Cover for Ortiz: The Sport Marriage: Women Who Make It Work. Click for larger image

The Sport Marriage

Women Who Make It Work

Survival and sacrifice with the ultimate team players

Steven M. Ortiz draws on studies he conducted over nearly three decades focusing on the marital realities confronted by women married to male professional athletes. Often portrayed in unflattering or unrealistic terms, these women face enormous challenges as they attempt to establish and maintain their marital and family lives while their husbands routinely prioritize their careers. Ortiz defines the traditional sport marriage as career dominated. He explains how women married to pro athletes are encouraged to contribute to their own subordination by adhering to an unwritten rulebook and using self-management strategies. They make invaluable contributions to their husbands’ careers while adjusting to public life and trying to maintain family privacy. At the same time, they manage power and control issues and cope with pervasive groupies, overinvolved mothers, a culture of infidelity, and husbands who prioritize team loyalty over all. Ortiz gives these historically silent women a voice, offering readers an in-depth analysis of and perceptive insight into what it means to be an athlete’s wife in the male-dominated world of professional sports.

"In this keenly observed, empathic, and insightful work, Steven Ortiz recounts the inner experience of wives married to both a man and his sports career. Ortiz observes the precise order in which wives sit on the bench in the stadium, how they respond to affair-seeking groupies, to more senior sports wives, news of a sudden cross-country trade, an intrusive mother-in-law, a lasting head-injury. He explores the complex art of managing a backstage role. This is the best book I know of on the sport marriage."--Arlie Russell Hochschild, author of Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right

"In this insightful book, Steven Ortiz unveils the heretofore hidden realities of the lives of women who marry male pro athletes. Beneath the veneer of public glory and fortune the general public may assume makes for a perfect life, Ortiz reveals the stresses and strains of women’s emotional and managerial labor as 'marriage workers' in a high-pressure, career-dominated marriage. Through sensitive interviewing and deft observation, Ortiz shows both the oppressive costs of these women’s subordination within the sport marriage, and their creative, and even sometimes resistant, strategies to assert and meet their own and their children’s needs."--Michael A. Messner, coeditor of No Slam Dunk: Gender, Sport, and the Unevenness of Social Change


Steven M. Ortiz is an associate professor of sociology at Oregon State University.

To order online:
//www.press.uillinois.edu/books/catalog/37grg6qp9780252043161.html

To order by phone:
(800) 621-2736 (USA/Canada)
(773) 702-7000 (International)

Related Titles

previous book next book
Creating the Big Ten - Cover
Creating the Big Ten

Courage, Corruption, and Commercialization

Winton U. Solberg

Sex Testing - Cover
Sex Testing

Gender Policing in Women's Sports

Lindsay Parks Pieper

Mascot Nation - Cover
Mascot Nation

The Controversy over Native American Representations in Sports

Andrew C. Billings and Jason Edward Black

Qualifying Times - Cover
Qualifying Times

Points of Change in U.S. Women's Sport

Jaime Schultz

Football and Manliness - Cover
Football and Manliness

An Unauthorized Feminist Account of the NFL

Thomas P. Oates

Coming On Strong - Cover
Coming On Strong

Gender and Sexuality in Women's Sport

Susan K. Cahn

Pigskin Nation - Cover
Pigskin Nation

How the NFL Remade American Politics

Jesse Berrett

Kansas City vs. Oakland - Cover
Kansas City vs. Oakland

The Bitter Sports Rivalry That Defined an Era

Matthew C. Ehrlich

The Gold in the Rings - Cover
The Gold in the Rings

The People and Events That Transformed the Olympic Games

Stephen R. Wenn and Robert K. Barney

Passing the Baton - Cover
Passing the Baton

Black Women Track Stars and American Identity

Cat M. Ariail

Journal of Sport History - Cover
Journal of Sport History

Edited by Maureen Smith

Before March Madness - Cover
Before March Madness

The Wars for the Soul of College Basketball

Kurt Edward Kemper

NFL Football - Cover
NFL Football

A History of America's New National Pastime

Richard C. Crepeau

Bloomer Girls - Cover
Bloomer Girls

Women Baseball Pioneers

Debra A. Shattuck

Figure Skating in the Formative Years - Cover
Figure Skating in the Formative Years

Singles, Pairs, and the Expanding Role of Women

James R. Hines