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

Seven Sessions 

Limit: 25

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:

  1. What Are Sports?
  2. Competition and the Drama of Sports
  3. Play, Freedom, Self-Discovery, Character Development, and Sports
  4. Group identity and Sports (A): Community and Tribalism
  5. Group Identity and Sports (B): Patriotism and Fanaticism
  6. The Beautiful and the Sublime in Sports
  7. The Desecration of Sports: Sex, Drugs, Money, and Sports
  8. 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.

Previous | Next

Sign up for our free email newsletter, and don't miss out on our great programs!
Support OLLI at Berkshire Community College and lifelong learning!

OLLI: the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Berkshire Community College
Partners in education with Williams College, Bard College at Simon's Rock and the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts

1350 West Street | Pittsfield, MA 01201 | 413.236.2190 | olli@berkshirecc.edu

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software