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Sports Build Character Argumentative Essay Example

Children are encouraged to participate in sports to gain important life lessons, which is not consistent with the case in contemporary sports because of the claim that sports build character.
Even though they act as role models, professional athletes engage in activities, which show immoral and unlawful behavior that children cannot emulate. A role model should amplify admirable characteristics in his or her entire life and not just on the playing field. Positive characteristics in the playing field only show technical proficiency, which cannot show an athlete’s entire activity. There is a thin line between sports and the wider society because one tries to win using even unfair means as long as he or she achieves the set goals. A lack of sportsmanship is the reason why when a high school runner fails to win because of stopping to help a runner, it becomes newsworthy.

Although sports provide role models and instill values, the values are not desirable and cannot build one’s character.

Do sports build character?

Sport can create role models to teach us about life in some way, but may not provide desirable characteristics for children to learn
[HP: Sports teache determination and team spirit identified when athletes perform in a competition. However, the athletes engage in activities, which do not portray the characteristics of true sportsmanship, which makes it difficult to see them as role models despite their successful career.]

“We need to separate the players’ personal lives from their professional or on-field activities.”
[HP: The author insists on the values of a role model that children can emulate. This means that a role model should live an exemplary life in on out of the field.]

Positive characteristics in the playing field only show technical proficiency
[HP: While in the field, athletes do their best to achieve their goals and are under strict regulations and governance. Desirable characteristics are seen in one’s interaction with others and the way one carries out himself or herself away from the sports activities.]

There are a few sportsmanship practices among athletes
[HP: The end justifies the means in sports competitions, the reason why a runner cannot sacrifice for his competitor while everyone focuses on winning the race.]


Violates supporting evidence criteria

Sports develop character
[HP: A claim refers to a statement which is either false or true, hence can only be supported by evidence.]
The author illegitimately provides an absurd statement. The author provides a claim without providing evidence to it. An absurd statement can certainly be false, even though its premises seem to be probably true. The author states that this is a claim but does not show its proof. There is no source of the claim to show that this kind of argument exists.

Violates relevancy criteria

“One may say that we need to separate the players’ personal lives from their professional or on-field activities.”
[HP: The author insists on the values of a role model that children can emulate. This means that role model should live an exemplary life in and out of the field.]
The author based this argument on mere speculation using the word “perhaps” to show that no one even made such a statement. The use of such statements in an argumentative sentence makes claims invalid because they violate the rules of relevancy.

Who was the author referring to in this statement?

It is not clear where the source of this argument would come from if it were to happen. The writer does not consider all variable options.

Sport can create role models to teach us about life in some way, but may not provide desirable characteristics for children to learn
[HP: The athletes engage in activities, which do not portray the characteristics of true sportsmanship, which makes it difficult to see them as role models despite their successful career.]
The writer states that sports may be good, but he or she does not encourage development of good characters among children. The author does not provide other alternatives for developing good characters. The argument requires an author to accept that one thing is better than is the other. Every argument is a subject to challenge and can be declared irrelevant when it fails to perfectly describe reality.

Appeal to the authority of tradition
“Second, the players themselves often replicate on the field what they do in their personal lives”

Appeal to the authority of the many
“Professional athletes, the role models of many children and adolescents (and many adults), have far from exemplary characters.”

Hasty generalization
“Players themselves often replicate on the field what they do in their personal lives”

Neutralizing the fallacy: Role models in sports have undesirable characteristics

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Identify the reason for the main point: They encourage the use of drugs and practice unlawful behavior when outside the field.

  • The fallacy: Appeal to the authority of the many
    The criteria for the fallacy: The fact that certain identified individuals use illegal means to win their game – corked bats, illegal hockey sticks – to get an edge, spitballs, breaking and bending the rules of the game, intimidating others, lying and using violence does not mean it’s practiced by all sportsmen.
    Applying this criterion to the argument: The author committed a fallacy in his argument when he claimed that most sportsmen who act as role models, show undesirable characteristics. The characters are different from the ones observed during their activities in the field. Therefore, stating that because they are sportsmen, they all belong to one category of professionals and have similar characteristics.
  • Challenging the fallacy: The argument violates the relevancy principle of good argumentation. Making a conclusion that sportsmen lack desirable characteristics because of some identified behavior in most athletes does not hold in this argument. The argument principle is violated in this case because of the use of general authority where certain identified characteristics among sportsmen are used to draw conclusions about sports and character development among children. The author does not include opinions from the sportsmen themselves to show whether all of them agree with these arguments that they lack desirable characteristics. The activities claimed by the researcher as the characteristics of role models do not reflect the life of all athletes hence their opinion matters in this argument.

Can some of the arguments be made stronger?

The author states in the first paragraph that it is often claimed that sports build character which may be true, but without evidence to prove that the claim is actually made, the writer believes so. The argument against this claim could be reinforced if the author provided the population sample that makes this claim, either in sports, the guardians to the children or the relevant experts’ concern with the disciplinary actions of the athletes.

In paragraph two, the author provides the worst element characteristics of sportsmen who also act as role models for the society. This argument focuses on all negative outcomes as if not all sportsmen reflect positive characteristics. The argument would be firm if the writer started by first mentioning the few positive characteristics observed among sportsmen to show both sides of the argument. Whether sport builds character or not should remain at the conclusion and the author should convince a reader that has positive characteristics comparable to the negative undesirable characters presented by the author.

The next paragraph begins with an idea that people may use to argue against the stand made by the author. “Some would say,’’ does not refer to anybody while this argument requires an opinion from the particular population sample. The author may state against an irrelevant idea because it has nothing to do with the sportsmen. What people say may not matter, but “who says.” If the author conducted a research on the matter and included sportsmen who live double standard life in his argument, then this argument would be better.

The author repeats the arguments in the next paragraphs. In this fourth paragraph, the author again presents the all the negative characteristics observed in contemporary sports. A better argument must have views on both sides so that a comparison can be made from the different sides. The writer ought to mention at least two desirable moral characteristics that children can emulate to develop their behavior.

The fifth paragraph has no strong argument against or in support of the argument in the first paragraph regarding the role of sports in developing children’s characters. However, the author violates the relevancy rule of an argument in his last statement, “and it is newsworthy because it is all too rare.” It would be in the author’s interest to show why a runner would not help a fellow who falls down during a race. If anything, the runner has his own interest, which is to win just like the rest. The author only gives the reason which has nothing to do with the topic of discussion.

Sports Character

  • Create role models and people with a high profile in the society
  • Differ from the society
  • Players replicate what they do in their personal life
  • Emphasize on winning
  • Positive outcomes in the field show technical proficiency
  • Can be developed through desirable traits
  • One’s character cannot be separated from him or her
  • Admirable characters can be amplified to develop other characters
  • Inherent attitude

Are the concepts clearly defined?

The author clearly defines the concept of sports by using examples of characteristics that define a sportsman such as sportsmanship, focus on winning and illegal or immoral behavior. The concept is not vague since the author cites cases of well-known sportsmen such as Babe Ruth and the Norwegian Skier. The author also considers the claims made in the past, such as “separating the players’ personal lives from their professional or on-field activities.” The concept of winning or achievement of goals also matters in the field of sports as portrayed by the author in the case of a runner who fails to assist a fellow runner on the ground.

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The writer does not explain the concept of character in details as compared to sports. The author keeps repeating himself by focusing more on negative, undesirable characters portrayed by sportsmen. However, the author lists most of the common behaviors among sportsmen such as “sexual assault, fraud, illegal gambling, sexism, materialism, barroom violence, drunk driving, and illegal drug use.” The inherent attitude is portrayed by the use of children as the people learn from the adults themselves. This shows that children cannot inherit their parent’s characteristics.

Are they used in a sense that is too narrow or too wide?

According to the last and the first paragraph, the definition of this concept is not too narrow or wide. The two paragraphs feature common characteristics observed in sports and explain how they affect the development of a child’s behavior. The author derives his characteristics from athletes such as runners and hockey players. He bases his arguments on:

  • Moral standards
  • Moral obligation
  • Sportsmanship ethics

This concept is not broad since the author never describes it in details. However, this presents his understanding of the detail, which sheds some light on the topic of argument and characters that can be emulated. The author understands the concept of desirable characteristics and explains how they can be used to develop a child’s characteristics. There are desirable characteristics comparable to the undesirable ones that the author never mentioned. The author focuses more on the life and activities of the sportsmen, which shows a shallow analysis of the concept.

Are they used consistently or do they shift in meaning?

The author uses the two concepts consistently without any shift in meaning and is careful about the use of fallacy because they do not affect the real meaning of sports and character. The author uses the first and the last paragraph to show the role played by sports in the lives of growing children. The first paragraph begins with the claim that sports matters in building character while the last ends with a conclusion on the relationship between sport and culture.

Can their weaknesses be strengthened?

Weakness: Lack of comparable positive characteristics makes sport just too bad for growing children.
Ways to strengthen: Proper research and analysis could have led to different sources of information with comparable characteristics.

Weakness: The author argues against the claims by relying more on his perception belief about the character.
Ways to strengthen: The author can quote sportsmen and coaches or other relevant people in the sports arena to support his arguments about sportsmen’s characters.

Sports create role models in the society, a concept well portrayed through illustrations by the author. This means that children can easily identify with sportsmen when they grow up even though they may not know the hidden characters in the lives of these role models. The writer uses a well-known case of Babe Ruth, “he could be considered a good role model only if we didn’t know about his womanizing, drinking, and other off-field activities.’’ The fact concept of desirable character in the life an individual requires the sportsmen to emulate the traits that can lead to positive development of children’s character.

The author starts by stating a claim that sports build character, which is true according to the concept of role model in sport. Children learn important lessons from sports as it is a continual process of development. However, this has nothing to do with building their character, which is inherent. As children develop, they tend to follow what others do which is a life preserving habit that means that sports’ culture can affect the behavior of those who look up to the sportsmen as role models. The effect is both negative and positive, but more negative results arise today due to the double standard lives of our modern sportsmen. Introducing children to the lifestyle of the rich and famous sportsmen means encouraging them to find their place in a culture that embraces drug abuse, immorality, and unethical practices. When such happens, an individual is likely to emulate such practices. Therefore, sports do not build character.

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