RST Participation Among Those With a Low SES in Football and Skydiving

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Participation in recreation, sports and tourism for those with a low socioeconomic status (SES) is often overlooked by those in the average or higher range. What many people do not realize is that there is stratification among today’s society where participation in sports, leisure, and tourism is concerned. What is meant by this is that participation in various sports, leisure, and tourism differs according to factors related to SES such as financial income, education, and access to resources. There are many activities that need more accommodations for those who are in the lower SES status. This paper talks about how people with a lower SES participate in football, skydiving, and navigating a new country. These three will represent sports, leisure, and tourism respectively.

General Participation Patterns of Those with a Lower SES in Football

The mass media often portrays those who are the most dedicated and skilled athletes will be the star players who rise up above everyone else. Looking at the statistics for the National Football League, 68.7% of players are black men (Allison, 2018). Research for participation in football supports that “black football players come from hometowns that are more socioeconomically disadvantaged than the national average (Allision, 2018).” Additionally, the glorification of black athletes in American culture and strong support for sports in families and communities may encourage many black men to over-identify with the sport. This combined with their lower SES may make them feel like they need to excel at the sport in order to be successful later in life and make friends and family proud.

According to Michel Martin, a writer for NPR, “those who still play the sport are increasingly low-income students (Martin, 2019).” To explain a reason for this, we must go back to SES. SES is related to one’s education and social capital. Parents with a high education level are beginning to pull their kids away from playing football due to fears of brain injuries or other football-related injuries. I would assume that those with a high education level have friends with similar education levels who may agree with what critics are saying about the dangers of the sport. As a result, it would solidify the parents’ concerns and amplify their wishes to withdraw their kids. On the other hand, parents with a lower SES are more likely to be underinformed about the possible health consequences of football.

Constraints of Lower SES on Participation in Football

Going to or participating in sports games is an important part of the American culture. This involves not only great time and effort, but money. According to the data that The Gadsden Times collected, “the cost to outfit a player for practice and a game can be from $800 to $1,000 a player (Taylor, 2016).” Those with a lower SES, may prefer to put the $800 into the house bills or rent/mortgage payments. The Gadsden Times included a break-down of each piece of equipment that goes into the $800-$1000 sticker price. What they didn’t include in the break-down is the additional side costs to playing football like medical bills, workout clothes/gear, and the cost for reconditioning helmets and shoulder pads. If an injury were to occur, it would be harder for those with a lower SES to get the necessary medical attention due to high costs.

When it comes to playing football or focusing on school, it’s safe to say that most people with a lower SES will choose football. Education past high school is expensive. Those with a lower SES have limited to no access to resources like tutors, online homework help, or textbooks because most are expensive. Choosing football is like their safety net for getting into college. If they can play well enough to impress recruiters, they will have landed themselves a spot for higher education. Although this sounds like an ideal plan, there are some key concerns that arise as a result. Focusing mainly on football to get into college may put them behind when they start college because they didn’t get to strengthen their study skills, test taking abilities, or other school related activities. They would have to learn how to be a student during their first year of college including getting used to classes, the college environment, and being away from home.

How RST Agencies Can Alleviate Constraints to Participation in Football

One of the biggest fears of the people in the lower SES, is cost. To help alleviate this pressure and encourage more people to play, agencies can offer fundraisers, scholarships, optional payment plans, and donations. Fundraisers are great for community engagement, because the goods can be given to help the disadvantaged get the tools necessary to participate in football. Next, scholarships would help increase football participation while decreasing the stress of the college admission process. Optional payment plans are beneficial because people will not have to pay such a high amount at once. They can help families set their own pace and increase affordability. Donations are another great way to navigate the high expenses and offer equipment for free.

General Participation Patterns of Those with a Lower SES in Skydiving

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Skydiving is a thrilling leisure activity that many people participate in. Let’s jump right into the key aspects of skydiving. The general admission fee for tandem skydiving ranges from $120-$250. This type of skydiving relives you of having to manage the technicalities of skydiving and places the instructor in control. Most beginners choose this route, but more experienced divers do solo skydiving. Which ever the case, expense matters. Having a lower SES deters people from participating in skydiving, because chances are they don’t have the highest quality health insurance if an accident were to occur. Also, lower income families have other worries that they place in front of leisure such as working, paying the bills, and paying for their children’s education. According to the United States Parachute Association National Championships, “only 25% of the competitors were female”. There seems to be no research on how SES specifically affects skydiving participation but it can be inferred that it can either hinder or encourage it.

Constraints of Lower SES on Participation in Skydiving

Lower financial abilities hinders the number of times one can go skydiving. For this reason, those with a lower SES may go only a couple of times compared to those with a higher SES. Often times, people skydive with a group of people due to the discounts that skydiving facilities offer. For this reason, people with a low SES may not go as often because they may not have as many social assets. If one wanted to skydive on their own without an instructor, they would need to complete a course and obtain certification all of which cost money. This is why tandem is more affordable in the short run, but solo skydiving is much more affordable in the long because they would not have to pay for the equipment rental and instructor. Additionally, skydiving comes with health risks. Although most don’t result in death, many result in small cuts or bruises during ground contact. More severe injuries include broken bones which would require immediate medical attention, and the quality of care received would based on the specifics of their insurance.

How RST Agencies Can Alleviate Constraints to Participation in Skydiving

Just like any other leisure activity, RST agencies can offer free equipment rental if one’s income falls below the poverty threshold. SES is not just financial security. According to the apa.org, people with disabilities remain overrepresented among America’s poor and undereducated placing them among the low rungs of the SES ladder. To accommodate for people with disabilities and help alleviate stress, agencies can launch training programs like the one known as “StartSkydiving.com”. This company specializes in training the disabiled and helping them experience skydiving safely. According to their website, they are “the only skydiving center in the United States that specializes in taking quadriplegics skydiving”. More companies should learn from this company and help disabled people – who have one of the lowest SES – to skydive. Because skydiving can be scary, there should be more encouragement to join skydiving groups where they partner with a skydiving facility to offer discounted prices. This way, people will always have others to enjoy the activity with and for a lower price.

General Participation Patterns of Those with a Lower SES in Navigating a New Country

According to an article published by the Public Library of Science, tourism mostly involves those who are in the higher SES because they have the resources, time, and budget to do so (Liu, 2012). This article focused mainly on traveling internationally and described how those who are more disadvantaged travel domestically. As a result, there is a higher number of travelers to foreign countries by people who are in the middle class and up. “ A popular destination for working-class families seems to be Wisconsin Dells” And “they may go on the once-in-a-rare-while leisure trip to Disneyworld or on a couples’ cruise”. Among the middle class, popular destinations are Florida, the western national parks, Jamaica, and Cancun (Liu, et. al, 2012). The upper class seems to travel the most compared to all the classes, both for business and travel. Popular destinations for the upper class are Hawaii, Italy, Costa Rica, and Door Count, Costa Rica, and Door County. The pattern that is most present among SES and tourism is that people with a higher SES travel more frequently and to more luxurious places.

Constraints of Lower SES on Participation in Navigating a New Country

Traveling to other countries requires one to experience things they have never seen before. In terms of navigating a new country, people with a lower SES may have more trouble because they don’t have the same resources as the more privileged. Before traveling to a new country, people in the higher social classes may take classes to learn more about the culture and language. They may also have knowledge from previous travels to convert their money to the country’s currency. Lower class families are not as educated on international traveling because they are more prone to travel domestically. People with a lower SES have a lower education, therefore, they may not have the resources to become familiar with the local language. For these reasons, navigating a new country is more stressful for the lower class.

How RST Agencies Can Alleviate Constraints to Participation in Navigating a New Country

One of the biggest issues when it comes to traveling internationally is overcoming the cultural barriers like language, food, and transportation. Agencies can help travelers among the lower class by establishing travel agencies in all countries. This would give travelers a route to go to if they ever need help with anything. Agencies can also offer classes to teach travelers new languages. This would most likely cost money but keeping It affordable is key. Also, it would be helpful for lower income families to connect with a local representative from the international country so any questions or concerns can be answered timely. With all this in mind, tourism in itself can be tiring. Having to live in an entirely new country takes effort and patience. If more and more companies can start programs to help fellow travelers feel more comfortable, more people would want to travel. Additionally, agencies can launch informational sessions that are package with their airplane tickets to inform people about the country they are visiting which would make travelers feel more prepared. This would especially help the lower SES members because it’s a free tool that would make them feel more comfortable and prepared to be in a new country.

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