Exploring experiences and emotions sport event volunteers associate with ‘role exit’

Susanne Gellweiler, Tom Fletcher, Nicholas Wise

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Much research in the past decade has assessed what motivates people to volunteer at sport events. Given that volunteering has become integral to the delivery and staging of sporting events, it is important that research not only considers reasons and motivations for volunteering, but how participants cope and manage once their volunteer journey ends. The paper considers the notion of ‘role exit’ and contributes insight based on interviews with participants after an event to understand their feelings and emotions. The significance of this research is understanding exiting emotions and experiences, but because a lot of emphasis is placed on preparing volunteers ahead of an event, the end of the volunteer journey is often abrupt and therefore left underexplored. To ensure that the needs of contemporary volunteers are adequately managed, it is important to consider how individuals are impacted by volunteering and also how they reflect on experiences afterwards. Three themes that emerge from this study include: (1) sadness and loss; (2) transitioning emotions; and (3) coping and coming to terms. A discussion framing the post-event volunteer as ‘the bereaved’ addresses the need to better manage the final stages of the volunteer journey, which represents a challenge given the liminality of sport event volunteering.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)495-511
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Review for the Sociology of Sport
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • emotions
  • lived experiences
  • role exit
  • sport event
  • volunteers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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