Blumkin 3 never climbed anywhere near 8,000 meters, as he claimed. In fact, “he hadn’t climbed much of anything” (56). The South African expedition leader also turned out to have lied about the expedition’s finances and later threatened the sponsor with violence when confronted about it. The South African leader team got his team to the summit and returned, losing one of the members – and his last shred of decency – in the process: when the remnant of Krakauer’s team was on its way back down the mountain, their radio failed, and the South African who was nearby, refused to lend them his radio to contact other climbers. Extreme individual competitiveness wiped out any feeling of community with the other climbers. The same conflict between individuality and community exists, in a less dangerous form, in school sports. Most high school sports such as soccer, football and basketball are considered to be team sports; however, each individual player wants to outshine the other and be the star of the team. This desire is compounded by the rewards of athletic success. Scouts often attend varsity games, watching for star players, so each player is faced with the choice between shining individually or putting his or her desires aside to do what is best for the team. Many times, the good of the team comes second. During my junior year of high school, I watched an important football game. The game was attended by from major universities such as Rutgers, and covered by at least five newspapers. Two of the players repeatedly strayed from the play ordered by the coach, running halfway across the field in an attempt to score the touchdowns themselves, instead of passing the ball to a player near the end zone. Those players were willing to compromise the success of the team in order to look good in front of the scouts.
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- Summer '19
- Into Thin Air, Jon Krakauer, Mount Everest, Krakauer