Are Youth Sports Too Competitive?

Pol Sci 101 In-Class Activity

Pol Sci 101 In-Class Activity

Last week in my PolSci 101 lecture, we talked about sport and competitiveness.   We talked about why we compete and discussed Eric Dunnings “The Dynamics of Modern Sport”.  In a class activity, we concluded that Dunning believed that modern sports are serious and competitive, as opposed to non-serious and fun (see the chart on the left).  This got me thinking about modern sports, specifically youth sports and the growing competitiveness of it. Continue reading

Professional Amateurs?


Sports are such a big deal. College sports teams are extremely popular, generate tons of revenue and give great meaning to Saturdays all over the nation,especially college football. College football brings fans out on chilly fall mornings to sit outside, grill meat out of the trunk of their cars and drink until they can’t drink anymore, all awaiting the start of a thrilling game that reminds me of survival of the fittest. Why do these athletes work profusely throughout the week and risk their lives every Saturday? Many like mways2014 say that these athletes do it “for the greater good of their team and the satisfaction of winning the game”. Would these athletes still put their life on the line if there was no promise of higher pay from their performance at this “amateur” level, at the professional level in the future? My answer is no, these athletes play these sports at a collegiate level and many if not all hope to one day become professional athletes. Paying athletes at a collegiate level would be similar to paying medical students. Both of these groups of people are getting the training that is required for them to succeed at the next level, accept football players do get some sort of compensation for their hard work. Scholarships, scholarships are usually awarded to these athletes so they don’t have to pay to attend some of these great schools like the University of Michigan.

In Eric Dunning’s “Dynamics of Modern Sports” he says that athlete compete for multiple reasons and among those were opportunities. Thats what these schools give these athletes, opportunities, opportunities to play professionally, opportunities to become physically ready for competition in the professional league and opportunities to get a free education, just to name a few. Paying athletes at a collegiate level would take away from the play aspect. Dunning says that Professionalism takes away the fun of sports because the competitiveness increases therefore the action becomes more serious. Are these premiere sports ever lacking a high level of competitiveness? It starts when you’re younger, football players play as kids to get on the team in middle school, and then play and work hard to make the team in high school to hopefully play in college where they wish and dream to play in the NFL. The intentions are never purely for fun.

If schools do choose to pay these athletes how would they determine which sports are paid the most? Just as there is an argument that athletes have the right to be paid because they generate so much revenue for the school, what about the athletes that work just as hard as football players, if we are paying athlete for their efforts shouldn’t all athletes get paid the same? Should older athletes get paid more? Many would say to pay every athlete the same but what about those athletes who generate thousands of dollars in sales of their jerseys do they deserve more than athletes who aren’t exactly the most popular.

Paying athletes is a very sticky subject, yes, they do work hard and generate tons of money for these select universities but without these universities, would they be equipped and ready to play at these professional levels where they then make tons of money. Collegiate sports are an institution, they have traditions, they have many rules and regulations as some of us are all too familiar with, and most of all they allow great opportunity for their athletes. Athletes should focus on the play aspect while they can because for some of them before they know it, the game they love could become all to serious.

What are these Games Teaching Us?

All in a game is an interesting topic in today’s society especially when it comes to video games and all the topics and genres that these video games cover. Recently I have purchased and played a new video game called Shadow of Mordor. This is a game in which you are hunting down Orc chiefs and killing them. For every Orc Chief you kill you gain power and the Orcs will talk about how ruthless you were while killing that specific Chief. Ok, so why are you telling me about a new video game that just came out? The reasoning for me talking about this video game is because it is concerned with how you come to power and how one should rule.
In our discussion we talked about the Melian Dialogue, which dealed with concerns of how one should lead and how their actions shape the way the people see them. In this the Athenians want the Melians to surrender and pay them tribute or they will destroy the Melian city. The Melians chose not to surrender so now the Athenians are faced with a choice. Do nothing to the people who have done no wrong and be looked at as weak, or follow through on the destruction of their city and look like a strong ruler to others. The Athenians decide to look strong and kill these innocent people and destroy their town. This story along with so many video games now in days to me are preaching that violence is the only way to be strong and lead.
If our youth are constantly playing these violent games where in order to lead they must be the most ruthless and feared then will this transfer over into everyday life? The fact of the matter is yes it could and has. In one extreme case a teenage male went and robbed a convince store and killed the store clerk for no reason. When the young teen was investigated and interviewed about why he did what he had done he responded that was just doing what he did in a video game called Grand Theft Auto. This is a game in which shooting, stealing, and doing drugs


(Grand Theft Auto portraying guns and other violent things)

is encouraged to become powerful. This game along with so many others basically align with what happens in the Melian Dialogue, and we should be weary of what this violent culture can do to our people.
In Hindsight this blog post is not saying that if you play video games you are going to be a murder, or a drug dealer. What this is trying to convey is that you should always be careful and aware of the games you are playing and the messages these games are sending you. This blog should also get you to realize that you don’t have to be violent and ruthless to lead, you just need to know how to captivate and excite the people who you are trying to lead.

Wyatt Shallman

Football Town (Edit)

The Big House

“Hail to the Victors!” echoes throughout a packed stadium. Being a freshman and a first time  collegiate football game attendee, the grandeur of the University of Michigan’s stadium, tradition, and pride was a bit overwhelming. As the season progressed and the number of losses kept ticking higher and higher, something changed among the students. People were unhappy. They were more than unhappy. People were pissed. Continue reading