As you look at the twelve topic titles above, you may find some that are very familiar to you, others that are less so, and some that are not at all familiar.  You'll find a variety of sports, historical moments, and world cultures represented in this list. 

 

I'd like you to think of each name—of each person, or event or sport as the case may be—as a focal point.

 

A focal point in optics is the point where light rays converge and from which they appear to diverge.  

 

As a metaphor, a focal point is a center of interest or activity, like a town square or a popular cafe or bar.

 

What these meanings share is the idea of meeting, or of intersection.  A focal point is the place where different things come together and the place from which they drift apart.  In a certain sense, a focal point is defined by the movements of convergence and divergence and by the specific nature of the things that converge and diverge there. 

 

I like the image of the focal point for these topics because it emphasizes that all of these individuals may also be seen, metaphorically, as cultural places where other things gather and from which other things leave and so also that these individuals will be changing in nature according to these movements of things to and from them.

 

For our course, I've selected twelve focal points that will allow us to see and understand better all the different—perhaps unexpected—things that come together (and drift apart) in global sports cultures.

 

Together with the network of Keywords, these twelve focal points form the framework for our approach to global sports cultures.