Answer 12 questions (minimum of two questions from each module)
The course discusses four categories of violence: brutal body contact, borderline violence, quasi-criminal violence, and criminal violence. Using professional hockey, football, or mixed martial arts as a reference, identify examples of each category of violence.
- If we want to understand violence in sports, we must understand gender ideology and issues of masculinity in culture. How is masculinity related to violence in sports and how do issues of masculinity take on different meanings among men from different backgrounds? Give examples from the course material and from your own experiences as you discuss this issue.
- Pain and injury are common in many sports. In fact, they have been normalized in the cultures associated with many sports. In other words, those who play the sports see pain and injury as a normal and expected part of their participation. How do pain and injury become normalized? What factors are involved in the normalization process? How are factors such as gender, social class, and age involved?
- Some people assume that it is difficult or impossible for athletes in heavy contact sports to be ready and willing to engage in certain forms of violence during a game and then effectively turn off their readiness and willingness when the game is over. What does research tell us about rates of assault and sexual assault among male athletes? Are they high enough to be considered a problem? Are they higher than rates for comparable groups of people who do not play high profile sports? Are there things about playing sports and being an athlete that might contribute to problematic assault rates? Explain your response.
- One of the paradoxes associated with the media coverage of sports is that the media open up new opportunities for spectators to view sports, but they also limit and define the experiences of spectators. Explain how the media can do both these things simultaneously.
- Large corporations and other businesses sponsor more than 99 percent of all televised sport programs. Why would corporate capitalist organizations be so interested in having their ads associated with sports and athletes? If a particular type of television programming was sponsored almost exclusively by feminist and women’s organizations, or by environmental groups, or groups that fostered progressive social activism, it would certainly lead people to ask critical questions about the images and messages in that programming. Why have we not asked critical questions about the specific images and messages associated with televised sports programs? Explain your answer.
- A few television companies around the world have paid massive amounts of money for the rights to cover certain sport events, even when they don’t anticipate that the ratings will be as high as they are for prime time programming. Why would television companies be so eager to cover sports in light of the fact that they seldom attract massive audiences, except in the case of a limited number of special events?
- One of the resources in the course makes the point that mediated sports are symbolic constructions, just as Hollywood films and television soap operas are symbolic constructions. What is meant by this point, and what is involved in the media construction of sports?
- The images and messages underlying media coverage of sports in the United States often revolve around success, masculinity and femininity, and race. What are some of the major themes emphasized in these images and messages? Do you think these themes have an impact on the way you or others think about or explain how the social world around you operates or how it should operate? Explain your response.
- Your parents are having a party during Christmas vacation. Some of the guests are talking about athletic scholarships in college. One of them says that athletic scholarships are great because they primarily serve to give poor kids a chance to attend college. After making the statement, the person looks at you and says, “Isn’t that right?” What would you say in response? Explain who receives scholarships and how many scholarships are given to student athletes.
- Your younger brother, a first-year student in high school, has just made the school’s junior varsity team. Your father is very pleased and tells your brother that if he tries hard enough he will have a good chance of getting a scholarship to college and maybe even playing in the pros. Do you agree with what your father told your brother? Why or why not? What could you tell your father so he would be able to provide better and more realistic advice to your brother in the future?
- Breaking into top sport management jobs has been slow for women and minorities. One of your friends says this is due to a lack of qualified candidates; another says it is due to fears among White men that they are losing all their power. Explain to your friends there is another interpretation, and then explain this alternative interpretation so they will understand.
- You are a bartender in an exclusive downtown athletic club. After a game of squash, two White male executives sit down at your bar and talk about the recent NBA playoffs. They both agree that sports are one of the only spheres of life that does not reflect the social inequality that exists in the rest of society. They praise sports because they are truly democratic and open to everyone. They ask if you agree. How do you respond?
- One of your friends is a distance runner who has just made the Olympic track team in your country. He tells you that he doesn’t understand why governments have become so involved in sports. You tell him there are a number of reasons why this has happened. He wants you to elaborate. What would you say?
- A U.S. official once said, “I think the playing fields of the world will produce the know-how, the democratic exchange, the give-and-take that will open the door to peaceful understanding among all mankind.” Give your reasons for either agreeing or disagreeing with this official.
- One of the resources in the course argues that to understand the connection between sports and political processes, it is now necessary to focus on transnational relations as well as international relations. Explain what is meant by transnational relations, and then explain how transnational organizations have joined nation-states in shaping the ways in which sports are defined, organized, planned, promoted, played, and presented around the world.
- You have been asked to participate on a special committee to reform the Olympic Games. You are scheduled to make a presentation in which you are to introduce three changes in the way the games are organized. What are the three changes you would suggest and why did you choose them for your presentation?
- The global expansion of sports and sport organizations has occurred at a very rapid pace over the past decade. Looking at sports from the perspective of a small country with little wealth or power, what are the pros and cons of this expansion?
- The use of technology in sports will not simply be the result of what is technologically possible. In other words, some people will raise questions about the use of certain forms of technology in sports. What are some of the questions that people have raised about the use of technology in sports over the past 10 years? What are forms of technology that you think will be questioned over the next 10 years?
- One of the resources in the course suggests that in the future there will be increased participation in pleasure and participation sports. Four factors are given as reasons for this increased growth. Focusing on your own community, discuss whether these reasons will have an impact on how sports are defined, organized, and played in the future; indicate which factor will have the most impact on the growth of pleasure and participation sports in your community.
- There are a number of general and specific predictions made in the course material. Choose two of the predictions you agree with and two that you disagree with; provide explanations supporting your agreement and disagreement.
- Using the predictions from the course material about what will happen to sports during the 21st century, describe what the youth sports in your community will look like in the year 2020.
- One of your friends says that video technology will totally change spectator experiences over the next 25 years. What forms of video innovations do you think people will find most attractive over the next 25 years? Will young people abandon watching telecasts of live sport events in favor of playing video games that simulate sports? Explain why or why not.
- Athletes are very visible and popular people in many cultures today. However, there are few athletes who could be described as change agents in society. Why are athletes not likely to be agents of change? What factors interfere with them playing this role in society?
- The course material suggests that there are four vantage points from which to make changes in sports. Using examples from your university, community, or country, show how changes have been made from each of the four vantage points (from within the system, through participation in oppositional groups, through the creation of alternative sports, and through focusing on culture and social relations). Identify the changes that you think are most significant.