Sports Model Essay

. Commercialisation will be the death of sport. Discuss.

There is no absolute relationship between shampoo and a soccer player. Drinking beer has nothing to do with watching a soccer match. Yet, we always have the impression of men watching soccer with Carlsberg mugs in their hands and the image that soccer players use an expensive brand of shampoo to suit their status. The association of these products with sports is a result of commercialisation. Commercialisation, in this case, of sports started decades ago but it is only in the recent years that commercialisation of sports is becoming more evident, with new technology which are able to connect the world more effectively. It is hard for an athlete to resist a million dollar contract in exchange for just posing with a certain product for some shots. On top of that, sponsors are needed for major sporting events like the Olympics. With only 10 percent of an athlete’s pay coming from the profession while the remaining 90 percent coming from advertising and other non-sport related activities, it is almost always true that sport cannot survive without the sale of teams or the utilisation of sports to generate income. However, it is also true that such commercialisation of sports could kill it, making sports not a means to achieve physical and mental excellence in a certain game or event but as a way to attain fame and riches.

There is a trend that the breaking of world records in the Olympic games have slowed after the late 1980s, however, there is a need to generate attention so that people will be awed by the athletic performance of the participants, so that they would become idols and heroes of the masses and with the fame, clinch deals that are worth a hundred times a regular person can earn in their lifetime. Technology has answered the athlete’s call. In 2008, Michael Phelps won 8 medals with the help of the highly advanced swimsuit. In fact, 21 out of the 22 medals won were the result of the high-tech suit. Intelligent shoes which can help convert running postures and open vents when ventilation is needed help to utilise the athletes’ energy efficiently. With these in place, it is no surprise that there is a surge of records in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. In another example, anabolic steroids were used to enhance the athlete’s performance, Cox returned her medal for her relay 6 years after the event. The need to win drives the athletes to look for alternative methods to enhance their performance. It is no longer a fight of the athletes’ genetic makeup which has been given to them since birth, it is not a fight of their mental and physical capacity but a fight of technology. This reliance on technology has caused sports to lose its original function, to attain the highest of human performance. Likewise, the greed, the temptation which drove them to depend on the technology has caused sports to fail as a result of commercialisation.

However, the riches that await the athletes could be an incentive for them to perform better and it may not be the athletes’ ultimate aim but as a mean of support for himself or herself and their families. 98 percent of the world class athletes receive no payment for their contributions and achievements at the Olympic Games as only the medallists receive prize money. The income for these professionals with passion for the sport may be only equivalent to that of a regular office worker unless he achieved fame or clinched some medals. In this realistic world, it may be insufficient for the passion to keep the athletes going as they have to feed themselves and to provide for their families. Hence, commercialisation, the trading of sport and its commodities could be a good way to retain these talents in the field and may not necessarily cause to death of sport.

Commercialisation also spreads and promotes certain sports to the world, showcasing the best of our species by letting them appear on shirts and talk shows. For example, many western sports are introduced into Asia with commercialisation. The products and merchandise of sporting teams which become increasingly popular helped to promote the sport and others who aspires to be like them may take on the sport, developing their innate potentials. Many famous athletes started off by being a fan of famous athletes and train to become like them. Ronaldo of the Brazil team for example, treated Pele, a retired player of the Brazilian soccer team as his idol and aspiration to become a great player. Hence, commercialisation could also work hand-in-hand with the industries such that it both provide revenue for them and promote sports.

However, the Olympic Games, that stands as the epitome of sports in the world, have been criticised for selling too much of its power to companies that wishes to advertise their products when the world is watching the Games. The Olympic Games is large scale and the host countries could lose millions of dollars just by hosting it. In order to reduce such losses, the Olympic organising committee may see the need to find corporate sponsors for the Games and these sponsors usually include private sectors. The Coca-Cola Company paid the Olympic organising committee 21 million dollars such that only its product, not those of competing soft drink brands, can be advertised. Events such as tennis matches were scheduled to maximise viewership and the advertising slots available before, during and after the match could cost more than 10 million dollars. Rules for certain games have also been modified to increase the duration and repetition of breaks and time-outs so that more commercials can be shown. Instead of optimising the periods such that the athletes could perform to the best of their abilities, these factors were ignored to make way for revenue. Therefore, commercialisation could be detrimental to sport as least consideration was taken over the athletes doing their best on the field than to make money.

In conclusion, even though many critics mentioned that commercialisation has caused sport to lose its function, to display the best of the athletes’ performance, sport still has to depend on the revenue generated by it to survive in this world. No matter how far the passion for the sport a sportsman could possess, he would require some recognition for his efforts and such recognition would be tangible gains generated by commercialisation as well as fame which he would receive. However, there is a need to control how much control is given to the private sector when it comes to games like the Olympics which stands at the top of all other forms of sports achievement, a symbol of the sporting world. If even this event has fallen into the hands of corporations as a tool for advertisement, there would be little hope for the future of sports.

GP Essay Skills - Paper 2 - Application Question

11. APPLICATION QUESTION

- Get your requirements straight: R1: Stand, or the statements which answer the question; R2: Evaluation of arguments from passage(s); R3: Own knowledge and experience

- Anchor your response around your R1, which is essentially THE QUESTION you have to answer. (R1A + R1B = TWO QUESTIONS)

- Use ‘SEA’: Select (Paraphrase/Expand) Argument, Evaluate, Apply.

- Select 3-4 arguments from the passage.

- EVALUATION to show agreement: Show how argument is sound, logical, observed/manifested/reflected in society (leaders, policies, practices etc)

- EVALUATION to show disagreement: Choose extreme/controversial/problematic argument in the passage and show how argument does not hold – it may be idealistic, untenable, inconsistent, poorly substantiated, having loopholes in argumentation, inapplicable/irrelevant etc. Question the author’s assumption or logic!

- Evaluation also includes informed personal opinions/observations; a synthesized understanding of the ‘big picture’; an overarching exploration of origins (eg. origins of a particular culture/mindset) or societal structures; assessment or weighing of gains/losses, benefits/disadvantages, or a critical commentary of the author’s language/tone (do this only after discussing content!)

- EXAMPLES include: Real-world trends, governmental policies, statistics, surveys, patterns of behaviour, social/cultural practices and mindsets etc. (Do NOT cite isolated examples or hypothetical examples!)

- *As AQs would not necessarily ask you which one you agree with more or which is more applicable to your society, you need to know which arguments to select as PLATFORMS to defend your stand.

GP Essay Skills - Paper 2 -Summary

4. SUMMARY

- Tests your ability to distill and extract main points from a passage

- Paraphrase clauses, not sentences. Each clause usually contains a single idea which counts for at least ½ mark.

- Do not conflate points – state each distinct idea where possible

- Do not paraphrase whole example - infer the main idea from example

- Address the different parts of the summary systematically. (Eg. THREE-PART SUMMARY: Summarise what the author has to say about why people accept the authority of the State, the justifications given for limiting its authority, and the problems associated with some of these justifications.)

- Signal directional change or create transition: “Yet,” “However,” “One solution is…”

- REFRAME POINTS TO ANSWER THE QUESTION!

Examples:

(SAJC Pre-Prelim 2008)

i. A number of parents sought to have their kids classified as special-education students, which would entitle them to extra time on standardized tests. (INFER POINT FROM EXAMPLE)

They (parents and/or children) often resort to dishonesty / deceit

ii. Kids…have a keen sense of competing with others … and are developing identities geared to that. (DISTILL THE DIFFERENT KEY IDEAS IN THE SEPARATE CLAUSES)

These children possess a strong / deep / intense urge to defeat others / be better / more successful than other…and their characters / personalities are being shaped in that direction.

iii. Many hailed from villages where the American culture of competition is alien, but once they got here, they changed fast. (PARAPHRASE THE WHOLE IDEA)

However, people easily / can quickly adjust / adapt their mindset / mentality regarding ambition when they move to a different place.

GP Essay Skills - Paper 2 - Vocabulary

4. VOCABULARY

- Typically three easy words, and two more challenging ones

- Find most suitable and specific word – to the point to get the point! (Eg. “disseminate” is to “spread widely,” and “swing” is a “drastic/radical change” i.e. paying attention to manner/nature/degree where possible)

- Use contextual cues to help you decipher meaning of the word (eg. “askance” = “doubtfully, suspiciously”)

- Do not use same word in the paragraph

- Use a short phrase if no suitable synonym can be found (Eg. “parrot-cry” is “a mindlessly repeated phrase”)

GP Essay Skills - Paper 2 - Author's Intention Purpose Tone Attitude

4. AUTHOR’S INTENTION/PURPOSE, TONE & ATTITUDE

Question Types:

- What is the author’s intention/purpose is stating this?

- What is the author’s tone?

- What is the author’s attitude on the issue?

Task:

- Discern the author’s attitude (stand/position) on a given issue and his tone (how he conveys his attitude)

- Note: While the author’s tone and attitude may be congruent, they do not necessarily have to be.

- Eg (a) Author’s tone may be humourous, but attitude towards the issue may actually be scornful.

- Eg (b) Author may disagree with the belief that green consumerism will solve environmental problems but his tone could be either skeptical, doubtful, disbelieving, incredulous, subversive, or even mocking

- Common types of tone: Sarcastic, critical, cynical, humorous, condescending, contemptuous etc.

Examples:

i. Why does the writer use the analogy, “We are burning the floorboards of our house to keep warm?” (AJC Prelim 2007)

Ans. The writer wants to criticise/indict/warn/ intends to show how foolish/ illogical/ short-sighted/unrealistic mankind is. OR The writer is trying to show that mankind is suicidal/ self-destructive.

ii. Words Associated with Tone

POSITIVE

NEGATIVE

NEUTRAL

admiring/ laudatory

amused

approving

compassionate

joyful

judicious

modest/ unassuming/ humble

optimistic

thoughtful

philosophical/ reflective

respectful

earnest

sincere

factual

frank/ honest/ candid

forgiving

humorous

informative

impartial

supportive

tolerant

witty/ humorous/ ironic

arrogant

bitter/ angry/ resentful/ hostile

brusque

callous

world-weary

condescending

confused/ befuddled

critical

disparaging

cynical

skeptical

pessimistic

disapproving

disdainful

disheartened

dejected

sarcastic

lamenting/ sorrowful

malicious

mocking

naïve

nasty/ abusive

pessimistic

resentful

sarcastic

satirical

flippant

hypocritical

insulting

intolerant

irrelevant

scorning/ biting/caustic

self-pitying

whining/ aggrieved/ complaining

aloof

ambivalent

cautionary

concerned/ worried

defensive

detached

didactic

disbelieving

dispassionate

ironic

joking

nostalgic

pensive

remorseful

evasive

grudging

indifferent

impassioned

indignant

sentimental

serious/ grave/ grim

shocked

solemn/ dignified

sympathetic

unemotional

urgent

whimsical

GP Essay Skills - Paper 2 - Punctuation

4. PUNCTUATION

Task:

- Use prior knowledge to help you explain why certain punctuation marks are used.

- For eg., quotation marks usually show that the author is trying to distance himself from the view, to highlight that he does not agree with it, or only partly agrees with it. But you must always CONTEXTUALISE your answer.

Examples:

i. Why does the writer use quotation marks for the word ‘advances’? (AJC Prelim 2007)

Ans. The writer does not agree (or does not subscribe to the belief) that the arrival of shopping malls is a sign of progress and development when they are in fact evidence of regression.

ii. Why does the author intend you to understand by the three dots (…) at the end of the first paragraph?

Lifts

Explanation

“We want to choose for ourselves and this demand stimulates invention and production, which increases employment and wealth, which…” [line 9-10]

The three dots (…) are meant to emphasize the point that our desire for personal choice would stimulate growth and assets for the economy in a ceaseless/repetitive manner.

iii. What is the writer’s purpose in using the three dots (….) in the sentence, ‘They are sullen and distant and… armed.’?

Ans. He uses the three dots to build up anticipation/to create suspense/to highlight for dramatic effect [1/2] to show the extreme aggression that young people are capable of [1/2].

GP Essay Skills - Paper 2 Language Word Choice

4. LANGUAGE/WORD CHOICE

Task:

- To show an understanding of why the author uses a certain word and the effect of using such a word

i. Why does ‘arguably’ say about her suggestion? (‘A’ Level 2004)

Ans. She is suggesting that there is sufficient evidence for the suggestion she raised, emphasizing the credibility of her proposition.

ii. What does the word ‘goosebumps’ suggest about our reaction ‘when we approach these grand questions’? (VJC Prelim 2007)

From the passage

Suggested answer

Sense of thrill/excitement/awe/anxiety/apprehension/ fear (1)

Uncomfortable (0) – too vague!

GP Essay Skills - Paper 2 -Irony and Paradox

4. IRONY & PARADOX (Tip: CONTRADICTION!)

Task:

- Irony: Contradiction between expectation and reality

- Paradox: A contradiction that is nonetheless true

Template:

- “While we expect X…., Y….”

- “X . However, Y… “

Examples:

i. Explain in your own words the irony in “After all, the doctor is himself in the same boat.” (AJC Prelim 2007)

Ans. One would expect the doctor to be able to help the patient with their psychological problems (expectation) but the reality is that he himself is in need of help/ he faces similar problems as the patients (reality).

ii. What is ironic or contradictory about the headline, “No Singlish please, we are Singaporean”? (GCE A Level 2002)

Ans. One would expect Singlish, being a Singaporean construct that sets us apart from other nationalities, to be embraced by Singaporeans. However, this language that is so much a part of our heritage is denied recognition.

GP Essay Skills - Paper 2 -SIMILE, METAPHOR, ANALOGY

4. SIMILE, METAPHOR, ANALOGY (Tip: SIMILIARITY!)

Question Types:

- Explain the phrase: “….” (metaphor)

- Why X is being described as Y?

- Identify and explain one metaphor from Paragraph X.

Purpose:

- To test if you can draw similarities between two unlike ideas.

Task:

- Metaphor: Comparison between two unlike ideas. A metaphor is a vehicle that allows you to understand a complex, unique or abstract idea more deeply.

- To draw links between two unlike ideas – the literal definition and figurative definition. (What does it mean on its own, and what does it mean in context?)

Template:

- “Just as X…, Y… “

- “X is… Similarly, Y is…. “

Examples:

a. Why does the author refer to ambition as an “investment of emotional capital”? (SAJC Pre-Prelim 2008)

Ans. Just as an investment is risky/involves uncertainty/involves committing resources in the hope of earning a return (literal definition), so ambition may not generate success despite the heart/soul/emotional energy put into it (figurative definition).

b. Explain what the author means by ‘our destiny is simply this chameleon stranger—ourself!’ (‘A’ Level 2004)

Ans. Just as a chameleon changes its colours according to the surroundings (literal definition), one’s fate is continually changing as one’s thinking is volatile (figurative definition)

c. The writer says that "genes, by themselves, are like seeds dropped onto the pavement: powerless to produce anything". How is this simile apt in illustrating his point? (ACJC Prelim 2005).

à Show links between literal and figurative meanings, i.e. seeds = genes, pavement = absence of conducive environment, water/soil = optimal environment/culture

Lift

Paraphrase

"genes, by themselves, are like seeds dropped onto the pavement: powerless to produce anything". (l.50-51)

Literal:

This (simile) implies that just as seeds dropped onto the pavement cannot grow without agents of dispersal/soil and water for nourishment. (1m)

Figurative:

Genes also need the influence of culture/ environment to determine how a person turns out/develops; genes alone cannot determine how a person turns out; they need the influence of culture or environment (1m)

Alternative answer: Just as seeds need good soil and specific conditions for it to grow well and produce fruit, genes are special characteristics in a human being which need to be nurtured through a good environment to bring out one’s potential.