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Living Sport in London

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Faculty-led study abroad course explores the history and influence of British sport

by Carlos Anchondo ’14

The newest Trinity University faculty-led study abroad program is crossing the pond to London, England, this winter break. The course provides a comparison of the British and American sport systems and will continue on campus through the spring 2016 semester. Cross-listed as Business 3390 and Sport Management 3390, the course studies the economic, political, social, and cultural forces influencing British sport in comparison to the American model.

Taught by Jacob Tingle ’95, director of experiential learning, and Paul McGinlay, the Trinity men’s head soccer coach, the course will also examine club and team ownership, sport media, athlete development, revenue production, and the historical evolution of sport stadia. Students must have completed the course Sport in Society (SPMT 1312) to enroll. The class will spend Dec. 27 through Jan. 9 experiencing the British sport landscape firsthand.

“Many British sports are the fathers or grandfathers of the most popular sports in the world,” Tingle says. “Whether it is cricket or rugby or soccer, a trip to London is the logical first step.”

In preparation for the trip, students will be required to read Sport and the British: A Modern History by Richard Holt. Each morning in London either Tingle or McGinlay will deliver a lecture to students that relates to the venues the group is visiting that day, in addition to a pre-lecture reading. The class is scheduled to tour the main headquarters of the British Broadcasting Company, the British Olympic Committee’s head office, the All England Club, Lords Cricket Grounds, and a host of other sites.

The group, which will be comprised of 12 students in addition to Tingle and McGinlay, will take in a match at Loftus Road featuring the Queens Park Rangers Football Club. The class will also visit Wembley Stadium, the second largest stadium in Europe. Tingle calls Wembley “a historic site” that is a place students must experience in person.

“Whether we are talking about soccer, tennis, or whichever sport, to be at a place and to touch the grounds, to talk to the fans who live the culture, that will make it so much more meaningful when students do the comparisons back home,” Tingle says.

Tingle has also coordinated with alumnus Christopher Gaffney ’92 to give a lecture about the many aspects of urban culture associated with stadiums. Gaffney is the author of Temples of the Earthbound Gods, a professor at the University of Zurich, and the editor of the Journal of Latin American Geography. Back in the United States, Tingle and McGinlay will then have students evaluate the impact of venues like San Antonio’s AT&T Center with their British counterparts.

Additional highlights of the group’s time in London are visits to Westminster Abbey, Hampton Court Palace, Stonehenge, and the Tower of London. Students will also have the opportunity to meet with British university students who are friends of Callum Squires ’17, a member of the Trinity men’s soccer team who is originally from London. Trinity students will conduct interviews over dinner to talk about British sport culture in schools and society.

Unique opportunities like engaging with British university students are just one reason Tingle knows the trip to London will be worthwhile.

“There is something about experiencing that which you are studying that makes it so much more alive,” Tingle says. “This study abroad opportunity will be a great chance to engage in the sport management world.”

Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 2.5, should not be on disciplinary probation, and must be a sophomore or above. Oct. 9 is the final day to submit all application materials to Dr. Tingle. The program is sponsored by the Trinity University School of Business in association with The College of Global Studies at Arcadia University.

For more information, contact Jacob K. Tingle at 210-999-8281 or jtingle [at] trinity.edu.

Carlos Anchondo is a writer and editor for marketing communications and a member of the Trinity class of 2014. He can be found on Twitter at @cjanchondo or at canchond [at] trinity.edu.