While sporting activities have changed individual lives, societal problems still exist
SAN FRANCISCO, April 10, 2003 — From five-year-old T-ball players who run the wrong way around the bases to senior citizens participating in the Senior Olympics to the multitude of sports-related television channels, professional and recreational athletics impacts the daily lives of most Americans.
To promote a discussion on sports and the various roles athletics play in society, San Francisco State University’s Research Group for Studies in Sport and Physical Culture will host its inaugural event, “Sport as a Vehicle for Social Transformation,” on Monday, April 14.
The free conference will look at topics ranging from women’s basketball at historically black colleges and the sporting practices of Japanese Americans interned during World War II to male cheerleaders and exercise space for people with spinal cord injuries. Speakers include faculty members from SFSU, University of California at Irvine, University of the Pacific and California State University campuses in Sacramento, Hayward and Los Angeles.
“We’re hoping to present a new perspective on sport, which is typically a pretty conservative area of culture,” said Maria Veri, a lecturer in the Kinesiology Department and one of the research group’s founding members.
Although competitive athletics is opening up, debates still occur over racial equality in sports, the absence of openly gay professional athletes and defined roles for women on the football field or in the wrestling ring -- traditionally male dominated venues.
“Sport is still contending with social problems like racism, sexism and homophobia, and we hope to shed light on those issues,” Veri said.
Veri, along with Susan Zieff and Louisa Webb, both assistant professors in the Kinesiology Department, formed the research group in 2001. The three have similar research fields and wanted a forum to talk about their interests and promote discussions in the community.
While there is plenty of research on how sports influence individual lives as well as society and culture in general, Zieff would like to see more community discussion on the topics.
“What’s missing is a connection between ideas and projects, between what we do as scholars and the realities of what’s happening in the community,” she said. “This conference is a way of making that first contact and of bringing people together to have some dialogue about these issues.”
The conference takes place from 1 to 5 p.m. in room 471 of the Humanities building. For more information, contact Zieff at (415) 338-6574 or Veri at (415) 405-0753.
Student writer Clair McDevitt assisted in writing this release.
1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94132 415/338-1111