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London Calling

Aug 15, 2010

Sport Sciences students learn about sport and globalization first-hand

The class gathered outside Twickenham Stadium before the Rugby Premiership Final
The class gathered outside Twickenham Stadium before the Rugby Premiership Final

Samuel Johnson once said "By seeing London, I have seen as much of life as the world can show." In this spirit, two professors, twelve undergraduate and six graduate students boarded a plane to London on May 17, 2010, to study sport and globalization first-hand. 

"Armed with our trusty Oyster travel cards and curiosity abound, we explored the sporting sights, sounds and smells of London, Glasgow and Durham on our whirlwind two-week trip," said Sport Sciences professor Dr. Lara Killick, a London native who offered the advantage of local insight. She and Dr. Pete Schroeder teach the new Sport and Globalization class (SPTS 142) created in 2009.

Like all social institutions in the United States, sport is increasingly shaped by global forces. Understanding these dynamic economic, political, cultural, technological, communicative and environmental processes is imperative for developing professionals in all aspects of sport and exercise.

"Through the Sport and Globalization course and field trip, we help students gain this knowledge in real-life learning environments," said Dr. Schroeder. 

Amy Vanhollebeke '08, who went on the 2009 trip, said, "Being able to spend two weeks in London learning about the globalization of sport allows you to really become aware of how sport brings different cultures together. Visiting other sporting venues teaches you about the history and origin of clubs and programs, which is essential to better understand them."

Another student from the 2009 class, Morgan McSweeney '08, advises any Sport Sciences student to participate: "It will truly provide an unforgettable college experience." He adds, "To have the opportunity to be immersed in the European culture of sport and to gain an understanding of the impact that sporting culture has all over the world was a once in a lifetime experience. The opportunities and access we were given to many of the world's premiere sporting venues was unlike any other trip I've ever been on."

Below are highlights from this year's trip and comments from students who participated.

Interested in joining us?

For more information about the Sport and Globalization class or to book your spot for next year, contact Dr. Schroeder (Undergraduate) or Dr. Killick (Graduate).

Highlights of the 2010 London-Based Field Trip

  • Meetings with Sports Franchises:  The class examined the challenges facing two of the largest American sport conglomerates, Major League Baseball (MLB) and the National Football League (NFL), as they attempt to expand their products beyond the shores of the United States. 
    The group met with members of the NFL UK
    The group met with members of the NFL UK
  • Attending Live Sports Events:  The group watched Millwall beat Huddersfield 2-0 in the League One Football (soccer) playoff semi-final at The Den and experienced the victory walk home through the streets of South London. Surrounded by a crowd of 82,000, they also watched the Leicester Tigers beat Saracens (33-27) in a last-minute thriller to become 2010 Guinness Premiership Rugby Champions at Twickenham Stadium. 
    Attending the unforgettable football semi-final
    Attending the unforgettable football semi-final
  • Sporting Immersion Activities:  The class "went native" and got a chance to play cricket and rugby in coaching sessions hosted by Dulwich Cricket Club and London Scottish Rugby Club.  The second annual Pacific Soccer Friendly was held at Hyde Park with Dr. Schroeder's team once again coming out on top, 3-2.
    Graduate student Gwen Arafilies plays cricket against the Dulwich Cricket Club’s 12 and under girl’s team, which ended in a tie!
    Graduate student Gwen Arafilies plays cricket against the Dulwich Cricket Club's 12 and under girl's team, which ended in a tie!
  • Facility Tours:  The group took tours of several international facilities, including Lord's Cricket Ground, the All England Lawn Tennis Club (a.k.a. Wimbledon), Chelsea Football Club, Twickenham Rugby Ground, Hampden Park and Celtic Park.
    The famed Centre Court at Wimbledon
    The famed Centre Court at Wimbledon
  • Academic Presentations:  The group attended several academic presentations, including a lecture by Sport and Globalization expert Professor Joseph Maguire from Loughborough University. They spent a full day with the bid team from Glasgow, Scotland for the 2014 Commonwealth Games, which are similar to the Olympics and involve countries of the former British Empire.
  • University Exchange:  In partnership with Durham University, the class spent a day touring the university's facilities, hearing from Durham's Director of Sport, Dr. Peter Warburton, and learning more about the structure of recreational and performance sport in UK universities.
  • Conducting Research:  The graduate students spent an afternoon at the Wimbledon library collecting data on the media presentation of Andre Agassi. They had unrestricted access to the extensive collection of books, journal articles and media reports housed in this facility. 
  • Cultural Immersion:  It wasn't all work and no play: the group took in two West End shows (Billy Elliot and Wicked), rode on the famous London Eye ferris wheel, explored the markets and shops of London, tasted diverse food and drink, and marveled at the historical and cultural sights for which London is most famous (Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul's Cathedral, Tate Modern, Trafalgar Square).

Student Reactions to the Experience

"With this class I had an opportunity to learn about globalization first-hand as well as learn about the world through a different culture. It was the trip of my life and I would do it all over again."
– Kyle Fox

"This trip was an amazing experience! The pre-trip meetings really helped prepare me for the UK itinerary, and I am very excited to start applying what I learned to future schooling and work."
– Amanda Sprinker

 "Shouting at the top of your lungs at a soccer match with the rowdy crowd to walking the prestigious and legendary grounds of Wimbledon and Lord's Cricket Ground, you get an all around experience and education on how sport has been globalized and branded England. After this trip you will look at sport differently wherever you go."
– Annika Ventura

"This will probably be one of my most memorable classes in terms of content. I learned a lot by meeting professionals in the field and ordinary fans. It gave me a new perspective on sport, which will be an advantage for my career."
– Anya Radanovich

"This trip was everything I expected and more."
– Kevin Tamura