Sports: A Game Or a Job?

Earlier in the semester, we read and discussed Louis Menand’s article “Live and Learn” which talked about the different purposes of college. He proposed several theories about why we attend college. The first was that we are here to be sorted by intelligence and talents, and this process will weed us into our careers. The second theory is that we are in college to develop skills and become “informed citizens” through a higher education.

I recently attended the Michigan basketball game against Syracuse, where the Wolverines pulled out a great win. I also went to one of my former high school’s football games earlier in the semester. Watching both of these events got me asking a similar question as the one Menand asks. Continue reading


I Can’t Breathe


“Die in” Protest

Amanda Hampton




Police. Racism. Crime. Death. Protest. Unjust. These are the words infiltrating our ears on a daily bases in America. Recent events have sent a shock wave across the country, having everyone rethink our police force and the state of racism in America.  The case of Eric Garner has recently come to the publics attention, and has left many people outraged not only in America, but around the world. The events that are taking place around the country include evaluation of laws and civil dis-obiendence.

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Knowing Where to Draw the Line

St. Louis Rams gesture

Athletes voicing their opinions in public has always been a highly debated topic. Some believe that athletes should keep their political and societal views to themselves while others believe they have the right to freely express their thoughts. Another example of this issue occurred last Sunday afternoon when five St. Louis Rams players made a “hands up” gesture to support the non violence protests taking place around the country in wake of the Ferguson Missouri controversy. According to an ESPN article, Jared Cook, one of the players involved, stated, “It’s a message worldwide that for young adults that you can protest and you can do things peacefully without getting out of line.” The players wanted to make it clear that they did not support the violence that took place during the riots in Ferguson.

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The Unfortunate Nature of the World of Sports

This past Tuesday was quite a night at the Crisler Center. The Michigan men’s basketball team beat Syracuse in dramatic fashion, lead by the clutch shooting of Junior Spike Albrecht. As someone who went to game, I can personally attest to the atmosphere at the Crisler Center that night. The student section, informally known as the “Maize Rage” was electric. The arena was packed with a sea of students all wearing maize. It was great to see the Michigan faithful come together and create an awesome place to watch the team play.

Tuesday night was a great example of one of the main reasons I decided to enroll at the University of Michigan. I wanted a school with an overwhelming amount of school spirit on campus. On Tuesday night I felt that spirit I had so deeply desired. Although Tuesday night was amazing at the Crisler Center, not every night at the Crisler Center is quite as electric. Early in October, I went to the women’s volleyball game against Michigan State at the Crisler Center. Most of the time the volleyball team plays in the Cliff Keen arena, but against a rival like Michigan State they moved the game to the larger Crisler Center. Being that they moved to the larger arena for a rivalry game, I assumed that there would be an awesome atmosphere at the game. To my disappointment the arena was basically empty. My question is how it is possible that in the same arena, representing the same school, there could be this drastic of a difference in environment?

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Differences Between Girls and Guys High School Sports

Blog Post #6

Section 10

Spectator Power-Up

Over thanksgiving break, I returned to my alma mater, Pace Academy, in Atlanta to watch the boys and girls varsity basketball teams in their annual Thanksgiving tournaments. The girls were scheduled to play first at 4:30 and the boys followed at 6. I arrived at the gym about 10 minutes early and the scene reminded me of the one Mika Lavaque-Manty describes in his work, titled, “Being a Woman and other disabilities”. Lavaque-Manty discusses a photo of a 1910 Michigan women’s basketball game in which there are no spectators in the crowd. Similarly, at this game, the bleachers were empty aside from a few parents of some of the players. It was this moment that made me concentrate solely on the differences between the girls and boys games.

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The Dangers of Extremism

There is a reason the term “extremist” carries with it such a strongly negative connotation.   Extremism is highly dangerous in that when it gets to the point where compromise and engagement become futile, constructive progress in unachievable.  Extremism drives individuals away from dialoguing with their detractors and toward seeking out ways to eliminate them.  This is a dangerous state of mind.  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was by no means an extremist.  On the contrary, he was so dedicated to change by nonviolent means that he withstood blow after blow while still sticking to his guns (nonviolent guns of course.) Continue reading

In the wake of Ferguson and Staten Island, Dr. King’s vision still not realized

I wish I didn’t have to write about this. I really don’t. But after everything that has happened in this country in the last few weeks regarding racism and injustice, it seems almost unavoidable. We read Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”, in which Dr. King outlines what he views as just versus unjust laws, and how people are obligated to disobey an unjust law. Dr. King writes that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”, and that “justice too long delayed is justice denied.” It seems that when we look at what is happening in America today, Dr. King was years ahead of his time, because here in the year 2014, we still don’t have the freedom and equality Dr. King was fighting for in the 1960s.

Dr. King had a dream of equality, but we still have not totally achieved that dream

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But Can She Dunk?

In my Comparative Literature class, we are discussing the experience of watching sports. We recently read two articles that debate why the WNBA is not as popular as the NBA, both focused on the entertainment that comes with watching a women’s basketball game. The first, written by Stacey Pressman, explained how she believed that the lack of popularity of the league was due to the minimal entertainment value that the play provides. The other was Graham Hays’ response to Pressman, in which Hays said that the claim was ridiculous, and asserted that the lack of popularity comes down to the trivial fact that the women are not as athletic and can’t dunk.


Michigan Women’s Basketball Attendance

I recently attended both the men’s and women’s basketball games against the University of Detroit. To get a good seat for the men’s game, you would need to show up at least an hour in advance, while for the women’s game, arriving at tipoff guaranteed you a seat in the lower bowl. Of course, the women’s team has not had the same success that the men’s team has had and this can contribute to the attendance discrepancy, but it is more about the lack of great athleticism in the women’s games.

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Mill and Marijuana

In chapter IV of On Liberty, John Stuart Mill shares some insightful opinions on political theory, which have become very relevant in American politics today. Specifically, he discusses the basis of legality, claiming that any action which affects only the person doing the action, should be legally permitted. Though he specifies that most actions do inherently affect more than just that one person, he believes that something should only be deemed illegal if it hurts another citizen in any aspect, whether financially or physically. Crimes like murder, theft, or harassment, are illegal because they clearly abridge the rights of some citizens, but what about the consumption of marijuana? Mill’s argument has resonated in society today through the campaign for the legalization of marijuana consumption in numerous states.


John Stuart Mill


Marijuana, which is currently legal in two American states.

After Colorado and Washington have deemed the recreational use of marijuana legal, many positive changes seem to have occurred. Including a lower crime rate and increased government revenue from sales, the legalization of marijuana in those states has inspired numerous other states to adopt the same policy fighting any resistance with the claim that it affects only the consumer, no one else. Though I personally do not support the consumption of marijuana, there is substantial political support which may eventually lead to legislative change in the very near future. Based on Mill’s premise that marijuana consumption is not really harmful, there seems to be no reason for its illegality. If proponents have such compelling evidence to promote the legalization of marijuana consumption, why is it illegal in the United States?


Map of places where marijuana is legal

In the 1930’s, marijuana was named a drug by the United States Narcotic Drug Act. It was not allowed to be consumed or sold in the United States, until individual states began abolishing restrictions decades later. The reason for its prohibition stems from its effects on one’s physical and mental health. Marijuana, previously known as cannabis, is known to be detrimental for both brain development as well as lung health. Heavy users may have decreased lifespans due to marijuana’s effects on the lungs. Even though this can be considered harm, who is it really affecting? If smokers smoke, they are hurting no one but themselves, and that cannot be controlled by the government. Mill would agree that all people deserve personal freedoms, such as the right to smoke weed, as long as no other citizen is affected by the smoker’s actions.

Consider an average middle-aged man, Mr. Smith, who is politically engaged, economically stable, and physically healthy. If he one day decides to come home and smoke marijuana for recreational use, who would he be hurting? He certainly would not be abridging the rights of any other United States citizen, so why is marijuana illegal? What right does the government have to take away that personal freedom from Mr. Smith? If this issue was presented to Mill years ago, he would support the legalization of marijuana solely because of the personal freedoms that every American citizen is promised.

Statistics supporting the legalization of marijuana.

Statistics supporting the legalization of marijuana.

Following the same example, Mill would only oppose if Mr. Smith’s consumption of marijuana was in some way detrimental to society. For example, if he purchased marijuana while he was in debt to someone else, that would be a completely different story. Mr. Smith owes money to whoever lent it to him, and that is an obligation he must honor. If society adopted Mill’s political ideology, consuming the marijuana itself would not be considered criminal activity but failing to honor the loan would be.


Marijuana usage in other places around the world

To conclude, Mill would certainly enjoy modern political debates regarding the legalization of marijuana in several states. Taking a relatively liberal stance, he would support personal freedoms like the consumption of marijuana, as long as no other citizens are affected. Mill’s political ideology is certainly distinct from most other theorists of his time, and even centuries after he was born, his influence lives on. It is not difficult to apply his opinions to modern politics especially through efforts for numerous issues involving personal freedoms. Granted that all American citizens have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, Mill just aimed to ensure that everyone can practice these rights while maintaining societal harmony.

Section 010

Teachers and Politics

Today in lecture we discussed political activism and whether or not it is productive in certain aspects of life that are unrelated to politics. As Mill says, “let us examine whether…men should be free to act upon their opinions…so long as it is at their own risk and peril.” This is a question of when someone’s expression of individuality is harmful to others or society as a whole.

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