Yan Xin’s Article: Does sports promote violence?

Violence is defined as the behaviour of which involves physical force with the intent to hurt or damage someone or something. In the nature of their field, it is inevitable that athletes face injuries, especially those incurred from others. With their heightened physicality, their actions would be coupled with additional force and strength. Furthermore, the design of the games allow for and demand of them to compete at their best. It then follows that the nature of the sports have indeed encouraged violence.

From young, values are cultivated in competitive athletes for them to perform at the highest level in competitions. They learnt perseverance to run the extra distance at full speed, teamwork to share the ball, and also discipline to stick to a strict regime to challenge themselves to the next level. They go through events such as pick up basketball that turn into a bloody mess, tackles on the football field, and jabbed elbow in track meets. Growing up as a committed athlete would have had its thrills but it is not easy or painless at all. They go into sports knowing that the games are dangerous and prone to induce conflict. It is not rare for boxers to deeply injure their opponents or rugby players to knock each other down. There are also fights that happen among fans and spectators, such as the numerous South American melees and car burnings that follow soccer matches. Sports are becoming increasingly violent and have even led to death. For example, in May 2013, a 17-year-old soccer player in Salt Lake City, USA, punched and killed his recreation-league referee over a small miscall during the game.

Professional sports have become much more of a business in the recent years, with ticket costs and merchandise leading to largely increasing revenue and salaries. Unfortunately, this heightens the competitiveness for individual and team success, and thus unsportsmanlike practices are pervasive. In hockey, many teams have a player called an “enforcer,” whose job is to physically punish the opposing team; for example, if any of his teammates are checked by an opponent, the enforcer will retaliate with an equally brutal hit, and he will never shy away from a fight. In american football, there is also something similar where every play features hard hits from players weighing at least a 100kg or more. Over a 3-year period, the NFL New Orleans Saints team players and an assistant coach awarded bounties each time an opposing player was injured, including $1,500 for each player knocked unconscious and $1,000 for each player who had to be carried off on a stretcher. Players who participated in this program earned $50,000 during the team’s 2009 championship season. Upon the release of this story into the news, insiders of the league conceded that many other teams also had bounties.

However, this is not true for all sports. Violence is openly and violently discouraged in some, with measures in place to prevent such acts from happening. In baseball, for example, it was common for pitchers to deliberately throw at opposing batters’ heads, and retaliation was the norm. Today, a pitcher can be warned or ejected, fined, and suspended for doing this, and the managers also face discipline. It has become less frequent, and now batters at all levels and of all ages wear protective helmets at all times. Today, children face more risk of injury from overuse or improperly throwing a ball when pitching, which has vastly increased the need for elbow ligament surgery, than from being hit by a pitch.

Sports are a great way to establish a life-long pattern of exercise. Sports are a also great vehicle for teaching kids collaboration, healthy competition, health, and discipline. However, too often sports teams emphasize or allow for the wrong character traits to develop such as aggressiveness and unhealthy competition. Thus it should be ensured that rules are enforced and everyone behaves in a sportsmanlike way when sports is played. If we do this, we can all have a lifetime benefit and in turn reduce further promotion of the act of violence.

Yan Xin’s Article: Does sports promote violence?

Wanhui’s essay: “Hosting major sporting events creates more problems than benefits.” Do you agree? (2005)

Think international spotlight, understanding, harmony, peace, celebration, sportsmanship, tourism, foreign investment and cultural exchange whenever a major sporting event is held. Think again. Why do people shun to discuss the wastage of resources, the failing economies, the lack of integrity of sporting organizations and hosting countries involved in hosting major sporting events? It is time the flip side of hosting major sporting events is discussed and while hosting major sporting events do bring about the many benefits aforementioned, at the same time, it projects problems that are far longer lasting than the opposite.
Hosting major sporting events results in a huge wastage of resources that could have otherwise been used to tackle other more pertinent and pressing problems the hosting country faces. More often than not, hosting countries spent a massive amount of public money on building new stadiums that are not  put into good use after the sporting event has passed. What is left behind are big, chunky scraps of metal that are under-utilized and the loss of billions of dollars that yield no benefits for the residents of hosting country. When public funds are spent on the sporting event, the government would have to divert funds from another sector of the society in order to gather adequate funds for the event. This results in a sector of society having to suffer from the effects of the cuts. Take the 2014 Brazil World Cup for example. Brazil spent over 2.7 billion euros in building and renovating stadiums, many which will be rendered useless after the game as the country does not need more stadiums. Instead, to cover up for the costs, Brazil cut 316 million euros from the education bill. This would result in poorer facilities and resources allocated to the schools to educate the young. Brazil’s total expenditure on the World Cup was over 6.4 billion euros. The country has over a quarter of its population living in poverty, a severe lack of hospitals and one of the worst infrastructures in the world. The resources spent on the major sporting event could be put into the betterment of the standard of living of its residents instead, tackling pressing problems than sacrificing sectors of the society that would cause further implications.
Hosting major sporting events may also bring out values contradictory to its intended objectives. Countries vie to host major sporting events to reap the benefits they promise. Many countries will work on improving their infrastructure, attractions, economies to prove themselves worthy of holding the event. Some countries resort to bribery and corruption to be given the hosting rights. Contrary to the values that  major sporting events are supposed to encourage, it adulterates the purpose of the sports event and propels the hosting country in a negative light. Taking the controversial bid for the 2018 Russia World Cup and 2022 Qatar World Cup as examples, both countries mentioned above are currently under fire for the corruption involved in obtaining hosting rights for the World Cup. This portrays both countries negatively, leading to an increase wariness among foreign investors to invest in the countries’ economies, in turn causing more problems as the economy is likely to experience a slower growth. 
However, hosting a major sporting event does have its benefits. For one, it can cast the hosting country onto the international stage while attracting high levels of tourism at the same time. The 2012 Beijing Olympics was a extravaganza that allowed China to showcase Beijing to the world. It successfully altered public perceptions on the emerging superpower and its competency by pulling off a spectacular opening ceremony unlike any other. It propelled Beijing into international spotlight and introduced the Chinese culture to the world, an opportunity much needed for a previously closed-up country. However, the 40 billion dollar investment inevitably resulted in the abandonment of facilities after the Olympics, similar to its counterparts that had gone before. 
As much as hosting major sporting events would allow the host to showcase itself, gain international influence, allow cultural exchange, and attract high levels of tourism, the complexity of the problems that come with it leaves behind a far wider and drastic effect for the host than its benefits. Hosting major sporting events will only continue bringing about more problems than benefits if current trend of hosting culture continues. The world will only be able to obtain more benefits than harm from hosting when we are able to start looking into sustainability and accountability when hosting major sports event. 
Wanhui’s essay: “Hosting major sporting events creates more problems than benefits.” Do you agree? (2005)

Examine the claim that the world is too dependent on oil. Rithik’s essay

Demand for oil rose exponentially in the past few decades. In the rapidly industrializing world, oil is an essential good in all sectors of production. From vehicles to machines in a factory, all require oil to operate. The rapid development of BRICS nations( Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) has made oil extraction rate to sky rocket to 1000 barrels per second. Countries are dependent on oil in order to fuel their industries and meet their demands. Moreover, there have been conflicts among countries for oil supply proving that people are too dependent on oil. On the flip side, countries are turning to alternative energy resources like solar, tidal and nuclear but the world is overly dependent on oil.

Economy of the world represent the availability of oil. Saudi Arabia and UAE are rich and have strong economies because they have a lot of oil. These countries will prosper as long as the demand for oil keeps increasing. Oil is a major source for countries to produce goods and sustain their economy. The world economy will fall drastically if oil supply runs out and is evident from the 1973 oil crisis, resulting in a recession and extremely high price of oil. Oil is not only running the industries but also the economies.

Conflicts arise when two or more parties fight over control on a certain goods, land or other resources. Iraq, oil rich region, was invaded by US in 2003 in order to find for weapons however experts believe that the mission was conducted to continue import of oil to USA. Desire to disturb peace by attacking our own friends for control over oil supply is representative of our over dependence on oil. According to many predictions and experts, WW3 will be fought over control over limited oil wells and land. Oil is driving every one crazy because it is the primary resource for countries to meet their demands.

Many countries have considered the environmental problems and shortage of oil supply and have changed their focus in developing alternative sources of energy like tidal, solar and nuclear. Norway has the worlds largest solar plant. Canada uses hydroelectricity as a source for electricity. Brazil use biofuels for cars. However, only developed nations have enough disposable income to resort to alternative forms of energy which compromises a really small population compared to the rest of the world. Developing nations lack the appropriate technology and continue drinking oil to meet their demand.

Oil has now becoming a necessary good for every nation’s economy. Considering the fast rate of industrialization, dependence on oil cannot be changed. Oil supply is estimated to drain out by 2040, at the current consumption rate. This will cause a world wide destruction because the whole world is too dependent on oil for their sustainable. The greatest fear of every economy is non availability of oil.

Examine the claim that the world is too dependent on oil. Rithik’s essay

‘What is important is not the winning, but taking part.’ How realistic is this attitude in the world of sport today? (Intro + 3 paragraphs)

Question: ‘What is important is not the winning, but taking part.’ How realistic is this attitude in the world of sport today?

Essay by Huixuan

Today, the world of sport is filled with harsh competition, and commercialization of popular sports has beget a culture based on fame and winnings. However, by the words of Baron Pierre, the founder of the Olympics, that ‘what is important is not winning, but taking part’, such culture should not be as prevalent as it is in our society now.

This attitude for the current sporting world is more than unrealistic. From what we see in the world of sports, especially the more popular sports like football or basketball, players get paid enormous amounts for winning games. Therefore, most sports are becoming far from ‘sports’ and closer to becoming a means of living. This being the case, players cannot be blamed for wanting to win at every cost. Many sportsmen now start with an ambition of gaining money from victories in games and then becoming billionaires. To these sportsmen, ‘taking part’ is pointless without the win.

On another note, the win itself is important for the winners and losers alike; it boosts motivation, albeit in different ways. Winners of the competition, who achieve victory, are more motivated to pursue the sport, to achieve more possible victories. Sportsmen who lose out and did not win, on the other hand, gain the motivation to try again, not for the sake of ‘participation’, but for the attempt to win.

Another reason that sports is more about winning than the participation stems from the fact that the sportsmen themselves want the admiration and recognition from fellow competitors. From young, children who represent different institutions like schools will compete against each other with the ideal of participation over victory. However, this is a ridiculous assumption. Even adults and the schools themselves want representatives of these institutions to win, to bring honour to whatever organization they represent. The mindset of ‘victory is important’ is indirectly ingrained into young children as they work to represent their institutes. Winning sportsmen cannot be made if we let them think that losing is acceptable and that participation is all that matters.

‘What is important is not the winning, but taking part.’ How realistic is this attitude in the world of sport today? (Intro + 3 paragraphs)

Question: Sport is ultimately about the desire to win at all costs. Discuss. (Rui Ting)

Thesis: Sport is ultimately about the desire to win, but not to win at all costs.

The most common question athletes are asked is “What motivates you to go on?” Motivation lays the foundation for sporting excellence. No athlete would be able to take on the countless hours of training, putting in their sweat and tears if there is no driving force behind their actions. There may be different types of motivation. Some are in for the pride, others for the prize, but behind every motivation is the competitiveness of the person. the Having the desire, wanting to win, is a trait every athlete has. As Vince Lombardi once said, ‘Winning isn’t everything, but wanting to win is.’

Take Usain Bolt for example. The first man to win a “double-double”: two consecutive golds in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics for the 100m sprint, he is also the record holder of various track and field events in the sporting scene. With the list of achievements, it should be enough for him. Yet he keeps going. His motivation? To keep his legacy. He says in an interview ‘It just takes one championship for people to start writing “well, he’s not that good now”. I have to protect my legacy and make sure that never happens.’ He has to keep winning to protect his legacy and that in itself in competitiveness, to make sure that he is the one on top.

The sad thing about winning is that it is not easy to stay on the top. Even the best will succumb to age and will be replaced by the younger and stronger generation of athletes. It is then important for an athlete to understand that they have to think from their fans’ point of view. Their fans will not take it easy to see a record holder fall to a fresh athlete in the sporting scene. Famous athletes like Michael Jordan and Yao Ming withdrew from the game at their highest point. Sport is not always about winning at the cost of everything, but to give and take to achieve the best results possible.

Question: Sport is ultimately about the desire to win at all costs. Discuss. (Rui Ting)

Jing Wen’s Essay

“Sport is ultimately about the desire to win at all costs’ Discuss.

Having the desire to win when you play a sport is essential to do well, but having to win at all costs is not necessary.

Having the desire to win would push the athlete both physically and mentally to achieve the results he wants. Muhammad Ali once said, “ I hated every minute of training, but I said, “Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion”. The process is tough, but it is the individual’s resilience and determination to win that gets him through it. Without it, he would ultimately give up without achieving anything. With it, it would motivate him to do even better and pushing himself to the limits, and the results would come naturally. Take professional tennis player Venus Williams for example; she had last achieved a grand slam title 5 years ago but she did not give up trying despite being diagnosed with a rare autoimmune condition. It may prevent her from achieving anything in the future, but she is determined to do better and gives her all in doing so. Another example would be professional surfer Bethany Hamilton. She lost her arm to a shark when she was 13 but became victorious in professional surfing, and it all owed to her perseverance that enabled her to do so. The desire to win plays a huge part in sports as it motivates and encourages the athlete to work hard and do well.

Perseverance is one thing; having the confidence and courage to actually improve and do better is another. Having the desire to win drives an athlete to step out of his comfort zone to try new things and improve. An athlete needs to constantly work hard and improve in order to surpass others and win. Every single minute that you are not working hard, there would be someone else out that would be. Through hard work, many would use the desire to win to constantly learn and improve, and ultimately enable them to reach their full potential. Take Michael Jordon for example; he was not good at the start and was not capable enough to enter the school team. But he did not give up and constantly worked hard to improve and eventually got into the school team the next chance he got. Ultimately, his desire to win and do better led him to the play in the National Basketball Association and become one of the best players in history. It was due to his desire to win that enables him to improve and do better.

The desire to win is essential is sports, but having to win at all costs proves an obsession with extrinsic rewards as the athlete would do anything to achieve them. Winning becomes the priority of playing sports, clouding the rewards that sports truly offers, which are life skills and personal development. As said in the previous paragraphs, sport teaches individuals about hard work, perseverance and courage, and it is not limited to these three. However, if one is too obsessed with winning, he could never see the benefits that sports gives. The desire to win would be so strong that it leads to individuals looking at alternative methods instead of his own ability, such as underhand methods like playing unfairly and taking drugs. The desire to win a very powerful element in sports; it is both healthy and unhealthy. What is most important is to use it wisely and not let the unhealthy aspect affect you.

Jing Wen’s Essay

“Modern technology owes ecology an apology” (Alan M. Eddison). To what extent is modern technology responsible for our environmental problems?

Priya Ramesh

Modern technology been an integral part of the lives of mankind since its birth. It has opened an endless list of possibilities to man, and has push our boundaries to unthinkable levels. This technology ranges from our hand phones, to the very machines that sustain our economy. To put it in simple terms, technology is machinery built on the basis of scientific knowledge. Now, Alan M Eddision had said “Modern technology owes ecology an apology”, which roughly translates to “Technology has done more harm than good to the environment”. Environmental problems have seen a rise over the last few years, and technology has taken the blame. Technology has been told to be the main culprit behind these problems. It’s true, technology has contributed greatly to these environmental problems, gradually worsening them through its continued usage. To put it simply, technology is largely responsible for the environmental problems we face today.

Let us first see the role of technology in aggravating these environmental problems. Technology has been draining our limited pool of natural resources, but we have turned a blind eye to this problem. Technology has brought many useful inventions into this world, such as the computer. While many of us think that computers are extremely important in our daily working lives, we don’t see the disastrous trail of impacts this leaves behind. Studies show that 81% of the energy needed for a computer is used during production. An average computer needs 530 pounds of fossil fuels, 48 pounds of chemicals and 1.5 tons of water. Let’s put this into a real world perspective. 302 million computers were sold in 2014. That means 160,060,000,000 pounds of fossil fuels, 14,496,000,000 pounds of chemicals and 480,000,000 tons of water are used solely to make computers per year. Don’t forget, we still need to add the natural resources used to make our televisions, smartphones, and all the other technological devices that surround us today. How about the energy needed to run these devices? All these figures add up to an unimaginable number. Have we thought about the environmental impacts this may cause? The depletion of natural resources has been a persistent problem in our world today, and the main reason for this is most definitely the production and use of technology.

Technology not only depletes natural resources. It has also pushed global warming to extremely high levels, which is beyond what the world can handle. Let’s just start by looking at the amount of energy we use for industrial purposes. Technology has caused a sharp increase in industrial plants and offices. Industries are powered by computer technology, and this has caused an increase in energy consumption. Most industries work on a mainframe that works around the clock. To cool these systems, fans are installed within the hard drives. In addition, air-conditioning is a must in the buildings. Throw in the energy needed to power systems around the office, the energy usage of these industries are constantly on the rise. In fact, these industrial plants account for about 51% of the global energy consumption, as of 2011. This results in a very high thermal count, causing adverse effects on the environment. This energy is largely obtained from the burning of fossil fuels, causing greenhouse gasses to be released along with the high levels of heat. This large amounts of heat and greenhouse gases drive global warming to unforeseen levels. Moreover, with the demand for technology rising, more countries are pushed to industrialization. But what is industrialization without any space to build industrial plants? To solve this problem, the world turns to forests. They clear hundreds of acres worth of trees to build industrial plants and supporting structures, such as residences etc. This mass deforestation accounts for 20% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, further driving global warming. It’s a vicious cycle. The more energy we use, the higher the levels of global warming. To combat this increase in global temperatures, people turn yet again to technology. Air-conditioning units are used to cool people down, and this releases more heat, and the cycle continues. The root cause, technology.

Technology has also been the leading factor for pollution in our world today. Air and water pollution have taken a toll on our environment, due to the increased dependence on technology that rules over mankind. Even our most normal, everyday activities that depend on technology can lead to high levels of pollution. As we enjoy the comforts of modern traffic, do we even realize the air pollution that follows due to the exhausts emitted by these vehicles? When we broaden our view to a global perspective, we can see that automobiles, power plants, factories, industrial processes, all these human activities are the cause for pollution. Industrial processes release harmful CFCs into the atmosphere, depleting the quality of air. The waste produced by these plants, are dumped into the sea and other water bodies, causing water pollution. Technology has also offered the agricultural industry with fertilizers and pesticides, which emit harmful chemicals to the air and water. This can pose serious threats to the environment and wildlife. The chemicals and gases will offset to the environmental balance of the air and water, which will eventually lead to environmental problems.

Technology, as much good as it has provided to the people, has also lead to serious problems. These problems usually occur behind the scenes, and most people turn their backs to these issues. They don’t know, they don’t care. Simple. But it is time we know that technology is responsible for the environmental problems we face in the world today. Though technology is starting to go green, the detrimental effects that it has left behind will take decades to rectify. But if we don’t start now, then who will?

“Modern technology owes ecology an apology” (Alan M. Eddison). To what extent is modern technology responsible for our environmental problems?