T101 | Only A Game?: An Inquiry into the Significance
of Sports | Tom Hodgson
9:30 - 11:00 a.m. EST
4/11, 4/18, 4/25, 5/2, 5/9, 5/16, 5/23
By any standard, sports play an outsize role in modern life. Extraordinary amounts of time, money, and emotion are invested in playing, watching, and analyzing sports. And while sports are clearly much more than opportunities for diversion and exercise, it’s not obvious why they are as significant as they have become. In this course, we will attempt to understand some of the ways sports allow us to engage with five important dimensions of human life: hierarchy, elevation, community, understanding, and legacy. A variety of short readings will set the stage for each of our 7 sessions. Short lectures will set the table for class discussions. Participants (teammates!) will keep intellectual journals recording their reactions to our readings (available through our course page) and conversations. Each member of the class will be invited to share readings, videos, and anecdotes that speak to each of these topics.
Topics for our classes will include:
What Are Sports?
Competition and the Drama of Sports
Play, Freedom, Self-Discovery, Character Development, and Sports
Group identity and Sports (A): Community and Tribalism
Group Identity and Sports (B): Patriotism and Fanaticism
The Beautiful and the Sublime in Sports
The Desecration of Sports: Sex, Drugs, Money, and Sports
Promoting Sports at Their Best: Sacred Spaces and Places of Joy
This class is highly participatory with discussion at its core.
Readings are forthcoming.
Tom Hodgson is an Instructor Emeritus of Philosophy at Phillips Academy. He holds a BA from Williams and an MA from Yale. Tom has taught a variety of in-person and online course with OLLI chapters at BCC and at Dartmouth. He has competed in five sports, coached five different high school varsity teams, and is currently an assistant squash coach at Williams.
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