Handout: Summary, Paraphrase, and Quotation in Context
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Contributors:Cristyn Elder, Ehren Pflugfelder, Elizabeth Angeli
Last Edited: 2010-11-30 11:26:02
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.
Novek, Michael. "Sports and our Drive for Distance." New York: Capstone Publishing.