What: North­eastern Uni­ver­sity Ath­letic Director Peter Roby will par­tic­i­pate in a com­mu­nity forum on the impact of sports on Amer­ican society, which will be mod­er­ated by Bill Lit­tle­field, host of the pop­ular National Public Radio sports mag­a­zine “Only a Game.”

The event, titled “Is It Only a Game: Are We Crazy about Sports, or Are Sports Making Us Crazy?” will explore whether our region’s and nation’s pas­sion for sports has gone ‘over the top.’ Pan­elists will address such topics as the influ­ence of money on youth sports, parental vio­lence at youth sporting events, exces­sive salaries paid to pro­fes­sional ath­letes, and whether society favors sports at the expense of sup­porting the arts and addressing social ills.

When: Tuesday, Sep­tember 18 at 7:00 p.m.

Where: The Allin Con­gre­ga­tional Church, on 683 High Street in Dedham

Event Details: “Is it Only a Game” will fea­ture sev­eral notable pan­elists, in addi­tion to Roby and Lit­tle­field, including:

  • Charlie Pierce, staff writer for The Boston Globe Sunday Magazine, frequent contributor to The American Prospect and Slate, and analyst on NPR’s Only a Game
  • Cathy Inglese, head coach of Boston College’s women’s basketball team
  • Randy Vataha, former New England Patriots wide receiver and current president of Game Plan, LLC
  • Nora Mann, Massachusetts Assistant Attorney General

A recep­tion will imme­di­ately follow the forum, with Bill Lit­tle­field and Charlie Pierce on-​​hand to sign copies of their most recent books, “Only a Game” and “Moving the Chains: Tom Brady and the Pur­suit of Every­thing,” respectively.

For fur­ther infor­ma­tion, please visit the Dedham Square Circle web page, www​.ded​ham​square​circle​.org, or call the Allin Con­gre­ga­tional Church office at 781–326-5050.

About the Spon­sors: The Dedham Square Circle, the event’s pri­mary sponsor, is a grass­roots civic orga­ni­za­tion whose mis­sion is to improve his­toric Dedham Square as a strong, vital, and unique neigh­bor­hood where mem­bers of the com­mu­nity can live, work, and shop. Dedham Square is the Town of Dedham’s his­toric town center, the loca­tion of the Nor­folk County Offices and Courts, and a walk­able com­mer­cial and res­i­den­tial area with a variety of restau­rants, spe­cialty shops, ser­vices, pro­fes­sional offices, and civic orga­ni­za­tions. The Dedham Com­mu­nity The­atre, which presents art and inde­pen­dent films and hosts live comedy shows, is a prime res­i­dent and is cel­e­brating its 80th year in 2007. The Dedham Square Circle hopes that “Is It Only a Game?” will inau­gu­rate a series of public forums con­cerning impor­tant topics in public affairs and pop­ular culture.

Addi­tional co-​​sponsors of this pro­gram include 90.9 WBUR-​​FM Boston, a local NPR affil­iate; Hebrew Senior Life, devel­oper of the con­tin­uing care com­mu­nity and multi­gen­er­a­tional campus New­Bridge on the Charles; the Van­der­bilt Club, a Nor­wood health club; and Jef­ferson at Sta­tion Square, a luxury rental com­mu­nity. Allin Con­gre­ga­tional Church, affil­i­ated with the United Church of Christ – and one of the oldest churches in the United States – is the event host and has pro­vided impor­tant logis­tical support.

About North­eastern: Founded in 1898, North­eastern Uni­ver­sity is a pri­vate research uni­ver­sity located in the heart of Boston. North­eastern is a leader in inter­dis­ci­pli­nary research, urban engage­ment, and the inte­gra­tion of class­room learning with real-​​world expe­ri­ence. The university’s dis­tinc­tive coop­er­a­tive edu­ca­tion pro­gram, where stu­dents alter­nate semes­ters of full-​​time study with semes­ters of paid work in fields rel­e­vant to their pro­fes­sional inter­ests and major, is one of the largest and most inno­v­a­tive in the world. The Uni­ver­sity offers a com­pre­hen­sive range of under­grad­uate and grad­uate pro­grams leading to degrees through the doc­torate in six under­grad­uate col­leges, eight grad­uate schools, and two part-​​time divi­sions. For more infor­ma­tion, please visit www​.north​eastern​.edu.