Survival of the fittest so something we often hear when talking about a sporting event or particularly strenuous instance, It also seems to be the theme of this weeks readings and even the presentation I attended.
The department of Varsity Athletics hosted Joe Ehrmann two weeks ago as a part of their programming. Ehrmann played NFL football for the Baltimore Colts, but that is not what his story is about. He sat and explained to us that in the world we live in today wee need to stop and consider the situations around us. He said that athletes are among the biggest club in the world and that it is up to us to make a stand and right the wrings in the world. Ehrmann has moved in to one of the more crime heavy neighborhoods where residents live below the poverty line. He does this because he wants to be there other level. In football he learned the concept of survival of the fittest, then realized that he could help others survive.
Richard Hague’s “Directions for resisting the SAT” displays this same kind of theme. The poet it basically telling you to have to live life to its fullest and leave your mark on the world “Make your marks on everything,” is what he says. Ehrmann left his mark in the world of football where he was selected to the Pro Bowl in 1978. Ehrmann told us that he wanted to leave something substantial behind in this world when he died, something more than just football, and so far he has done a lot. He has become a Minister, is highly involved in charity coaching, and helps the people on the streets of Baltimore in the rough neighborhoods where he lives as beast as he can. He talks to groups all over in hopes of encouraging them to leave their mark on the world. He wants to help these people survive through peace not violence.
When I read “The First Practice” by Gary Gildner I thought of another type of survival; survival by force and violence. The poem starts with men being checked out to make sure they are not severely injured, and when they are not they are transported into a basement where it seems as if they are being prepared for some kind of battle. In the end it looks as if they are lined up to fight each other to see who is the ‘fittest’. This is the kind of power Ehrmann used to use when he played football, but now he disagrees with using violence to survive.
The “Serving up Hope” article displays the same kinds of humanitarian efforts that Ehrmann partakes in. The Deli and Restaurant owners, Galen and Bridget Sampson, have taken two recovering drug addicts under their wing in order to give them a better shot at life. They want to see them make it in the world not by selling drugs but by a successful job where they have pride in what they do. The Sampson’s have the approach to assisting the people of Baltimore that Ehrmann does.
I found the story of “The Father” by Bharati Mukherjee rather interesting. The father in this story seems to have a hard time coming to terms with the modernity of the times. He is still very under the impression that his wife should serve him…..the way he wants, and has denied her certain modern things like a microwave. Because he is so stuck in the past his relationship with his wife and daughter who are woman of the modern world, because they know that’s the best way to survive, is often confrontational. Sometimes you need to change, maybe not completely, in order to survive in our ever changing and advancing world.As one can see “Directions for Resisting the SAT”, “First Practice”, “A Father”, and “Serving up Hope” all talk about some facet of survival in the world which is what Joe Ehrmann made the basis of his entire speech to us