Need help with the attached excerpt from essay What’s So Bad...

Need help with the attached excerpt from essay What’s So Bad about Being So-So? by Lisa Wilson. Write a summary and response essay, agreeing or disagreeing (wholly or in part) with the writer’s view of competition today. Write in a traditional essay format (with an introduction, thesis, a body of well written paragraphs, and a conclusion summarizing the main points of the essay). Support position with logical reasons, persuasive examples, or relevant facts. There is a 500 word limit and NOT required to refer to sources other than the featured article. __________________________________________________________________________ So What’s So Bad about Being So-So? Lisa Wilson Strick The other afternoon I was playing the piano when my seven-year-old walked in. He stopped and listened awhile, then said: “Gee, Mom, you don’t play that thing very well, do you?” No, I don’t. I am a piano lesson dropout. The fine points of fingering totally escape me. I play everything at half-speed, with many errant notes. My performance would make any serious music student wince, but I don’t care. I’ve enjoyed playing the piano badly for years. Unfortunately, doing things badly has gone out of style. It used to be a mark of class if a lady or gentleman sang a little, painted a little, played the violin little. You didn’t have to be good at it; the point was to be fortunate enough to have the leisure time for such pursuits. But in today’s competitive world we have to be “experts”- even in our hobbies. You can’t tone up your body by pulling on your sneakers and slogging around the block a couple of times anymore. Why? Because you’ll be laughed off the street by the “serious” runners- the ones who log twenty- plus miles a week in their headbands, [expensive] running suits and fancy shoes. The shoes are a really big deal. If you say you are thinking about taking up almost any sport, the first thing the aficionados will ask is what you plan to do about shoes. Leather or canvas? What type of soles? Which brand? This is not the time to mention that the gym shoes you wore in high school are still in pretty good shape. As far as sports enthusiasts are concerned, if you don’t have the latest shoes you are hopelessly committed to mediocrity. We used to do these things for fun or simply to relax. Have you noticed what this is doing to our children? “We don’t want that dodo on our soccer team,” I overheard a ten-year-old sneer the other day. “He doesn’t know a kick goal from a head shot.” As it happens, the boy was talking about my son, who did not-like some of his friends- start soccer instruction at age three (along with preschool diving, creative writing and Suzuki clarinet). I’m sorry, Son, I guess I blew it. In my day when we played softball on the corner lot, we expected to give a little instruction to the younger kids who didn’t know how. It didn’t matter if they were terrible; we weren’t out to slaughter the other team. Sometimes we didn’t even keep score. To us, sports were just a way of having a good time. I don’t think kids have as much fun as they used to. Competition keeps getting in the way. The daughter of a neighbor is a nervous wreck worrying about getting into the best gymnastics school. “I was a late starter,” she told me, “and I only get to practice five or six hours a week, so my technique may not be up to their standards.” The child is nine. She doesn’t want to be a gymnast when she grows up; she wants to be a nurse. I asked her what she likes to do for fun in her free time. She seemed to think it was an odd question, “Well, I don’t actually have a lot of free time,” she said. “I mean homework and gymnastics and flute lessons kind of eat it all up.” Ambition, drive and the desire to excel are all admirable within limits, but I don’t know where the limits are anymore. I think it’s time we put a stop to all of this. For sanity’s sake, each of us should vow to take up something new this week- and to make sure we never master it completely. The point is to enjoy being a beginner again; to rediscover the joy of creative fooling around. If you find it difficult, ask any two-year-old to teach you. Two-year-olds have a gift for tackling the impossible with zest; repeated failure hardly discourages them at all. As for me, I’m getting a little out of shape so I’m looking into tennis. A lot of people I know enjoy it, and it doesn’t look too hard. Given a couple of lessons I should be stumbling gracelessly around the court and playing badly in no time at all.

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