54 | Chapter 12 Children leaving the parental home An important life event later in the life course is when (adult) children leave home. At that point there is a drop in the direct care that parents must give to their children (Tiessen-Raaphorst et al., 2010). That is, they no longer need to provide the same degree of care and support as when their children lived at home. For the parents who remain, time constraints diminish, and the amount of available leisure time increases. In parallel, the social network that parents had via their children disappears. While children live at home, parents generally maintain contact with their children’s friends and their parents. We expect these contacts to diminish when offspring leave home. Starting a sport then provides new opportunities for social interactions and making friends. These arguments suggest the following hypothesis: Children leaving home increases the odds of starting a sport. Due to the drop in social resources experienced when a child leaves home, coupled with the increased availability of leisure time, a competitive club sport is relatively more suited to “empty nesters”, compared to other forms of sport. We do realise that for many parents children leaving home happens at a later age, at which competitive club sport may seem less of an option. Note, however, that the range of competitive club sports is broader than just physically demanding contact and team sports, such as boxing and football. Many people of a more mature age take part in, for example, competitive running, tennis and bridge. Nonetheless, we control for age in our analyses to take such age effects into account. This leads to the following hypothesis: Children leaving home increases the odds of starting a competitive club sport, compared to starting a sport in some other organisational form. Retirement When people retire, they have more leisure time, which they can then devote to sport activities. After all, before retirement, a large share of time was usurped by work (see also the transition “starting a paid job”). Regarding social resources, upon retirement, people’s social interactions tend to diminish. Many contacts and friendships that were formed as part of the working life do not last or are diluted after retirement. Sport participation could then be a means of forming new friendships. Our hypothesis here states: Retirement increases the odds of starting a sport.