January 23, 2012
Summary Response #1
In “Innocent Afield” Buzz Bissinger says that high school sports has grown to be only about winning in too many places in America. High school sports create social barriers from athletes to non-athletes. High school athletes are more competitive than college athletes or professionals. An issue arose was that many coaches are being paid too much, close to $90,000 a year, without having to teach a class. Rather than using private funds for educational programs, many high schools across the country spend millions of dollars building or renovating stadiums and field houses.
It is not just money that is causing Bissinger to define high school sports as a “win-at-all costs” thing. With this attitude of always having to win, young high school athletes are being pressured from coaches and are recruited at such a young age. Many of those students start to use steroids to be the best and the rate of steroid abuse is at a minimum of seven percent.
In this country, sports had powerful influences in the communities just like big corporations would. According to Bissinger, it is still easy for us to put on those rose-colored glasses. If we don’t stop “glorifying” the sports, we will completely destroy the pure meaning of it for the younger generations. By then, we will leave with nothing to fix the problem other than wondering why we missed so many warning signs. (Word Counts: 232)
Buzz Bissinger chooses in “Innocent Afield” to use many statistics. He gives: the amount of income coaches make, a specific amount of money that some high schools spent on building stadiums and big fields, and how much transportation cost for several away games. He also gives a specific percentage of steroid usage amongst high school students. By including these statistics, Bissinger helps the audience become more aware of his main point, which high school sports have grown to a materialistic thing rather than entertainment. Another affect of using these statistics is that it helps the audience realize how much money are spent for high school sports rather than educational programs or hire more teachers. (Word Count: 114)
When I first read “Innocent Afield”, I thought that Bissinger hated sports. However, as I look deeper in his essay, I realized that he didn’t hate sports; he just hated what sports had become. Similarly to Bissinger, I am also a fan of many sports. Even though I am not an athlete myself, but I really enjoy playing sports with my friends. I felt like the idea of win-or-lose had become a big factor of sports rather than it just being a fun and enjoyable activity. Bissinger states in his essay, “In an age where educational resources are dwindling, how can the building of a lavish new stadium or a field house possibly be justified…” It is insane to see many high schools spend millions of dollars on sport fields and gear rather than educational programs. It is also sad to see many young athletes being pressured to win many meaningless games. If they lose, people will put the blame on them and they feel like they are useless. Therefore, the fear of being blamed had pushed them to use steroids. If people keep caring only about winning, then the pure purpose of sports would be ruined in no time. (Word Count: 200)