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Speakers:
Bev Smith, Executive Director, Kidsports.  Former Olympic and NCAA women’s basketball coach.

Bobby Green, High school football coach and official.  State of Oregon Governmental Affairs Director; former Lane County Commissioner.

It’s time for the big game again!  The beginning of February marks the time when much of the nation gathers around a television to watch, cheer, eat and drink, a celebration of the biggest annual event in sports.  NBC’s live telecast of Super Bowl XLIX in 2015 currently holds the record for the largest average viewership of any live single-network U.S. television broadcast, with 114.4 million viewers.  Super Bowl telecasts account for 23 of the most-watched television broadcasts based on overall viewership in US television history.  The non-football entertainment is just as popular as the game itself; the 2015 half-time show was watched by 118.5 million.
What does this virtual national holiday celebrate?  Talented individuals showing off their stuff in a game few of us ever play, accompanied by talented entertainers performing to the biggest audience one could imagine?  Team spirit and and annual gathering of family and friends for a fun Sunday indoors in a cold season?  Dedication, discipline and physical fitness, as modeled by the athletes, values we often resolve to fulfill on New Year’s eve but too often forget about before January ends?
Our panelists will discuss the place of big-time sports in American society and how it connects to sports and physical fitness in our community.  Our public schools and universities support a host of extracurricular sports, where many watch, some participate and a select few become professional athletes.  Do schools do too much in this direction?  Many young people are well-served by non-school sports organizations operated independently, such as Kidsports.  Does institutional support for sports like national-championship level football and world-class track and field distract universities from their educational mission, or bring in much needed funds and build community spirit?