For three semesters Paul Alvarez, professor of movement and sports science, has been showcasing sports films for the students of La Verne in his class American Values in Sports Films.
This semester Alvarez has about 30 students in his class.
“A lot of these movies relate back to religion and politics and those things relate to culture and social aspects in America,” Alvarez said.
The class meets from 6:30 p.m. to 9:40 p.m. every Monday in the Arts and Communications Building in room 212.
Alvarez bases the class on sociologist Robin Williams’ 14 dominant American values. Williams’ dominant American values were published in his 1960 book “American Society: A Sociological Interpretation.”
On Feb. 27 Alvarez put on “Remember the Titans” for his class and brought in assistant football coach Brent Baier for insight on the movie.
“I always try to get someone to come in who knows about the specific sport we are watching,” Alvarez said. “I don’t always get someone to come in, but when I do it really helps.”
Baier gave insight to not only the students, but also for Alvarez.
“For the coaches (in “Remember the Titans”) to put aside their pride and admit their mistakes is huge,” Baier said.
“I would have never thought to bring that point up, so having coach Baier in here was great,” Alvarez said.
After every movie the students are expected to write a three to four page paper on the film.
Alvarez does not showcase familiar films, but opts films that are not as well known, like “Miracle Match,” a film about the 1950’s U.S. men’s soccer team and the year they defeated soccer powerhouse England, 1-0.
“They have better discussions with these unique films,” Alvarez said.
Throughout the film Alvarez stresses equality, relates everything back to American culture and raises questions to his students.
“There are major points that all these films have,” Alvarez said.
After the film Alvarez opens up discussion to his class. The class is mixed with student athletes and non-student athletes.
“Athletes take teamwork for granted,” Alvarez said. “Non-student athletes have to think their way through it.”
All sports movies have an apparent major theme: The underdog overcomes adversity to become the hero and/or champion.
Alvarez brings a different approach to this theme. He shows movies like “The Jericho Mile,” a film that does not follow the typical sports movie script.
“I like to sort of scatter them (the movies) and show my students different perspectives of sports movies,” Alvarez said.
Alvarez always relates the films back to American culture and finds ways to make his students look at the films in a different perspective, not just a sports film.
“It’s such a cool class to take,” sophomore Diego Medrano said. “You get to just watch movies on a Monday night.”
Alvarez encourages students and faculty to sit in and watch these films with the class.
Alvarez has received great feedback on the class and it has become a popular class among students.
Christian Orozco can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.