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Initiate: Constructing the ‘reality’ of male team sport initiation rituals

This article re-enacts a typical experience of male sport initiation at a university in the south of England and presents a confessional account of my own shifting epistemological position and desire to create more balanced, ethical, reflexive and self-effacing research. The tale of initiation is constructed from ethnographic fieldwork and interviews with male collegiate football (soccer) players and subsequent purposive conversations with male collegiate rugby players. It aims to confront the reader with the lived experience of male student sport initiations, providing a platform for unremitting reflection and greater possibilities for academic recourse. In particular, I suggest, the tale constructs a dais for sociological dialogue about the existentiality and configurations of, and relationships between, deviance, masculinities and subcultural identities in a student sport setting.