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Play and Sport in a Time of Pandemic

Course overview

It's a tough time to love sports. Fans and athletes around the world are feeling the pain of social distancing policies that have cancelled organized sports.

But even if you've had to set your baseball or basketball down for a while, you can use this time to hone your understanding of play. Does play have a place in a world that's reeling? And if play is so important to a healthy, productive life, how can we embrace it in the midst of a pandemic?

In this class, you'll learn why sports are unique and discover new spaces for recreation. You'll observe how fans, athletes, and sports organizations are reacting and even thriving. And that deep understanding of athletics will make your play in a post-pandemic world more meaningful and fulfilling.

Course distinctives

Useful for everyone - This course isn't just for coaches and athletes—it's valuable for anyone whose life intersects with sport on some level. Pastors, teachers, volunteers, and parents will all find practical insight they can use.
Engaging materials - Your learning will draw on books, blogs, podcasts, and other mediums where thought leaders are wrestling with and talking about play during a pandemic.
Creative drive - In a social-distancing world, our play has to be creative. If you love making up games or take a playful approach to life, you'll be inspired and motivated by what you learn.

Course details

There is no set meeting time for this course. You will have opportunities for live collaboration with the professor and other students. If you choose to audit the course, plan to spend 10-14 hours over the course of three weeks reading, writing, watching videos, and having discussions. You won't be graded. If you are taking the course for academic credit, expect an additional 20 hours of course work. Credit-seekers are awarded a credit on a completed/not-completed basis without a letter grade.


Brian Bolt's staff photo

Brian Bolt

Professor Bolt is an educator, coach, husband, dad, and often misunderstood introvert. He's harbored a deep love for sports since childhood, and has teaching experience in settings ranging from kindergarten to the university level. He has served as Dean of Education at Calvin University and shepherded the Calvin Men's Golf team to a MIAA title and the NCAA Division III Championships 2011. When he's not playing, teaching, or coaching, he spends time talking with colleagues from other disciplines and other faith backgrounds.

Basic information

IDIS 170
$400 for college credit (1 semester hour)
$200 to audit the course
June 22–July 10, 2020
Brian Bolt


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