A young person of 14 is having the time of their life zooming down a skiing slope. Another youth of a similar age is pushing a bike up a huge hill, and when they reach the top, they fly down the other side. A third wants to see if they can swim from this side of the lake to the other. A fourth is trying to beat their friends at hitting the crossbar with a football. A fifth is exploring forest trails in the forest, alone, at night.DOES THIS SOUND GIRLY?
Girls that go zooming down hills, exploring and competing show that they are involved in a wide range of spontaneous sports activities. Girls have tricks that break the girly mould. The stories about girls in my study show that girly activities include climbing and racing downhill, as well as going for walks and dancing in their bedrooms.
At secondary school age, gender does not really determine what individuals seek to achieve through spontaneous sports activities. Young people are motivated by having fun, experiencing crazy things, spending time with friends and, sometimes, getting away from their parents. They may be motivated by physical fitness or skills, or by being able to move, being active and free, and choosing where to spend their time. This applies to all young people, regardless of gender.
However, when we examine the use of sports facilities, there are often significant differences between boys and girls. Who do you usually see on football pitches and basketball courts? What do you notice when looking at a beach? What about a skate park or parkour park? The popularity of many sports activities and facilities seems to be divided by gender.