Friday, March 02, 2007

I'm on Fire Today

Can you believe I'm posting three times in one day? How lucky are you!

ESPN.com pisses me off. What is the f'ing deal with their "insider" crap? You put ads on your site - which is in itself and ad for your television station, which is also not free. So why the hell do I have to subscribe to ESPN Insider to read half the crap on the website?

The reason I'm so upset is this: I'm working on revising a lesson plan I created for my class on teaching writing. Since part of the plan is to go through an article in class and create an outline, I wanted to include an actual article and a sample of what the end-product would be.

When choosing random things for students to read, you have to be careful. You want something that makes a point but isn't too political, because you don't want to offend anyone (or their parents). You want something with broad appeal, because students learn better when they're engaged with the topic at hand. Even though this isn't something they're reading to be tested on - they need the experience of creating an outline, not knowledge of whatever it is they're reading - you have to be careful.

Personally, I like to choose things relating to baseball. I love baseball, it is fairly politically neutral, something nearly every American child is fairly familiar with and, being that it is popular in Latin America and most of Asia (or at least China and Japan) any foreign students you might have will also have some background knowledge of the subject. Plus, if they don't, they still won't have too hard a time with the assignment.

Anyway. I wanted to use a baseball article. Specifically, I wanted to use an article written by Jayson Stark for ESPN back in the 2005 post-season, when the White Sox won the World Series. Stark is an excellent writer. He turns baseball into poetry and he did an excellent job writing about the Sox and what the win meant to Chicago. I can't remember what the specific article I'm thinking of was called, but I remember its brilliance. Plus, at the time, it was one of the few articles that was free. Stark is, I'm assuming, one of ESPN's best writers (I don't care about ... well, any other sport, so I'm really only familiar with baseball writers. They might have some awesome guy (or lady) writing about basketball. I wouldn't know). Anyway, most of Stark's articles are part of the "insider" and you can't read them without a subscription.

But this one wasn't part of the insider, because I read it.

However, when I tried to find it today I discovered that ALL of Stark's archives, and probably all of ESPN's archives, are only available to "insiders." Why? What the fuck is the point? Why can't I go read that article again?

Newspapers are no better - if it has been out for more than two weeks or so, you have to buy the article. HOWEVER, that sort of makes sense since a paper costs $0.50. Plus, you can buy just whatever article you want. ESPN doesn't do that.

So, now I'm a little stuck. I don't yet have all of my books unpacked (I don't have much shelf space in my office, so I don't know where I would put them if I did have them out. I need an essay or article that would interest high-schoolers, not offend them or their parents and not assume any background knowledge that they might not have.

2 comments:

manogirl said...

This may be naive, but does your local library have access to the magazine? I'm not saying you could use it for the lesson plan, necessarily, but you might check which magazines your public library has access to through databases.

And if your local library did, could you not use it in a lesson plan? And make database using part of the plan? I'm just throwing this out there, because I'm a library person now, and it's my first instinct.

Rita said...

That's a good idea. I don't know if it would work though because it's just ESPN's website. Do libraries archive websites?