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Contributors:Cristyn Elder, Ehren Pflugfelder, Elizabeth Angeli.
Summary:

These resources provide lesson plans and handouts for teachers interested in teaching students how to avoid plagiarism. The resources ask students to practice summarizing, paraphrasing, and quoting. The resources with titles that include "Handout" provide handouts that are free to print for your students by using the print option in your web browser. The "Handout" resources correspond with the resource listed above it.

Avoiding Plagiarism

Summarizing, Paraphrasing, and Quoting: A Comparison

This 10-minute activity helps raise students’ awareness to the similarities and differences among summarizing, paraphrasing, and quoting as they prepare to use these strategies in an effort to avoid plagiarism.

Peer Summarizing

This 45 to 90-minute activity allows students to practice writing their own summaries as well as evaluate summaries written by their peers.

Anonymous Paraphrasing

This 45 to 70-minute activity gives students the chance to practice paraphrasing a short passage and anonymously review each other’s work as a class.

Paraphrasing from Media

This 35-minute activity provides students practice with paraphrasing visual and multimedia texts.

Using In-text Citations

This 50-minute activity first offers students various examples of how to cite a single passage. Students are then asked to practice writing their own in-text citations with another text, following the examples they’ve been given. The supplemental handout for this activity offers a variety of examples on how to integrate an original source text into one’s own writing.

Quoting Others

This 40-minute activity asks students to practice quoting an original source. The supplemental handout for this activity offers useful templates for students to use when both quoting as well as interpreting a quote in their own work.

Summary, Paraphrase, and Quotation in Context

This 35-minute activity asks students to analyze and evaluate example summaries, paraphrases, and in-text citations in a given sample essay. 

Contributors:Cristyn Elder, Ehren Pflugfelder, Elizabeth Angeli.
Summary:

These resources provide lesson plans and handouts for teachers interested in teaching students how to avoid plagiarism. The resources ask students to practice summarizing, paraphrasing, and quoting. The resources with titles that include "Handout" provide handouts that are free to print for your students by using the print option in your web browser. The "Handout" resources correspond with the resource listed above it.

Summarizing, Paraphrasing, and Quoting

Time Estimate

10 minutes


Objective

Activate students’ schemata regarding the similarities and differences among summarizing, paraphrasing, and quoting.


Materials

Chalkboard/whiteboard

Computer Lab Option Materials

Digital projector


Procedure
  1. Write the words Summarizing, Paraphrasing and Quoting along the top of the whiteboard.

  2. Elicit from students the rules they know related to each writing strategy.

  3. Add additional information as needed.  The board may appear as follows:

 

Summarizing

Paraphrasing

Quoting

  • Must reference the original source
  • The text is much shorter than the original text. (For example, one may write a single page to summarize a four-page article.)
  • Must use your own words, usually with a very limited use of quotations.

 

  • Must reference the original source
  • The text produced may be shorter or longer than the original text

 

 

  • Must use your own words

 

  • Must reference the original source
  • The text produced is the exact length of the original text quoted (unless ellipses are used)

 

 

  • Use the original author’s exact words
  • Put quotation marks around the original author’s exact words
  • Include the page number of the original source from which you borrowed the author’s original language.

 

Computer Lab Option

 Rather than using the whiteboard, one may choose to open up and project the above table in a word processing program, like Microsoft Word, completing the table as answers are elicited from students. 

Contributors:Cristyn Elder, Ehren Pflugfelder, Elizabeth Angeli.
Summary:

These resources provide lesson plans and handouts for teachers interested in teaching students how to avoid plagiarism. The resources ask students to practice summarizing, paraphrasing, and quoting. The resources with titles that include "Handout" provide handouts that are free to print for your students by using the print option in your web browser. The "Handout" resources correspond with the resource listed above it.

Peer Summarizing

Time Estimate

45 minutes


Objectives

To have students gain experience creating summaries of written or multimedia  texts.


Materials

None

Computer Lab Option Materials

Word processing software

Digital projector


Procedures
  1. Explain the basics of creating a summary and go over the main attributes that good summaries address.  This short “lecture” can be done on the board, using information that students already possess.  Some things to cover might be: how much information to condense how to start a summary / the type of set-up phrases used to indicate larger pieces of information how to make claims about “how” a writer claims something rather than “what” he/she claims

  2. Ask students to anonymously “freewrite” on a topic, minimum 200 words.  Ideally, choose a topic that is connected to a writing project that your students are currently working on.   

  3. After students have written their pieces, have them switch seats randomly (such as playing musical chairs) and sit down at another student’s desk and create a summary of the material in the freewrite.  Students should aim for less than 80 words.  

  4. When students return to their original work, they can read the summaries and decide on whether the summarizer did a good job in creating a summary of the original freewrite.

Follow-up Option

Time Estimate

25 minutes


Procedures
  1. Continuing from the previous summarizing activity, students switch seats again, this time summarizing the summary in less than 50 words.

  2. Students will then read their second-level summaries of the original and the class will try to determine who wrote the original piece for each summary.

Multimedia Option

Time Estimate

20 minutes


Procedures
  1. Have students watch and take notes on a short video and then work to create a summary of that video. This clip from This American Life is a great example, but there are many possibilities.  Ideally, you should choose your own video for students to summarize.  Students should keep their summaries to less than 150 words.

  2. Students then anonymously hand in (to create a large pile of papers) and then select a summary at random to analyze against the original source.

Computer Lab Option

A simple computer lab option could be for students to compose in a word processing program, such as Microsoft Word, instead of on paper.  Students can then move around from computer to computer to write summaries.  Instead of reading papers aloud, students could post their second-level summaries to an online course resource (e.g., Blackboard) and the instructor could pull them up on a projector (if available).

Contributors:Cristyn Elder, Ehren Pflugfelder, Elizabeth Angeli.
Summary:

These resources provide lesson plans and handouts for teachers interested in teaching students how to avoid plagiarism. The resources ask students to practice summarizing, paraphrasing, and quoting. The resources with titles that include "Handout" provide handouts that are free to print for your students by using the print option in your web browser. The "Handout" resources correspond with the resource listed above it.

Anonymous Paraphrasing

Time Estimate

45 minutes


Objective

 To have students practice creating paraphrases


Materials

 Class blackboard or overhead with transparencies


Computer Lab Option and Follow-up Option Materials

Digital projector

Word processing software


Procedures
  1. Begin by giving students a short lesson on how to write a useful, non-patchwritten paraphrase. Suggestions include useful note-taking.  See Paraphrase handout for details.

  2. Have students read a short passage – select one – (see Paraphrase or Summary handouts), take notes on that passage, and then work to create a paraphrase of that passage on another sheet of paper.

  3. Ask students to then anonymously put their paraphrases into a pile so that the instructor can choose several at random and copy them either onto an overhead or onto the blackboard.  Several students can be enlisted to help the instructor put sentences on the blackboard. Alternatively, have students write their paraphrases on a transparency that can then be easily projected.

  4. Finally, help students evaluate the posted paraphrases, looking for accurate paraphrases that do not lose the original meaning and for paraphrases that are “too similar” to the original language.

 

Computer Lab Option

 The instructor can email the handout to students and the students can type out their notes and paraphrases on a word processing document.

Instead of using the blackboard or an overhead projector, use the instructor’s computer with the digital projector; students can email their documents to the instructor (or post their summaries anonymously to proprietary classroom management software like Blackboard).  If the instructor cuts and pastes paraphrases into a word processing document, s/he can compare the original and the students’ versions side by side.  Additionally, the instructor can highlight passages that are “too similar” in a particular color, emphasizing the similarity. 


Follow-Up Option

Time Estimate

30 minutes


Materials

The anonymous paraphrases from the Anonymous Paraphrasing exercise; the Paraphrase handout


Computer Lab Option Materials

Digital projector


Procedures
  1. Distribute the student paraphrases from the last Anonymous Paraphrasing exercise and ask students to repeat the same action -- writing another paraphrase of the paraphrase they have in front of them.  Essentially, students are paraphrasing a paraphrase, which should be somewhat difficult.  Give them some extra time to take notes, like last time, and write a new paraphrase. (15 minutes)

  2. Like the previous exercise, collect the anonymous paraphrases and compare them to the original, now twice-removed.  The meaning should be roughly the same.  The comparisons will likely take longer this time as well. (15 minutes)


Computer Lab Option

Like the previous exercise, use the instructor’s computer and a word processing program to compare the paraphrases.

If students are using word processing software to compose their paraphrases, they can simply leave their seat and work at another student’s computer, composing a paraphrase on another workstation.

Contributors:Cristyn Elder, Ehren Pflugfelder, Elizabeth Angeli.
Summary:

These resources provide lesson plans and handouts for teachers interested in teaching students how to avoid plagiarism. The resources ask students to practice summarizing, paraphrasing, and quoting. The resources with titles that include "Handout" provide handouts that are free to print for your students by using the print option in your web browser. The "Handout" resources correspond with the resource listed above it.

Paraphrasing from Media

Time Estimate

35 minutes


Objective

 To give students practice in creating paraphrases and notes from visual materials.


Materials

Paraphrasing Student Document

For the visual design, you can choose something you are comfortable with, but this work is often useful. 

Computer Lab Option Materials

Word processing software

Digital projector


Procedures
  1. Have students watch and take notes on a short video or a visual design. Then have students work to create a paraphrase of that video or visual.  Choose a set length, perhaps 75 words, so students don’t try to write too much. (15 minutes)

  2. Have students then anonymously put their paraphrases into a pile. Choose several at random and copy them either onto an overhead or onto the blackboard. (10 minutes)  Several students can be enlisted to help the instructor put sentences on the blackboard. Alternatively, have students write their paraphrases directly onto a transparency.

  3. Evaluate the posted paraphrases, looking for accurate paraphrases that do not lose the original meaning.  Unlike other paraphrase exercises, this one typically elicits a wide range of responses and offers instructors a chance to discuss understanding the message of the original piece. (10 minutes) Because the visual design often has no set meaning, the wide range of responses can be a moment when the class can discuss reader-response.  


Computer Lab Option

The instructor can show the visual element or video to students and they can type out their notes and paraphrases on a word processing document, such as Microsoft Word.

Instead of using the chalkboard/whiteboard, use the instructor’s computer with the digital projector; students can email their documents to the instructor or post their summaries anonymously to proprietary classroom management software like Blackboard. 

Contributors:Cristyn Elder, Ehren Pflugfelder, Elizabeth Angeli.
Summary:

These resources provide lesson plans and handouts for teachers interested in teaching students how to avoid plagiarism. The resources ask students to practice summarizing, paraphrasing, and quoting. The resources with titles that include "Handout" provide handouts that are free to print for your students by using the print option in your web browser. The "Handout" resources correspond with the resource listed above it.

Handout: Paraphrasing from Media

Paraphrasing involves putting a passage from source material into your own words. A paraphrase must also be attributed to the original source. Paraphrased material is usually shorter than the original passage, taking a somewhat broader segment of the source and condensing it slightly.  Paraphrases also help one shape the meaning from the text to one’s specific project.

Some instructors will say that 4 consecutive words will make a paraphrase too close to the original language. This is certainly a grey area; check and see what your instructor says.


5 Steps to Effective Paraphrasing:

1. Read and then reread the original passage until you understand its full meaning.

2. Take notes on the most essential elements of the passage—the main claim, supporting claims, evidence, explanations, etc. 

3. Set the original aside, then write your paraphrase on another sheet of paper.

4. Check your rendition with the original to make sure that your version accurately expresses all the essential information in a new form.  This takes time to master; don’t worry if you have trouble changing the original language into your own language. 

5. If you have borrowed any unique terms or phrases from the original source, use quotation marks to identify them and include an internal citation.


Some examples to work with:

“Purdue University has exceptional standards for all qualities of its campus, and it certainly does not lower them for its food services program. Most of the dining courts offer an entertaining atmosphere with exceptional quality of food.”

“Students frequently overuse direct quotations in taking notes, and as a result they overuse quotations in the final [research] paper. Probably only about 10% of your final manuscript should appear as directly quoted matter. Therefore, you should strive to limit the amount of exact transcribing of source materials while taking notes.”

“As consumers, most of us are unaware of what we are consuming. This is a problem. Not only do we depend on the food industry to provide us healthy and safe foods, we fully trust the FDA to monitor what we consume and approve it.”

Contributors:Cristyn Elder, Ehren Pflugfelder, Elizabeth Angeli.
Summary:

These resources provide lesson plans and handouts for teachers interested in teaching students how to avoid plagiarism. The resources ask students to practice summarizing, paraphrasing, and quoting. The resources with titles that include "Handout" provide handouts that are free to print for your students by using the print option in your web browser. The "Handout" resources correspond with the resource listed above it.

Using In-text Citations

Time Estimate

 50 minutes 


Objective

Give students practice recognizing and using different forms of in-text citations.


Materials

One copy of the Citation Examples handout per student


Computer Lab Option Materials

Word processing software

Digital projector


Procedure
  1. Elicit from students what they know about or understand in-text citations to be and what purpose they may serve.

  2. Pass out a copy of the Citation Examples handout, beginning with either the MLA or APA examples.

  3. Ask students to read to themselves the first paragraph on the handout from Ashley Montagu’s book The American Way of Life.

  4. Ask one or two volunteers to paraphrase orally the meaning of the paragraph to test students’ understanding of the gist of the paragraph. 

  5. Read through each example in-text citation with students, asking them to comment on the differences among the examples as well as identify the essential information that all the examples have in common.

  6. Ask students to comment on when and why they might use one form of in-text citation versus another.

  7. Pass out an article excerpt, preferably one on a topic related to students’ research interests.

  8. Ask students to read the excerpt to themselves and then write a short paraphrase that exemplifies their understanding of the text. Review a few of their paraphrases orally to make sure students understand the main points of the text.

  9. Next have students choose three to four different styles of in-text citations and have them write citations for the article (on a transparency, if available) as exemplified in the previous handout.

  10. Either at the end of class or in the following class, anonymously project on an OHP student citation examples containing errors. Have students try to identify the errors. Sample errors may include the following:

    • Students have not referenced all of the authors.
    • Students have attributed ideas to the wrong source.
    • Students have "over cited" by referring to the author within text as well as within the parenthetical citation.
    • Students have used single and double quotation marks incorrectly.

     

 

Computer Lab Option

Have students type up their citation examples in class and e-mail them to you. Copy and paste a number of incorrect examples into a word processing program, such as Microsoft Word, project them overhead, and correct them as a class.

Contributors:Cristyn Elder, Ehren Pflugfelder, Elizabeth Angeli.
Summary:

These resources provide lesson plans and handouts for teachers interested in teaching students how to avoid plagiarism. The resources ask students to practice summarizing, paraphrasing, and quoting. The resources with titles that include "Handout" provide handouts that are free to print for your students by using the print option in your web browser. The "Handout" resources correspond with the resource listed above it.

Handout: Using In-text Citations

APA Citation Examples

Original passage from page 248 of Ashley Montagu’s book The American Way of Life:

To be human is to weep.  The human species is the only one in the whole world of animate nature that sheds tears.  The trained inability of any human being to weep is a lessening of his capacity to be human – a defect that usually goes deeper than the mere inability to cry.  And this, among other things, is what American parents – with the best intentions in the world – have achieved for the American male.  It is very sad. If we feel like it, let us all have a good cry – and clear our minds of those cobwebs of confusion, which have for so long prevented us from understanding the ineluctable necessity of crying.

Now, look at the various ways you can use the opinion expressed in the passage.

Montagu (2000) claims that American men have a diminished capacity to be human because they have been trained by their culture not to cry.

In his book The American Way of Life, Ashley Montagu writes, “The trained inability of any human being to weep is a lessening of his capacity to be human – a defect which usually goes deeper than the mere inability to cry” (p. 248).

According to Montagu (2000), “To be human is to weep” (p. 248).

“If we feel like it,” writes Montagu (2000), “let us have a good cry – and clear our minds of those cobwebs of confusion which have for so long prevented us from understanding the intellectual necessity of crying” (p. 248).

One distinguished anthropologist calls the American male’s reluctance to cry “a lessening of his capacity to be human” (Montagu, 2000, p. 248).

Montagu (2000) finds it “very sad” that American men have a “trained inability” to shed tears (p. 248).

When my grandfather died, all the members of my family – men and women alike – wept openly.  We have never been ashamed to cry. As Montagu (2000) writes, “to be human is to weep” (p. 248). I am sure we are more human, and in better mental and physical health, because we are able to express our feelings without artificial restraints.

Montagu (2000) argues that it is both unnatural and harmful for American males not to cry:

To be human is to weep.  The human species is the only one in the whole world of animate nature that sheds tears.  The trained inability of any human being to weep is a lessening of his capacity to be human – a defect that usually goes deeper than the mere inability to cry…. It is very sad. (p. 248)

 

MLA Citation Examples

Original passage from page 248 of Ashley Montagu’s book, The American Way of Life:

To be human is to weep.  The human species is the only one in the whole world of animate nature that sheds tears.  The trained inability of any human being to weep is a lessening of his capacity to be human – a defect that usually goes deeper than the mere inability to cry.  And this, among other things, is what American parents – with the best intentions in the world – have achieved for the American male.  It is very sad. If we feel like it, let us all have a good cry – and clear our minds of those cobwebs of confusion, which have for so long prevented us from understanding the ineluctable necessity of crying.

Now look at the various ways you can use the opinion expressed in the passage.

Montagu claims that American men have a diminished capacity to be human because they have been trained by their culture not to cry (248).

In his book The American Way of Life, Ashley Montagu writes, “The trained inability of any human being to weep is a lessening of his capacity to be human – a defect which usually goes deeper than the mere inability to cry” (248).

According to Montagu, “To be human is to weep” (248).

“If we feel like it,” writes Montagu, “let us have a good cry – and clear our minds of those cobwebs of confusion which have for so long prevented us from understanding the intellectual necessity of crying” (248).

One distinguished anthropologist calls the American male’s reluctance to cry “a lessening of his capacity to be human” (Montagu 248).

Montagu finds it “very sad” that American men have a “trained inability” to shed tears (248).

When my grandfather died, all the members of my family – men and women alike – wept openly.  We have never been ashamed to cry. As Montagu writes, “to be human is to weep” (248). I am sure we are more human, and in better mental and physical health, because we are able to express our feelings without artificial restraints.

Montagu argues that it is both unnatural and harmful for American males not to cry:

To be human is to weep.  The human species is the only one in the whole world of animate nature that sheds tears.  The trained inability of any human being to weep is a lessening of his capacity to be human – a defect that usually goes deeper than the mere inability to cry…. It is very sad. (248)
Contributors:Cristyn Elder, Ehren Pflugfelder, Elizabeth Angeli.
Summary:

These resources provide lesson plans and handouts for teachers interested in teaching students how to avoid plagiarism. The resources ask students to practice summarizing, paraphrasing, and quoting. The resources with titles that include "Handout" provide handouts that are free to print for your students by using the print option in your web browser. The "Handout" resources correspond with the resource listed above it.

Quoting Others

Time Estimate

40 minutes


Objective

To give students experience quoting others in context.


Materials

“Quoting Others” handout


Computer Lab Option Materials

Word processing software


Procedure
  1. Students will be given a short lesson in quoting others. Please see the Quoting Others handout for more information and feel free to elaborate on why the practice is both useful and necessary. If possible, stress that explaining a quotation is useful and frequently expected. (10 minutes)

  2. Using one of the prompts on the handout, have students interview each other on a specific topic.  Make sure to advise students to take notes on their interview. (5-10 minutes)

  3. Then have students compose a short write-up of their interviews, taking care to include at least three quotations from their interview partner.  Include a word limit (e.g., 200 words) on this activity so students do not feel compelled to write too much. (10 minutes)

  4. Ask students to share their interviews by reading the interview that is about them, listening for accurate quotations and “acceptable” introductions. (10 minutes)   

 
Computer Lab Option

Instead of writing the interview by hand, students can use a word processing program, such as Microsoft Word.  When students read their own interviews, they can include comments on the documents if the quotation was accurate and if they were accurately represented and explained.

Contributors:Cristyn Elder, Ehren Pflugfelder, Elizabeth Angeli.
Summary:

These resources provide lesson plans and handouts for teachers interested in teaching students how to avoid plagiarism. The resources ask students to practice summarizing, paraphrasing, and quoting. The resources with titles that include "Handout" provide handouts that are free to print for your students by using the print option in your web browser. The "Handout" resources correspond with the resource listed above it.

Handout: Quoting Others

Using the words of others can be tricky business. You typically only want to use a direct quotation in the following situations: if you’re using that statement as a piece of evidence for your own argument, if you’re establishing another’s position, or if another person has said something better and more clearly than you can. 

The main problem with using quotations happens when writers assume that the meaning of the quotation is obvious.  Writers who make this mistake believe that their job is done when they’ve chosen a quotation and inserted it into their text.  Quotations need to be taken from their original context and integrated fully into their new textual surroundings.  Every quotation needs to have your own words appear in the same sentence.  Here are some easy to use templates* for doing this type of introduction:


Templates for Introducing Quotations

X states, “__________.”

As the world-famous scholar X explains it, “________.”

As claimed by X, “______.”

In her article _______, X suggests that “_________.”

In X’s perspective, “___________.”

X concurs when she notes, “_______.”

You may have noticed that when the word “that” is used, the comma frequently becomes unnecessary.  This is because the word “that” integrates the quotation with the main clause of your sentence (instead of creating an independent and dependent clause).  

Now that you’ve successfully used the quotation in your sentence, it’s time to explain what that quotations means—either in a general sense or in the context of your argument.  Here are some templates for explaining quotations:


Templates for Explaining Quotations


In other words, X asserts __________.

In arguing this claim, X argues that __________.

X is insisting that _________.

What X really means is that ____________.

The basis of X’s argument is that ___________.


Interview Situations

1.  What was the most exciting thing you did last summer?  Explain.

2.  Describe a situation when something completely wacky happened.

3.  What’s the strangest thing that happened to you at work?

*These templates are derived from Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein's "They Say/I Say": The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing, second edition

Contributors:Cristyn Elder, Ehren Pflugfelder, Elizabeth Angeli.
Summary:

These resources provide lesson plans and handouts for teachers interested in teaching students how to avoid plagiarism. The resources ask students to practice summarizing, paraphrasing, and quoting. The resources with titles that include "Handout" provide handouts that are free to print for your students by using the print option in your web browser. The "Handout" resources correspond with the resource listed above it.

Summary, Paraphrase, and Quotation in Context

Time Estimate

35 minutes


Objective

To have students gain experience reading for and working with summaries, paraphrases, and quotations in context.


Materials

Summary, Paraphrase, and Quotation handout


Computer Lab Option Materials

Word processing program

Digital projector


Procedures

This lesson works best when used after other lessons on summary, paraphrase, or quotation.

  1. Pass out the “Summary, Paraphrase, and Quotation in Context" handout and give students enough time to locate any of the potential issues related to summaries, paraphrases, or quotations. Encourage students to both locate and identify a way to revise each of the issues. (15 - 20 minutes)

  2. Go through the essay with the class, focusing on the summary, paraphrase, and citation issues; try to avoid commenting on some of the other writing and mechanical concerns. (15 minutes)

    There are a number of issues including the following:

    • Summarized sections appear to be summarized hastily and without appropriate citation

    • Paraphrased sections may include language that is not the writer’s own and may not be correctly cited

    • Quotations are not set up appropriately

    • There is an incorrect application of a set citation style, missing citations, and an incorrect Works Cited page

    Students will likely pick up on the citation problems but are less likely to locate the summary and paraphrase problems because they only see the result of the finished summary or paraphrase. For these sections, look for jargon or keywords that stand out from the other sections of the writer’s essay.

Computer Lab Option

Using the instructor’s computer and the digital projector, project the essay during discussion and highlight/comment upon the passages students select. Students can also work on the essay within a word processing program by commenting on copies that have been emailed to them.

Contributors:Cristyn Elder, Ehren Pflugfelder, Elizabeth Angeli.
Summary:

These resources provide lesson plans and handouts for teachers interested in teaching students how to avoid plagiarism. The resources ask students to practice summarizing, paraphrasing, and quoting. The resources with titles that include "Handout" provide handouts that are free to print for your students by using the print option in your web browser. The "Handout" resources correspond with the resource listed above it.

Handout: Summary, Paraphrase, and Quotation in Context

Sports are Basic to Humanity

I agree with Michael Novek that sports are more about beauty and physical prowess than about the debasing standards of our society.  He makes the claim that people who don’t appreciate sporting activities are missing the point and missing out on some of the most basic parts of humanity.  These people are not really understanding what it means to be a human being, because they fail to get the point of sports.  The point of sports is to compete in victorious battle and win against an opponent and to act in ways that prove sports are a beautiful act of nature. 

Sports are all about the most basic urges of our species.  Human beings are competitive by nature, and as such, have developed competitive games that represent these natures.  Ever since cavemen threw spears at animals, and ever since they determined which caveman could throw a spear the furthest, people have been obsessed with direct competition.  To deny that people are competitive is to deny the very thing that makes us human.  Sports are all about facing off against your opponent and beating them in a game that is both fair and aggressive.  All people understand how important it is to face off in a competitive challenge sometime in their life: whether it be a chess match or a football game, people all around the world understand the basic drive for competition.  Novek says: “are rituals concerning human survival on this planet” and he is right (Novek 45).  Sports are about our most basic desires as human being and we express those desires everytime a person throws a basketball or blocks an opponent.  “We explain ourselves through sports” and the language of sports, so we constantly express how important sporting activities are to our everyday comprehension of self, subjectivity, and harmonious intertextuality.

Of course, sports and games are also more than just running around and trying to beat other people.  We also think of sports as more like an art form where our more noble elements come into play against each other.  People often claim that sports bring out the best in athletes and that athletic competition is a lot like ballet or artistic expression.  Just because competitive sports can be loathsome, doesn’t mean that it can’t also be beautiful.  We value sports for the way that people jump and run, nit only for the physical aptitude that occurs.  “Those who have contempt for sports, our serious citizens, are a danger to the human race, ants among men, drones in the honeycomb.”  Novek is right in suggesting this point as well.  People are more than worker bees, at least those that participate or love sporting activities are. 

Because sports are part of the artistic experience of being human, we value them; they show us what it is like to operate at our artistic best.  Lynn Swann of the Pittsburgh Steelers was not only a gifted athlete, but also a ballet dancer for nearly nine years at the near-professional skill level, and he claimed that ballet dancing helped him compete in football in a more complete way; ballet made him better at football because it was similar physically.  Ballet is an art much like football is an art, and anyone who suggests that all sports are corrupt or barbaric doesn’t know that half of it.  As Richard Hinterson says in his article on the same topic, sports are like the best of what has been thought and said.  His essay is about how competition is beautiful and much like a coherent conflict that imitates the resonance human beings embody when achieving subjectivity.  Sports are an important part of human expression.  Sports aren’t deficient in humanity, they are “full of humanity.”

Thirdly, sports are much more than everyday activities, because those who participate in sports, from the junior varsity soccer player to the starting tight end for an NFL team, are similar in another way.  People who participate in sports are really “playing God” for a short time.  They control the destiny of a team, or at least themselves, in something that is supposed to be worth more than themselves.  Sports are symbolic of how people interact in a lot of ways, and because of this, they show us the original genetic nature of homo sapiens.  Like Hinterson argues, we talk about sports constantly because they represent how each and every one of us performs art and competes in battle, in smaller ways, every day of our lives.  We look up to professional athletes because they succeed in ways that are more obvious and covered by the media than the ways that we succeed—they play Gods for a short time and we look at them as gods because if it.  Hinterson, in his forth chapter, basically claims that we have this same drive, this internal fabrication from which we fulfill our manifest desires toward the ubermensch. 

People should respect sports because they represent everyday life in a number of ways.  “Sports give voice to our conflicts,” our basic emotions and our desire to see people play God (59).  Instead of being more refined than the rest of us who play sports, those individuals who hate sports are deficient in being human because they don’t understand that sports can express a number of very human virtues.

Works Cited

Novek, Michael. "Sports and our Drive for Distance." New York: Capstone Publishing.