Traditions That Shouldn’t Be Upheld

Edmond Burke argued that tradition is a great thing and that traditions cannot be disrupted or a nation will fail. He argues that once tradition is eliminated, people no longer know which direction to take. Some traditions should be maintained in the United States such as the basic ideals of freedom and equality. However some traditions have dated since the passing of laws in the late 1700’s. The Second AUS-still-divided-on-passing-stricter-gun-control-lawsmendment of the United States Constitution states, “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” While this law was effective years ago, there doesn’t seem to be the traditional need to carry weapons as the United States, has thankfully not fought a war on our soil in over a century.

Sure modifying this amendment would confuse some citizens as Burke suggests change would however I believe that this nation is capable and mostly willing to adapt to not being able to purchase semi-automatic weapons. These have been responsible for the Newtown School Shooting, Columbine and the tragic event at the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. I am not suggesting that all weapons be eliminated because being a free nation and citizens having the right to protect them is important. However I don’t believe that automatic assault weapons need to be in the hands of the average American citizen. We pay taxes in order for our military to protect us from enemies that capable to need these weapons.

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What Time to Make Time?

Recently I was presented with a dilemma, a normal dilemma, a problem that every college student is bound to run into but first, let me give some back story. Deciding my roommate was very simple, I knew I was going to live with my best friend from high school. Many people said this was “friendship suicide” but I thought as long as there was some sort of unspoken agreement between us two everything should be fine. There should be no need for any written strict rules or a “contract”. Normal problems with roommates in college would be invading each others space, privacy, not keeping a tolerable room and many more.

In my situation none of those were issues, the biggest issue was time, how do I evenly split my time with all of my friends, this is not something many people think of when selecting a roommate but I’ve talked to many of my friends who see this as a challenge. How do I balance my roommate/best friend and my other friends. Should friendships implement social contracts? A friendship is one of the most covenant agreements in our world today especially a best friend does it need a list of rules?

What problem made us think about a social contract? Common Areas and time. Although we know each other very well what we didn’t know is how we kept our areas. We didn’t exactly recognize each others effort in relation to cleaning the apartment so what did we do? We drew up a contract explaining what days we would clean what and who was obligated to do these things. This was a good idea in this area, but how do I solve a time issue. Do I draw up a schedule and tell her which days and times I will spend with her and what times I’ll spend with my other friends. That seems like a very formal way of going about hanging out with a friend. “Lastly, the agreement of these creatures is natural; that of men, is by covenant only, which is artificial: and therefore it is no wonder if there be somewhat else required (besides covenant) to make their agreement constant and lasting; which is a common power, to keep them in awe, and to direct their actions to the common benefit.” Here Hobbes says that agreeing with each other without a contract of course is natural but sometimes there is a need for a written agreement. So is there a need for a written agreement of my time, should I equally divide my time between my boyfriend and my friends. Some situations just aren’t this simple. They teach us how to make time for studying and how to make sure we get enough sleep and exercise but where do you learn how to divide time with friends?

Here is an 8 step how to on spending time with friends (http://www.wikihow.com/Manage-Friendship-when-in-a-Relationship) and it says nothing about a contract. I’d say that there is no need for a social contract between my best friend and I when it comes to time spent. Some things like when to do the dishes or take out the trash may need contracts but like many of us said in lecture friendships do not need social contracts. So the logical answer to this would be going about my own freedom and liberties to figure whats in my best interest just as l will. “If man in the state of nature be so free, as has been said; if he be absolute lord of his own person and possessions, equal to the greatest, and subject to no body, why will he part with his freedom? why will he give up this empire, and subject himself to the dominion and control of any other power?” That’s how I see it, my time is my freedom and with it I will do as I please, If I limit myself to a schedule I limit the freedom of my time so with the advice of Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau I will keep my time free of social contract.

How Should Sports Be Categorized?

Generally speaking, sports have been categorized by both gender and ability. There are separate divisions for men and women in just about every sport imaginable, and athletes are obviously separated by ability – i.e. professional leagues compared to minor leagues and semi-professional leagues. However, there are some fine lines when it comes to defining sports and their categories. In some instances, boundaries are not quite as set as they might have seemed to be. An example would be that of the dilemma of the 1999 New York City Marathon discussed in Mika LaVaque-Manty’s The Playing Fields of Eton. Another example would be that of Caster Semenya, a female athlete who had her gender called into question.

Semenya (front) had her gender question and was almost not allowed to compete alongside females

Semenya (front) had her gender question and was almost not allowed to compete alongside females

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Social Contracts in Interstellar

WARNING: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

I recently went and saw the film Interstellar, partly because it looked like an interesting film, and partly for an assignment for another class.  Let me start off by saying that it was fantastic and I would highly recommend it, no matter your interest in the field of astronomy.  If you have seen it already or have no interest in seeing it but still would like to read a blog post relating it to the class, feel free to read the whole post.  If you have not seen it but want to see it without seeing any spoilers, I recommend you stop reading right here until you have seen the film. Continue reading

Safety or Softy?

Football is arguably the most dangerous sport known to man. Football is a collision sport that physically damages the bodies of every man that steps on the football field. Football players are becoming faster, stronger and all around more athletic than ever before, while kids are being trained younger and younger, preparing to be physically ahead of their competition and age group. The game of football has always been a physical game but throughout its existence the sport has consistently made strides to make the game safer. Dating back to when football was first established in the 17th century and they didn’t have any protective gear. The game then evolved to shoulder pads and cleats in the 19th century but still no protective head gear. Then, in the 20th century the game introduced helmets which were meant to protect the athletes from brain damage and head trauma. Although the equipment has evolved since the 17th century the game has not gotten any safer, if anything it’s gotten more dangerous throughout the years. Although the gear has been implemented as more protective it only gave the athletes leeway to become more destructive. Recently concussions and head trauma has been a big concern in the game of football and the question, “is football too dangerous?” has been asked many times. The NFL has taken strides to make the game safer with changing the rules but how much can they change until football becomes soft and the barbaric nature is no longer a factor?

In Marc Tracy’s article, “NFL rules changes: When is football no longer football?” he explains the rule changes that the NFL has implemented to make the game safer. For example ball-carriers can longer lower their helmets into oncoming defenders in an attempt to break tackles.The NFL also said the all star game, formerly known as the Pro Bowl will no longer have kick-offs. So, who are affected by these rule changes? Well, running backs, who can no longer gain extra yardage by lowering their helmets; kick-returners, whose jobs are now  less prestigious and the possibility for special teams players to be selected to the pro bowl has become somewhat impossible; and defensive players have to focus on form tackling or technique tackling so they don’t get called for any unsportsmanlike conduct penalties due to their hitting forms. (cite) With these rule changes people think the game is going to become an offensive showcase because the defense is so limited in what they can and cannot do. NFL players have mixed feelings about the rule changes, like Jay Cutler, quarterback for the Chicago Bears, when asked how he feels about the rule changes he said, There’s a lot of stuff that’s getting called now that wouldn’t have been called when I first started playing, or when Lance (Briggs, Bears LB) started playing. It’s really hard to play defense. You’re talking about split-second decisions they’ve got to make on the move, two guys running in opposite directions and they’ve got to hit a target that’s about this big, and if they miss, they’re going to get fined and tacked with a penalty. Offensive numbers are going to go up. You like to see it as an offensive guy because it makes our lives easier. I wouldn’t want to play defense. I’ll say that. Is it good for the sport? There’s a big emphasis on protecting players, but at the same time we signed up for this stuff and it’s a contact game.”  While Michael Griffin, safety for the Tennessee Titans said, When I first came into the league, you rarely saw any flags for unnecessary roughness. Now there’s too much thinking. When you’re going in for a tackle, you’re thinking in the back of your mind how much you’re going to get fined or if you’ll be suspended. Now the flag is thrown on almost everything that looks like it could hurt somebody. I don’t think there’s a way to solve the concussion problem. You’re telling us to go low, and now you’re getting defensive players with head injuries. When you go low, you duck your head and you don’t see exactly what you’re hitting, because in order to go low, your head must take you low first. Now you’re getting kneed in the head.” You see there are mixed feelings about the rule changes and it seems to be based off players being on the offensive or defensive side of the ball.

Giamatti’s article, “Take Time For Paradise” explains the idea that people play sports to achieve a lost “paradise”. There aren’t many paradises that run off rules. I’m not saying that the NFL should implement a no rule policy but when is enough, enough? The NFL should carefully change the rules without making it impossible for players to continue to play the way they have their entire life.  If the NFL changes the rules to the point the game is affected the paradise that NFL players play for every sunday will vastly become non existent and become nothing but a lost entity of the game.

Football will always be a dangerous sport. I respect the NFL for making attempts at making the game safer for the players. But, there is a fine line between making the game safe and soft. Like Jay Cutler said, athletes who decide to play football, they know exactly what they are signing up for. Football is not a game that can be played with fear but the game needs to be played with confidence. Players can’t worry about getting hurt or injured but they have to play at full speed trying to out challenge and out compete the man standing across from them. The NFL has to make sure they don’t forget to change the game so much that it becomes flag football rather than tackle football. Football is not a soft sport and the NFL is especially not a soft league. The NFL needs to keep those two factors and mind and make sure that while they’re making the game safer that they’re not making the game soft. I’m all for making the game safer but don’t take away the barbaric and collision aspect of the sports because that’s what makes the game of football so great and entertain to watch and most importantly play.

In the Hands of the NFL

After reading the article NFL Rules Changes: When is Football No Longer Football?, I now question whether football will lose its power of becoming a paradise for the players and the spectators. The National Football League is starting to make significant changes in the interest of safety that will start to change the game in a large way. For starters, they decided to ban ball-carriers from lowering their helmets into oncoming defenders in an attempt to break free of the tackle. Other major changes include the elimination of the “Tuck Rule” and no more kick-offs in the Pro Bowl. In addition, they have even taken tackling out of preseason camps. All of these changes are designed to make the game safer for the players. Football is a very dangerous sport because you are making contact with your opponent at full speed with great force. However, I wonder whether or not the game will remain the same after all of these modifications.

A hard hit

A dangerously hard hit

In Giamatti’s Take Time for Paradise, he states, “In that moment of vision, of sensation compounded of sight and inside, everyone – participant and spectator – is centered” (24). The players and spectators are consumed by the world of the game. They are not focused on anything else but the competition in front of them. Giamatti explains that people play sports because they want to achieve a paradise that we have lost. This paradise is considered better than our actual lives. If many changes occur in the sport of football, will this paradise be lost?

With these changes, I believe the game would not be the same, as there would be “no more dramatic returns for touchdowns. No more advantage or disadvantage to be won or lost by improving field position. No more exciting, surprising, game-changing onside kicks.” (Tracy). These are all important aspects of the game because they keep the audience and the players guessing who will win the game. The surprises within the games keep the players going hard throughout the entire game, fighting for the win. I also agree with Marc Tracy that football would not be football without tackling.

Not only would the game change for the players, as they would have to learn new rules, but also this would change the intensity for the spectators. The loss of these aspects of the game would definitely cause the spectators and players to lose the paradise that was once created by football. As stated by Giamatti, “the spectator, seeing something he has only imagined, or, more astonishingly, had not yet or would never have imagined possible, because the precise random moments had never before come together in this form to challenge the players” (27). This means that the spectator goes to football games in order to experience something they cannot on their own.

A packed Giants stadium, full of fans awaiting the start of an intense game.

A packed Giants stadium, full of fans awaiting the start of an intense game.

The NFL wants to keep the sport of football as safe as possible but when do they draw the line before ruining the sport completely? Football will never be completely safe because then it just would not be football anymore. As stated in the article, “would football without kick-offs still be football?” (Tracy). “the National Football League needs to figure out what football is”. They have the ability to uphold the tradition of the game or to create a completely new one, it’s all in their hands.

Giamatti, A. Bartlett. 1989. Take time for paradise: Americans and their games. New York: Summit Books.

Tracy, Marc. “NFL Rules Changes: When Is Football No Longer Football?” New Republic. N.p., 2 Aug. 2013. Web.

Citius, Altius, Fortius.

Citius, Altius, Fortius; Faster, Higher, Stronger.

Olympic_rings_without_rims.svg

These three Latin words officially became the slogan of the Olympic movement in 1894, long before women were competitors athletically. This Olympic motto has created quite a stir over the years, seeing as men are generally dominant over women in all three of those categories. Instead, the Olympic Creed has been favored by many more people, encouraging everyone to do their best; “The most important thing in life is not the triumph, but the fight ; the essential thing is not to have won, but to have fought well.” Together, the two of these are heavily promoted so that we apply them in our everyday life, not just sports. Continue reading