Monday, December 7, 2009

A Wild Week In Sports

A lot of interesting things occurred in the sports world this past week so I decided to take a look back and give an analysis of everything that happened. While there was a lot of wild stuff coming out in the news this week, I was most shocked by the news on Tiger Woods. But before I get into the whole Tiger Woods ordeal, I'd like to say that I never have been a big fan of the media and how they have absolutely no respect for the personal life of famous people, especially professional athletes. I don't understand why people feel the need to be so nosy of professional athletes and what goes on in their personal lives. I find it pretty amusing that some people are so extremely obsessed with keeping up with all the celebrity gossip. It really annoys me when I hear people freaking out over some new gossip about a famous athlete. It just doesn’t seem logical to me to obsess over all aspects of another person's life, whether it be a new relationship they're in or some kind of trouble they have recently got into. That being said, I couldn't help but notice the story about Tiger Woods that dominated the news for all of last week. For those who don’t already know, Tiger Woods is the #1 golfer in the world. Many consider him the greatest golfer ever. When someone achieves that level of greatness in a sport, it’s obvious they’re going to draw a lot of attention in just about anything they do.

This whole ordeal with Tiger Woods got started when was involved in car accident at 2:30 in the morning one night last week. When the story first hit the news, everyone immediately began talking about what could have caused the crashed. There was lots of speculation about why he was out that late at night and if alcohol was involved. As more information leaked out, it was learned that he had not been drinking before the crash that occurred just down the street from his house. The crash was occurred when Tiger somehow lost control of his car and ran off the road. He proceeded to slam into a fire hydrant and then a tree. A policeman who arrived at the scene described the damage to his Cadillac Escalade as “not too heavy, but not too light”. Tiger was taken to the hospital to be treated for some cuts and bruises that resulted from the crash. He returned home the next day and despite much curiosity about what caused the crash, the event had not turned into that big of a deal. However, after authorities did some more investigating, the news came out that Tiger may have left his house because he and his wife had been involved in a vicious argument. If that wasn’t bad enough, it turned out that this argument had been the result of Tiger’s alleged affair with another woman. I was really skeptical at first. Considering that Tiger had always had an extremely good reputation for having good morals and not being involved in any sort of wrongdoing, I was hard for me to believe that he could have done such a thing. I have always had a lot of respect for Tiger Woods because of his great accomplishments in professional golf. I have also viewed Tiger as a person who possessed great character and morals. After hearing the recent news of his affair, I can’t help but lose some of the respect I once had for him. Committing adultery is a terrible thing and is something that I have no sympathy for. I am shocked that he would do such a horrible thing to his wife and family. It just doesn’t seem like something that Tiger would ever do, but I guess everyone is human.

The next shocking news came from the NBA Basketball player Ron Artest. He is a player that has a history of being a total wild man and he has been in trouble before. He is most famous for starting one of the largest fights in NBA history when he punched one of his opponents in the face. The punch started a huge brawl between both teams and fans became involved as well. The story totally dominated the news for a week. His most recent announcement did not draw near as much attention, but I was still very surprised by it. According to Artest, he used to drink liquor during half-time of basketball games. This just proves that Artest is a total idiot. Even if it were true, why would you ever admit something like that? Some professional athletes amaze me with the ridiculous things they do. And if this was true, I don’t see how it could have possibly helped him to play while he was drunk. Stuff like this just makes absolutely no since to me.

The next event I’d like to comment on occurred just this last weekend. It was a college football game between #3Texas and #22Nebraska. The winner of the game would be name the Big 12 Conference champion. However, for Texas there was much higher stakes than the conference championship. Texas needed to win this game in order to go to the national championship. It was a very exciting game. There were very few points scored, as the defense dominated for both teams. When it came down to the final minute of the game, Nebraska led 12-10. Texas had the ball, but needed do drive down the field and get close enough to kick a field goal. With eight seconds left, Texas quarterback, Colt McCoy, attempted to get a little closer before his team tried to make a winning field goal. To the surprise of many, he waited forever to pass the ball. He finally threw the ball out of bounds at with one second left. But after he threw it, the last second ticked off the clock and it was thought that Nebraska had won the game. Everyone was in awe of the poor judgment made by the quarterback. However, after the referees checked the video replay, they confirmed that one second was still left on the clock. Texas would have its chance to kick the winning field goal. A 46 yard field goal would be no easy task for the kicker. A kick at that distance is certainly makeable, but average college kicker would probably miss from that range about half the time. Despite the intense pressure, the Texas kicker managed to make the winning field and Texas survived the closest call it could have possibly had.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Vince Young Is Back

I thought I’d write about something other than sports this week, but I really just couldn’t resist another great sports story. I’m very passionate about sports and I feel like I can relate to them better than anything else. Having grown up playing many different sports, I have experienced both the glory of success and the misery of failure. I understand how it feels to lose a game. And I understand how bad it feels to let your team down. Nothing is more frustrating than trying as hard as you possibly can to help your team win, but still coming up short. Since I relate to the pain that so many professional athletes go through, I have come to have a great respect for those players who are able to persevere through tough times and become successful once again. Vince Young is an ideal example of a professional athlete who has been able to bounce back from some tough times in his life both on and off the football field.

It would be a huge understatement to say that Vince Young experienced great success in his college football career. He dominated the college football scene. He always received lots of attention in the media and high praise from his fans. He played quarterback for the University of Texas and during his final season, he led his team to the national championship game. On the final play of the game, he scored a touchdown to win the national title for his team. As if that were not impressive enough he finished second overall in the voting for the Heisman Trophy. Considering that the Heisman Trophy is given to the best player in college football, second place was an amazing accomplishment. He also received the Davey O’Brien Award which is given to the best college quarterback each year. In recognition of his great success, ESPN named Young the 10th best college football player of all time.

After his national championship season, Young entered the NFL draft in hopes of achieving more fame at the professional level. He was the 3rd overall pick in the draft. He was picked by the Tennessee Titans. He wasted no time achieving more success. He played very well in his first season as a professional player and was named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. This award is given to the best first year player in the NFL. Young also started at quarterback for the Titans the following year and led the team to the playoffs. However, he was injured in the first playoff game and his back-up, Kerry Collins became the starter. After Collins played extremely well in the game and led the Titans to a win, he became the starting quarterback for following season in 2008. Vince Young suffered a knee injury near the beginning of that season which kept him from having a chance to earn the starting job at quarterback.

It was during that 2008 season that Young began to come upon some difficult times. He experienced the misery that comes with failure as an athlete. It is extremely frustrating for athletes when they go through times in which their performance is not as good as it has been in the past. I know from my experience in playing tennis that it can be very frustrating to play extremely well for a few months and then go into “slump”. A slump is a period in an athlete’s career in which he or she performs way below their normal level. It has always been hard for me when I don’t play at a level that I know I am capable of. Therefore I know how Vince felt when his level of play dropped to an all-time low. He had always been used to great success, but after recovering from his injury that year, he was never able to play as well as he had before. Due to the frustration and sadness caused by his poor play, Young went into a state of depression. Although he strongly disagrees, many of his close friends feared that he was going to commit suicide on one particular night. His mother became alarmed at his friends fears and called the police when she was unable to reach her son by phone. The whole story turned into a big ordeal in the media in which it was proposed that Vince Young was suicidal. Young encouraged the public that these accusations were very false, but it is still apparent that he suffered greatly.

In 2009, the Titans coach once again named Collins the starter. He said that if Young wants to be the starter, “he is going to have to earn the job back”. After Collins started the season off by losing the first six games, Vince Young was called upon by his head coach. He started the next game and helped the Titans earn their first win of the season. To many peoples’ surprise, Young continued to have success and went on to four straight wins. It was on November 29, that he would face his biggest test. The opposition was one all too familiar. The quarterback for the opposing Arizona Cardinals was Matt Leinart, the same quarterback that he had competed against in the national championship game. Ironically, Vince was faced with the same situation that he had experienced in the national championship game almost four years before. With two minutes remaining, he would have to lead his team on a drive 99 yards down the field in order to win the game. Young produced one of the most magical drives I have ever seen. He converted on fourth down three different times in order to keep the drive alive. Even more ironically, the game came down to the very last play, just as it had in the national championship game when Young was in college. From ten yards outside the end-zone, he had to find some way for his team to score a touchdown. As the last second ticked off the clock, Young found wide receiver, Kenny Britt, in the back of the end-zone. He launched a pass straight toward him and Kenny caught it for the win. After seeing Vince Young go through a lot of tough times in the last year, I was very happy to see him achieve greatness once again.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Favre Gets Revenge

Just over two years ago, the Green Bay Packers made a shocking decision. They traded away their starting quarterback of 16 years. Brett Favre had guided the Packers to a Super Bowl title in 1995 and had earned 3 NFL Most Valuable Player awards while playing for them. In his 16th season he led the team all the way to the NFC Championship. For those who aren’t familiar with the playoff system, the winner of the NFC advances to the Super Bowl. After his 16th season in Green Bay, Favre considered retirement. At 38 years old, not many people were surprised with this decision. And although the Packer fans knew this day had been coming, they mourned the loss of their longtime hero. Then a few months later, Brett changed his mind. He missed football too much and decided to come out of retirement. Most people would think that Green Bay would be happy to have their hero back on the team. However when Favre announced his return, Green Bay said that they had moved on and that Favre would not be welcomed back as the starter. Green Bay decided to betray its longtime hero and crowd favorite. It was as if they were completely oblivious to the fact that Brett had been the driving force of their offense for 16 years. He was the main reason that they had had so much success. Brett Favre was speechless when his team did not welcome him back. He felt betrayed and who could blame him? The Packers just shipped him off to the New York Jets like it was no big deal.

The way that the Packers handled the whole situation was very unprofessional in my opinion. Favre and the Packers parted in an extremely bitter fashion. Brett kept his head high and headed on to the New York Jets in hopes of proving he was still worthy. He started the season off strong, leading his new team to an 8-3 record in their first 11 games. Meanwhile, the Packers had posted a much worse 5-6 record. Based on the fact that the Packers were a much better team than the Jets in the previous season, it would already be fair to say that they had made a big mistake. Favre injured his right bicep after the eleventh game and it was apparent that he could just not play as well with it hurt. The Jets lost 4 of their last 5 games and barely missed the playoffs. Meanwhile the Packers also lost 4 of their last 5 so it would still be fair to say that Brett Favre would have made them better. After his 2008 season with the Jets, Favre once again announced his retirement. With a badly injured throwing arm, it seemed that Brett would not even attempt another return to the NFL. While many people talked of another return from retirement, it just seemed impossible.

In May of 2009, it was reported that Favre had received arthroscopic surgery to fix a tear in his throwing arm. In mid-July, he announced that he was considering playing football again and that if he decided to do so, it would likely be with the Minnesota Vikings. This statement cranked media coverage of the story into full swing. The biggest part of the story was not that Favre was considering a comeback, but that he intended to play for the Minnesota Vikings, Green Bay’s bitter rival. It became apparent to many that Favre was out for revenge on his old team. And while Favre downplayed the hype, he did admit that he was “still a little peeved” in reference to their betrayal. He also had said “There is part of me that just wants to stick it to them”. Since Favre had already been in and out of retirement many times, it was hard to anticipate if he would really come back. He has always been extremely indecisive in making up his mind. He shocked many when he announced that he would remain retired on July 28, 2009. But could we completely rule out on him changing his mind again. Many speculated that there still a chance for a comeback. On August 18, 2009, Favre signed a two year deal with the Vikings, assuring everyone that he had made up his mind for good. The whole deal did not go down as smoothly as one might think. Many criticized Favre for being selfish and coming back just because he couldn’t stand to be out of the spotlight. He was criticized for coming back way too late in the preseason and many of his former Packer fans were disgusted that he had joined their rival team. They had no right to blame him for anything after he had attempted to rejoin the Packers, only to be denied by the management. Favre endured even more criticism when certain players from the Vikings team expressed their resent for the signing of Favre. They felt that he should not be allowed to come on and takeover the starting position this late in the preseason. It was up to Favre to prove himself a worthy starting quarterback of the team.

Favre wasted no time in proving he still had it all. He led the Vikings to a strong start as they posted a 3-0 record in the first three games. While Favre downplayed the hype and the notion that he was “out for revenge”, everyone knew how important the Viking’s fourth game of the season would be. I know that deep down, Brett wanted to do nothing but prove to Packer’s that they had made a horrible mistake in letting him go. He wanted make them suffer for betraying him after all he had done for their team. On October 5, 2009, Brett Favre led the Vikings on all out assault of the Packers. He torched their defense for 271 yards passing. He completed 24 of 31 passes for three touchdowns. The Vikings won the game 30-23. Favre had got some revenge, but he was not done yet. The Vikings still had to play the Packers once again in a few weeks and this time in would be on the Packer’s home turf. The hype leading up to the game was phenomenal. All NFL fans were anticipating his return to his former home field for the first time. On Sunday November 1, Favre stepped onto Lambeau Field and was showered with boos from all the Packer fans. The held up signs that dissed him and that criticized Brett for his “betrayal”. Favre was not the least bit affected by all this, it only added fuel to his fire. Once again, he made a mockery of everyone in the Packers organization who had doubted him. He completed 17 of 28 passes for 241 yards and 4 touchdowns. The Vikings won the game 38-26 and Favre had without a doubt embarrassed the Packers for questioning his value to their team. Favre definitely got the last laugh in this one. And it looks as if there is only more despair to come for the Packers, who already trail the Vikings in division playoff race. The Vikings have only lost one game this season and as they continue their success, the Packers are only left to wonder what could have been if they hadn’t betrayed Favre.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Best Rappers Ever

One of the biggest disputes in the rap nation is "who is the best rapper?" I have decided to settle this dispute by giving my own opinion. I realize that my judgment has been long awaited by many rap fans and that it is extremely important to them. Therefore, I have come to my conclusions as quickly as possible, but not without careful examination. In this blog, I will give my opinion of who the best rapper ever is. I will also rank the two next best rappers in order to round off the top three rappers ever. I have based these rankings on a few basic principles. The first being how popular the rapper's music has been. Another important aspect of being a great rapper is having overcome extreme obstacles and achieving greatness afterward. I have also based my choices on simply who I think is the best. Accompanying my ranking of each rapper, I have provided a short story of their lives and careers in my own words.

#1 Lil'Wayne

I chose Lil'Wayne as my #1 because I think he truly is the best rapper ever. Lil Wayne was born on September 27, 1982 in New Orleans, Louisiana. He came from up from nothing to become the greatest. He grew up in a neighborhood called Hollygrove, located in 17th ward. The area was notorious for crime and the young Wayne was constantly surrounded by it. His father abandoned him shortly after he was born and his mother was left to raise him. As Lil Wayne grew up he gained an interest in hip-hop and rap music. He sang his first rap songs when he was just eight years old. As his rapping talents improved, he began rapping at local block parties. By age 12, he had already earned lots of respect for his rapping abilities. He caught the attention of a Cash Money recording artist named Lil Slim and it was through him that he eventually met the CEOs of Cash Money Records. Lil Wayne was determined to become a great rapper. He wanted a chance to leave the poverty stricken streets of Hollygrove and to earn lots of money as a rapper. He even recorded raps on the answering machine of Cash Money Records to show them just how much desire he had. When Lil Wayne was 12 years old, CEOs Ronald “Suga Slim” and Bryan “Baby” Williams signed him to their recording company, Cash Money Records. These two men, especially Williams who is also known as “Birdman”, guided Lil Wayne to prominence as a rapper. Shortly after his signing, Lil Wayne was involved in an incident that almost took his life. While playing with his step father’s handgun, he accidentally shot himself and was on life support for two weeks. He eventually recovered from the incident and took up rapping once again. In 1995, still at age 12, Lil Wayne recorded his first album. He did not gain much fame nationally until came out with his hit single “The Block is Hott” in 1999. In 2004, he dropped his first album in the Carter series which was the beginning of his renounced fame all over America. Since then he has produced 14 songs that have made the Billboard Top 100. His hit “Lollipop” peaked at number one, while two more of his songs made the top ten. However, I think that at least 50 of his songs were worthy of making the top 100. He has had many songs that were much more popular than those that did make the top 100. It was largely due to the content and lyrics of these songs that they were not approved on the top 100 lists. I think that Lil Wayne is the best rapper ever because he overcame many obstacles to reach success and he has produced very popular music with a style like no other. He has learned to change his game and style according to the taste of rap fans at a given time.

#2 50 Cent

50 Cent took the hardest path to success of anyone on this list. He never met his father and his mother was often away at work. She sold drugs on the streets of New York City and was eventually killed as a result of it. 50 Cent was forced to move in with his grandparents in their very crowded home. Many of his older cousins already lived there so the place was always crowded with kids. He got picked on a lot by his older cousins and resented them for it. He resorted to drug dealing about the age of 12 and eventually was arrested and thrown in prison. Before going to prison, 50 cent had already done a lot of rapping with his friends and he had diligently worked to improve. He learned his lesson in prison and decided not to go back to drug dealing. He began rapping and eventually gained some support from a few record companies. Just as he started to get popular with the local rap fans, he was ambushed by one of his jealous rivals. After being shot nine times and barely escaping death, he persevered and made it back on to the stage as a rapper. He went on to gain lots of fame for his best album Get Rich Or Die Tryin’.

#3 Notorious B.I.G.

Notorious was born in Brooklyn, New York. His father left him and his mother when he was only two years old. He lived in a poverty stricken apartment complex and his mother worked two jobs. At the age of 12, he began selling drugs and he dropped out of high school at age 17. He served several short prison terms due to drug charges. He began rapping as a teenager and released his first album in 1994, at the age of 22. He quickly became a famous rapper and became the recognized rapper on the east coast. He was shot and killed in Los Angeles in 1997. Fifteen days after his death, his album Life After Death was released and it eventually rose to #1 on the U.S. album charts.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Virginia Tech Football

The most exciting college football games take place in the mountains of Blacksburg, Va. This is the home of Lane Stadium and Virginia Tech football. One can expect almost every wild Hokie fan from the mountains of southwest Virginia to come storming into Blacksburg and raise bloody hell for their team. Visiting teams fear the wrath of Lane Stadium. Even the slightest mention of the word brings tears to their eyes. Many sports announcers have called Lane Stadium the biggest home field advantage in college football. That place gets loud.

I have been a huge Virginia Tech fan ever since I can remember. My father and grandfather went to school there so my whole family has a lot of pride in the school, but more importantly its football team. I went to my first Virginia Tech football game when I was 8 years old. I was shocked at how huge the stadium was and how loud the crowd roared. Even the old grandpas were screaming and high fiving each other. The whole scene truly amazed me. As I grew older, I continued to make the two hour drive up to Blacksburg to watch the Hokies play. I quickly developed a passion for Virginia Tech football. The atmosphere at Lane Stadium cannot be beat. The tailgates are amazing; there is always plenty of beer and fried chicken to go around. The fans are extremely friendly as well. You can’t walk more than a few feet without someone inviting you to join their tailgate. The whole Virginia Tech football experience is something I always look forward to.

This is how it all began. The Virginia Tech football program officially started in September of 1891. It took a lot of effort to get the program going and the process was very slow. The football program was finally put in place due to hard work of two college professors and two cadets. Professor Anderson, as he was known, played right tackle on the team. The rules for college football were obviously much different at the time because only students are allowed to play in games these days. The other professor, E.A. Smith, served as the team’s coach. The two cadets, H.B. Pratt and J.W. Stull, also served as players on the team. Getting a team together was a struggle for these four entrepreneurs. They had go into the dorms and beg players to come out to the field for practice and games. Those who did not make the starting roster almost always quit the team which made things very difficult. Despite all the troubles the four men experienced in their quest to start a football team, they managed to get a team together and play their first game just a year later. On October 21, 1892, Virginia Tech played its first football game against St. Albans from Radford. The game resulted in 14-10 victory for Virginia Tech. Professor Anderson scored the first ever touchdown for the team. Professor Smyth coached the first game in Tech history and would eventually become known as the father of modern football at Virginia Tech.

The Virginia Tech football program went on to be a great success, but it never could establish itself as a top program in the country. In fact, for most of the twentieth century the team was not very well respected at all. From the emergence of Virginia Tech football in 1892 to the 1987 football season, the team only managed to reach six bowl games. That is an extremely low number considering that the first bowl game was played in 1902 and they were played continuously from 1916. The success of the Virginia Tech football team was very low in all those years. The fans for Virginia Tech had long awaited a hero to emerge and lead their team to victory. Their hero finally came in 1987, when Frank Beamer signed on as the head coach for the team. None of them imagined that he would lead them to become a dominant college football program. Beamer was a former player at Virginia Tech and was thrilled to become the coach of his former team. Beamer played cornerback for Virginia Tech from 1966 to 1968. He played during probably the most successful years of Virginia Tech football. Over a span of 95 years, Virginia Tech only earned only six bids to bowl games. Beamer played in two of these games during only a three year period. He wanted to reestablish the respect for Virginia Tech football in which he had experienced as a player on the team.

Turning around the program was no easy task for Coach Beamer. He endured some long seasons of failure and defeat on his way to the top. In 1992, his team only won two games. The years after that season seemed to be a different story. In 1993, after five years of hard work, Beamer had finally put together a team that consisted of only players in which he had recruited. Working with some talented personnel is an important key to the success of a football coach. By the 1993 season, beamer no longer had to use the player recruited by previous coaches. He could now call the program entirely his own work.

The 1993 season was Coach Beamer’s break out year. Rising from out of the ashes of the 1992 season, the 1993 team was a different story. The Hokies posted an 8-3 record and went on to defeat Indiana in the Liberty Bowl. It was this season that marked the emergence of greatness for the Virginia Tech football program. From this season on Virginia Tech would attend a bowl game every year. From the 1993 season until present, the Hokies have amassed a record of 17 straight bowl game appearances. Their record of 17 straight appearances ranks third among all college teams. Virginia Tech earned its most prestigious honor when it earned a spot in the 1999 national championship game. The Hokies went on to lose to Florida State, in that game. Despite the loss, the reaching of a national title game was a huge boost to the program and it has only led more success in the years after.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Rhetorical Analysis of "Animal Cruelty and Free Speech"

Freedom of speech has become a highly debated topic in the United States. The 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects freedom of speech. The amendment states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances”. The 1st Amendment, particularly its protection of freedom of speech, is high valued by Americans. Freedom of Speech protects the rights of Americans to publicize their anything in which they want to make known to the public.

Freedom of Speech has been has been an important part of American Society and has been positive for the most part. However, there are times when it has had a very negative effect, allowing publications of very offensive material. One of these situations is discussed in an editorial called Animal Cruelty and Free Speech. This editorial was published in the New York Times. It focuses on a Supreme Court case involving dog fighting videos. According to the author, who is unnamed, a man named Robert Stevens ran a business called “Dogs of Velvet and Steel” which sold videos of pit bulls engaging in dogfights and attacking other animals. He did not take part in the attacks personally, but was charged under a federal law that makes it illegal to sell depictions of acts of animal cruelty that are illegal in the state where the depiction is sold. Stevenson appealed his conviction. After reviewing his case, The United States Court of Appeals reversed his conviction. The court declared that the federal law in which Mr. Stevenson was charged under was unconstitutional. The law violated his freedom of speech rights outlined in the First Amendment. The author explains that this is not the only deeply offensive speech that is protected by the First Amendment. The author says “Nazis are allowed to march and racists are allowed to spew racism. I imagine that people from the Nazi party are allowed to march, but I know for a fact that federal laws prevent racial discrimination. Of course law does not prevent people say racists things, but there are many cases in which the law does not allow for racial discrimination. People who hire employees certainly are not permitted to “spew racism” at them. Federal law does not allow employer to choose an employee based on their race. Therefore, it would not be legal for a interviewer to say “I am not going to hire you because of I do not like people of your race”. I made this point in order to prove that the author had made an incorrect statement. The author’s choice of words has damaged their credibility with the reader. Since the author’s name is not given in the editorial, I can see why he or she was lax about making sure his or her statements were credible. Since the reader does not know the author’s name, the author does not lose any respect from those who might know him.

In my opinion, anyone who is sick enough to sell or purchase these videos should be punished. The author shares my negative opinion in saying “some of this material is truly stomach-churning.” While I can imagine that dog-fighting might be a little gory, I still wonder how the author can know for sure that the material is “stomach-churning”. The author expresses no account of actually watching the videos. This leads me to question his or her authority to discuss dog-fighting. The author goes on to say “There are people who enjoy watching animals be tortured or killed”. While this statement may be true, the author gives no explanation of it which makes her statement less convincing and meaningful. The author should add a specific example of people that enjoy dog-fighting.

The editorial explains that there is also a market for “crush videos”. These videos feature women trampling small animals with their bare feet or in high heels. Supposedly, some viewers find these types of videos sexually arousing. I’m not sure how a video like this could be sexually arousing, but I guess there are some people with some really messed up thought. I’m not sure what provoked the author to add this statement to the editorial, but he or she claims that it was part of a federal government brief. While this may be a legit fact, the statement draws the reader’s away from the argument at hand and puts a completely different thought into their head. The author should have refrained from including this because it lowered the quality of his or her work. The author then provides the reader with another somewhat random statement, saying that “videos are also sold showing hog-dogfights in which dogs attack and sometimes kill pigs”. While this is highly interesting and informative, it is also a distraction from what the editorial is focused on. The author says that if legislatures were allowed to disapprove certain parts of unpopular speech, a lot of expression could become illegal. This is a very good point and gives the reader a clear image of why the author feels like freedom of speech should be protected. I have come to the same conclusion; freedom of speech is too complicated for the government to outlaw certain forms of it.

The lack of information the author provides about him or herself prevents the reader from gaining critical knowledge that would help them to trust certain statements in the editorial. The author also refers to very few sources. The only ones that the author credits his or her information to are the federal government and of course, the Constitution. These are generally reliable sources, but much of the information has come from other places, more than likely the author’s own thoughts. While the author does not provide good credibility for his or her editorial, a good point is made about how wide-ranging freedom of speech can be. I believe that freedom of speech is very important and that is a good thing for the most part.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

My Hometown

It seems hard to get very excited over just one day off from school. It would be nice to get another day or two, but I’m still looking forward to it. I’ll be going home this weekend for basically the first time. I stopped in my home town for a few hours on my way to the Virginia Tech – Alabama game, but I haven’t got a chance to actually go back and visit everyone yet. A lot of my friends have the same Fall Break as I do so I’m pretty pumped about seeing all of them. They all get two days off for their breaks which is somewhat unfair, but I’m trying not to cry over it.

Last summer was definitely the most fun I’ve ever had. Since I had graduated from high school, my parents were a lot more flexible about letting be me do certain things. I went out and chilled with my friends at least every other day. All my best friends live back home so it’s always a good time when I’m there.

My hometown is Bristol, VA and I take a lot of pride in it. The motto of the city is “A Great Place To Live” and I really feel like that’s true. There is a certain feeling around there that you just don’t get anywhere else. It’s the kind of place that you feel like you know everyone even though you actually don’t. Everyone is always willing to lend a helping hand. One unique thing about Bristol is that it’s in two states. One side is in Virginia and the other is in Tennessee. There is a road called State Street which divides the Bristol and Tennessee sides of town. The road goes right through middle of downtown so I am always walking back and forth between Virginia and Tennessee.

Since the city is located in two states, there are two separate high schools. One is called Virginia High and the other Tennessee High. There is a huge rival between these two schools. Anytime they play each other in sports it is a major event. Our newspaper, The Bristol Herald Courier, is always full of hype about the upcoming football game. Football is the focus of the rivalry, but it is by no means the only part. The rivalry was a very interesting experience for me because although I lived in Bristol, Virginia, I attended and played for Tennessee High. I lived about a block away from Virginia High, but I chose to attend Tennessee High because my uncle was the football coach there. When I chose to go to Tennessee high, all my friends and family from Virginia gave me a hard time, but they eventually came to accept it.

Another unique thing about Bristol is that it is “The Birthplace of Country Music”. The US Congress gave Bristol this title due to its contributions to early country music recordings and influence. In 1927 Ralph Peer of Victor Records began recording local musicians in Bristol to attempt to capture the local sound of traditional 'folk' music of the region. One of these local sounds was created by the Carter family. The Carter Family got their start on July 31, 1927, when A.P. Carter and his family journeyed from Maces Spring, Virginia, to Bristol, Tennessee, to audition for record producer Ralph Peer who was seeking new talent for the recording industry. They received fifty dollars for each song they recorded. I’m not a big fan of country music, but I still think it’s pretty cool that it started in my hometown.

Bristol is also home to a half-mile NASCAR track called Bristol Motor Speedway. NASCAR holds a stock car race twice each year. It’s always fun to go to the track on race weekend and check out all of the festivities. You can meet a drunk person on every corner. If you don’t see one a corner then you will probably see one riding their cooler down a hill. There is a whole lot more to the festivities than drunk people. There are all kinds of trailers that are set up with stores inside of them. Some of these are owned by big companies and others by local businesses. There is always a huge line of people in front of the Skoal trailer because they give out free tobacco products. Outside of the festivities, the race is a real pain. The traffic in Bristol is terrible and it’s almost impossible get out and go somewhere. Imagine a town that normally has 41,000 people and then add to that 200,000 more race fans. It gets really crowded.

My favorite place to hang out around Bristol is South Holston Lake. It is one of the largest man-made lakes in Tennessee, 16 miles in length. There are all kinds of fun stuff to do out there. Fishing is among my favorite thing to do there. The lake has been famed for its trout fishing and has been a location to many professional fishing tournaments. It’s always fun to go out there on a summer night and fish off the dock with some friends and listen to the banjo players. I have caught as many as five trout in one night which is a lot, no matter where you are fishing. Another one of my favorite activities out there is wakeboarding. A few of my friends have some really nice wakeboarding boats we spend a lot of time doing that. I also enjoy going camping out there. My friends and I would plan big trips out there where we had up to one hundred people at times. Camping with that many people gets pretty wild and there is a good story to tell afterward.

I have had a great time here in Blacksburg so far, but I’m still pumped for fall break and the chance to hang out with all my long time friends. I enjoy Bristol a lot, but I’m sure I’ll be eager to get back here when Sunday comes around.