Princeton Women's Basketball Coach Courtney Banghart Talks to What In God's Name about Competition in American Culture

Jan 10, 10:15 AM

Welcome to What In God’s Name!

Be curious. Go deep. Shed light.

The core of today’s show is the first installment of Chris’s conversation with Courtney Banghart, head coach of the Princeton University women’s basketball team. Courtney is reflective about her work with young athletes, and about competition and competitiveness as facets of contemporary American culture.

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Here are timecodes to help you navigate through today’s show:

00:41    Chris has some fan mail to read. (It’s not for him, it’s for the show.)

01:16    Chris introduces the interview with Courtney. What is the role of competition in our culture? How does competition affect who we are, as people?

02:34    Courtney begins talking about coaching, competing, and how competing can affect people.

04:15    Chris wonders what the dynamic is, that leads people and their values to become distorted in the face of pressure to win. Courtney makes the distinction between external result, and process.

06:09    Chris circles back to Courtney’s story and asks: did you set out to be a college women’s basketball coach?

08:48    Courtney shares the story of meeting Katie Couric at an awards dinner in New York.

10:00    Chris brings the conversation back to this notion of defining ourselves from the inside, and allowing ourselves to be defined from the outside—in effect, allowing others to define us. Courtney makes the observation that in American culture we do a lot of comparing and measuring ourselves against others. “Who you are is way more important than what you’ve done.”

13:25    Chris asks: How do you keep yourself grounded? What practices do you engage in? Courtney answers, and a reflective dialogue on gratitude ensues.

17:40    When a young woman leaves your program, what do you want her to know about winning?

21:21    Part One of the interview with Courtney ends (Part Two will be next week’s show, January 17th).

22:49    Chris and Shayna return to the topic of gratitude. Why is gratitude a spiritual practice?

24:30    Shayna reflects on the dynamic of focusing on team vs. focusing on each individual player. Is there a gender difference here?