By Vance Rodriguez, Sparts Editor
St. Louis University of Missouri students will likely become more involved with campus athletics through a course being offered this fall: “The Fundamentals of Viewing Sports.” One hundred students can register for the course that does not focus on writing essays and passing tests, but rather attending the school’s athletic events.
Dr. Chip Lakeless, an associate professor in the media studies department, helms this course that focuses on the athletics of the university. Lakeless promises that the course will give students the chance to focus on what will really become important to their lives.
“I always felt that universities focus too much on papers and tests; I always wanted to teach a class that prepared students for the real world,” he says, while the Granny Basketball League blared in the background of his office. “Some students have never attended a basketball, baseball or football game. How can we expect them to graduate and achieve things without basic knowledge of athletics?”
Lakeless believes March Madness, the Superbowl, and the World Series are all important events, and that students must know this if they hope to achieve success in the working world. This all starts at the collegiate level.
“How is someone supposed to be taken seriously in the office if they can’t fill out a March Madness bracket? Or can’t tell you who is in the Superbowl?” he says. “This leads to the individual becoming an outcast in the job they dreamed of having. All because they never learned fundamentals of watching sports at the collegiate level to carry over to the big leagues.”
Lakeless and SLUM President believes now is the perfect time to unveil the curriculum, since so many reported alumni in recent years have been unable to find employment, due to their lack of knowledge in the sports America holds dear. “It’s a tragedy, but you don’t want to be the guy or gal who doesn’t know what a shooting guard or small guard is,” Lakeless says. “That’s why this course is so important.”
The course will award the students, if completed, with three credit hours, which can apply to Humanities and Fine Arts, Social Sciences, or as a Media Elective for Media Studies majors. Students will have to attend up to 30 home games from several fall scheduled sports which include men’s and women’s Soccer, men’s and women’s golf, and women’s volleyball, just to name a few. Lakeless will be at every game with an attendance sheet, as students will have to check in in order to be graded. Lakeless will not be assigning for homework, essays or tests, during the course, as grades will solely come from attendance.
Lakeless grew up in Jamesport, Missouri and was raised Amish up until college. In college, Lakeless received a full ride as a polo player at the Academy of Musical Studies. He names baseball as his favorite sport and picks the Brookyln Nets to make it this year in the Superbowl. “Sports made me the man I am today,” he says. “If I didn’t devote hours and hours to watching basketball, baseball, ultimate frisbee, or football, I don’t know where I’d be.”