This book owes a great deal to colleagues, friends and family. As a fairly recent recruit to the sociology of sport I have found numerous colleagues' studies and expositions both enlightening and enjoyable. To Tim May, the series editor, go special thanks for his close reading of the initial draft and subsequent deft and wise counsel. Thanks go also to a group of friends with whom I have played badminton weekly for a quarter of a century, consumed countless beers and debated every sport known to humankind. They are Ken Reeves, Mike Roshier, Bill Tallis and, first reserve, Roger Kerswell. I may just possibly have learned something from these people. As ever, Annette Scambler's industry and support enabled me to keep going and see the project to its conclusion. As all the above would undoubtedly insist, the book's theses and conclusions are my fault.
The volume is dedicated to Angela Kerswell, who died in 2004 and whose irrepressible enthusiasm for life is missed.