreation and enjoyment, just as much as you'd see a fat knacker playing sunday Rugby or Football.
Nobody needs, or is required to take lessons in any mainstream sport as far as I can see.

Anyway, why would tennis training sessions not be taken like football is by parents?


My own experience of sports clubs is that Golf clubs and to a lesser extent Tennis clubs seem to be run as a business whereas rugby, football, hockey, athletics clubs are run by passionate amateurs who are keen to impart their knowledge to anyone willing to learn. That's not to say you must avail of the lessons offered but that seems to be the way things are run. You also have to be a member of a golf club to participate in competitions, no?

We have a municipal golf course near us which is great as kids can join for a very reasonable fee.

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Post by ChequeredJersey on Fri 09 Nov 2012, 12:54 pm

It is elitist by I think by a different criterion than that in the OP.

Are we defining elitism by class, money, availability of resources (I.e. If you are not near a largish river you are geographically inhibited from rowing) or required starting level of skills?
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Post by rodders on Fri 09 Nov 2012, 12:56 pm

Stella wrote:Is that not being elitist?

Yes but in some context elitism is not a bad thing.... if it is ability based and if there is a genuine benefit to both current members and potential new ones to restrict membership.

I don't know the specifics of this club so can't say I agree or disagree in this instance. I am just arguing that sometimes there is a place for elitism and setting entry ability based entry criteria.
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Post by ChequeredJersey on Fri 09 Nov 2012, 12:59 pm

In running, knowing a Pb 5k etc will allow them to group with people of similar ability so that you can comfortably train together without feeling out of depth or like you are being held back. It should be possible to have a group doing 12 min miles etc though
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Post by super_realist on Fri 09 Nov 2012, 1:20 pm

12 minute miles? Laugh That's 5MPH. Is anyone that slow

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Post by JuliusHMarx on Fri 09 Nov 2012, 2:48 pm

I suspect polo is quite elitist, although ironically the mints are available at every corner shop.

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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly on Fri 09 Nov 2012, 3:30 pm

I would say Granny Mobile racing. Tiff Toff
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Post by pedro on Fri 09 Nov 2012, 3:41 pm

Jumping out from space from 24 miles is elitist.

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