Sports In American Culture
In the narrative of American culture, organized sports is valued for its ability to build character. This continues to be true as to recreational participation. However, the greater emphasis in sports today is on passive viewing, and a growing trend of legal sports gambling that eliminates rooting interest in favor of the betting line. Nourished principally by television revenues and high-ticket prices, organized sport has evolved into a large business enterprise. Inevitably the original values of character development and amateurism have become subordinated to the goals of a large, profitable, and expensive industry. What does this suggest for the future of sports in our culture?
The blurring of active sports participation with passive viewing entertainment has evoked interesting tests of societal values. The design of this course will address the issues of shifting values in sports, some favorable and some negative. Among topics we will discuss are the high levels of compensation for professional athletes, the evolving financial model of intercollegiate sports, long-term medical risks for players associated with repetitive trauma, rights of athletes with disabilities, the increased opportunity for women and trans to participate in competitive sport, and the influence of legalized gambling on the future of the game. To a degree this requires discussion of legal issues; however, the relevant law will be approached at a comprehensible level. The course will incorporate current events into the curriculum as they inevitably arise.