Men’s and Women’s Basketball

The Michigan men's basketball team plays in front of a packed arena.

The Michigan men’s basketball team plays in front of a packed arena.

I am an avid sports fan and during my first semester at the University of Michigan I attended several men’s basketball games including the Hillsdale game and the Syracuse game. I also attended a woman’s basketball game against Cornell. My experience at the men’s games versus the women’s game was very different. On a Tuesday night for the Syracuse game the arena was packed and the crowd was electric the entire game. The student section, known as the Maize Rage, cheered, jumped and chanted almost the entire game. Students had lined up hours in advance of the game in freezing cold temperatures to ensure that they got a seat on the bleachers of the student section. The entire crowd would roar almost deafeningly loud during big plays, especially toward the end of the game as Michigan sealed the victory over a very talented Syracuse team. After the game I could relate to Bartlett Giamatti’s description of a spectators experience from his book Take Time for Paradise. He explains how spectators are intrigued and excited by sports because they create a series of events that has never been put together before, which can lead to an exciting ending. I left the game feeling excited after cheering on the wolverines to victory. Continue reading

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College Athletes: The Proletariat

The NCAA makes about six billion dollars annually

The NCAA makes about six billion dollars annually

While watching the exciting Michigan vs. Villanova basketball game on ESPN last night I began to think about whether or not these players should be paid. The game was the championship of the Legend Classic tournament and was played at the Barclays Center in New York. Even though it was an early season game, it probably generated a good amount of money for both programs and for ESPN. The dispute over whether or not college athletes should be paid is a very complex issue with strong arguments for both sides and there is no clear-cut answer to the issue for most people.

However, it seems as though Marx and Engels would have a definite opinion on the issue. In the first chapter of the Communist Manifesto Marx and Continue reading

Change For the Better

Football is a dangerous sport, but hopefully new rules will help to make it safer.

Football is a dangerous sport, but hopefully new rules will help to make it safer.

I recently wrote a blog post where I tried to examine the reasons why football players play such a violent and risky sport. One thing that I mentioned in the blog post was the leagues effort to make the game safer. Shortly after writing my blog I read an article called NFL Rules Changes: When football is no longer football?, by Marc Tracey. In his article Tracey talks about many of the newly implemented rules that the NFL has put in place to make the game safer. After discussing the new rules Tracy raises the question of if all the new rules change the game so much that it is no longer American football. After analyzing the rule changes Tracey does not give the reader a definite answer to his question, but he seems to be leaning toward the thought that the new rule changes are not good for the game and that the NFL must be careful as it creates new rules in order to not change the game so much that it is no longer football. Continue reading

Should Marijuana Be Legalized?

Map-of-US-state-cannabis-laws.svg

Map of marijuana laws in the US. Green: State with legalized cannabis. Dark Blue: State with both medical and decriminalization laws. Medium Blue: State with legal medical cannabis. Light Blue: State with decriminalized cannabis possession laws. Grey: State with total cannabis prohibition.

The legalization of cannabis (marijuana) has been a topic of contention across the country lately.  Over the past five years or so the push to legalize marijuana has been gaining momentum and dozens of states have reduced penalties, legalized medical use and even recreational use of marijuana. Recreational use of marijuana is legal in Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and most recently the District of Colombia. Now that marijuana is legal in the nation’s capitol it will be interesting to see if more states start to legalize the recreational the use of Marijuana.

There are many arguments for and against the legalization of marijuana. While reading chapter three of John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty I wondered what Mill’s position would be on the controversy over marijuana. Mill talks about what Continue reading

Football: Is It Worth The Risk?

Over 115,000 fans pack Michigan Stadium for a football game

Over 115,000 fans pack Michigan Stadium for a football game

Football is one of the most popular sports in the United States at all levels. NFL and NCAA teams pack massive stadiums week in and week out, while teenagers play for their school teams and in recreational leagues. In the 1950s and 1960s football quickly became a national phenomena and is arguable the most popular sport in the country today. NFL regular and post-season games consistently have the highest TV ratings of any sport.

However, over the past couple of years football has started to run into a major problem, which is the safety of its players. Concussions have recently become a major issue in many sports, but none more so then in football. It is estimated that there is about a 75% risk of concussions for males who play football, which is higher then any other major sport. It is also estimated that Continue reading

Sparknotes: The Fools Challenge

The Sparknotes Logo

The Sparknotes Logo

Students all of the country in both high school and college are often assigned excerpts and chapters from books such as Shakespeare, the Odyssey and others books. However, in today’s world where you can find almost anything on the Internet it doesn’t always seem necessary to read the assigned chapters. Instead students often have the option to use study guide websites such as Sparknotes or Cliff Notes, which give a general summary of the chapters, books and articles. Here lies what Hobbes might describe as an example of the fools challenge.

In the eyes of Hobbes’s fool students should utilize Sparknotes. The fool maintains that sometimes breaking a covenant for ones self-interest and personal gain is an acceptable and reasonable action to take. In this case the fool would encourage students to use Sparknotes because it would save them time and work, and thus it is in their own self-interest to use Sparknotes. Continue reading