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making a difference via coaching soccer - 150 words


linmark /  
Oct 27, 2009   #1
Need help on ending and any other feedback (like it's good or boring, bad grammar or wording.)

Unlike other things that need to be analyzed and planned, soccer is all instinct without brain-ache and my favorite extracurricular activity since third grade. Since then, I've played for school, foundation, club and canton and my team has remained undefeated for 4 years. But it's not only the winning that I love. Last year, I started coaching primary girls and this summer, "street kids" at an orphanage. Despite dramatically different backgrounds, I witnessed soccer working its magic in both cases; liberating and empowering the girls just as it did for me. Teamwork, courage, being carefree, sharing the joys of victory and tears of defeat are aspects of soccer that touch and transform the lives of all players, no matter what the culture or social class. Whether playing intramural or varsity, I hope to make a difference and keep reaching out to others via soccer.
h4ppidais 2 / 7  
Oct 27, 2009   #2
very interesting essay. it really shows how you have changed and your future plans
one thing,
I would change Brain-Ache to something else. change 4 years to four years.
Nice idea

could you give me a feedback also? Thanks
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Oct 30, 2009   #3
You need a comma after brain ache. Can you tell a little about reaching out to others through soccer... as a way to instill values in kids, for example?

This is good; I think you can improve it by eliminating the part about how it is all about instinct and focus on how it brought people together. You have only a small amount of space to use, so stay focused on the important part: bringing people together through the sport.
OP linmark /  
Nov 5, 2009   #4
I really appreciated your feedback, Kevin. It helped improve my essay. Here's the rewrite focusing on how soccer brings people together. I kept the part on instinct and no brain-ache because that is the aspect of soccer I love best... Should I just start with the second sentence? p.s. Incredible how many short essays are on soccer (or other sport) - how can one craft or attempt any orginality to such a worn subject?

In the space provided below, please elaborate on one of your activities (extracurricular, personal activities, or work experience) (150 words or fewer).

Unlike other things that need to be analyzed and planned, soccer is all instinct without brain-ache. Since third grade, I've played countless matches for the school, foundation, club and canton, and my school team has remained undefeated for four years now. But beyond athletics, soccer's best quality is its far-reaching effect to bring people together, be it players or spectators, regardless of age, sex, social class or culture. Last year, I started coaching our school's primary girls and this summer I coached 'street kids' at an orphanage in Thailand. Despite the dramatically different backgrounds of the girls, I witnessed soccer working its magic, empowering and liberating them in both cases. Teamwork, courage, being carefree, sharing the joys of victory and the tears of defeat are aspects of soccer that touched and transformed their lives, just as it did for me. (140 words)

Hope this isn't too boring. Any help or suggestions most welcome!!
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Nov 5, 2009   #5
I think the first line would be more impressive if, instead of saying you enjoy it because it does not cause brain ache, you say you enjoy it because it is so meditative. One zen master defined zen like this: the practice of zen is forgetting the self in the act of uniting with something. That is why we love things we can get lost in, I think.

So, you use soccer as a way of inducing that meditation and casting aside the ordinary brain ache of constant thinking. With soccer or any other meditative practice, you can become so absorbed in activity that the mind becomes quiet. This would be a more impressive focus... more impressive than wanting to avoid activities that make your brain ache. :)

The anecdote about coaching soccer is great. What does soccer have that other sports so not have for bringing people together? What makes soccer so special in this regard? Oh, I know! I think soccer is the most popular sport in the world, isn't that correct? So, you can argue that it is inter-cultural, the most popular in the world.
OP linmark /  
Nov 6, 2009   #6
Not easy to go into zen. For me, it's more about body over mind, "being able to give my all, having every cell in my body working to succeed: making each extra sprint, extra tackle, extra pass. To get the ball is the only goal; how much simpler could it get? The animal urge to win is exhilarating." (This was too long to include in the 150 word essay) Having said all that, is this revised opening better?

Contrary to other activities that require analysis and deliberation planning , soccer requires self-effacement, spontaneity and instinct. Since third grade...
Also, did I make the right corrections here (crossed out??)
, I witnessed soccer working its magic, empowering and liberating them in both cases. Teamwork, courage, being carefree, sharing the joys of victory and the tears of defeat are aspects of soccer that touched and transformed their lives, just as it did minefor me .
Notoman 20 / 419  
Nov 6, 2009   #7
Nice essay Lin! It is short, but you are still able to convey athleticism, perseverance, and a giving heart. Here are just a couple of ideas for tweaks:

Contrary to other activities that require analysis and deliberation planning, soccer requires self-effacement, spontaneity and instinct. Since third grade...

You use the word "require" twice here. Try plugging something else in ... in need of, entail, command, demand, necessitate, exact ...

soccer's best quality is its far-reaching effect to bring people together

Far-reaching ability? Capacity? It isn't that the word is wrong. Personally, I see "effect" as being weak--a blah word that the reader's mind skips over.

That's abut it. Good work my friend Lin.
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Nov 6, 2009   #8
Well, Zen was just an example. I understand what you mean. And yes, those corrections are great. Not necessary, technically, but they make it better in all three cases.
OP linmark /  
Nov 8, 2009   #9
Thank you both! I hope the opening line is better:

Contrary to other activities that entail analysis and deliberation, soccer's only prerequisites are self-effacement, spontaneity and instinct.

soccer's best quality is its far-reaching effect to bring people together

How about "indiscriminate power to bring people together"
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Nov 9, 2009   #10
Yes, indiscriminate is more like what is being said.

Hey, here is something interesting:
...only prerequisites are self-effacement, spontaneity, and instinct. ----> We so often see lists of three or more items, and there is no comma before the conjunction.

But actually, you are supposed to use one! I learned that from a book by Dianna Hacker.

This expresses the abstract idea quite well... those prerequisites transcend cultural barriers.
Notoman 20 / 419  
Nov 9, 2009   #11
We so often see lists of three or more items, and there is no comma before the conjunction.

But actually, you are supposed to use one! I learned that from a book by Dianna Hacker.

Lin goes to school in England. They don't use the serial--or Oxford--comma there. Lin, I know that you are probably put off by that last comma ... when applying for American universities, I think that you are better off using it.

There was something about this sentence that was bothering me and I couldn't put my finger on it. I have figured it out now:

Since third grade, I've played countless matches for the school, foundation, club and canton, and my school team has remained undefeated for four years now.

The punctuation, to an American's mind, gets a little muddled. I'd rewrite it like this: Since third grade, I've played countless matches for the school, foundation, club[,] and canton[;], and my school team has remained undefeated for four years now. It isn't that your construction is wrong, but putting in a serial comma and then a semi-colon will help the yanks.

How about "indiscriminate power to bring people together"

I like that! Like Kevin said, "indiscriminate" conveys a far-reaching ability to transcend cultural barriers.
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Nov 10, 2009   #12
Really?! Eric, thanks for explaining that to me about the absence of serial comma in UK English. I didn't know about that.


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