FT 012-C American Values and American Sports
Tom Bambrey, Department of English
Many people would have a hard time listing the values Americans live by. They would perhaps have a harder time connecting those American values to American high school, collegiate, and professional sports. In this tutorial we will try to do both--define “American Values” as best we can, and discuss how these values are embedded (or not) in our sports’ cultures. Our readings and discussions will focus on 1) the complexity of American values, given our nations’ rich multiplicity of cultures, races, and religions (etc., etc.), 2) our nation’s love affair with sports, and how values reveal themselves, are discovered (or disappear) in athletics, and 3) how each student’s developing or already internalized personal values lead him to participate in, be a fan of, appreciate, be curious about, or ignore sports. So, what are the values we live by? How do we acquire them? How do values differ among peoples and individuals? How do they affect our behavior? How (and why) do sports play such a big part in American society? Do athletes live by the same or different values than the so-called “average” American or non-athlete? Because of the attention, adulation, and benefits they sometimes receive, do athletes’ values change? These, and other, questions will occupy our time. Readings for the tutorial: Bleachers by John Grisham; Bang the Drum Slowly by Mark Harris; Heaven Is a Playground by Rick Telander; Once a Runner by John Parker; A River Runs Through It by Norman Maclean; and North Dallas Forty by Peter Gent.
Bambrey, Thomas E.