In other words, Graff emphasizes that an individual’s intellectualism should not be judged solely on the individual’s performance or interest in exclusively school-related subjects. Less easy to relate to subjects that are enjoyable. Sports, art, and pop-culture are just some of the many topics that appeal to many, and can yield thoughtful debates and worthwhile conversations. However, the subjects that we are encouraged (if not forced) to study and talk about in school can be considered dull and uninteresting by many individuals like myself.
Graff writes, “… Hey [students] would be more prone to take on intellectual identities if we encouraged them to do so at first on subjects that interest them rather than ones that interest us. ” (Graff 381 Magazines like Sports Illustrated and People can help students formulate intellectual thoughts and debates, especially since it is easier to relate to these topics than Shakespeare or Chaucer. Graff gives us a background to his personal experience that helps as a basis for his argument.
Growing up as a kid, he was naturally smart but wanted to hide it out of fear. Although he grew up on a middle class block in Chicago, Graff lived very close to what he describes as “working-class ‘hoods” (Graff 382). The young Graff was forced to balance proving his teachers and family that he was smart, and at the same time not allowing himself to get bullied and alienated from the community of “hoods” who were more than willing to ostracize Graff if he appeared too smart for his own good.
A solution to this problem was to study sports. Graff found that studying sports (reading Sports Illustrated and other sports-related materials) was a great way to develop many of the intellectual skills he uses today. Graff argues, “Sports after all was full of challenging arguments, debates, problems for analysis, and intricate statistics that you could care about, as school conspicuously was not. ” (Graff 384). Graff used sports as a means of intellectual growth, which led him to pursue the life that he now lives.
In addition to his academic progression with help from sports, Graff also mentions that being an intellectual in the world of sports also has advantages in the real world. It’s very difficult to walk up to someone and discuss a literary piece like Macbeth. Yet, walking up to a stranger and starting a inversion about sports is quite easy and even common in certain locations. It is also more socially acceptable (in my opinion) to talk about a subject that is more easily understood compared to a subject that is complex.
For example, believe it is an awkward experience whenever someone tries to discuss a subject with me that I have no experience in. Either have to lie my way through the conversation, or admit my lack of knowledge. With sports, fashion or art, it’s a universal understanding: if you’ve seen it, you can discuss it. Later in the article, Graff draws parallels and differences from the world of academia and the world of sports. On page 384, he mentions that the real world of academics is organized like many sports teams, and has a very competitive nature.
However, Graff clarifies, “In this competition, points were scored not by making arguments, but by a show of information or vast reading, by grade-grubbing, or other forms of one-musicianship. ” (Graff 385). He notes that schools missed a great opportunity to use sports as a way Of ushering students into the world of academics without scaring them. I believe it would be beneficial to gain an alternative point of view from money who was not involved in academics professionally. I hope that this quote will enhance understanding of the argument that Graff is making, while offering insight from the point of view from a student.
Outpace Shaker had a famous quote about education that he made when he was only seventeen years old. He said, “School is really important: Reading, writing, arithmetic. But what they tend to do is teach you reading, writing, arithmetic… Then teach you reading, writing, arithmetic again. Then again, then again, just making it harder and harder just to keep you busy. ” Outpace goes on to suggest that schools should diversify the classes they offer, so that students are better educated about serious issues that are present in our society today. Hint Graff would agree with this quote, because it echoes Graff argument to a certain degree. Graff writes, “If I am right, then schools and colleges are missing an opportunity when they do not encourage students to take their nonacademic subjects as objects of academic study. ” (Graff 386) Comparing these two quotes, it is easy to find a parallel. Both Shaker and Graff understand that there should be more to school than just the traditional auricular (as Outpace puts it “Reading, writing, arithmetic”).