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GRE Argument Essay: The Following Appeared In A Letter To The Editor Of The Parkville Daily Newspaper - With A Free Essay Review
‘The following appeared in a letter to the editor of the Parkville Daily newspaper. "Throughout the country last year, as more and more children below the age of nine participated in youth-league sports, over 40,000 of these young players suffered injuries. When interviewed for a recent study, youth-league soccer players in several major cities also reported psychological pressure exerted by coaches and parents to win games. Furthermore, education experts say that long practice sessions for these sports take away time that could be used for academic activities. Since the disadvantages outweigh any advantages, we in Parkville should discontinue organized athletic competition for children under nine."
Write a response in which you examine the stated and/or unstated assumptions of the argument. Be sure to explain how the argument depends on these assumptions and what the implications are for the argument if the assumptions prove unwarranted.’
First of all, the author suggests that Parkville should discontinue organized athletic competition for children under nine since, last year, over 40,000 of these young players suffered injuries. Thus, the author necessarily assumes there is a correlation between children starting to participate in youth-league sports at the age of nine and the fact that over 40000 of these young players suffered injuries. In other words, the author assumes that the large number of injuries is due to organized athletic competition for children under nine. If the author’s assumption is unwarranted, and the majority of injured players actually did not partcipate in youth-league sports under the age of nine, or it is due to there being an increasing trend of youth players who start to join sports teams in middle school, or it is due to the fact that sports with intense physical contacts are increasingly popular in recent years, which is not associated with organized athletic competition for children under nine, then, the author’s claim would be weakened.
Moreover, the author also mentions that organizing athletic competition of children under nine contributes to the reported psychological pressure from youth-league soccer players. This only make sense based on the assumption that these players actually participated in sports teams under the age of nine. If they join their teams above the age of nine, then, the author’s suggestion that discontinue organized athletic competition for children under nine would not help solve the problem, and the claim would be weakened. Even granted that these players participated in competition below the age of nine, the author also assumes that the reported pressure due to sports activities is significant enough to cause negative psychological problems. Even academic activities can possibly cause pressures on students, besides, pressures are not always negative for students, they sometimes can motivate students, too. If the assumption is unwarranted, and these pressures are shown to be positive pressures that could encourage students’ performances, and help students develop their abilities of dealing with pressures, then, this could weaken the author’s claim.
In addition, the author suggested that sports activities are taking the time that students can use for academic activities. Thus, the author necessarily assumes that if children stop spending time on sports, they will use that time for academic activities. If this assumption is unwarranted, and when students do not spend time on sports anymore, they use their time on playing games or other recreational activities instead of do their academic work, then, the author assumption is weakened.
To sum up, in order to evaluate the argument, we need to ensure the following assumptions: organizing athletic competition for children under nine attributes to the majority of sport injuries, reported pressures among players are negative pressures, and students will invest more time on academic work when they stop practising in sports teams.
The first argument of your essay is unclear. The relevant assumption is that the players received their injuries as a consequence of playing. That is only an _assumption_ if the expression "40,000 of these young players suffered injuries" isn't intended to mean "40,000 of these young players suffered injuries as a consequence of playing" (in which case we are not faced with an assumption, but a factual claim). The author does not assume, however, that "the majority of injured players ... participate[d] in youth league sports under the age of nine." That really is just one of the facts presented in support of the argument.
The first sentence of the next paragraph is untrue. The author doesn't mention what you claim there. The argument does assume, however, that the youth-league soccer players who reported psychological pressure are under nine years of age. It also assumes that psychological pressure is a disadvantage, as you point out.
Your last argument is reasonable; note that the argument also assumes that taking time from academic activities is a disadvantage of sports training (for every education expert who says that practice sessions take away time that could be used for academic activities, there is a health expert to say that homework takes away time that could be used for physical activities).