Essay topics: The following appeared in a letter to the editor of the Parkville Daily newspaper.
"Throughout the country last year, as more and more children below the age of nine participated in youth-league sports, over 40,000 of these young players suffered injuries. When interviewed for a recent study, youth-league soccer players in several major cities also reported psychological pressure exerted by coaches and parents to win games. Furthermore, education experts say that long practice sessions for these sports take away time that could be used for academic activities. Since the disadvantages outweigh any advantages, we in Parkville should discontinue organized athletic competition for children under nine."
Write a response in which you examine the stated and/or unstated assumptions of the argument. Be sure to explain how the argument depends on these assumptions and what the implications are for the argument if the assumptions prove unwarranted.
The author recommends that Parkville discontinnue its athletic competition for children under nine due to the number of injured children, the detraction from academic activities and the cited psychological pressure involved in such athletic activities, as cited in a recent study. Nevertheless, the authors suggestions are predicated on some yet to be validated assumptions.
The author mentions that 40,000 children suffer injuries due to athletic activities assuming that this is a high number of injuries and as a result all sport should be discontinued for those below nine years. However, she does not give a figure on the total number of children who participated in the sport so as to enable an evaluation of the significance of the number of injured players. If perhaps a million children participated in the sport and only 40,000 children got injured, then that is a 4% injury which is not high enough to necessitate discontinuing such sport activitiy. It sport and the one feature of sport is injury. There can be no sport without injury and if the percent of injured is low then, the sport activity is being managed well.
Also the author does not distinguish which kind of sports cause these injuries. He/she assumes that all sports are dangerous. May be the injuries were the result of one kind of sport activity which was too risky for nine year olds; but that cannot become the reason why other sport activities, which may be safer for such age grade of children, should be banned.
The author assumes valid the opinions of educational experts who have an objection to athletic activities due to the time it takes, as they believe it cuts out of the time spent on academics. However, the author fails to recognize that other educational experts may argue that sports are necessity in the education of a child. If such sports are necessary then discontinuing them, would negatively harm the chiildren of Parkville.
The author also assumes that psychological pressure is harmful and hence since athletics involve psychological pressure, it should be discontinued. Nowhere in the above report does the author indicate the level of psychological pressure involved or any harm caused by this pressure. In fact, some level of psychological pressure may be helpful to spur children into performing well at various activities.
The author needs to objectively analyze the issue surrounding children sport in Parkville – injury rate, the benefits of such sports, the possibilty of other less harmful sport activities, etc. – before reaching a conclusion on whether sports should be continued or not.
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