School Uniforms and The “Experiment of Living”

A Group of Students Wearing Uniforms.

A Group of Students Wearing Uniforms.

School uniforms are one of the topics that has been widely debated for as long as I can remember. Growing up and going to a public school on Long Island in New York, I was not forced into conforming and wearing these uniforms on a daily basis. On the flip side, I had a great number of friends who attended private school for high school and were required to abide by a strict uniform policy on a daily basis. Upon talking to many of these friends, the results were interesting to me as there was a split between the amount of people who didn’t mind wearing the uniforms and the people who totally disliked wearing them. I began to wonder what life would be like going to school and having to abide by guidelines set by an institution, enforced no differently than the policy on cheating in class.

A USAToday Study on Uniforms.

A USAToday Study on Uniforms.

In order to take a closer look at the issue of school uniforms, I began to research the legality of

uniforms and noticed that more than twenty different states have legalized and authorize schools to implement uniform policies. In addition, accoring to a study completed by USAToday, the percentage

of public schools that are using dress codes has spiked almost 10% in the last 10 years from 47% to over 57%. After further consideration and thought, I wondered, “What effect are these uniforms having on the children of America?”

A possible result of uniforms stems from the philosophy of John Stuart Mill as he discusses the idea of individuality in his piece titled On Liberty and more specifically in chapter three titled “Of Individuality, as one of the Elements of Well-being“. In this text, Mill touches on the idea that humans require trial and error to succeed and individuality provides “experiments of living”. In addition, Mill explains that in order for a person to live and have a sense of self, individuality is of the upmost importance. While people should be educated and everybody have to opportunity to accumulate similar knowledge of human experience, it is extremely important that humans have the ability to take the experience and knowledge they have acculated and do what they choose with it. People should never be forced into making certain choices and have to follow a pre-determined path because it would destroy their individuality and contribute to the destruction of human progress. This is extremely important and can be directly related to the concept of school uniforms.

In an effort to help rid schools of distractions and provide a better learning environment, schools have instituted dress-codes and uniforms that every student must abide by. It is very easy to argue

People Dressed As Inmates.

People Dressed As Inmates and Conforming.

that by telling students what to wear, schools are effectively removing a students sense of individuality and hurting human progress. No longer are students able to express how they feel though their clothes and are almost placed into a jail-like state of conformity with the other students. Clothing is used by people to express how they feel, their sense of style and in many cases their social status. By ridding these people of self-expression, they are no longer receiving the experience that comes with dressing the way they feel expresses themselves and removes an avenue of individuality.

The problem with school uniforms lays in the concept of controlling a person’s individuality as a whole. While the control of clothing does not totally remove a student’s ability to express how they feel and differentiate themselves in a school setting, it does open the avenue of further limiting the way in which a student can stand out in the crowd of hundreds of other students. If it is forcing people to wear a certain code of dress today, could limiting speech in the classroom be next? It is hard to predict the extent of which schools will attempt to rid students of their individuality in the future, but according to Mill, nothing good will come out of sucking individuality out of the American youth.

Redistribution of Power: Would Communism Work In The NBA?

Map of NBA Teams Created By CBS Sports

Map of NBA Teams Created By CBS Sports

The NBA today is one of the most popular leagues in the world today as millions of people watch the best athletes in the world compete at the highest level on both television and in person. Not only does the NBA bring in a great deal of viewership, but also brings in an enormous amount of capital. Both attending a game in person and watching a game on TV rakes in millions of dollars as people around the world cannot get enough of the growing sport of basketball. However, their is a huge imbalance between the amount of money an NBA player is paid and the amount of money that the league and the owners are bringing in year over year. The dynamic between the players and the NBA owners is constantly in flux as the NBA grows in popularity and questions such as “Are NBA players paid enough in comparison to the amount of money that the owners make?” and “Could the NBA survive without owners?” come to fruition. Continue reading

The Power Of Sports Chants and Ritual

Michigan student fans in the "Maize Rage," the front row with chests painted, cheer on their team before an NCAA college basketball game against Ohio State, Saturday, Feb. 18, 2012, at Crisler Center in Ann Arbor, Mich. (AP Photo/Tony Ding)

Michigan student fans in the “Maize Rage,” the front row with chests painted, cheer on their team before an NCAA college basketball game against Ohio State, Saturday, Feb. 18, 2012, at Crisler Center in Ann Arbor, Mich. (AP Photo/Tony Ding)

When I decided to attend the University of Michigan last May, I had no idea what to expect in terms of sports and the level of dedication the fans at the university would have. I had heard crazy stories about the chants at the football games and had watched basketball games on television, but didn’t believe that the chants and atmosphere would be anything like what I have experienced so far. Growing up in New York, I have naturally been a New York Knick fan for a good portion of my life. I have attended countless games and seen some unbelievable plays and experienced some unbelievable moments at Madison Square Garden. I was always impressed with the level of dedication of the fans in the crowd and their willingness to chant and support the team while in attendance. However, I took notice of something small that has a large impact on the atmosphere of professional and college sporting events. The chants at professional sporting events are backed up by piped in sounds and the fans follow along. These piped in chants often make the crowd appear louder than they actually are which creates an illusion in regards to the strength of the chants. On the contrary, these piped in sounds do not exist at all in college sporting arena and the chants and crowd noise is based solely off of a band, which rarely does in game chants play style chants, and fan noise which is totally organic. With little guidance from the predetermined chants, fans and students are tasked with creating the chants and formulating the environment inside the arena or stadium.  Continue reading

King James, The Cleveland Cavaliers, and Sovereignty

Lebron James chalk toss before a game.

When LeBron James decided to return to Cleveland on July 11th, 2014 and told the everybody via Sports Illustrated, the sports world went crazy. Back was the chalk toss, and back was the player which had broken the Cavaliers fan’s hearts just four years prior. Contrary to the reception some believe James should have received, most Cavs fans could not have been happier to once again have the best player on the planet playing on their team. Soon after James decided to return to Cleveland, the front office was able to pull off an amazing trade and bring another top ten talent in Kevin Love to the team. Love could be the piece the team was looking for to take them to the next level and ultimately, to a championship in June. In addition, one cannot forget about the other superstar talent already present on the Cleveland Cavaliers, a 22 year old point guard named Kyrie Irving. Together, these three basketball talents could take the Cavs to a place they have never been, the promise land. Continue reading

Fortuna and The World of Sports Injuries

Derrick Rose after tearing his ACL during the 2012 playoffs.

Derrick Rose after tearing his ACL during the 2012 playoffs.

If you have ever played a sport or have watched a sport at any level during your life then you have most likely experienced or witnessed an injury occur. Whether looking at college football, NBA basketball or high school volleyball, injuries are constantly, changing the landscape of the game. They have the ability to open up doors for teams and individuals and close doors for others. Injuries change people’s careers, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. People spend their entire lives hoping to someday play a professional sport and their dreams could spiraling back down to Earth in a fiery ball of junk if they get injured. Nobody can truly prepare for them and nothing can actually stop them from happening, but is their a higher force at work here?  Continue reading

Steve Jobs: A Modern Day Machiavelli?

Steve Jobs, some touted him as a innovation genius while others called him crazy. Jobs was able to do in fifty six years what most men could have only dreamed of doing in a lifetime. He not only revolutionized the personal computer, music, and cellular phone industry, but changed the way people interacted with technology and the world in which they live in. Bridging the gap between the realm of technology and mainstream American, Jobs was able to appeal to the general public with his compelling ideas and renowned knack for knowing what the people want. Continue reading