Recreation and Sport Studies

Studying, Experiencing and Facilitating Kinesiology, Recreation and Sport through Wellness and Physical Activity


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Two engaging presentations on the future of athletic performance

The issue of performance enhancement was the focus of a recent KIN 6300 discussion. As a precursor to the group discussion, the class watched the following two videos:
David Epstein is an investigative journalist that focuses on issues relating to Sports Science.  In this TED talk, Epstein discusses the timeline of athletic performance; where we were, and where we are now, and where we are going.
Using a number of different sports, Epstein shows the progression of athletic performance, and the difference that innovation, genetics, and a changing mindset have on the sports world.
Epstein does an excellent job in showing how athletic performance has advanced throughout the years, and how sport is adapting to these performances.
Next, is a presentation by Hugh Herr, an MIT Professor who looks into Bionics and robotic prosthetics.  While he looks at helping those who have lost limbs or are unable to perform as they would like, he also discusses  those who are able-bodied, and what prosthetic limbs can do for them.
Many discussion question arose in KIN 6300 from these videos:
 
If these limbs for able-bodied athletes are ever perfected, do you think they should be allowed in sport? 
 
If this became the norm amongst athletic competition, where athletes are improving themselves by technological modification, what do you think the sporting leagues do? 
 
Would the NHL, NBA, NFL, MLB ban athletes who wish to undergo these sorts of advancements?  What would be the concerns for allowing this? (This would be a massive blog post if I got into this)
 
I believe one day we will see a separate technologically advanced league.  There will someday be the Paralympics, Olympics, and a Transolympics for those who have and wish to transcend the human biology.  As a fan of the entertainment sport offers, I believe technology could only further that excitement.
 
-Joe Todd, November 2015


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Relationship between athletes and role models

As an undergraduate in RSS, an article I would recommend to future RSS 4092 students is:

LeMier, K. (2008). Relationship between athletes and role models. Journal of Undergraduate Research at Minnesota State University, Mankato, 8(7), 1-12.

While trying to think of a topic to write about for a Recreation and Sport Studies paper, I saw a commercial on television about the upcoming Masters golf tournament which featured Tiger Woods. Seeing the image of Tiger Woods instantly gave me the idea for my paper. In 2009, Woods’ private life was plastered all over the media, as there were allegations that he had been cheating on his wife. These allegations proved to be true and had detrimental affects on Woods’ life. He withdrew himself from multiple upcoming golf tournaments, lost many of his sponsorship deals and lost the respect of a lot of his fans. Many people blamed Woods for teaching poor morals to young children who looked up to him. This led to my question: should professional athletes be expected to be role models?

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LeMier (2008) examines whether or not athletes should have the responsibility to portray themselves as a positive role model to children. According to LeMier, there are three main issues when it comes to the influence that athletes have on young children:

  1. the moral development of the youth,
  2. the potential influence by athletes on the behavior of the youth, and
  3. how athletes are expressed through the media as exceptions to the rules.


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Examining religion in sport

As a graduating undergraduate in RSS, an article I would recommend reading is:

Sarkar, M., Hill, D., & Parker, A. (2014). Working with religious and spiritual athletes: Ethical considerations for sport psychologists. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 17(6), 48-55.

“Working with religious and spiritual athletes: Ethical considerations for sport psychologists” by Mustafa Sarkar, Denise M. Hill, and Andrew Parker is an article on how much religion has become a part of sport in today’s society and the importance on how sport psychologists discuss this topic with their clients.  The article touches on all different religions and how some may praise their god for their success, an example of this being a Muslim athlete saying, “Allah gave me the speed and strength, and I worked for His glory” instead of statements such as “I’m fast, I’m strong, I’m ready” (Sarkar et al., 2014).

I personally feel that religion is important and should be practised everyday by a person of faith; however I do not feel that all the blame or glory should be placed on that respective god and that sport psychologists should explain this to their clients.

Do you feel that athletes of faith should place all their success or failures on their respective god and is it up to a sport psychologists to explain this to the athlete?

Andrew Hughes