With TEDxKalamazooCollege coming up in just a couple of days, speakers Jan Tobochnick, Dow Distinguished Professor of Natural Science, and Jeanne Hess, Professor of Physical Education and Head Coach of Volleyball, share their excitement for speaking, what drew them to the event, and how they hope the campus can benefit from their talk.
The Index: What made you want to speak at Tedx?
Jan Tobochnick: I was asked by one of my former students and I thought it would be an interesting experience and I was honored to be asked.
Jeanne Hess: Before and since publication of my book, Sportuality: Finding Joy in the Games, it has been very clear to me that we need a cultural shift in our thought about sport. And since TEDx brings forth ideas worth spreading, I felt that this is a great venue to propel the shift forward.
The Index: What topic are speaking about and how important is it to you?
JT: I will be speaking about wealth inequality, which I believe is a symptom of an economic system that doesn’t work the way it should.
JH: I’m speaking about the principles in the book, which redefine words that when used in sport, can help us think a higher thought about competition. Ultimately, reprogramming our thoughts about sport can usher in more desirable cultural outcomes: from anger, hate, judgment, frustration, fear, negativity, and elimination of ‘the other,’ to experiences that include compassion, forgiveness, faith, trust, purpose, optimism, peace, love, and joy. In order to do this individually, I will pose the questions “who are you, and what are you here for?” This is important to me because it marries my career with my vocation – the career being over 45 years of playing sport, coaching, parenting professional athletes, and married to a coach, while the vocation is the call to use my position to increase the human condition toward greater love, peace, and joy.
The Index: How do you think your topic impacts the K community? What do you want people to gain?
JT: I want people to realize that one can obtain insight into what appears to be a very complicated system with a very simple model. Hopefully, people will remember the messages from my talk and always work toward building an economic system that works for all rather than just a few.
JH: I hope that the K community will see the greater value and purpose of sport, play, and athletics on our campus. In my talk, I actually define the word ‘community’ which literally means “To have charge of together.” Sportuality, though, can reach beyond the cultural construct of sport to other constructs of business, education, religion, and politics, where there “us vs. them” is common. I want people to leave with a higher thought about themselves and their purpose here.