What will you take from the game?

Dandrell Utley

Eng 131.01

Professor Lucas

12 November 2015

Introduction

As an accomplished high school athlete myself I can personally attest that playing a sport while in high school helps propel to perform better in the classroom. The habits learned from playing sports such as persistence and motivation to achieve helps you to strive to be the best on and off the arena of competition. Usually this strive for greatness has the student-athlete with a GPA ten percent higher than kids who don’t participate in school sponsored sports. The article “A High School Athlete’s GPA vs. Average High School Student’s GPA” stated the although the time constraint of playing sports, student-athletes not only have a higher grade point average but, lower dropout rates and are more committed to high school that non student-athletes.

Although I am a collegiate athlete myself, I never fully understood when my high school coach lectured our team about how hard it was to play at the collegiate level, let alone the professional level until I looked at these statistics. According to “Probability of Competing beyond High School”, there are eight million boys and girl in high school currently participating in athletics. Only 460,000 of them will compete at NCAA schools and only a small fraction of that will become a professional athlete. So in percentage according to the data from “How Many High School Athletes Get To Play NCAA Sports” provided that 3% high school mens basketball players, 5.7% of high school football, 5.5% of mens soccer, 3.3% of women’s basketball, and 6.1% of mens baseball go on to play in college. Those number are decreasing everyday because more kids are participating in sports making the competition level higher and more competitive.

I don’t have a dream to be a professional athlete. Although that would be nice if the opportunity came, but statistics say that I have a better chance of being struck by lightning and winning the lottery than being a professional athlete. That’s why it is important to take what you can from sports whether thats perseverance learned from high school athletics, a full college scholarship for free college education to obtain a degree, and/or a healthy multi-million dollar contract. But even if you are that one in a million as a professional athlete, you need to have a back up plan because most professionals live beyond their means and have a useless degrees, if any degree and those two things lead up to financial hardship and/or bankruptcies. Sports Illustrated estimated in 2009 that 78% of NFL players and 60% will be broke or suffering serious financial issues within five years of retirement of being a professional athlete. So although you are one percent of people as a professional at the time, you can be right back to the normal population of just over broke.

The purpose of this paper was to not tell aspiring athletes they couldn’t make it but to expose them to statistics of  the sports realities and have them ask the question when it’s all said and done and can no longer compete, “What have I taken from the game”? Because whether you used sports to keep you focused or a professional athlete gone broke, it will all end and there will be life lessons learned and stories told.

Annotated Bibliography

“How Many High School Athletes Get To Play NCAA Sports.” How Many High School Athletes Get To Play NCAA Sports. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Nov. 2015.

Many high school student-athletes have dreams that they will have the chance to compete in their sport at the college level. But in Reality most will never have the chance to play, let alone receive a scholarship to play. The National Collegiate Athletic Association(NCAA) has released estimations for the chance to play which is not really a chance at all.

NCAA Estimates that only 3% high school basketball players go on to play in college. 5.7% of high school football players play in college. 5.5% of mens soccer, 3.3% of women’s basketball, and 6.1% of mens baseball. Those statistics it show how competitive it is to receive a scholarship which are based on potential of the student in high school and the talent level in his school.

“Probability of Competing beyond High School.” NCAA.org. N.p., 17 Dec. 2013. Web. 12 Nov. 2015.

There are eight million boys and girl in high school currently participating in athletics. Only 460,000 of them will compete at NCAA schools and only a small fraction of that will become a professional athlete. Education is a vital part of college athlete experience. Overall student-athletes perform better than non student-athletes in the classroom and that number continues to rise today. For those who do compete, the life lessons learned help them with life and the pursuit of careers.

Barkhorn, Eleanor. “Athletes Are More Likely to Finish High School Than Non-Athletes.” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 30 Jan. 2014. Web. 12 Nov. 2015.

Barkhorn starts off by asking, what does it take to get a kid to stay in school and graduate. She suggest that sometimes motivation is highly external. New York city experimented with this by paying student who made good grades. Angela Duckworth’s research says it is highly internal and focuses on personality traits such as “grit” and “perseverance”. The university of Kansas suggest that it is even simpler than that, it is a more universal way to entice students to come to school, and that is through sports.

The University of Kansas data found that student-athletes attend school more often than non student-athletes. As well as higher graduation rates. 98% of Kansas’s athletes graduated in the class of 2012, in comparison to the 90% of the non student-athletes. Some argued that the graduation rates were higher because teachers have a lower standards for athletes and that pass them along without requiring them to do much work. But athletes also scored higher on the Kansas state assessments than non student-athletes in every subject area.

Gorman, Fitzalan. “A High School Athlete’s GPA Vs. Average High School Student’s GPA.” Everyday Life. Demand Media, n.d. Web. 12 Nov. 2015.

Participating in sports is becoming the most popular extracurricular activity for high school student across the nation. Although the time constraint of playing sports, student-athletes have a higher grade point average(GPA), lower dropout rates, and are more committed to high school that non student-athletes.

According to this article nearly sixty percent of all high school students play on school-sponsored sports teams. Over the past ten years grades have increased across America for all student and researchers from Michigan State claimed that students who participated in vigorous did ten percent better. Other studies showed that student athletes had a full point higher GPA than non student-athletes.

Wiles, Russ. “Pro Athletes Often Fumble the Financial Ball.” USATODAY.COM. Arizona Republic, 22 Apr. 2012. Web. 12 Nov. 2015.

Professional athletes often think they’ve made it and live for the right now not thinking that it will all end soon. Russ Wiles states that “The financial rise and fall of of professional athletes is one of those perplexing things that the other 99 percent just can’t understand”. Which has major irony because for most sports one percent or less gets the satisfying feeling of being a professional athlete. Sports illustrated estimated in 2009 that 78% of NFL players and 60% of basketball will be broke or suffering serious financial issues within five years of retirement of being a professional athlete. Much of this is from not living within means and also because of never having anything to having so much you don’t know what to do.

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Everyday Zombie or Everyday Routine: “My Zombie, Myself”

Chuck Klosterman author of my “My Zombie, Myself,” and also apart of Lenoir-Rhyne Visisting Writers Series wrote his New York Times post on zombies in relation to everyday life. klosterman states that “When we think critically about monsters, we tend to classify them as personifications of what we fear.” When in actually the monsters are what we see and use everyday. Klosterman is basically saying in many words that technology is the real zombie of the world. “Ms. Gregory’s self-directed fear is thematically similar to how the zombie brain is described by Max Brooks. Imagine a computer programmed to execute one function. This function cannot be paused, modified or erased. No new data can be stored. No new commands can be installed. This computer will perform that one function, over and over, until its power source eventually shuts down.” This relates to the fact that humans will get into a routine and be used to and content with doing the same thing everyday. As a college student I am a victim of this, I have the same routine every week and it works for me so I it never comes to mind to change my routine or schedule. So I think the authors purpose of this post was to relate something we created and love so much in comparison to everyday life and expose how zombies and humans are more alike than what we think.

Robert Peace Speaks through Jeff Hobbs

In The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace, by Jeff Hobbs, a author apart of Lenoir-Rhyne visiting writers series tells the story of a boy from the rough streets of Newark, New Jersey. Robert Peace had what appears to be like a typical life of a black male from the hood with virtually no father and a mother providing everything in his absence. Although his father was imprisoned for murder, he wanted to better himself. All throughout school, he always made excellent grades. He attended and graduated from Yale University with almost a straight A GPA in molecular biophysics and biochemistry. There is a theme of a typical African American male living in an urban environment with virtually no father at home and his mother trying to better him (even as a head strong child) so he doesn’t end up like the rest of his community. Throughout college and his teaching career in Newark he sold drugs. When  a drug deal went wrong one night, he was murdered.

The author Jeff Hobbs emphasizes he doesn’t want this story about Robert Peace to sound like another cliché of potential squandered even though that’s what it is perceived to be like. Robert Peace went through an abundance of internal and external battles not only in his environment but as well within himself . He evolved into a man of hard work and humbleness, there was no need to glorify his accomplishments to others because he was in no need for the accolades. He had the intellect and aptitude that was unknown to many, he studied his way into the most prestigious schools from adolescence to adulthood. But, unfortunately no matter how content you might think your life is. It only takes a person, such as Robert Peace to make one lousy decision to ruin all the things that were good into a down spiral of misery. This novel shows that life is not predestined from who or where you are from. However, it’s from how much energy and time you take out of it to succeed in life and continue your journey forward without forgetting who helped you to get there.

My View on “The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace”

In “The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace,” by Jeff Hobbs , tells the story of a boy from the rough streets of Newark, New Jersey. Robert Peace had what appears to be like a typical life of a black male from “the hood” with virtually no father and a mother providing everything in his absence. Although his father was imprisoned for murder, he wanted to better himself. All throughout school, he always made excellent grades. He attended and graduated from Yale University  with almost a straight “A” GPA in molecular biophysics and biochemistry. Throughout college and his teaching career in Newark he sold drugs. When  a drug deal went wrong one night, he was murdered.

There is a theme of a typical african american male living in an “urban environment” with virtually no father at home and his mother trying to better him so he doesn’t end up like the rest of his community. His brother, who sold drugs also pushed him to do better and be better than him. His mother, Jackie, worked long hours at low paying jobs. She worked hard to send Robert to private middle school and high school just to be better and make it out. Being in a crab environment where you don’t wanna see the man beside you doing better than you causes people to desperate things and go to desperate measures. “Robert Peace was listed along with three other at the top with 4.0s, guys were confused. Nobody knew much about Rob yet, just that he the football thing and lived west of downtown and stuttered around with dour expressions on his face while referring to himself as “Shawn”. Once his grade were made public, a collective perception formed of a wealthy , well-educated black kid from the suburbs who walked around acting like he was from the hood (Pg.84).” While reading this passage a quote came to mind of you can take the man out of the ghetto but you can’t take to the ghetto out of the man.

Another theme that is present in this book is presented through the song “The Message” by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. Jeff Hobbs notes that even at the age of three Robert Peace was reciting the lyrics of this song. I find irony in this because I feel like this song explains Robert’s life and the life of someone who is in that environment. My parents always use to say that songs words had a meaning back then and it told a story. “The Message” is a title but it also conveys a message within “The Message”. In an interview by NPR with Melle Mel said “Our group, like Flash and the Furious Five, we didn’t actually want to do the message because we was used to doing party raps and boasting how good we are and all that.” but They knew they had power to convey a message to people that thought like them and was from the same environment. The repetition of the verse “It’s like a jungle sometimes, it makes me wonder how I keep from goin’ under” relates because New Jersey and New York are referred to as the concrete Jungle. In urban areas such as those where Robert stayed somewhat proves Darwin’s theory of natural selection and survival of the fittest. I can relate myself because being from an area like that, it’s a trap label, so if you do not make it out and have a plan to stay out you will be swallowed back in to the same place where you started. Also in those areas its a dog eat dog world, people will turn on you in a second and the only way thats glorified for making it out is through sports. I learned in sociology people of lower social class do what make them happy for that moment. Going to college takes time so it is not a goal for them to wait four more years to make money even though it will be a larger amount of money.

The author Jeff Hobbs emphasizes he doesn’t want this story about Robert Peace to sound like another cliché of potential squandered even though that’s what it is perceived to be like. Robert Peace went through an abundance of internal and external battles not only in his environment but as well within himself . He evolved into a man of hard work and humbleness, there was no need to glorify his accomplishments to others because he was in no need for the accolades. He had the intellect and aptitude that was unknown to many, he study his way into the most prestigious schools from adolescence to adulthood. But, unfortunately no matter how content you might think your life is. It only takes a person, such as Robert Peace to make one lousy decision to ruin all the things that were good into a down spiral of misery. This novel shows that life is not predestined from who or where you are from. However, it’s from how much energy and time you take out of it to succeed in life and continue your journey forward without forgetting who helped you to get there.

Works Cited

Fletcher, E. and M. Glover, S. Robinson, and J. Chase. “The Message.” Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. The Message. Sugar Hill, 1982. LP.

Hobbs, Jeff. The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace. New York: Scribner, 2014. Print.

A different style of writing: “Blogs vs. Term Papers”

In Blog vs Term Papers by The New York Times writer Matt Richtel reports on the question whether writing shorter blogs is better than writing big term papers. Professor Cathy N. Davidson from Duke University quotes raises great debate on whether her teacher methods are accurate. Many questions are raised on whether the academic format of make a point, explain it, defend it, and repeat it takes twenty pages or should require only five paragraphs for high school and college students.

In the digital age like the one we are living in most students would prefer blogging over writing a traditional paper. Lets be honest, almost every high school and college student would rather write five paragraphs than twenty pages. Most kids are always on some type of electronic device and most teachers like to assign papers, so I feel like its a compromise to get the student involve as well as getting a traditionally dreadful assignment done. Professor Davidson, an English professor at Duke University wants to eradicate the term paper and replace it with the Blog according to The New York Times writer Matt Richtel. Her opinion and new teaching style created a ton of different emotions and feelings. It also created somewhat of a debate between educator as well as students. One comment on this blog from Ezra Shearer stated “Funny that no one bothers to mention the amount of work and hours, endless hours, that are necessary to assign, teach, and grade term papers at any level. As a first year teacher, I assigned a 3-5 page paper to my sophomores. 150 Sophomores. 150 X 30 minutes each = 75 hours of grading. I still have to teach, prep lessons, and grade other assessments and write tests etc.  You get the idea. If you expect teachers to work 80 hours a week for less than $2000 take home pay then don’t expect them to teach the next generation to write term papers.” This quote raises the argument that it is a big time consumer with traditional papers and the grading of bulks of papers at a time.

Some students may not prefer blogging because of the simple fact they’ve been writing papers for so long and most Americans do not like change. Americans get stuck in our own customs and cultures and become comfortable and content with where we are. Other students might argue that blogging and being online makes temptations for them to want to get on and do other things such as social media and watching funny movies on Netflix. Also with being online technical difficulties happen such as wifi going down and the internet crashing. Situations also occur if someone isn’t able to afford a computer or laptop to do the assignments. If they do have a computer who’s to say they have the money to afford wifi to access internet on the laptop/ computer. Professors may not prefer to use blogging over traditional writing because it is easier to keep their same syllabus and their stuck in their traditional ways. Some professors argue that writing papers stimulates critical thinking that other writing doesn’t. Douglas B. Reeves says “Writing term papers is a dying art, but those who do write them have a dramatic leg up in terms of critical thinking, argumentation and the sort of expression required not only in college, but in the job market.” When writing traditional papers I do think about what I am going to say and actually think it out whereas when I am on social media I just type.

The art of writing term papers is becoming a dying art in todays digital age. Professor Davidson from Duke University makes a good argument and meets the student half way by doing something that has to be done but also doing it in a way that gets the student engaged with something the student do on the regular. The quote that stood out to me the most is “The National Survey of Student Engagement found that in 2011, 82 percent of first-year college students and more than half of seniors weren’t asked to do a single paper of 20 pages or more, while the bulk of writing assignments were for papers of one to five pages”(Richtel). This stood out to me because most professors use statistics, so why if you see something is not working you insist on trying? It’s like beating a dead horse, It does not have to be blogs but I think assigning more short papers than one big paper is more effective and quality is better than quantity!

Works Cited

Richtel, Matt. “Blogs vs Term Papers.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 21 Jan. 2012. Web. 17 Sept. 2015.

Jacki Shelton Green

In class we read Jacki Shelton Green, who is also apart of Lenoir-Rhyne visiting writers series. In the poem “i know the grandmother one had hands’ by Jacki Shelton Green, Green has no capitalize words of letters anywhere throughout the poem including the title. Also in conjunction the incorrect grammar in title stands out pretty bold. I think the point she was trying to make and emphasize was that in black culture for her generation, most kids were raised by their grandmother or “big mamma” as my grandparents call their grandmother. They were not raised by their grandmother because of the absence of their parents but because their parents worked. With being raised by their grandmother they stressed the importance of education which their parents and grandparents lacked. So the use of incorrect grammar I think signifies the way her grandmother use to talk. Also throughout the poem she talks about the many task her grandmother could do, which is not uncommon in the black community in that time period to have depend on their on common knowledge and make due with what they have the best way they could. I hear many anecdotes my grandparents tell about their “big mamma” on how she was only educated on a fourth grade level but could do many homely task and had a great deal of common sense. Also on how she lacked an education but had more wisdom and knowledge than someone with a degree. So I think she is pointing out even though her grandmother lacked education she still had a great deal of knowledge and common sense and made it the best way she could with what she had.