Tag Archives: sports

Hank Aaron

“Aaron, Hank: (orig. Henry Louis) (1934-2021) U.S. baseball player. Born in Mobile, Alabama, he played briefly in the Negro and minor leagues before joining the Milwaukee Braves in 1954. He would play outfield most of his career. By the time the Braves moved to Atlanta in 1965, he had hit 398 career home runs; in 1974 he hit his 715th, breaking Babe Ruth’s record. He played his final two seasons (1975-76) with the Milwaukee Brewers. His records for career home runs (755), extra-base hits (1,477), and runs batted in (2,297) remain unbroken, and only Ty Cobb and Pete Rose exceeded him in career hits (3,771). He is renowned as one of the greatest hitters of all time.”

Excerpted/Adapted from: Stevens, Mark A., Ed. Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Encyclopedia. Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, 2000.

Cultural Literacy: Muhammad Ali

Here is Cultural Literacy worksheet on Muhammad Ali. He was the greatest, you know? This is a full-page worksheet that can be used as independent practice.

Muhammad Ali really requires (or I hope he doesn’t) much explanation or amplification. He was ubiquitous in the media in my childhood, meeting with The Beatles and appearing in a series of photographs with them, and writing a poem with Marianne Moore in addition to his public and principled refusal to fight in the Vietnam War (even as a little kid, this thrilled me). So when an actor friend argued that Ali was one of the most exposed figures in the history of media, I had to agree. My friend’s point, though, was this: it took real courage for Canadian actor Eli Goree to take on the role of Ali; how does one portray such a profound, well-known, and ultimately sui generis personality? If you want to see, take a look at Regina King’s great new film, One Night in Miami on Amazon.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Leroy Robert “Satchel” Paige on a Balanced Social Life

“Go very lightly on the vices, such as carrying on in society. The social ramble ain’t restful.”

“How to Keep Young,” Colliers, 13 June 1953

Leroy Robert “Satchel” Paige

Excerpted from: Schapiro, Fred, ed. The Yale Book of Quotations. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006.

The Weekly Text, February 12, 2020, Black History Month 2021 Week II: A Reading and Comprehension Worksheet on Hank Aaron

This week’s Text, in this blog’s ongoing observation of Black History Month 2021,  is a reading on Hank Aaron and its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet.

This is one of the very first of these document sets I prepared, and it includes a short numeracy exercise on Mr. Aaron’s statistics. As you surely know, we lost Mr. Aaron on January 22 of this year, just a couple of weeks shy of his eighty-seventy birthday. I don’t know about you, but I can’t remember a time in my life when Hank Aaron wasn’t someone I thought about on a regular basis.

If you or your students are interested in Mr. Aaron, stay tuned; I plan to exhaust my storehouse of material on him before Black History Month 2021 is over.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Althea Gibson

“Althea Gibson: (1927-2003) U.S. tennis player. Born in Silver, South Carolina, she moved to New York City when she was three, later returning south to attend Florida A&M University. She was the first black tennis player to win the French (1956) and Wimbledon and U.S. singles championships (1957-58). She also won the U.S. mixed doubles, Australian women’s doubles (both 1957), and U.S. professional women’s title (1960), for a total of 11 Grand Slam events. Ranked number 1 in the U.S. for 1957 and 1958, she was voted Female Athlete of the Year by the Associated Press both years, the first black athlete to receive that honor.”

Excerpted/Adapted from: Stevens, Mark A., Ed. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Encyclopedia. Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, 2000.

Cultural Literacy: Arthur Ashe

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on Arthur Ashe, the great tennis player and humanitarian.

Have you, by any chance, read Mark Mathabane’s memoir of life in apartheid-era South Africa, Kaffir Boy? Mr. Mathabane also played tennis–quite well–and came to the attention of tennis legend Stan Smith at the 1977 South African Championship in Johannesburg. Mr. Smith worked with Mark Mathabane to secure a tennis scholarship, and in 1978 Mr. Mathabane matriculated at Limestone College in South Carolina, aided by a tennis scholarship.

However, in November of 1973, Arthur Ashe traveled to South Africa to play and in so doing broke the color line in sports in the apartheid state. I remember at the time–I was pre-high school–thinking Mr. Ashe was an American hero. Today, there is little doubt of that. In any case Mark Mathabane devotes chapter 38 of Kaffir Boy to the deep impression Arthur Ashe made upon him. You’ll find a nice, uncluttered summary of that chapter at Lit Notes.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Cultural Literacy: Henry Aaron

Sadly, we recently lost him; here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on Henry Aaron. If you’re interested in an Everyday Edit worksheet on this exemplary American and great athlete, you can find one here. Moreover, I have a number of materials on Mr. Aaron prepared for publication here, so stay tuned if you or your students are interested in him–and don’t forget to use the search bar on the homepage of this blog.

If you are interested in learning about Hank Aaron’s Civil Rights activism, check out his friendship with the legendary Wisconsin Civil Rights attorney Vel Phillips.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

The 4 Games of Ancient Greece

“Pythian * Isthmian * Nemean * Olympic

The Pythian Games were held in honour of Apollo at Delphi; the Isthmian Games, at Corinth for Poseidon; the Nemean Games, at Nemea in honour of Zeus. But the most famous in the ancient world were the Olympic Games, held in honor of Zeus at Olympia in the Peloponnese, which attracted city states from across the Greek (and later Roman) world.

Each of these PanHellenic Games were held at intervals of either two or four years and were arranged so that each year there was at least one competition open to any free-born Greek. The first recorded winner is from 776 BC though the practice was considerably more ancient. The Games seem to have been designed to select the very best in order that they could offer up a sacrifice that would be the most pleasing to the Gods. This also explains the sacred truce, the cult of heroic nudity, the simple garlands awarded to the victors and the decision of the Christian emperor Theodosius to close down the games in 394 BC.”

Excerpted from: Rogerson, Barnaby. Rogerson’s Book of Numbers: The Culture of Numbers–from 1,001 Nights to the Seven Wonders of the World. New York: Picador, 2013.

Yankee Stadium

Alright baseball fans, this hasn’t been an exciting season, has it. With chagrin, I admit that I have barely paid attention.

It’s not much, but here is a reading on Yankee Stadium and its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet that have tended to be of high interest to the students I’ve taught over the years.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Adapted Research Papers 6: Jesse Owens from A to Z

Here’s yet another adapted research papers, this one on legendary Olympian Jesse Owens. Mr. Owens, you may remember, was the four-time gold medalist at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. As he was of African descent, Adolf Hitler refused to shake Mr. Owens’  hand after his victories. Incidentally, that was far from the only indignity Jesse Owens endured both as an Olympian and representative of the United States.

I remember two things about preparing and using this assignment: I wrote it to follow closely and clearly the Wikipedia article on Jesse Owens, and for two students who worked on this together, I also prepared, at their request, this additional research assignment on Adolf Hitler because they wanted to understand fully Jesse Owens’ experience in the 1936 Olympics. The Hitler assignment also follows the article on Adolf Hitler on Wikipedia. Both of these assignments are titled, with the name of their subjects, “from A to Z.” You’ll notice that there are 26 vocabulary words and 26 questions, i.e. A to Z in the outline structure.

The two young women for whom I wrote this material made the connection with Joe Louis on their own, which was inspiring to watch–the kind of thing a teacher hopes to see happen, I suppose. I imagine one could put together a short but compelling cross-disciplinary unit on racial and ethnic mythologies (something badly needed, I submit to you), white supremacy, with the experiences of Jesse Owens and Joe Louis as a critical lens.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.