Thursday, September 22, 2011

Raw or "Raw"?

Raw. What exactly does raw mean? This depends on where you're from. The most common definitions known by almost every person in the world are "undercooked" and "ignorant or unexperienced". Yet some of us know a different "definition", one you won't find in a Webster's dictionary.
            To us natives of Vacaville, raw is a word of high praise. Raw goes beyond amazing; it goes beyond incredible; it goes beyond superb. It's just raw. Being considered raw at what you do is something we strive for. It's why we run that extra mile even though our legs scream out it's time to be done. It's why you take those 50 extra swings in the batting cage when the entire team has already left.
            Now you're in the kitchen and you have the green beans and carrots finishing up their simmering; the baked potatoes' baking has come to a conclusion, and you take the meat off the grill. You gently cut open the piece of meat and you see a little too much pink. Yes it is raw, but it's not raw. You join the army and all the veterans refer to you as raw. You're the new, untrained rookie. That is not raw either. You run a mile in 4 minutes flat? That's raw. You batted .320 in the MLB? That's raw. It's not "undercooked" or "ignorant", it's just raw.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Everything Is An Argument

When one thinks of an "argument", they think of a disagreement in which the people or groups of people try to disprove the other's theory while still defending their own. An argument, however, can be just a beckoning by one to another to come explore their point of view. A person may make an argument just to inform someone else about a certain topic, as well. Even with these other options to pose an argument, the main purpose of most people's arguments are to win, though they may have another reason as a secondary objective.
            Durng this past summer, I read a book called My Prison Without Bars by Pete Rose and Rick Hill. It revisits the life of Major League Baseball's career hits king, and talks about the time when he was banned from the sport he so dearly loved. In September, 1985, Pete Rose, also known as "Charlie Hustle" for his "never give up" attitude, lined a 2-1 slider into left-center field for career hit number 4,192; breaking Ty Cobb's 60 year-old record. Now one would think that a player who holds the record for the most hits in a career would easily join the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, but that did not happen.
            After his playing days ended, Pete took over as manager of the Cincinnati Reds, the same team he played for the majority of his career. After managing for a bit, he realized managing did not give him the thrill that playing did, so he began to bet. He bet on basketball and football, the common betting sports, until one day he made the worst mistake of his life; he bet on baseball.
            According to MLB rules, a player or manager is not allowed to bet on baseball because they could "throw" a game in order to win money. Well Pete Rose ignored that particular rule and bet anyway. He eventually got caught and was punished; no Hall of Fame for Mr. Rose.
            There are a few arguments that could be associated with the writing of this book. Was he making a point, trying to show he deserves the Hall of Fame? Was he just trying to tell people about himself and the things he did? What was the main argument of this particular book?
            Though the majority of My Prison Without Bars is about the whole betting scandal Pete Rose was involved in, he makes an attempt to show he actually does belong in the Hall of Fame, an argument to convince, though many believe he does not. Pete Rose was undoubtedly one of the best baseball players to ever strap on the spikes, but the fact that he broke baseball's betting rule(Rule 21) caused many to believe that he should not be allowed in to the Hall of Fame. He tries to strengthen his argument by telling the story of his days as he neared Ty Cobb's "insurmountable" record, "They(the media) were camped out at my house on Indian Hill. They were camped out at the ballpark, and they pretty much followed me everywhere I went. For three straight weeks I did a press conference, TV, magazine, or newspaper interview every day of the week and twice on Sunday." With this quote, he is trying to support his point by showing how much everybody loved him and how everybody wanted him; they wanted to talk to him, and only him. He also threw in Mike Schmidt's quote, "Look at all these photos Pete. Just about every Hall of Famer in baseball is hanging on these walls and Pete Rose has more hits than all of them....So just remember: Baseball needs Charlie Hustle." and his own thoughts, "I wasn't even eligible for the Hall of Fame but everyone knew I had the credentials. In a subtle way, I was probably reminding them of who I was-Pete Rose, baseball's all-time Hit King." to emphasize his point and "win" the ongoing argument that he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, despite the gambling scandal.
            When a person wants to tell people about certain issues they have experienced or are currently going through, they will usually write a book. Pete Rose did just that. He wanted to inform everyone who would listen about the life he lived and the mistakes he made. He showed that your life can go from great and successful to lousy and unattractive in a very small amount of time. He says, "When they take your freedom-there is nothing scarier in the whole world." This shows that he wants to make sure that nobody else makes the same mistake he did; mess up their life over something as silly as trying to pack more "thrills" into their life.
            The third and final argument I believe Pete Rose was making in this book is an argument to explore. Unlike his main argument, an argument to convince, this one was a little bit more subtle. An argument to explore is written with the purpose of making the reader want to further research and discuss the topic with others. If baseball is your "religion", as it was to Pete Rose, according to his daughter, then reading this book will make you want to further investigate this, and all the scandals throughout the history of Major League Baseball, such as the infamous "Black Sox Scandal" of 1919.
            My Prison Without Bars was written mainly for those who know and understand baseball and its history. A person with no prior knowledge to baseball and its history could not read and fully comprehend this book and its meaning. As an avid baseball fan, I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Pete Rose's life during the investigation and I somewhat agree with his position. We all make mistakes, I mean we're all human aren't we? You have to look for the good things people have accomplished, not focus on the negative. He 's the all-time Hit King! That has to deserve something! And a ban from baseball is not exactly the reward I believe he had in mind.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

What does it mean to be a "reader"?

Every person in the world is a "reader". A "reader" is one who looks at something "carefully so as to understand the meaning of". People read things every day; whether it be a sign as you drive down the highway, a cereal box, or the newest, most anticipated fiction novel. Reading is just a common, everyday activity people everywhere participate in. What they choose to read, and why they read it, however, determines the type of "reader" they are.
Some enjoy the works of John Locke and Rousseau; others like to curl up under a warm blanket and crack open a good, fiction romance novel; while still others have only the desire to snap open the Sunday cartoons. However, I, myself, love to read about the real life adventures of athletes.
In elementary school, whenever my class would go to the library to pick out our books for the month, not a single one of us would step foot in the "nonfiction" section. It was as if by going over there, one would become an outcast. But one day in fourth grade, I watched a sixth grader walk into the library and head straight to the books about REAL people and I thought to myself(being the impressionable little fourth grader I was)"He's a sixth grader,I want to be like him." So I walked over and picked out the first book with the name of someone I had heard of. That month, I read about the life of Jackie Robinson and was hooked. The next couple years were filled with all the readings of sports stars I could find.
As I went through middle school and became interested in more and more sports, my variety of readings became larger. I became interested in a sport called "cross country" and now I will buy almost any book I see about the lives of runners. "Running With The Buffaloes" is the first title that comes to mind. It follows the 1998 NCAA cross country season of the Colorado Buffaloes and everything they did to be the third best cross country team in the country and describes, with amazing detail, how much effort their best runner had to put in to become the fastest college runner in nation. Reading about the detailed life of people who I aspire to be helps gain a perspective of what I need to do to obtain my dream.
We all have our own purpose and reasons for reading, as well as the particular things we enjoy reading, but we are all still "readers".