Morality In Sports

Morality In Sports.  Do sports teach good moral character? This is one of the controversial questions on the forefront of ethics debates and studies today. According to the book, Sports: Why People Love Them!, a sport is defined as an institutionalized, structured competitive activity beyond the realm of play that involves physical exertion and/or the use of complex athletic skills (Delaney & Madigan, 2009). One of the most important aspects in sports aside from talent and teamwork is sportsmanship. If a person follows the rules and regulations, and is respectful throughout the game, that person is thought of as a “good sport.” When it comes to rules and regulations, morality becomes open for interpretation. It is up to the player whether he/she wants to mold their moral principles in each situation that occurs on the field or the court. For example, a person is playing for the home team in a soccer game against the biggest rival team in the area. The score is 1-1 nearing the end of the game, and everything is at stake. When the player dribbles into the opponents’ goal box, he is nudged by a rival defender and dives to get a call. There is only seconds left and the referee calls a penalty kick, which sets the home team up to win the game. Should the player admit it was a dive or take advantage of this incredible opportunity? This is when the goal of the game interferes with a player’s morality. The player should correct the referee however he will most likely ignore that idea completely. The desire to win often governs above all else and influences athletes to ignore the rules and behavioral code of the game. After having played and watched sports for 15 years now, it is evident that sports do not teach good moral character.

The beginning of sports dates back thousands of years ago to the Ancient Olympics in 776 B.C. Over time, sports have become a tradition and with that tradition comes a long history of bad morality, namely cheating. There have been numerous accounts of cheating in various sports in the past. For example, in the WPS World Cup Final, Briana Scurry, the U.S. goalie, came two yards off her line before the ball was kicked in the final penalty shoot-out. In soccer, the rules state that the goalie can only move laterally on the goal line until the ball is kicked. Scurry’s unfair advantage allowed her to save the ball and win the world cup championship for the U.S. Her action left the Chinese traveling home empty-handed and the U.S. team basking in a morally tarnished glory (Simon, 2004). Another example was during the 1986 FIFA World Cup Quarter-Final. Diego Maradona was going up for a head ball in the final seconds of the game. He knew that he could not head the ball so he disguised a header and actually punched the ball into the back of the net to win the game. The referee failed to see this devious action and confirmed it as a score. This incident was coined the “Hand of God.” Twenty years later, Maradona was interviewed and admitted that he did in fact punch the ball in the net. Even to this day, English fans are bitter over that unethical play (Delaney & Madigan, 2009).

A third example is the “Music City Miracle”, the most infamous play ever in the minds of Buffalo Bills’ fans. In the closing seconds of a playoff qualifier, the Tennessee Titans’ tight end, Frank Wycheck, threw a forward pass to Kevin Dyson, who marched 75 yards down the field to score on a kick return. The Bills’ players pleaded with the referee, however the referee confirmed it was a score after official review. In each of these circumstances, a single player or an entire team were faced with an ethical battle: whether or not to be honest and correct the call. As a result of the pressures from the fans, teammates, and coaches, as well as the desire to win, each player cheated in the face of adversity. In my mind, the only message that this sends to our community is that winning is everything. In each scenario, the same question is brought forth in our mind. Are these actions moral? The answer is no. Cheating is immoral, and therefore, unacceptable in fair play.

One of the other issues that seems pertinent, especially in today’s sports, is misconduct. Because of such a problem, there is an extreme lack of good role models in college and professional sports. The general mentality possessed by these athletes, especially males, is that they are above the law. Because of fan praise, popularity, and too much self-confidence, many athletes believe that they are “untouchable” and that the norms and behavioral codes of society do not apply to them. As a result, many athletes have lost their cool in front of thousands of fans. Whether it was a battle within themselves or a battle with the opponent, fans, or referee, such behavior is unacceptable. For example, just yesterday, Serena Williams lost control of her emotions in her tennis semi-final. Williams, already behind in the standings, served the ball and the line judge said her foot was in front of the line. She became outraged and threatened the line judge. The line judge immediately ran to the panel. When Serena was questioned about her actions, she simply replied, “Are you serious?” That same statement made the headlines in the daily newspaper. Williams’ antics lead to crowd disapproval and many angry fans.

Yet another example of misconduct was the assault in the Boise State vs. Oregon football game earlier in the week. After the game and being verbally antagonized, LeGarrette Blount punched an opponent in the face and later, advanced toward rival fans as well. There was a huge upheaval over his actions. As a result, he was suspended for the entirety of the season. The headline in the newspaper read, “UO’s LeGarrette Blount goes crazy in post-game at Boise.”  One might question, “How highly is morality regarded in the minds of these athletes?” Do they know what kind of effect this will have on the sports community? Incidents like these demoralize the image of professional and college athletics. Some say, “It’s fun to watch.” Yes, but is it worth altering the moral consciences of younger athletes, who can’t quite determine the difference between right and wrong yet? The answer is no. Young kids need a positive, decent role model to look up to, in order to influence ethical and moral play.

While bad morality has been a trend in the sports world since its beginning, some argue that sports teach good moral character. These people point to times when players help opposing players back up after knocking them down, use proper language, and shake hands with the rival team and referee. These manners were taught as a matter of etiquette to athletes at a very young age. They were the result of the expectations of coaches rather than personal choice, and therefore, not true expressions of the individual’s morals. As these players got older and more choice was involved, these athletes’ true colors were exposed. As mentioned previously, Serena Williams verbally attacked a line judge and LeGarrett Blount sucker punched an opponent. They might have once been taught how to show good sportsmanship, but it obviously went in one ear and out the other. Serena Williams still possesses a bad attitude and LeGarrette Blount still lacks discipline. These athletes operated with the same mode of behavior that one would expect from a small child, and all their experience in sports did not change that.

There are always players willing to bend or break the rules to gain an unfair advantage. There are always players willing to break the code of conduct to retaliate against or injure another player. You might have heard of players like these, infamous for their actions, but encouraged, in order to raise ticket sales. Two names that are prevalent in my mind for basketball are Dennis Rodman and Charles Barkley. Each player would do whatever necessary they could to pervert the game. Referees could have done more to stop them, but were told by their superiors to let most of it ride. It seems economic interests are more important than sending a good message to the community. In football, one of the most notorious players of all time was Dick Butkus. Every time an offensive player came near him he would use any means necessary to pummel them. He wasn’t satisfied with a normal tackle, he had to hit, pick up, drive, and grind an opponent into the ground. Every time he hit an opponent, he tried to put them in the cemetery, not the hospital. In many games, there reaches a point where “opponents are looked at not as people, but as mere obstacles to be overcome” (Delaney & Madigan, 2009). This is where the moral line is crossed and animal instincts take over. One is now keying only on the opponent and not the rules of the game.

Today, character in sports is a huge problem, especially in professional sports. Chad Johnson and Terrell Owens brag and gloat every chance they get. Plaxico Burress served jail time for carrying a gun in a local bar. Michael Vick was incarcerated for holding dog fights, and Michael Phelps was caught smoking out of a bong. All of these incidents bring about negative media attention and shame to sports. As a result, these actions trickle down and influence the minds of younger athletes that see this throughout their entire childhood. Especially in the computer age, there is no sports incident that a young athlete won’t see. Any of them can log on to the internet and choose from any number of sports videos. Now, we have kids bragging, cheating, trash talking, and fighting at such a young age. These effects make us question sports’ role in our community. In regards to moral behavior, sport is a turn for the worse.

 

Teamwork: True Value

Teamwork on display.  Recently, I attended laser tag with the guys from Ryan 2 North and the girls from Ryan 3 North.  In laser tag, everyone uses guns that fire light to hit the light receptor targets on opposing players.  The three themes of Foundations can be illustrated through my experience.

 

On November 16, my Resident Assistant, Gavin, organized a laser tag trip to Zero Gravity, on Wolf Road.  His friend, who works at Zero Gravity, reserved the whole arena for our group of forty people.  The price for the whole event was only five dollars, and it was worth it.  Everyone that attended was split up into two teams (Red Team and Blue Team).  Each person put on their team vest and grabbed their laser gun.  Then, we ran out into the arena in an attempt to beat the opposing team by killing more people.

 

Laser tag at Zero Gravity relates to the theme of the person because the event is made up of people.  The people are split into teams, and must work together in order to come out victorious.  The attendees of the event were a very diverse bunch, including both guys and girls, along with many different races and ethnicities.  Each individual member of the team has one responsibility: Remain alive while killing the opposing team members.  The laser tag arena is very big and has many obstacles and objects to hide in and behind.  The best obstacle is a massive bridge starting on one side of the arena and stretching to the other side, containing many entrances along the way.  In essence, the first team to storm the bridge and stay there is assured the victory because the bridge overlooks the whole arena, leaving a very small number of hiding spots.  This experience gave all of its participants the chance to collaborate for chance of a win.

 

Teamwork

 

Each team in the arena can be seen as its own society because of the fact the each member of the team must work together toward the common goal of victory.  Laser tag forces the interaction among teammates because the arena is very dark and people tend to be scattered all over the place within a few minutes.  Team members get separated from each other, and must use verbal communication or signals to alert other teammates of their geographical position in the arena.  At one point, I got separated from my team, and was hiding in a bunker.  I looked out over the top of the foliage and yelled the position of the enemy to my teammates.  At that point, one of my teammates shot the enemy forces closest to my position and ran over to help my cover my area of vision with added fire-power.  This experience creates a stronger bond between the members of each team.

 

The laser tag trip relates to nature in two ways: laser tag creates a naturally competitive environment, and the physical laser tag environment, which is meant to mimic that of actual nature, like mountains, natural bridges, trees, and foliage.  The competitive environment commences the minute that people are divided into teams.  Then, the environment becomes even more competitive when victory and bragging rights are at stake.  The physical environment of the laser tag arena is a good attempt at mimicking nature.  The multitude of obstacles in the arena provide for cover as in nature.  The various types of terrain also provide cover.

 

In attending this event, I learned the value of teamwork and how it can be utilized in the real world.  If every person on the team works together, the team as a whole can achieve their goal.

 

The three themes of Foundations are the person, the society, and nature.  Teamwork among the groups is the only way to come out victorious.  Laser Tag is a good team-building activity that creates many opportunities to interact with other people and further your communications skills.  Overall, my experience was a great one.  My team ended up winning every game.

 

On a side note, unrelated to the story, but very much related to the value of teamwork, I was helped out with a car tow recently.  My tire came flying off as I was driving down the road and I went right into a ditch, so I called the guys at albanytow.com to come to my aid.  After I explained the situation on the phone, they sent over 3 people to help me out.  Not 1…3!  The 3 guy worked together as a team to get my car out of the ditch and get my girlfriend and I safely home.  They probably lost money helping me because they brought so many people to my assistance, but I am very grateful.  They acted a team, and although they’ll probably never see it, this is my way of thanking them.

The Red Cross

The Red Cross

When Jean Henri Dunant published the Un Souvenir de Solférino in 1862 about the sufferings the wounded at the battle of Solférino fought in 1859, it spurred the creation of the Red Cross. In the publication, Dunant also highlighted the need for the creation of voluntary aid societies that would offer relief to war victims. The societies would be neutral thus offering aid services to the sick and wounded out in battle.

Formation Of The Movement

Dunant’s suggestion was applauded and seconded by the Société genovoise d’Utilité publique, a Swiss welfare agency. This led to the creation of an aid organization that would grow to be know globally as the Red Cross. In 1864, a 16-delegate meeting was held in Geneva, Switzerland, which would be known as the Geneva Convention. An accord was reached, agreed to and signed by 12 of the 16 nations who attended. The accord was the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick of Armies in the Field.

In the accord, the movement was to exercise impartiality having no decimation to religion, race, class, political opinion, or nationality. Furthermore, it was agreed that medical personnel of armed forces would be neutral. In addition, those who volunteered to offer assistance in the Red cross be accorded the same neutrality and they were to have uniforms and supplies marked with international Red Cross Emblem. It also was agreed that aid and treatment of the sick and wounded be done in the utmost humane manner.

The Movement’s Official Emblems

The Red Cross emblem was a red cross on a white background. It was chosen in honor of Dunant and in reference to his nationality – the colors of the Swiss flag – but the colors were reversed for the emblem. While formulated to have and exercise neutrality, some nations had reservations about the Red Cross because they believed that the emblem held some religious connotations. As such, the formation of the Red Crescent was established so that aid would be offered in Islamic states.

The first use of the Red Crescent was used in the armed conflict between Russia and the Ottoman Empire fought in 1876-1878. However, the symbol was adopted in 1929. Just like the Red Cross, the Red Crescent emblem was designed in honor of the Ottoman Empire without the star and the colors reversed.

In 2005, a third official emblem was adopted by the ICRC. It was in response to mounting pressure by Israel for the recognition and acceptance of MDA as a full member of the ICRC. MDA (Magen David Adom) is the national emergency medical, disaster, ambulance and blood bank service of Israel. The adoption was after a modification was done on the Geneva Conventions also known Protocol III. The MDA would use the Red Crystal as the recognized emblem for the movement, which took effect in 2007. The Red Crystal would be the official neutral emblem used by any national society that felt that the Red Cross and Red Crescent emblem held some religious connotations of Christianity and Islam, respectively.

The Act of Volunteering Benefits Our Teens

The Act of Volunteering Benefits Our Teens

It’s a common frustration of parents and other adults that most of our youth have become a ‘me’ generation. Their attention and their scope of interest do not seem to reach beyond what directly affects them. It seems that a lack of empathy is encroaching itself upon the new generations. One of the good ways to address this is to actively engage our teens in volunteering programs and organizations.
Volunteerism is the act or participation in the altruistic activity of labor, particularly in community services. There are various types of volunteer opportunities for teens across the United States. Types like Educational and School related volunteer opportunities which focus on activities like tutoring, helping in the classroom beyond the regular class hours, book drives aiming at helping particular communities, and campus beautification that touch upon recycling drives and doing some labor. There are several other types to choose from that fit different skills and interests.
Having our teens exposed to activities that place them in an environment wherein the focus is not themselves, will help cultivate understanding on the plight of others and hone their situational awareness. Volunteering helps turn the direction of interest from inward to outward. It provides a good opportunity for the teens to realize that they are fully capable of using skills they already possess for the benefit of their fellow man and their community. Do you have a teen with the affinity for sports? They can sign up for outreach programs that build sporting teams for disenfranchised communities.
The act of volunteering has been proven to be a catalyst toward important self-realizations in those that participate in them. All volunteer programs start with an orientation to familiarize the participants with the activity and the do’s and do not’s. It equips the teens with the know-how on how to deal with certain scenarios that may arise. Orientation also provides a certain amount of expectation on what they’ll be getting into.
Volunteerism empowers the youth during the precarious time of transition from teen to young adult. A lot of our teens have developed the need for immediate gratification. It is something that their social media usage feeds. Immediate gratification is also something that most parents want to curb and then channel into something good. So how would volunteer activities supplement that need and funnel it toward something more positive? Activities that focus on community service like helping animals in need, doing work at an animal shelter or rescue center, beach cleanups, and vegetable pickings yield immediate results.
Teens also crave validation and interaction. Volunteering helps deepen interactions and connections between teens and their peers. There is nothing quite like the bonds that are forged through a fulfilling hands-on activity. The ability to practice and sharpen teamwork abilities is crucial for any teen. A big bonus would be the discovery of leadership capabilities. Vast self-improvement has been known to occur during and after volunteer activities. Time management, dependability, and communication are just a few of the personal aspects that are enhanced by volunteering.
For teens that are goal-oriented and have a clear idea on what profession they want to get into, volunteering offers a great chance for them to practice the skills necessary and obtain hands-on experience at a relatively young age. If you have a teen that wishes to break into the medical field, there are organizations like Lion’s Heart: Teen Volunteers and Leaders have programs that partner with medical missions and even some hospitals.
Volunteering also provides the opportunity to go abroad to countries like The Dominican Republic, India, Spain, Bali, and many others. Most teen volunteers find that it is not only their own lives that they enrich through volunteering. It’s also the lives of those they come into contact with and those that they help both long-term and short-term.
Having an established history for volunteering also looks great in college applications! It is something that all admissions offices look out for. They always aim to admit students that have it in them to espouse the ideals and vision of their particular establishment.
As you can see, volunteering is an activity that is worth exposing your teens to. It is something that also a parent can get into. Altruism isn’t something that we improve without active cultivation. Any positive value cannot flourish by itself. Parents are an integral ingredient to building well-rounded teens that grown into effective leaders of tomorrow. So let’s start today. Talk your teens about volunteering.

The Olympic Ideal

The Olympics are a major international event of summer and winter sports, in which thousands of athletes participate in a wide variety of events. The Olympic Games originated in Ancient Greece in 776 B.C. with the values of Olympism. Olympism was a philosophy of life that balanced the qualities of the body, will, and the mind. By blending sport and culture, Olympism sought to create a way of life based on joy found in effort, the educational value of positive role models, and respect for universal ethical principles. These elemental values were the strive for excellence, the jubilation of effort, fair play, respect for others and harmony between body and mind, all of which have the same meaning for everyone:  fulfillment of their ambitions and betterment of the world. The Olympic Games continued to foster its ideals for until 339 A.D. when they were shut down by the emperor. In the late 1800s, Baron Pierre de Coubertin eloquently spoke of reviving the Olympic Games to an audience of delegates from countries all over Europe. The idea was voted on and unanimously favored the Olympics. Today, the Olympic Games are held every two years, alternating between the Summer and Winter Olympics, and countries from all over the world travel to compete. Based on the values it fosters, the Olympics have the capacity to bind and bring peace to all the competing nations.

When Pierre de Coubertin had the idea of renewing the Ancient Olympic Games, his main priority was peace among nations, the primary reason the United Nations supports the Olympics. Coubertin was convinced that peace education could only be effective if learning was accompanied by personal experiences. Sport in this sense could become an instrument to reform the international economy and politics, and thus, society as a whole. Today, the Olympic ideals run parallel with ideals of the United Nations: tolerance, equality, and fair play. One of the greatest Greek traditions that is still upheld today is the idea of the ancient Greek truce or ekecheiria. Ekecheria called for all hostilities to cease during the Olympic Games. It encouraged a peaceful environment and ensured the safe passage and participation of athletes and spectators from all over the world.

In the article, UN: At World Sports Forum, Deputy Secretary-General says sports can heal divisions between peoples, communities, and entire nations, the Former Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, declared that men and women athletes have a significant role in the global mission of the United Nations. He emphasized the importance of promoting international understanding among the youth of nations and building strong, diplomatic relationships with our competitors (M2 Presswire, 2000, p.1). Annan believed that the realm of influence that the Olympic Games catalyzed was too important to overlook. He stated, “…the truth is that not very few boys and girls grow up saying ‘I want to be Secretary-General of the United Nations’, ‘I want to be chief executive officer, or even ‘I want to be president’. But millions do grow up hoping secretly – or not so secretly—that they will be the next Ronaldo or the next Michael Jordan” (M2 Presswire, 2000, p.3). Athletes’ special qualities and skills make them models for the rest of society. The values of teamwork, discipline, and sportsmanship are not only agents in victory, but skills for life. Nations should promote these principles because they are respected; the result is a solid foundation for stable and prosperous societies (M2 Presswire, 2000, p.4). Especially when integrated teams succeed, the effects are far-reaching. They demonstrate how people of with different backgrounds and belief systems can work together to achieve a common goal, and are an ideology that the whole world can embrace.

The Olympics bring people together regardless of class, nationhood, ethnicity, or culture. “One may wonder, at first glance, what sport, and the United Nations have in common, and how the realm of corner kicks, long jumps, and home runs fits into the world of treaties, peacekeeping operations, and rural development projects” (M2 Presswire, 2000, p.2). It is the pursuit of excellence among athletes and among nations that they share. Unification on the field can lead to collaboration in other dimensions society, such as the betterment of education, the rectification of health issues, and the containment of AIDS. The sporting industry is in a great position to make a huge difference in the world by teaming up with businesses, trade unions, and non-government organizations who have expressed interest in reform (M2 Presswire, 2000, p.3). United Nations’ agencies, such as UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund, are presently working to abolish child labor, and could use the influence.

Social Acceptance

The desire to achieve social acceptance is an unwaveringly corrupt force among teenagers and young adults. Especially in regards to sports teams, people will do anything to fit in. Older players exploit the social interests of the younger players through hazing: a ritualistic initiation test or task that involves harassment, abuse, or humiliation. In the article, “Beyond the Locker Room: Campus Bars and College Athletics” by Timothy Curry, detrimental types of male bonding are explained. Many of these involve the sexual mistreatment of women to appeal to the entire team’s satisfaction. Curry’s main source is Marcello, a 5-year collegiate athlete whom he interviewed for an inside take on the effects of team bonding and social competition. Curry argues that campus bars and drinking are the primary agents in facilitating aggression and sexual misconduct by male athletes.

Curry begins his article by introducing previous research conducted on male bonding in locker rooms. The male bonding included an abundance of conversational insults and sexual innuendo towards women: a possible testament to more appalling actions toward females. Among the team members, was a group called the Dark Side, a rebellious faction that would take part in various criminal enterprises just so they would have a story to tell the following day. The group was led by King, a transfer who introduced a notorious mentality, one that encouraged team and university rule breaking. The resulting stories were narrated the next day in the locker room to set the standard for the other athletes. Close-calls were nicknamed MacGyver – “named after the television character who was forever escaping from seemingly impossible situations”. It is surprising that these athletes had the audacity to actually go out and commit crimes with no regard for their own safety, simply for the good of a story. The sole motivation and ultimate goal was to have a story to rival the set standard of previous athletes, which served to enhance the competition between them. Athletes were not judged and accepted based on character, but on incompetent acts of transgression. The main subjects of these stories were mostly “getting into fights and screwing bimbos”, which were induced by a common forerunner: the campus bar (Curry, 1998).

Campus bars were the main place where athletes would go to get wasted and make poor decisions. The quest for social acceptance was quickly brought to light at the bar. Athletes were given special attention and privileges, such as free or cheap drinks, because bartenders assumed that the athletes would attract more business. “Marcello indicated that the going rate was seven beers for a dollar” (Curry, 1998). One example was a combination of seven mixed drinks, known as “Doctor Peppers – a brew consisting of a 12-oz beer, an ounce of amaretto, and a shot of 151 proof hard liquor” (Curry, 1998). The athlete would down as many as he could and challenge the other athletes to top him, and so the competition began. Along with the desire to impress one’s fellow teammates, came the desire to “own” the bar. Marcello asserted that a fighter would pick a person out of the crowd simply because of his physical appearance and beat him. The other teammates would join in or attempt to stop him. The victim of the fight was then kicked out because it interfered with business, and the athletes continued to drink. Not only did the bar supply athletes with cheap drinks to get drunk, but it encouraged fighting by ignoring that the athletes were even involved. By ignoring the escapades of the athletes, campus bartenders, in a sense, condoned the acts of violence. They were economically motivated and allowed these misbehaviors to occur as a result.

Campus bars also functioned as a prime location for sexual aggression. The excessive amount of drinking that took place guaranteed women that would be easily taken advantage of. These women were known as bimbos. One athlete would take a woman back to her apartment and have sex with her. The rest of the athletes would watch from a skylight or hide in the athlete’s room and watch the sexual activity take place – this was referred as a show (Curry, 1998).  According to Marcello, “if the woman discovered that the others were watching during the show, she would typically try to escape, and the athlete would try to prevent her from doing so” – this was known as a rodeo (Curry, 1998). The social competition between athletes continued in this respect as the on-looking athletes recorded the amount of time it took the girl to be caught or escape. After the girl had passed out from drinking, the athletes would often partake in a train – the teammates would have consecutive sexual escapades with the female. At the conclusion of this outrageous sexual misconduct, the athletes would dispose of the girl to absolve the chance of a long term relationship (Curry, 1998). These documented actions of these athletes are appalling because they essentially engaged in rape. The most disturbing part is that these athletes only partook in these behaviors to be accepted by the team. It didn’t matter what the rest of society thought of them or that they knew the difference between right and wrong, it was a sole desire to be accepted by the team.

Curry asserted that drinking and campus bars were the main causes of the belligerence and sexual transgression that male athletes exhibited. The aspiration for social acceptance began in the locker room, but was exemplified at the campus bars. Once inside the bar, athletes were given special drinking privileges and encouraged to attract more drinkers. The atmosphere of the bar fueled the fire for their constant competition through drinking, fighting, and deceiving girls. The campus bars catalyzed the athlete’s behavior because it added to the stereotypical “untouchability” of athletes under the law. In the minds of these athletes, the campus bar was seen as a public place, outside the locker room, where normal society existed. If they could get away with these activities in a public place, they must be able to get away with it altogether. Whether it was getting innocent bystanders kicked out of the bar for being “queer”, or having consecutive sex with a girl that had passed out from drinking, the athletes’ behavior was completely unethical. Physical aggression and sexual assault were understood by these athletes as competitive opportunities, rather than illegal offenses.

The Importance of Communication

Communication is a crucial skill to possess. Good communication proves effective in maintaining a positive and healthy relationship. Especially in a parent-teen relationship, good communication is necessary. Three main strategies of communication that can be used to develop and maintain a successful relationship are to give lots of positive feedback, keep the lines of communication open, and avoid communication barriers.

One important communication strategy for parents to utilize with their teen is to give a lot of positive feedback.  Teens need to hear compliments and encouragement just like the rest of us. An abundance of deserved praise from a parent can have many positive effects on a teen. For example, when a parent shows support, it boosts self confidence in a teen. Affirmations, especially from a parent, raise a teen’s self esteem and promote a sense of self worth. Overall, positive feedback has a firm affect on the maintenance of a strong relationship, because teens will be willing to seek out their parents more if they know their opinions will be accepted.

One strategy that I can employ with my parent is to keep the lines of communication open.  Talking about everyday happenings with your parents can build a stronger connection. This is due to the fact that parents and teens will become more comfortable around each other. Comfort grows when constant listening and understanding plays out in a relationship. Comfort also encourages more conversation. Communicating regularly with your parents can show them that you are responsible enough to make your own decisions as well. For example, let’s explore a situation where a young woman, Mandy, rides to practice with a different friend than usual. Mandy knew her parents would wonder why she decided to ride to practice with Jenna, instead of Sam, her usual driver. Because of this, she told her parents that she made the decision because Sam drove too fast. As a result, her parents appreciated her good judgment. In this instance, Mandy’s parents recognized that she was responsible and will probably give her more privileges. In general, openness in a relationship can build trust.

One essential communication skill that my parent and I can appropriate as a team is to avoid communication barriers. Two key examples are criticizing and interrupting. Criticizing is defined as making a negative evaluation of the other person, his/her actions, or attitudes. Instead of criticizing, avoid negative associations and express your opinion in a better way. For example, let’s use an example where a father criticizes his son, John.  John’s dad makes a negative evaluation of John’s actions. He says that John has been bumming around for 10 weeks. As an alternative, John’s dad could have said, “John, you really haven’t been trying your hardest in the last ten weeks and it makes me angry that you are not living up to your potential.” The alternative response lets John know that his father is upset, without overdoing it. Another example of a communication barrier is interrupting. Interrupting is defined as consistently stopping the flow of the conversation by trying to say what you want or feel, without allowing the other person to be heard. As a substitute, one should continue listening attentively until the other person is finished, and then volunteer a response. Avoiding communication barriers is an effective strategy because it allows the conversation to resolve of its own volition.

Three prime strategies that can be used to construct and uphold a successful relationship are to give lots of positive feedback, keep the lines of communication open, and to avoid communication barriers. Positive feedback from a parent is effective because it raises self esteem and promotes a feeling of self value in a teen. Teens talking regularly with their parents can set the foundation for stronger relationships. Avoiding communication barriers can lead to many good conversations. This is beneficial because it also strengthens the parent-teen relationship. Ultimately, effective communication strategies between parents and teens are building blocks of lifelong, successful social interactions.

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The Basis of Inequalities in Society

The Basis of Inequalities in Society

There has been inequality among people in every society and no one was quite sure why.  For years, researchers have searched for the basis of these inequalities, finding various reasons.  The basis of all of the inequalities in society is the combination of “self-preservation” and greed.

According to Rousseau (1762), the most ancient society is that of the family.  Within this unit lies the first source of the inequalities in society.  “Self-preservation” is the idea that people will do whatever they have to in order to provide for their own needs.  Rousseau (1762) gave an example using children:

“…children remain attached to the father only so long as they need him for their preservation.  As soon as this need ceases, the natural bond is dissolved.  The children, released from the obedience they owed to the father, and the father, released from the care he owed his children, return equally to independence” (p. 121).

According to this, the children need their father to provide for their needs only until they are old enough to provide for themselves.  When the children reach that age, they and father are free to go there separate paths.  At this point, the family unit only remains together by choice.  This idea of “self-preservation” creates a problem.  In the real world, each person takes more than they give back with the intention of helping out their own cause.  If every person provides solely for their own needs, chaos will ensue.  People all have wants and needs, but at times only the needs can be satisfied.  Not every person can have all that they want.  Luckily for everyone, there is no society in the world where “self-preservation” is complete.  There will always be someone who is looking out for others as well as himself, which will allow better society to live in.

The other source of all of the inequalities in society is greed.  Webster’s Dictionary of the English Language (2005) defined greed as a “selfish desire to acquire more than one needs or deserves” (p. 112).  This is shown in Hardin’s The Tragedy of the CommonsThe Tragedy of the Commons (1968) involves conflict between self-interest and the common good.  Hardin (1968) uses an example of this conflict when he says,

“… the tragedy of commons reappears in problems of pollution.  Here it is not a question of taking something out of the commons, but of putting something in—sewage, or chemical, radioactive, and heat wastes into water; noxious and dangerous fumes into the air…The rational man finds that his share of the cost of the wastes he discharges into the commons is less than the cost of purifying his wastes before releasing them.”

The person who puts the pollutants into the water is being very greedy by not properly disposing of the waste only because of the extra amount of time and energy it would take him.  This selfish and greedy act could potentially hurt other people if they were to drink the polluted water.  Selfish acts similar to this create inequalities whether the effects on other people are direct or indirect.

The in-class discussion example of a “farm commons” is another example of how greed affects people (Redkey, 2006).  Assuming that each person is allowed to own one cow which grazes on the shared land, why does a person need or want another?  The answer is greed.  For some reason, people want what they don’t have, even if it serves no purpose.  Buying another cow is more beneficial than detrimental to the purchaser, so he will get that extra cow regardless of the effects it will have on the “farm commons”.  When other people see that one person has two cows while everybody else has only one, they will also buy another cow.  These excess cows will consume until the land is bare, destroying the “farm commons” and in a sense, the bond between the people sharing it.

The Aqua Ducks tour that our school class went on years ago in upstate NY was not just a bus ride and a boat trip; it was a learning experience.  Most importantly, it showed the ownership of property.  Even back when Albany was created, people were greedy.  People found this new area and colonized it immediately, outfitting it to their every need and want.  Every inch of the land was bought, sold, and re-sold many times over.  Everyone wanted as many possessions as possible because for some reason, possessions, like that of land, were a sign of wealth.  Why does anyone need more possessions or more land?  The answer is simple: to satisfy the thirst of our greed.  In theory, the extra land could be sold for more money than it was bought for, or maybe production could increase with the extra available space, but this unneeded purchase effects only the owner in a positive way.  Captain Mike, of the Albany Aqua Ducks (2006) said, “The Ten Broeck mansion has the biggest estate in Albany, sitting on 5 acres of land; it also has the most luxuries of all of the buildings…”

Ten Broeck Mansion

This supports the idea of greed.  General Abraham Ten Broeck, the owner of the mansion, had the most possessions out of everyone in the city of Albany, partly because his house sat on 5 acres of land.  As a result, he was considered very wealthy at the time.  The problem with the division of land is that it creates inequality because some people can not afford as much as others, and therefore are no longer seen as equal.

“Self-preservation” and greed are the two main sources of all of the inequalities in a society.  These issues have grown to dramatic proportions over the years and remain prevalent today.  The most common problems today are the “neighbor battles”.  Neighbors, who should attempt to be friends, try to better their homes only to beat out the guy next door.  This is very childish and caused by greed and self-preservation.  If each person acted in an unselfish manner, by thinking about other people as well as themselves, everyone would be happier and better off in their current society.

 

 

Responsibility

Richard Niebuhr, a bright theologian, from the early 1900’s wrote a number of books on theology, ethics, and inherent responsibility.  He once described his theory of responsibility as having four parts: response, interpretation, accountability, and social solidarity.  The ideas Richard brings to the table are exemplified in Khaled Housseini’s book, The Kite Runner, through the actions of the main character, Hassan.

 

Baba was the father of the two sons, Amir and Hassan. After he married, his wife had Amir.  Baba then committed adultery and ended up with a second son, Hassan. Since adultery is seen as a sin in Islam, Hassan was never recognized by Baba as a true son and was therefore hidden from the world in a sense. Due to these circumstances, Hassan would lead a life in the shadows, not being recognized for his responsibility.

The first part of responsibility is response. A popular tournament in Afghanistan where the story takes place, involves kite running. Everyone takes their kites and tries to run into the strings of other kites to knock them out of the sky. The normal response if a kite falls out of the sky is to run it down and keep it as a de facto trophy. When Amir went kite running and knocked down a kite, Hassan responded by running it down for him. The problem with the choice of action was that it would endanger him.

The neighborhood bully, Assef, cornered Hassan after he ran into an alley in an attempt to retrieve the kite. Assef asked for the kite and Hassan said, “Amir agha won the tournament and I ran this kite for him. I ran it fairly. This is his kite.” Hassan interpreted Assef’s question as meaning that Assef wanted the kite, so he responded accordingly in a mor aggressive manner.  Assef then raped Hassan in the alley and did not take the kite.

Amir had ran after Hassan and stopped at the corner of the alley in fear when he realized that Hassan was not alone. Amir watched as Assef raped Hassan. Amir showed no responsibility and ran home. Hassan, who was showing responsibility and standing up for Amir to get the kite, was held accountable for his actions when he refused to give the kite to Assef. This accountability is the third part of Niebuhr’s “theory of responsibility.” Although Hassan did nothing wrong, his actions caused a terrifying response by Assef.

The fourth and final component of Niebhur’s “theory of responsibility” is a social solidarity. Social solidarity is the idea that people are interdependent. Amir and Hassan are a perfect example of this, Amir needs Hassan to be around when he is bored and to protect him when he is in danger. Hassan needs Amir to be his friend and return the favor of helping him when he is in trouble. When Hassan was about to be raped, he needed Amir’s help, but Amir had already left. Responsibility in Amir’s case meant intervening in that catastrophic situation to ensure Hassan would get away from Assef, but instead he ran.  Responsibility differs greatly among the two characters early on.  Amir attempts to make up for his poor choices later in life by saving Hassan’s son from danger.

Emotional Intelligence

Arnold Schwarzenegger has a very strong personality.  He is emotionally stable, charismatic, extroverted, self-motivated, and intelligent.  Schwarzenegger’s emotional stability is part of the Big Five model.  Having emotional stability means that one resists thinking negatively and has few negative emotions.  Schwarzenegger’s extroversion is also part of the Big Five model.  Being extroverted means being outgoing, emotionally expressive, being more socially dominant, and having greater interpersonal skills.  All of the traits that I have listed for Arnold Schwarzenegger are the traits that make up great leaders.  Schwarzenegger’s emotional stability allows him to keep his stress level very low, while allowing him to enjoy his life and his job, both of which can be very strenuous.  Second, Schwarzenegger’s charismatic personality appeals to many people; it makes him a very likable person.  Schwarzenegger’s extroversion is a key factor that allows him to maintain and enjoy a leadership role.  It also promotes a high level of performance because he has the capability to interact with everyone more equally.  Schwarzenegger’s self-motivation is very important because it allows him to set any goal, no matter how far-fetched, and work towards it.  This also means that he is persistent in working towards whatever goal he chooses to set.  Finally, Schwarzenegger is intelligent.  He has ability to think logically and clearly under pressure; this, in turn, allows him to keep his focus when he needs it.

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s aforementioned traits were crucial to his ascent to his position as the governor of California.  He set the goal of becoming the governor, and began searching for ways that he could attain his goal.  He used his connections to educate himself on the roles of the governor and how to repair California’s economy.  Then, he used his likable personality to his advantage as he campaigned to become the governor.  Eventually, Schwarzenegger was elected governor.

There may be a dark side to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s charisma and leadership skills. In most of his movies, Schwarzenegger lives by the idea that rules don’t apply.  During his ascent to government, he was once quoted as saying that his opponent’s were “girly men”.  Now although this is not a huge deal, demeaning opponents is not really the correct way to campaign.  It was also stated in the case that he does not pay attention to political correctness.  The fact that he will do whatever he needs to do to attain a goal can be a bit scary since he has a great deal of political power and a number of powerful connections. So far, Schwarzenegger has done an amazing job in California, but he needs to remain mindful of his actions.

Schwarzenegger had a rough childhood. The combination of traits that he now possesses creates a very strong personality that is hard to influence.  When Schwarzenegger sets his mind on something, he does whatever he can to achieve his goal.  In the case, he was quoted as saying, “There is no one, and when I say no one, I mean no one, who will back me off my mission” (667).  I am not trying to suggest that he would do anything illegal, but trying to convince him to change whatever plan he has in mind may be very difficult.  Schwarzenegger’s strong personality might create communication problems between himself and his peers.  For example, Schwarzenegger might not see the issues that the teacher’s union brings up in the same light.  If Schwarzenegger’s interests happen to clash with the interests of the teacher’s union, it may take a while to find a resolution.

Take Responsibility, Then Volunteer

No one is quite sure how nature and the human race were created.  No matter how either came about, one thing is certain, nature is fragile.  Humans are destructive by nature, and because of their destructive acts toward nature, the human race now has the sole responsibility of caring for it and salvaging it as best they can.

Nature can be defined as anything that is not man-made.  By this definition, the earth would be considered nature, before the human race appeared on it.  Nature itself has a delicate equilibrium among all of its inhabitants, excluding humans.  Each being, whether it is a plant or an animal, has a purpose in relation to nature.  For example, a big animal may kill and eat a small animal for food before being killed and eaten by an even bigger animal.  Nature is self-sustaining, and provides the environment for all the creatures in it.  Until the human race came to inhabit the earth, nature took care of itself and everything was in balance.

Garret Hardin once said, “In nature, the criterion is survival.  Is it better for a species to be small and hideable, or large and powerful?  Natural selection commensurates the incommensurables.  The compromise achieved depends on a natural weighting of the values of the variables.”[i]  Hardin believes that natural selection, or “survival of the fittest” maintains the natural balance of nature.  Humans were the first creatures to knock the earth out of its natural balance through the killing of animals that nature would have dealt with, and through industrious activity, which does not belong in or around nature.  The human race must take care of nature by trying to recreate its natural equilibrium because the earth now needs humans to preserve it.

  1. Richard Niebuhr described responsibility as having four parts: response, interpretation, anticipation of reaction to our reaction, and social solidarity.[ii] In applying nature to this theory, assume that the human race killed too many of a certain species of animal. This, in turn, would throw off nature’s equilibrium.  Assume then that the prey of that animal began to overpopulate because the animal that the human race almost drove to extinction was not there to equalize the amount of the prey.  The logical response to this would be to think about how to solve this problem.  Being responsible, the human race would anticipate that nature may destroy itself unintentionally without help from them.  Finally, the human race would realize that the responsible action to take would be to stop killing the predators, and possibly re-introduce some deteriorating predator species.  The human race has done exactly what was described, but on a much larger scale.  The human race has killed off many natural predators and destroyed millions of acres of land, creating overpopulation among the predator’s prey in small areas of land.  Nature is ubiquitous, meaning that any time the human race develops land for some industrial function, all of the animals in that area and their natural habitats are destroyed.  Niebuhr’s Theory of Responsibility would suggest that the human race analyze the damage it has caused, and find a way to reverse it.

The Omnivore’s Dilemma, by Michael Pollan, shows how the actions of the human race affect nature and its equilibrium.[iii]  The main problem is that society today is becoming increasingly fast-paced.  This has led to the creation of fast-food.  Farmers who produce food for these fast-food restaurants are hurting nature.  The farmers level huge amounts of land and prepare it to facilitate the growth of the food that the fast-food restaurants sell.  The same products, and or animals, are raised over and over on the same piece of land, draining the ground of all of the essential nutrients.  Then, only bits and pieces of the final products are used by the fast-food restaurants; the rest of the food is disposed of.  Not only is this wasting food and draining nutrients from the area, it is also destroying the natural habitat of the animals that used to live there.  This affects the surrounding areas because the animals that are now homeless must move into the territory of other animals, leading to overpopulation.

In the movie The Day After Tomorrow, a group of scientists are drilling for samples of ice in Scotland when one of the scientists drills too deep.[iv]  This causes a massive chain reaction that disrupts nature’s natural equilibrium.  A colossal sheet of ice separates from Iceland and melts, increasing the water level of the earth, which then disrupts the temperature of the water.  All of this leads to the beginning of a new ice age.  Snow covers the whole northern part of the United States, killing millions of people.  This scenario could actually happen.  Roland Emmerich, the director and producer of The Day After Tomorrow, most likely created this movie to raise awareness on the effect that humans have and potentially could have on nature.

Immediate actions need to be taken so as to stop the destruction of land, stop the overpopulation of animals, and allow nature to be left alone.  As of right now, there are many environmental conservation groups working hard to save as much land as they can in order to preserve the natural habitats of all of the animals on the earth.  There are also laws that were created in an attempt to balance animal populations by hunting.  To this day, hunters must be granted access to hunt certain animals in certain areas, at certain times.  This is a reasonable attempt at controlling animal population.  In regards to the animals near extinction, there are many man-made nature preserves where humans are attempting to breed the animals to increase the population of each once again.

Nature has its own balance which the human race upset at some point in earth’s recent history.  The human race’s careless destruction of land and animals has led to many problems in nature that need to be fixed as best as possible.  The movie The Day After Tomorrow shows what can happen to the earth if it is not taken care of.  Nature is self-regulating and could return to normal with a little help from the humans that need it to survive.

 

[i] Garrett Hardin, The Tragedy of Commons. 1-12.

[ii] Niebuhr, The Meaning of Responsibility, 87-91.

[iii] Pollan, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, 102-105.

[iv] Emmerich, The Day After Tomorrow.

Summer Olympic Games

Summer Olympic Games are held every four years in various venues across the globe.  The Summer Olympics are a world-wide competition that invites each country to send its best athletes to compete in sixteen days of events, ranging from basketball to martial arts.  It promotes sportsmanship and moral principles above all, but also dedication, hard work, and athleticism.  When a country hosts the Olympic Games, it is required to provide comfort, and safety and security for all of the people that wish to attend because the whole world will be watching the event on television.  The 2008 Summer Olympics will be held in Beijing, China.  Unfortunately, China has a major pollution issue; there is air pollution as well as water pollution.  It is imperative that these issues are resolved before the Olympic Games next year.

In regards to air pollution, China is listed as one of the top three contributors of air pollution emissions in the world (“Pollution”).  While it is believed that the largest cause of air pollution is motor vehicle emissions, there are many other sources, including chemical and power plants, oil refineries, and most other heavy industry.  These factories and plants release toxins into the air which deplete the ozone layer surrounding the earth and harm human health.  On a very recent trip to China, Satoko Ishikawa, an American citizen, said, “The dust and smoke were so thick that, almost from the moment our aircraft landed, my husband and I started nervously re-checking our departure arrangements and wondering exactly how many breaths we would have to take before it was time to leave… the pollution began to return just as we were leaving…” (10)  The pollution has become so bad that some people may not want to attend the Olympic Games, but rather watch it all on television if the pollution is not stopped.

According to Jonathan Fenby, of Financial Times, China is currently following a five-year plan, created by Deng Xiaoping, the leader of the Communist party.  According to the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), this plan calls for a ten-percent reduction of pollution emissions, but so far, China’s pollution emissions have risen (Fenby 17).  Analysts of the Beijing Review reported that sulfur-dioxide (SO2) emissions increased last year by 1.8 percent (Power Plants to Cut SO2 Emissions by Two-thirds 1).  This totals to a whopping 25.94 million tons of sulfur-dioxide emissions, with at least half of the pollutants originating from power plants run through the use of coal.  The Energy Information Administration said that the combination of increasing sulfur-dioxide emissions and soot from the combustion of coal has led to acid-rain affecting one-third of China (“China: Environmental Issues” 1).  This acid rain pollutes the China’s limited water supply.

Water-pollution in China is just as bad, if not worse, than the air pollution.  Over the past few years, China’s industry and economy has experienced a large amount of growth and prosperity, but the government is not adequately distributing funds among the many firms (Wu et al. 251-256).  The water-pollution has only increased of recent because China’s water-supply and treatment infrastructure is very weak.  Failure to increase the amount of water-treatment facilities and improve them will most likely result in an increased number of deaths because of the fact that water can carry millions of chemicals, toxins, and diseases.  The Olympic Games can not be held in an area that is unfit for human existence.

Up until 1998, China did not have any type of environmental protection agency.  The State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) was the first; it was created in order to circulate environmental policy and regulations throughout the nation and gather information about the environment to facilitate the improvement of it state of condition (“China: Environmental Issues” 1).  Even with China’s environmental organizations and the help of the government, pollution continued to remain high.

The government has been the least effective force in the fight against pollution.  The first law that the government passed to combat pollution was the Cleaner Production Promotion Law.  This law created programs with the sole purpose of demonstrating how to lower rates of pollution.  It even pointed out the most heavily polluted areas in China that required attention.  The Cleaner Production Promotion Law proved ineffective because of the absence of the word “mandatory”.  People simply did not follow the law most likely because of the fact that following it was optional.

Specifically regarding Beijing, the Energy Information Administration said this: “In an effort to reduce air pollution in Beijing, the municipal government in 1999 ordered city vehicles to convert to liquefied petroleum gas and natural gas. By 2002, Beijing had the largest fleet of natural gas buses in the world – a total of 1,630 vehicles” (“China: Environmental Issues” 1).  Unfortunately, a report by the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) in 2003 showed less than satisfactory progress toward China’s pollution removal goals.  Since 2003, there have been no laws passed related to the issue of pollution.  This poses a major problem for China since the 2008 Olympics are just one year away.  If the decaying environment is not enough, maybe the massive wave of negative publicity that the Olympics normally carry with it will inspire the government to take action.

At the moment, China is considering its options for lessening pollution.  According to the Energy Information Administration, China is currently researching and testing new technologies to prevent air pollution and treat any water pollution (“China: Environmental Issues” 1).  A small step was taken by SEPA last month when the vice-director, Pan Yue, suspended 30 national projects that were not able to reach its environmental standards (Bremner 1).  The problem is that currently in China, there is no effective legislation to clean up the environment.  China has done very little to solve its pollution issues of recent. Time is of the essence, and something needs to be done immediately.  The government has laid out multiple plans to solve pollution, but has taken no action.

The Olympics Games are a world-wide competition that joins the best athletes from every country for sixteen days of events.  The host country of the Olympic Games is selected three years in advance of the next Olympics in order to give that country time to prepare for the event.  The host position is highly regarded because of the publicity that the Olympic Games bring in.  Beijing, China was selected as the location for the 2008 Summer Olympics.  There is only one problem standing in China’s way: pollution.  If China is not able to clean up the environment enough to provide for the comfort, safety, and security of the crowds that will watch the games, some people may not attend.  Lastly, if that occurs, the amount of negative publicity that China receives will be devastating.

 

Works Cited:

  • Bremner, Brian.  “China’s Big, Dirty Secret.”  BusinessWeek. 1 Feb. 2005 <http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/feb2005/nf2005011_6686_db065.htm>.
  • “China: Environmental Issues.” EIA.  Jul. 2003 <http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/chinaenv.html>.
  • Fenby, Jonathan.  “Beijing is aiming to cut industrial pollution levels.”  Financial Times Jan. 2007: 17.
  • Ishikaa, Shatoko.  “Beijing and back, hardly drawing breath.”  Financial Times. Jan. 2007: 10.
  •  “Polluted Water Puts 2.5 Mln Residents at Risk” Beijing Review. 3 Apr. 2007 <http://www.bjreview.com.cn/headline/txt/2007-04/03/content_60801.htm>.
  • Pollution.  2007. 8 Apr. 2007 < http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/Pollution>.
  • “Power Plants to Cut SO2 Emissions by Two-thirds.”  Beijing Review. 29 Mar. 2007 < http://www.bjreview.com.cn/headline/txt/2007-03/29/content_60424.htm>.
  • Wu, Changhua, Crescencia Maurer, Yi Wang, Shouzheng Xue, Devra Lee Davis

 

Jack and Jack: The Quick Bio

Jack and Jack, who are they?

The first question you’re probably asking is why are you talking about this on a site about running.  The reason is because the Whistler Spirit Run was not just a run – it was meant to raise money for important causes, which it did a phenomenal job of.  Jack and Jack are giving back despite only being famous for a short time.  This post is dedicated to them…

Jack and Jack

Jack and Jack is actually Jack Gilinsky and Jack Johnson, two Nebraska teens who seemingly came out of nowhere and are now living in LA, California, the most expensive area in the country, and touring the country singing their music.  How did they get here you ask?  Vine.  If you’re not familiar it’s a social media app that allows users to post 6 second videos that play on a loop.  Vine was acquired by Twitter in 2012, and ever since, it’s picked up massive momentum, similar to that of Facebook when it first started.

Jack & Jack found success in 2013-2014 using Vine by consistently posting their content and gaining a gigantic follower base.  That  consistency paid off, allowing the American team of two to do a complete life 180 and start a legit music career.

Why did so many people follow them?

People follow the Jack & Jack team for the same reason they follow anyone popular in social media – they’re captivating.  Fame on YouTube requires you to not care about what anyone in the world thinks.  You need to completely let go, be yourself, which is hard for many people during normal life.  Try doing the same in front of millions of strangers.  Social media may make it easier, since you’re only staring at a computer screen, but let’s not downplay it because it’s a unique ability that the masses don’t possess.

The start of momentum was 2013.  Jack & Jack loaded funny 6 second videos into Vine in mid 2013.  One of the videos – I Never Miss – went viral, accumulating 25k followers in a very short period.  Loading vine after vine, the Jack and Jack duo send out 6 seconds of singing or comedy.  After high school graduation in mid 2014, Jack and Jack moved to Los Angeles, California to launch a music career with the help of DigiTour Media.  The tour stretched across 18 cities and was made up of singing, comedy, interaction with fans; it sold out.

Jack and Jack continued to pick up momentum through 2014, adding a list of sponsors, tag teams, and guest spots to their resumes, such as Verizon, ABC, JanoFest, Tyga, Kid Ink, and more.  Popularity continued to increase as Jack and Jack monetized their lives through social media.  8 months later, in early 2015, the shared account of these two teens had amassed more than 5M followers, ranking them among the top 20 most popular people on Vine.

Where Are They Now?

Here are the current stats on social media:

Latest YouTube video: 7,241,628 views on Jack and Jack – California (Official Music Video)

Twitter following: 1.5 million at a career total of 1,813 tweets

Facebook likes: 937,811

Vine: 1,884,615,211 loops  (almost 2 billion? wow.)

iTunes: Released 11 singles, totaling 1.3 million songs sold without a label’s help.

Current status:  On Tour. Loving Life.

 

Jack and Jack Giving Back

  • Skin cancer awareness promotion
  • Anti-bullying promotion (targeted at social media like Vine and Facebook)
  • Safe driving promotion, in partnership with Michelin tire company
  • Charitable causes, such as Mile for Music and Ronald McDonald

That’s a lot of returned love in a couple years from the teens.

Peace Out,

Whistler Team