Monday, August 28, 2006

Problems at the top

I am sitting in on a sport sociology seminar this semester at a large state school that has a strong DivI athletic program. Almost all the other students are in sport management or sport kinesiology and, as such, have positions as graduate assistants on the university's teams. I think this will make for interesting discussions where people can draw on their current experiences. But I also hope the class, which will be discussing issues such as race, gender, sexuality and sport, will help some of these folks see and/or realize the way they have been thinking about and acting on various constructions of sport and identity. In part because I think it will help the athletes with whom they work currently but also because these students will likely take positions in sport management and administration and thus have the ability to help challenge these hegemonies.
For example, when we went around the room introducing ourselves, one man noted that he worked primarily with the men's tennis team but also sometimes, of late, works with the girls' team too. He seemed to get that after high school boys' sports become men's sports but missed that a similar name change occurs for female athletes as well. Saying girls when referring to women, in this case, is belittling and infantilizing . It immediately informs us of the hierarchy that exists in collegiate sport and reinforces it. Not sure if anyone else caught this very minor moment in the class; but maybe by the end we all will be a little more aware of these moment and their potential ripple effects.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good point KEN; I teach this in Bus. Com......can be very belittling to use "girls" in almost any context. Will you be participating in the class as "just another student"?? or do they know your background.....