The Best American Sports Writing 2013

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J. R. Moehringer, a Pulitzer Prize–winning feature writer and the author of The Tender Bar, has selected the best in sports writing from the past year. Chosen from more than 350 national, regional, and specialty publications and, increasingly, the top sports blogs, this collection showcases those journalists who are at the top of their game.
Curriculet Details
153 Questions
161 Annotations
3 Quizzes

Designed for students in ninth and tenth grade, this free digital curriculum contains written annotations explaining writers’ use of imagery, absurdism and parody. It also contains interactive videos that support comprehension, such as videos about characterization, flashback, and figurative language. Annotations and images also describe events and activities relating to current sports issues. Over the course of the book, students will answer Common Core questions and quizzes relating to athletes’ social responsibility, athletes’ impact on their families, teams, and communities, and ethical and moral issues athletes face. This free online unit will increase student engagement while building reading comprehension.

The curriculet is being added to your library

The Blind Faith of the One-Eyed Matador

This book is an anthology of stories about sports. The editor, J. R. Moehringer, selected them because they represent the best sports stories of the year they were published, 2013.  
This book is nonfiction; the stories are based on events that actually happened. You will have the opportunity to read articles by 26 different writers and observe their approaches to stories about sports. 
Padilla is shown below in his "suit of lights." (This annotation contains an image)
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What event is Russell describing? 
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What happens to Padilla? 
This story takes place in Spain. You will notice many Spanish words relating to bullfighting. You can determine their meaning by using context clues - hints that an author gives to help define a difficult or unusual word. The clue may appear within the same sentence as the word to which it refers, or it may occur in the following sentence. 
Did you know that you can look up any word in the text of the book or the text of the questions and answers? Just click (or press on mobile devices) the word you want to define and hold until the blue text selector pops up. When you release, a define option will appear. Since it's so easy to look up words, make sure you use this feature frequently. Is there a word on this page you need to look up? 
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What does Padillo mean in his statement to his brother? 
How do matadors achieve their ranking? 
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How does Pepe react to his son's accident? 
How does the author describe Padilla? 
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Why do you think that Lydia does not watch her husband perform? 
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Use the define feature to determine the meaning of maxillofacial. What is Dr. Alberto Garia-Perla's area of specialization? 
How successful is the surgery that Dr. Garcia-Perla and his team of surgeons performs? 
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What figure of speech does the writer use to describe Padillo's appearance? 
Francisco de Goya (1746–1828) is a Spanish artist who is sometimes called the father of modern art. He commissioned portraits of the nobility and also created works that criticized the social and political problems of his era. Below is a portrait of the artist.  (This annotation contains an image)
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How does Padillo prepare to go back to bullfighting? 
How does Padilla's accident affect his career? 
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How does Padilla's demeanor change when he enters the stadium? 
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Describe the "tragedy in three acts" to which the writer refers. 
The video shows the final scenes of the bullfight when Padilla returns to the arena after his accident. (This annotation contains a video)
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Why does Padilla feel that bullfighting is worth all that he endures? 

The Most Amazing Bowling Story Ever

What sport is the topic of Michael Mooney's story? 
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What epithet does Mooney use to describe Bill Fong's performance? 
How does Fong characterize himself? 
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Why does Fong switch balls for the second game? 
Fong's performance gains him recognition. 
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How does Fong react when he realizes the crowd is watching him? 
How does Fong think his life would have changed if he had made the last pin? 
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What realization does Fong come to during his time in the hospital? 

The Legacy of Wes Leonard

What does Thomas Lake reveal about Wes Leonard in the first sentence of the story? 
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Why is football so important to the people of Fenville? 
Lakes uses flashback to recount events that happen earlier in Wes' life. The video below explains how writers use flashbacks. (This annotation contains a video)
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What is ironic about the relationship between Xavier and Wes? 
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What does Wes' refusal to leave the game after his injury suggest about his character? 
How does Xavier perform in the game against Hartford? 
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Why do Gary and Jocelyn try to recall outward signs of Wes's health during his final months? 
What is the cause of Wes' death? 
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How do Wes and Kamp interact with each other? 
In retrospect, why is Kamp glad that he missed the shot? 
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What does Victoria Barnes do after she checks Wes' pulse? 
Why do Gary and Jocelyn tell the coach that the team should play the game? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.3
How does Xavier play in the game against Lawrence? 
What does Xavier think about as he sits on the bench? 
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What effect does the writer achieve by describing events from the past, present, and future? 

Mourning Glory

What sport does Brendon play? 
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David's thoughts are an example of  
How do people respond to Nick's death? 
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What is Warrenfeltz's primary concern as a coach? 
Who does Warrenfeltz seek counsel from? 
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How does Warrenfeltz help the boys cope with Brendon's death? 
How does the team perform in the game against Wheaton? 
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What helps Warrenfeltz make his decision about Zach? 
Why does Chad attend the game against Loch Raven even though it is difficult? 
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Why do Zach and other players continue to play even though they have injuries? 
Why does Warrenfeltz put Tyler Martin in the game? 
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What is so poignant about the team's win? 
Why do the seniors believe the events that happened were meant to be? Do you? 
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Why does Warrenfeltz choose to remain a high school coach? 

The Gym at Third and Ross

Golden Gloves is the name given to annual competitions for amateur boxing in the United States. 
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What surprises Littlefield when he gets to Third and Ross? 
Why do the young men seek Jimmy's help? 
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Why does Jimmy open the gym? 
What does Littlefield learn about Jimmy just from listening to his stories? 
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In Jimmy's poem, "Porkchop Didn't Shoot Everybody," Jimmy makes his point using 

Arrowhead Anxiety

Why is Todd Haley nervous about the talking in the Chiefs headquarters? 
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How does the culture of Arrowhead change when Pioli assumes leadership? 
To what do some employees attribute the changes made by Pioli and Donovan? 
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Pioli's main concern seems to be 
"Big Brother" is a reference to George Orwell's book "1984". Big Brother is the fictional dictator who keeps the people of Oceania under constant surveillance. 
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What suspicion do the employees' reluctance to speak openly about Arrowhead support? 
How do the organizational changes of the Chiefs differ from those of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Seattle Seahawks, and Denver Broncos? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.8
What allegations do Sniezek, Clemmons and Cox make against the Chiefs? 
What similarities does Allen Wright see between the current changes and those from 1988? 
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What is Babb's source of information for many of the allegations against the Chiefs management?  

End Game

This is an image of Schilling during his days as a Red Sox. (This annotation contains an image)
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To what does Mrochek attribute the company's failure in its final weeks? 
What is an MMO? 
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Why does Schilling provide expensive perks for his employees? 
What troubles plague 38 Studios? 
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What concerns Dagres about Schilling's company? 
Watch the video that explains "Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning." Can you see why it was popular? (This annotation contains a video)
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How does Alan Lewis' view of the deal with Take-Two differ from Schilling's? 
This is the reveal trailer that 38 Studios employees watch as the company draws closer to bankruptcy. (This annotation contains a video)
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Schwartz states that Schilling pays his uncle William Schilling twelve thousand dollars to close down 38 Studios while it is in bankruptcy. This act portrays Schilling as 
What causes the failure of 38 Studios?  

It's Not About the Lab Rats

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Why do Lance Armstrong and Doug Ulman call Bill Gifford? 
What does Zimbelman consider to be the issue with Armstrong? 
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Investigations of Livestrong's public financial records do not indicate that Armstrong has done anything wrong. Why, then, does Gifford suspect he may be guilty of wrongdoing? 
How does Armstrong use Livestrong to aid in his court battle? 
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Use the Define feature to look up the word milquetoast. It means 
Why does Livestrong no longer award grants for scientists pursuing cutting-edge ideas? 
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What contention does Gifford make about Livestrong's evolution after Comeback 2.0? 
How does Livestrong spend most of its money? 
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What does Borochoff's comment insinuate? 
How does Armstrong profit from the Livestrong Effect? 
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How does Livestrong misrepresent its financial commitment  to Partners in Health? 
Why does Zimbelman consider Livestrong's sale of its name questionable? 
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What effect do allegations of Armstrong's doping have on the Livestrong Challenge ride and run events? 

Eddie Is Gone

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What is the setting of this story? 
Why doesn't Pasulka's project manager want him to write about the real history of Hawaii? 
How does "the Hawaiian League" overthrow the Hawaiian monarchy? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.6
Why does Pasulka decide to write about Eddie Aikau? 
How can surfing affect one's social status? 
Pasulka mentions many Hawaiian words in this text, but you can figure out the meanings using context clues. These clues may appear within the same sentence as the word to which it refers, or it may appear in a following sentence. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.6
How does Coleman portray Eddie? 
How does the "rip, tear, and lacerate" style of surfing differ from Eddie's style? 
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What is the goal of the Hui? 
What is the cultural significance of Hokule'a? 
Quiz One 
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What message does Pasulka want tourists to understand? 

The Game of His Life

From which point of view is this story told? 
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What is Martin's passion in life? 
Why is it difficult being around Martin? 
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How does Martin die? 
How does Segura become interested in soccer? 
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Why is it fitting that Segura sprinkles some of Martin's ashes in the bleachers? 

The Making of “Homer at the Bat,” the Episode That Conquered Prime Time 20 Years Ago Tonight

Why do many viewers watch the 52nd episode of "The Simpsons"? 
This brief clip gives a review of "Homer at the Bat." (This annotation contains a video)
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According to the "60 Seconds Simpsons Review - Homer at the Bat", what lesson does the audience learn? 
How does the episode of the Simpsons help Steve Sax? 
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Why does The Simpsons create a national outrage? 
"My Three Sons" is an American situation comedy. The series ran from 1960 to 1965 on ABC and moved to CBS until its end on August 24, 1972. (This annotation contains a video)
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What is special about this episode of The Simpsons? 
A spoof is a humorous imitation of something in which its characteristic features are exaggerated for comic effect. 

At Swim, Two Girls: A Memoir

A memoir is a narrative composed from personal experience. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.1
What happens as Bridget enters the water? 
Why does Bridget go to the McKinnons' house? 
Liza Minelli is an American actress, singer and dancer. Does this image help you picture Padeen's appearance?  (This annotation contains an image)
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Use the Define feature to look up the word viscous. It refers to the water's  
How do Bridget's siblings react when she tells them about her swimming lesson? 
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Why does her family's interest in Padeen's announcement annoy Bridget? 
How does Bridget's father react when she tells him she won second place in the swim meet? 
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What condition does Padeen have? 
What is Bridget's major worry? 
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Why does Bridget put on a performance at the game? 
How does Padeen adjust at Charles M. Russell High? 
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Why does Rory think Padeen and Bridget are lucky? 
What does Bridget mean by this statement? 
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How does Padeen respond to Rory's attempts to get her to stay in Great Falls? 
What is ironic about the deaths of Rory and his friends? 
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How does Bridget deal with the tragedy of Ryan's death? 
What figure of speech does Bridget use to describe her sister's strength? 

At the Corner of Love and Basketball

This is a derogatory term used to refer to male homosexuals. 
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How does Ross plan to make a life for herself that is  better than that of her parents'? 
How is Ross different when she is around Willoughby? 
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How does Willoughby react when Ross tries to break off their relationship? 
How does Ross respond when she discovers she will not have a career in professional basketball? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.4
The dream Ross' mother has is an example of  
The Collins family has pictures of the major events in their lives, particularly those pertaining to Rosalind. Below is an image of Rosalind playing basketball. (This annotation contains an image)
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How does Ross help Spencer cope when a lover exposes his sexual orientation? 
What defense does Michael Hart offer for Willoughby's actions? 
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Why does Ross meet Willoughby on September 15th? 
How does Willoughby act after she shoots Ross? 
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The word flummoxed suggests that Willoughby is 
What is Willie's greatest regret? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.2
What does Pamela remember about Ross? 

Special Team

Why do students bully Chy? 
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Why does Carson invite Chy to sit with him at the cool kids' lunch table? 
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What example do athletes like Carson Jones, Joe Mauer and Josh Hamilton set for others? 

The Strongest Man in the World

Characterization is the way in which a writer tells the reader about a character. The video explains how authors use characterization. (This annotation contains a video)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.5
How does the writer characterize Shaw? 
The video shows Thomas Inch lifting the dumbbell weighing 172 pounds. (This annotation contains a video)
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In the strongman competitions, a dilettante is  
This is a playbill showing Topham conducting a harness lift with three barrels of water weighing 1836 pounds. (This annotation contains an image)
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Why does Drescher consider weight lifting the finest test of strength ever devised? 
This is an image of Jan Todd lifting weights. (This annotation contains an image)
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How are performance enhancing drugs both a blessing and a curse for strong men? 
What misconception do some people have about strongmen? 
Watch Shaw and others in the 2012 competition. Can you see why Shaw may have had problems? (This annotation contains a video)
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Why are injuries inevitable in strongmen competitions? 
Watch Naomi Kutin at the 2013 100% Raw Central PA Open.  (This annotation contains a video)
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How do some strongmen improve recruitment? 
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What has caused the decline in American lifting? 
To what degree do performance enhancing drugs affect athletes' performance? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.1
Winning the Arnold is important because 
The writer refers to Samson's phenomenal show of strength when he destroys the temple of the Philistines (Judges 16 ). (This annotation contains a video)
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How does Samson's performance compare with that of Shaw's? 

Caballo Blanco’s Last Run

Why is the search for Micah becoming desperate? 
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Who is Micah True? 
How do Hickman's beliefs differ from those of his parents? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.4
What nickname do the Guatemalan children give Micah True? 
Why do Molina and two friends conduct their own search for True? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.2
Why does True study the Raramuri? 
Why does True invite American ultrarunners to the race? This image shows Scott Jurek in action. (This annotation contains an image)
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Who first discovers True's body? 
The publication of "Born to Run" makes True question his identity. How does the book trailer portray him? (This annotation contains a video)
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What bothers True about Ted McDonald's business? 
Why do Donato and Puetz volunteer to go back and watch over True's body? 
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How does the race help the Raramuri? 
What is the cause of True's death? 

Marathon Man

Why does Strode receive the third place trophy at the awards ceremony? 
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What does Strode's research indicate about Litton's running performance? 
What is Litton's mission? 
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What convinces Kursh to disqualify Litton from the Delaware Marathon? 
What method does McGrath suspect Litton uses to cheat?  
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Why do officials disqualify Litton's five-member relay team from the Detroit Free Press Marathon Relay? 
Why does Hubbard question Litton about his patient Brian Smith? 
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How does Litton respond to allegations of his cheating? 
What was remarkable about the West Missouri marathon? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.1
How does Millfoglie explain his role in setting up sites and entering misleading information for Litton? 
Why do you think Singer wants to speak with the blogger? 
This is an image of Litton running the 2007 Boston marathon. (This annotation contains an image)
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What does Singer contend that Litton misses by not running the race? 
Why does Litton become a dentist? 
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Why does Singer question the validity of the blogs posted on LetsRun? 
What do Litton's responses reveal about his character? 
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What does Singer's use of the word interlocutor mean? 
This image shows Litton in the 2010 Boston Marathon. How does Singer explain Litton's attire and position on the course? (This annotation contains an image)
The image below shows Litton in two different outfits at the 2010 Boston Marathon. What puzzles investigators about Litton's deception? (This annotation contains an image)

Redemption of the Running Man

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What is the setting of this story? 
Why is Koeppel running the Nullarbor? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.1
What Guinness record does Garside want to set? 
How do Garside's diary entries affect his credibility? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.8
Why does Blaikie dispute Garside's run across Australia? 
What is the tone of the attorney's email to Garside? 
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Why does Koeppel now question his attacks on Garside? 
How does Garside's round-the-world route compare with that of other contenders? 
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What does Koeppel realize as he makes copies of Garside's evidence? 
Why doesn't Garside defend himself against Blaikie's attacks? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.8
What is the basis of Blaikie's attacks on Fulcher and Garside? 
Why is Koeppel unable to vindicate Garside in his article for "Running World"? 
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A driver gives Koeppel and Beeby orange juice and fly spray. Why is this deed significant? 
Why does Koeppel continue to run? 
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How does Koeppel's discovery of the events surrounding Garside's confession to lying help Garside's case? 
Quiz Two 

Running

The writer uses imagery to describe her feelings about running. Imagery means to use figurative language to represent objects, actions and ideas in such a way that it appeals to our physical senses. The video explains how writers use figurative language. (This annotation contains a video)
Why does Ritchie run? 
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How does Ritchie deal with her problems? 
Why does Ritchie stop running? 
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What does the Ritchie achieve by running? 
How does Ritchie react to memories of her sister? 
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Why is the narrator not frightened about the thought of dying while she is running?  

Goal to Go

Why does Siebert watch the NFL draft and study the Draft Scout Player Profile? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.1
Pat gets a call from  
What concerns Pat about his performance during the play? 
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Why does Pat seek a career in professional football? 
How do the rookies treat the veteran players? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.8
What advice does Tatupu give Pat? 
How does the Siebert's brother Bob shape his football career? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.6
What does Pat Brown learn from his experience as an undrafted free agent? 
How does Pat respond to the treatment he receives when he goes out with his uncle? 
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How does Pat's demeanor change during preseason camp? 
How does Pat perform in the final preseason game? 
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What attitude does Pat take about being cut from the team? 
How does Pat show his teammates that he knows his place? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.2
What does Pat understand about his football career? 

Fear the Bird

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What point does Simon make in the first paragraph of this story? 
Why does the narrator send his son an Orioles cap and an Adam Jones jersey? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.6
Why does Simon's cousin from New York call? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.8
How does Simon explain his cynicism about writing a story about the Baltimore Orioles? 
When does Simon become an Oriole fan? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.2
Why does Simon's son wear the Adams Jones Jersey and Orioles cap to the game? 

Why Don’t More Athletes Take a Stand?

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What tone does Smith use when describing colleges in the United States? 
What arguments does Full Harmony give himself for not joining the hunger strike? 
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Why does Filler want Jupiter to feature Full Harmony in the news story about the strike? 
How are today's athletic fields different from the Greek gymnasia? 
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Why does Harry Edwards believe student athletes should take a stand on social issues? 
What is the regimen for a student-athlete? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.6
What concerns Smith about the college's athletic program? 
How does Coach Reid suggest that Joseph support the workers? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.9
Read the  excerpt from Martin Luther King Jr.'s Letter from a Birmingham Jail.I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial "outside agitator" idea. How are Joseph's sentiments similar to those of Dr. King? 
Why is Joseph able to bring media attention to the workers' cause? 
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What important lesson does Joseph's mother teach him and his siblings? 
What is developmental compression? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.6
Why does Smith consider Ali and Jackie Robinson heroes? 
Why does Joseph worry about the consequences of his hunger strike? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.2
What does his experience with the hunger strike teach Joseph? 
What will the next Wonman Joseph Williams have do do to take a major stand on major issues? 

Did Football Kill Austin Trenum?

What kind of person is Austin Trenum? 
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What injury did Austin receive during the game on the previous Friday night? 
How does Austin act after the concussion? 
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How does Austin die? 
Why does Chris Nowinski of Boston University contact the Trenums after Austin's death? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.3
What are some effects of a concussion? 
How does Gioia explain what may have been going in his Austin's brain on the day he took his life? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.3
What action does Mr. Trenum take as a result of his son's death? 
What pattern does McKee note about sudden suicides after concussions? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.6
Why is Representative Ted Poe against government involvement in regulating football safety? 
How does Austin's death affect Gil and Michelle? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.6
How does the chin strap Walker wears during games and practice affect Michelle's feelings about his playing ball? 

Urban Meyer Will Be Home for Dinner

What event does Meyer's secretary insist he attend? This is an image of Meyer.  (This annotation contains an image)
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What does Meyer thinks almost destroys him? 
How does Meyer's father contribute to his desire for perfectionism? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.8
What does Meyer's success cost him? 
Why do the players stop coming to Victory Meal? 
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What does Meyer realize when he examines himself? 
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According to his interview with Gongwer, what does Meyer think the book God...Take the Lead forces individuals to do? 
Meyer shares the impact of the book "Lead...for God's Sake" with its author Todd Gongwer.  (This annotation contains a video)
What gift does Meyer's father give him? 
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Why has Meyer been able to keep the promises he makes to his family? 
How do Meyer's actions reflect his commitment to change? 
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How does Meyer inspire the freshmen on the team? 
Does Shelley believe her husband will be able to keep his commitment to his family? 
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How does Meyer respond to the player's giggle? 

The NFL’s Secret Drug Problem

Ray Lucas is a studio analyst for the show "Jets Nation" on New York City-based sports network SportsNet New York. (This annotation contains an image)
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What is the cause of Lucas' addiction? 
Why hasn't the press exposed pro football's drug problem? 
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What does Lucas notice his rookie year? 
How does Lucas cope with the pain of his injuries? 
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Why does Lucas change his position about taking drugs? 
How does Dr. Focazio help veteran athletes with drug and injury problems? 
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Why doesn't Smith seek the retirement and health benefits that are available to him? 
How does PAST help Smith? 
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How does Dr. Stalcup's position on drug use in the NFL differ from the one taken by Adolf Birch? 
How does Lucas's drug use affect his family? 
In this video, Lucas shares how PAST has changed his life. (This annotation contains a video)

Waiting for Goodell

The title is a reference to Samuel Beckett's "Waiting for Godot," an absurdist play in which two characters are waiting for someone who never comes. 
Samuel Beckett was an Irish avant-garde novelist, playwright, theatre director, and poet. He is sometimes considered the last of the Modernists; however, as his body of works influenced many subsequent writers, he is also considered one of the fathers of the Postmodernist movement. 
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In this text, cymbal and symbol are ___________. 
A scab is a worker who does not join a strike or who takes the place of another worker who is on strike. 
Absurdist playwrights expressed what happens when human existence has no meaning or purpose and therefore all communication breaks down, alerting their audiences to pursue the opposite. They use illogical and irrational speech.  
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What is the topic of the argument between Vladimir and Estragon? 
Goodell is the Commissioner of the National Football League. 
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What do Vladimir and Estragon suggest about professional football? 
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How is MacGregor's use of cymbal rather than symbol in this sentence characteristic of absurdist theater? 
Quiz Three