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Common App Essay: More Than a Game (baseball)


jbrown09 3 / 18  
Dec 12, 2009   #1
Hey all,

This is my main essay for the common app, option #6. Im submitting it soon, i'd appreciate any CC.

More than a Game

Baseball is known as America's national pastime. America's major leagues attract the best talent in the world. Major league baseball's finals are known as the "World" Series. Despite all of this, I discovered that the true experience of baseball in the Dominican Republic.

It was a typical Sunday afternoon; my dad and I were driving home from church. I was about 10 years old, but I remember the car ride like it was yesterday.

"Justin, if you could live in a warm country, where would you live?" my Dad asked.

"A place where they love baseball, like the Dominican Republic!" I answered without hesitation. I did not know much about the Dominican, except that many great baseball players were from there.

What a coincidence! A few months later, my parents had an opportunity to travel to the Dominican Republic. They loved it. My father felt a call to open a medical clinic and help underprivileged people, and decided the Dominican would be a great place to do it. Whatever the logic was behind my answer, it proved to be a memorable one, for less than a year later my family and I had moved there.

While attending a Major League game in the US can be an entertaining, there is nothing quite like a Dominican baseball game, because baseball in the DR is as much of a party as it is a game.

I will never forget the first ballgame I attended in the DR. It was late December 2003, and the winter baseball season was in full swing. It was a crucial regular season game between the "Tigres de Licey" and the "Aguilas CibaeĊ„as", two bitter rivals. The game was being played at the Estadio Olimpico, Licey's home stadium. Regardless of home field advantage, both teams had a large number of fans in attendance.

The atmosphere was electric. The first thing I noticed when entering the stadium is how the majority of the stadium was a sea of blue, with slices of yellow here and there. Blue was the primary color in Licey's uniform; yellow the color of the Aguilas. The stadium was filled with excited chatter, music was blaring out of the loudspeakers and there was even a band playing with makeshift musical instruments. The smell of "platanos" (fried plantain) and fried salami wafted through the aisles. Vendors were everywhere, selling food, drinks, and merchandise. You could hardly hear yourself think, and the game had not yet begun!

After much anticipation, the game began. The crowd roared as the home team Licey ran onto the field and their ace pitcher took the mound. The Aguilas first hitter dug in at the plate, and the pitcher went into his windup. Strike One. The place erupted. All the pitcher had done was throw a strike, yet you would have thought someone had just hit a game-winning homerun.

As the game went on you would guess the noise level would have eventually died down, but it only got louder. Eventually, the makeshift band started to circle the stadium, with a parade of fans following closely behind. It was quite a spectacle. I would have been tempted to participate, had I not a fear of being trampled.

The atmosphere would have upstaged the game itself had it not been such a great contest. The winter league annually attracts some of the best major league talent, many of them Dominican. The players were at the top of their game, and the match was highly competitive. To most of the fans' delight, Licey won the game 5-3. They went on to win the league championship that year and represented the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean World Series.

In the Dominican Republic, baseball is more than just a game. It's a passion to many and way of life to others. For the poor and less privileged, it is a gateway to a better existence, a glimmer of hope in an otherwise desolate situation. Baseball is what brings the country together, but also what tears fans and team loyalists apart. This is what makes baseball great in the Dominican Republic, and what makes going to a game such a special experience.

As a kid who grew up in a country so fixated with the sport, baseball has affected me in many ways. I learned Spanish by listening to the commentators on baseball games. I enjoy discussing all aspects of baseball. It's something I really get excited about. My dream job is to be the general manager of a pro sports franchise, preferably baseball.

In my five years in the Dominican Republic, I had some unforgettable experiences, including my first baseball game. I discovered that baseball is more than just a game, and it became an outlet for me. I'm not the most extroverted person in the world, but baseball gave me a way for me to connect with others. Amongst other things it taught me the importance of communication, a skill vital for success. Sports help to connect and bring together different types of people. Because of the DR and my experiences there, I'm a more well rounded person and communicate better when talking sports or otherwise.
Vulpix - / 71  
Dec 12, 2009   #2
I know that this is for the Common Application, and there is technically no limit, but your essay is rather long- almost 900 words, I believe. There's nothing wrong with that, necessarily, but I think that if you cut some of the description of baseball and narrowed the focus of your writing to be more about you and what you've learned, your essay would be much stronger.

For example, your very first paragraph is both strange and unnecessary:
"Baseball is known as America's national pastime. America's major leagues attract the best talent in the world. Major league baseball's finals are known as the "World" Series. Despite all of this, I discovered that the true experience of baseball in the Dominican Republic."

Considering that adcom members are usually American and know perfectly well the high caliber of major league baseball, and the name of the MLB finals, all of this background information is redundant. Also, your last sentence is a bit of a non sequitur- you've suddenly shifted the focus from American baseball to the Dominical Republic, without any transition.

You don't need to describe the baseball game in such detail- just give the reader enough of an idea of what it was like, and then go directly to how baseball affected you, personally. Even if your admissions officer is a baseball fan, ultimately the essay is supposed to be about you and why you should be admitted to a certain college- not about baseball.
OP jbrown09 3 / 18  
Dec 12, 2009   #3
Okay. What do you suggest I do to make it more about myself..?

A lot of people dont really understand my introduction. Its an attempt to show that major league baseball considers itself the best baseball in the world. (WORLD Series)...and then I say that I disagree with that.
Vulpix - / 71  
Dec 12, 2009   #4
A lot of people dont really understand my introduction. Its an attempt to show that major league baseball considers itself the best baseball in the world. (WORLD Series)...and then I say that I disagree with that.

^ Oh, I see. But still, I would say that the location of the best baseball in the world is somewhat irrelevant- I mean, I know you're trying to emphasize your international experiences, but again, the essay is not about baseball- it's about you. (For more about that, see below)

"I'm not the most extroverted person in the world, but baseball gave me a way for me to connect with others. Amongst other things it taught me the importance of communication, a skill vital for success. Sports help to connect and bring together different types of people. Because of the DR and my experiences there, I'm a more well rounded person and communicate better when talking sports or otherwise."

This, to me, is the most important part of your essay. I like hearing about the baseball game that you attended, but I would rather hear about what baseball means to you. Remember, this is a college essay, so the committee wants to find out more about you to see how you will fit into their school, and what your goals for the future are. How do you connect with others through baseball- as a fan, by interacting with your fellow fans? Or do you play the sport as well, and interact with your team? What do you mean by "communication", and "communication" with whom? If you want to manage a sports franchise, what experience have you had with game management? Those are all points you should considering developing, while cutting some of the versimilitude about the baseball game.
OP jbrown09 3 / 18  
Dec 12, 2009   #5
thanks for the suggestion...what do you think i should cut out to talk more about this?
grocks6 3 / 12  
Dec 12, 2009   #6
Despite all of this, I discovered that the true experience of baseball was in the Dominican Republic.
= The was will help improve your cohesion and unity of ideas in this sentence.

I did not know much about the Dominican Republic , except that many great baseball players were from there.
= I know that it's repetitive to repeat it but in the context, without Republic, Dominican could be taken as not the country but the person who is from there instead.

other than some very minor problems with the flow, I like the general structure of your essay!
OP jbrown09 3 / 18  
Dec 12, 2009   #7
thanks Grocks! I like your suggestions
Vulpix - / 71  
Dec 12, 2009   #8
"thanks for the suggestion...what do you think i should cut out to talk more about this?"
^ In my opinion, paragraphs 6-11 ("While attending [...] Carribean World Series") can be severely condensed into one 6-10 sentence paragraph. You do a great job of describing the atmosphere of a game, but it's overkill, since it detracts from what the focus of your essay should be (see my previous posts).


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