The Tao of Sports


INSTRUCTOR: Joseph Lichter


SCHEDULE: Monday, Wednesday 12:30PM – 1:45PM

Course Description

For some people, the idea of sports could be described as hobby or entertainment. Something human beings watch/participate in for fun; to balance with work and responsibilities. But if that were the best explanation, why then does this particular entertainment industry’s international revenue greatly surpass that of all others (i.e. film, books, video games, amusement parks)?

In this course “The Tao of Sports”, we will try to make sense of why sports are such a unique and popular human experience. We will do so by studying the physical sciences that govern them and balance that with the social component and even religious experiences felt by athletes/sports fans. We will get into the physics of swimming, biking, running, football, basketball, car racing and more. We will evaluate the biology and psychology of sports and competition. We will then balance this with an investigation of the social science of sports. Students will not only be able to develop a greater understanding of the science of sports and its impact in human history, but perhaps see how they can find careers in the sports industry in ways that may be possible to anticipate based on the current status of sports science. There will be some basic science covered, lively class discussions, lots of reading, mandatory attendance to sporting events, watching videos of sports, examinations and written assignments that show you master both the physical and the social science of sports.

Students will learn to:

  • Explain the physical phenomena behind their most favorite sports, using equations, diagrams, and scientific principles
  • Evaluate the social phenomena seen in sports including political influence, communal gatherings, and the culture surrounding it
  • Think about data that is important to sports and athletes, with a potential to anticipate and/or develop applications for athletes providing such information.
  • See the parallels between sports and religion
  • Look at their own athleticism/sports interest with new perspective