There is an article by Thomas Sutcliffe called “The good news is that sport is bad for us”. The article focuses on sports and their crucial effects on people, which often hinder the development of their moral values. Sutcliffe mentions personalities involved in sports because of money and fame. Moreover, he uses a wide range of writing techniques to eloquently describe the most unfair situations in sport (Sutcliffe 2000).
Conclusions and reasons
First of all, the writer of the article tries to persuade the readers that the sport is bad for them. It is bad because it develops the worst qualities in almost all people. Thomas Sutcliffe states that despite the positive side of sports, obsessed sportsmen often cheat to create a feigned image of success. On the contrary, the sport demands people to reveal their worst qualities because these traits may be very helpful to win.
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Another conclusion which could be drawn from the article is that sport negatively affects young people and has a lasting effect on their development in the future. They cannot free themselves from the past when they were exposed to pressure during sporting events. On the one hand, those who were not good at sports were tormented. They also felt inferior. On the other hand, those who were good at sports developed an attitude of winning at all costs. The author concludes his general idea with a statement that such an attitude has turned sportsmen into cheaters who are cheating all the time for financial reasons or simple self-indulgence. He writes: “The true sportsman doesn't need a financial incentive to cheat. Just think of the scandals that regularly erupt in the humble worlds of skittles and pub darts, where there is often nothing more at stake than village pride” (Sutcliffe 2000). This is the author’s reasoning. He uses it to explain why sports are bad. According to this way of thinking, sport encourages people to act in a wrong way to win. It also tempts people, and they often lose their moral qualities because of sports. Sutcliffe also uses another reasoning to support the conclusion he draws in the end. He speaks about his past when he often was mistreated because he had not been good in sports. According to the author’s opinion, sport justifies such mistreatments of people, and that is the reason it is harmful to them. One can say that the author’s reasoning is largely based on his own negative experience as well as things he has heard on the news concerning sports and sportsmen.
The author makes one assumption. He writes: “The truth is, though, that most top sportsmen aren't slightly better people than the rest of us, they're slightly worse - because their definition of "winning at all costs" will always be broader and more ruthless” (Sutcliffe 2000). He tries to make this assumption believable using previous reasons. He also tries to employ negative examples connected to sportsmen and sports and make them look like they apply to everyone. Thus, he tries to generalize all of the negative information about sports to make it sound believable. The author makes such an assumption based on his reasons that sportsmen always cheat and use their worst qualities to succeed. Nevertheless, this assumption is too general. It cannot be taken as a fact because it cannot be applied to every single sportsman.
Assessment of reasons and assumptions
As it was mentioned before, Thomas Sutcliffe’s assumption is too subjective. It is hard to agree with or believe an assumption like that because it is an idea of one person. The author uses examples of some sportsmen cheating or lying, but these examples are rather exceptions from the realities of sports. One can say that the author adjusts these examples so they would match his point of view. His reasons are also not very persuasive. The fact that he often felt bad in school because of poor sporting skills makes his reasons look like an attack against sports from a person who was hurt in childhood. Is it true that all kinds of sport bring out the worst in people? Is it true that all of the sportsmen cheat to win? Is it true that sports make some people feel inferior while others feel superior? More importantly, how can the author assume that sportsmen are generally worse than average people? What kind of metrics does he use to evaluate and determine that? Such an assumption can't be accurate because one can never prove it completely. It will always be subjective and not factual.
Although the author uses some examples from the news concerning sportsmen, he does not cite any authority connected to sports. There are no commentators who give their opinions on the subject. There are no experts who can support or contradict the author’s ideas. It would be better if the author used some comments or relied on respective authorities, such as professional and retired sportsmen, or even psychologists who researched human relations in sports. It would make the article more reliable and trustworthy as well as more factual because it would provide a professional outlook concerning the issue (Das, & Komoroski 2013).
Thomas Sutcliffe uses further evidence emphasizing the moral side of sports. He writes: “For someone to win another person must lose… Because of this sport will always be morally vulnerable; like limestone water, money simply finds its natural weakness and inexorably opens it up” (Sutcliffe 2000). One can continue this idea by saying that sports offer many temptations for people. People may be tempted with money or status they can get due to winning in sports. They can also be tempted by the psychological feeling of being a winner. Hence, sports are also psychologically difficult for people because those who win may have to deal with constant pressure, and those who lose may feel humiliated (Harms 2010). Nevertheless, it does not mean that sports have negative effects only. They can be fun, too. The author also provides further evidence about the positive effects of sports, but it is very short. In just a few sentences, he tries to make the article look more objective providing the opposite point of view and showing that sports can be beneficial. Still, this short paragraph does not make the article more objective. The author uses it only to strengthen the fact that despite some positive things, sports are mostly bad. For this reason, further evidence is based on sport as a negative phenomenon.
The author does not use any direct comparisons. Although he writes: “Businessmen may justifiably argue that it's sometimes difficult to see where aggressive competition turns into something less reputable, but in sport the sidelines couldn't be more clearly marked” (Sutcliffe 2000). It can be said that in this paragraph, the author tries to compare the competition in business and sports showing that the competition in sports is much more aggressive, but this is not a direct comparison.
The readers may draw many conclusions after reading the article. First of all, they may change their perspective on sport and view it as something negative. Secondly, they may change their attitude towards many sportsmen starting to view them as cheaters and over-competitive people. On the other hand, some questions arise after reading the article. Should sports be viewed in such a negative light? Can the disadvantages of sports overshadow their advantages? Can a person turn a sport into something fun and entertaining one can learn from? Thus, can a certain individual generalize a negative attitude toward sports and view it as an argument against them? The author concludes that although there is something good in sports, they will never be beneficial for people. Nevertheless, readers draw different conclusions because they may question the author’s point of view and disagree with him.
The author writes: “Sport rewards ruthlessness since it is a zero-sum game - for someone to win another person must lose” (Sutcliffe 2000). He also adds: “Just think of the scandals that regularly erupt in the humble worlds of skittles and pub darts, where there is often nothing more at stake than village pride» (Sutcliffe 2000). Thus, he uses parallel reasoning trying to show that if someone has to lose in sports, it necessarily must be bad for other people. He also applies parallel reasoning to show that if some sportsmen cheat, everybody does the same thing because the sport is an utterly negative thing that brings out the worst in every person. Nevertheless, such a conclusion is wrong.
The author uses such a general principle: since sports bring out the worst in all people, sports are bad and should be avoided. To put it simply, sports are bad because they make people unedifying. That’s why, if one does not want to be bad, he or she should not participate in sporting events. It is possible to see concept substitution in this sentence.
Do the reasons support the conclusion?
The author uses his reasons in a way to support his conclusion, but he is not persuasive enough because his article lacks factuality and objectivity. Hence, although the reasons support the conclusion, they do it poorly, and readers are not convinced by the author’s ideas. Articles which use only generalizations or personal experience are not very believable (Stray 2013). It can be seen from the title “The good news is that sport is bad for us”. Although the article provides readers with reasons, they are very one-sided and cannot be used as objective arguments that may be trusted.
To sum up, the entire article provides a unidirectional perspective of the issue. The author himself is biased toward sports, and he tries to persuade readers to share his ideas. Nevertheless, the article lacks factuality, objective evidence, and authorities’ comments. These are the main reasons why it is not very believable, persuasive, and progressive.