Sports and their impact subject of museum lecture

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MOSES LAKE — Sports, and what they mean to Americans and American society, is the subject of a lecture at 3 p.m. Friday at the Moses Lake Civic Center.

“What Do Sports Teach Our Kids?” will be the focus of the lecture by Eric Davis, associate professor of sociology at Bellevue College. Davis’ appearance is sponsored by the Moses Lake Museum & Art Center in conjunction with Humanities Washington. The lecture is part of the “Hometown Teams” exhibit, which is on display at the museum through April 26.

The exhibit is in conjunction with the Smithsonian Institution. Moses Lake is the first stop on a year-long tour of Washington.

The lecture “is really focused on this idea of how sports shapes society,” Davis said. “Sports seem to be one of those things that just connects our community, and it just brings us together.” Sports has its own section in the newspaper and on the local evening news. “Sports has that big an impact on society.”

Sports can be a positive thing in society – when sports is done right. “We bond in competition – when done in a healthy way, (it) can bring people together, and create a sense of a shared experience,” Davis said. Children are an important part of the appeal; an estimated 45 million children play organized sports.

But healthy competition is the key, he said. His lecture considers some of the scandals and controversies that have roiled the national sports scene, from performance-enhancing drugs to pay for college athletes, the sometimes-bad behavior of sports stars, pre-game behavior and national anthems. Davis discusses positive and negative events, “drawing from sociology, philosophy and years of studying, coaching and playing sports.” His lecture uses events “to understand our relationship to the games we love, and examines the impact, both positive and negative, sports might have on the next generation.”

Davis has been teaching at Bellevue College since 2009, and a full time professor since 2014, he said. Before joining the Bellevue College faculty, Davis was a professor at Pierce College and was an academic advisor to the University of Washington athletic department.

The Hometown Teams exhibit at the Moses Lake museum shows some of the great variety of sports through memorabilia from Moses Lake football and basketball players, baseball and soccer players, bowlers, cheerleaders, rodeo participants, the Molahiettes dance team. Carol Harsh, director of the Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street program, was in Moses Lake to help supervise installation. She said the Smithsonian provides the backdrop, and the local museum does the rest. “The real story is the local story.”

Cheryl Schweitzer can be reached via email at education@columbiabasinherald.com.

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