There is a “Fan” in Team

I loved sports for as long as I can remember, and I’ve been a Michigan fan since before I was even born. My parents met at the University of Michigan and bonded over their love for all things competitive. They got married and had me and my

The University of Michigan is a place that values tradition and pride in their school and their athletics above all else.

The University of Michigan is a place that values tradition and pride in their school and their athletics above all else.

brother and dressed us in “Future Wolverine” onesies. Some of my oldest childhood memories are sitting on my dad’s shoulders at the Big House or climbing up the steps to Chrisler. So when I fulfilled my familial duty (and my lifelong dream) and chose Michigan as my future alma mater, it came to no surprise that I begged my parents for season tickets to everything. For this one magical year, I’ve lived in total bliss, attending everyone men’s football, basketball, or hockey game that fit in my schedule. However, after playing and watching basketball my whole life (and attending Michigan games this season) as well as attending as many hockey games I could, I’ve noticed similarities and differences between the two sports.

Continue reading

On The Dangers Being “Lesser”

I was maybe 5 when I realized I was different than the majority of my friends. I had long hair, they had short. When our mommies made the kids look nice for church, I wore a dress, and they got to wear pants. Never mind the fact that I preferred to have my hair short and out of my face or that I would rather have gone naked than wear a skirt. I was different than my friends–who happened to be boys. I was different because I was a girl.  But why was I different? At the time I only realized that I wasn’t the same as them because I got to wear bows; it never crossed my mind that maybe, just maybe I might be “lesser” than them because of my perceived differences.

Continue reading

Can Anyone Actually Be Different–And Does it Even Matter if We Are?

I knew that I wanted to write about the concept of individualism in this post, but was unsure how to do so. The subject has been swirling around in my mind since reading an excerpt of John Stuart Mill’s essay, “On Liberty.” In it, Mill brings up the

Apple Logo

We live in a society that “celebrates” differences, and companies like Apple Inc. have branded their image by capitalizing on this. However, if everyone uses the same product, don’t we forfeit those “differences” for the sake of conforming with our peers?

importance of being an “individual,” making it clear that it is best to be like the Greek figure, Pericles, who has self-discipline but is non-conforming to the rest of society. This view from Mill is clearly mirrored in our society, a society that consistently claims to adore the different and the strange, but manages to still stifle its definition of what it means to be an individual. We spout “How to Be an Individual” instruction manuals–which I’m sure a countless number of confused and angsty young adults turn to in an attempt to be seen as “different” while still staying within the realms of what is “acceptable.” But what does it mean to be different? And does it really matter if we are?

I think that everyone likes to believe that they are an individual. Who wouldn’t like to believe that they are one-in-a-million (something that elementary teachers and moms consistently tell us all when we are young and impressionable)? But is it even possible to be an individual? Mill seemed to think that, while a great idea, being a non-conformist is nearly impossible to achieve; he even

What does it mean to be special or different? Who gets to decide what makes us an individual or what makes us "super?" Is it ever really achievable?

What does it mean to be special or different? Who gets to decide what makes us an individual or what makes us “super?” Is it ever really achievable?

made a fail-safe, saying that it is better to be self-disciplined and to live in self-denial, than be neither. Similar to The Incredibles quote, “If everyone’s super, no one is,” the idea that if everyone is an individual, everyone is special, and everyone is different means that maybe, in the end, no one is.

I don’t mean to sound morbid and say that everyone is the same. I’ve met enough people to know that in no way is everyone the exact same. There is no carbon copy of me out there (and if there is, I hope I never have to meet them–there’s enough me in my life already), and there is no carbon copy of my friends and family out there either. But it’s easy to see the links between people–to see how they are more similar than they are different. A lot of it is an upbringing thing. Family is similar to family, friends to friends, towns to towns, etc. People bend who they are naturally to fit into their respective groups within an overarching society. To be truly individual, a person has to be raised outside of a society or groups pre-established beliefs, views, practices, etc. But that isn’t necessarily possible; we will always be brought up into a society (regardless of where, when, or how that society exists and lives) that pushes conformity upon its members, whether subconsciously or consciously. Though we celebrate certain differences, those differences don’t make us special (as others within our groups undoubtedly share similar “differences” or quirks with us as well).

So can anyone use a guide to learn how to be an individual? Is anyone a Pericles? To be honest with you, I don’t think so.

Pericles, the Greek figure that Mill idealized, represents what many of us hope to achieve: the balance between self-discipline and non-conformity. But is it possible to be like Pericles when the pressures of society often force us to conform for fear of being alone?

Pericles, the Greek figure that Mill idealized, represents what many of us hope to achieve: the balance between self-discipline and non-conformity. But is it possible to be like Pericles when the pressures of society often force us to conform for fear of being alone?

But maybe that isn’t such a bad thing. Maybe we are supposed to find people that are similar to us, share the same beliefs as us, and have some of the same experiences as us. If we were completely individual and separate than our peers, then many of us would feel lonely and as if no one truly “understood” us. To me, giving up some of my perceived individuality may be a small price to pay for feeling a connection to those around me and a sense of love and acceptance from those I care about.

What Makes Anything Into Something?

When I was little, I was obsessed with the universe. Sounds weird, but something about space just got me going—admittedly though, Star Wars provided me with most of my knowledge. That phase of my life has long since passed, but one thing I learned while in still knee-deep in it still drives me crazy to this day. According to this article by Cornell, there are several theories for the shape of our universe and two of them include it fading into nothingness (while a simplified description, it gets the general gist across).

A diagram of three of the theories for how the universe might be shaped.

A diagram of three of the theories for how the universe might be shaped.

However what fascinates me is how we define nothingness in this case. Anything outside our universe is “nothing” meaning there is not one thing out there. But how is it that we are able to define nothing as something? Kind of a confusing question, but when combined with the reading from last week, NFL Rules Changes: When Is Football No Longer Football, it got me wondering how we define who we are, what we do, and what makes anything into what it is? Continue reading

A Kids’ Guide to Becoming King of the Playground

We’ve all been through the virtual hell that is learning to climb the social ladder, whether it is now or in elementary school. However, in elementary school that “Social Ladder” was actually the monkey bars in a strange and slightly scary place called the playground. I know you all remember how difficult it was to navigate this oddity of man, trying to find your friends, avoid the bullies, and somehow seem cool all at the same time. It was like a little kingdom full of woodchips and metal slides, and just like a kingdom, the playground had its peasants and its princes.

KING ARTHUR AND THE KNIGHTS OF THE PLAYGROUND

It’s my intent to help all those who are struggling with the dog-eat-dog world of playground mentality, all those who have struggled with it, and all those who will struggle in the future with this guide to becoming king of the playground; it’s inspired by the man, the legend himself—King of All Playgrounds: Machiavelli. The following steps will be here to help guide you to greatness (results not guaranteed): Continue reading

Should Everyone Be Super

When I was younger, I was obsessed with the Disney-Pixar movie, The Incredibles. The reason I bring up this classic movie (which has a killer soundtrack by the way), is because a certain quote in it: “If everyone’s super, no one is.” Most of the people I know don’t choose to live their life by a Disney movie saying, but maybe you should. Maybe the idea that nobody is amazing or special if everyone is can transcend more than just a super hero movie and help portray what I view as an epidemic in the American educational system.

Continue reading