Sperm U (9:19) http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=3554822
With a Sports in Society class, the E:60 Sperm U video segment is a great way to start a discussion about sports in America. The clip really is a “pre-youth” sports lesson, discussing athletic expectations BEFORE the birth of a child.
The primary question raised during the video is “if you had a choice of genes, would you select athletics over academics?”
Some other discussion points raised in the video are:

  • Parental hopes / unrealistic expectations for a college scholarship
  • The value society places on athletics over academics
  • Pressure on children to excel – “Valedictorian vs. Tom Brady”
  • Sperm Donors and the possibility of physically testing the candidates

Pre-video discussion questions
Prior to watching the video, the students answer a few discussion questions. Here are a few ideas:

  1. List the college scholarship athletes that you know:
  2. If you could pick whether your child would be athletic or smart, which would you choose and why? Give reasons for your choice.
  3. What do you know about in vitro-fertilization (test tube babies)?
  4. Do athletes in high school receive special benefits? Support your position.
  5. How do athletes in America receive special treatment? Why does America value athletes so much?
  6. What type of pressure do parents put on youth / high school student-athletes? Is this pressure healthy? Try to give examples.
  7. FAST FORWARD: You are a parent, what type of expectations do you have of a child and sports. What do you want your child learn from participation in youth sports? List the 3 – 5 things.

Post-Viewing Questions / Notes: Here are some notes about the content in the video that might be worth discussing.

  • Hope for a college scholarship – at what age should this be discussed? (age 4 seems a little early)
  • Education vs. physical – Dad’s thoughts in choosing a donor / society’s expectations
  • Sperm donor has 16 offspring all around the country. Would you be comfortable being a sperm / egg donor knowing your child is “out there?”
  • Sperm bank has audio of donors
  • Recruit student-athletes through magazines (UCLA, USC, Standford)
  • $75 up to 3 times a week $900 a month ( $10,800 a year)
  • Selby Seims (MA) valedictorian vs. Tom Brady (high school athlete) – incredible parental pressure / expectations at an early age. How would you like to be a child with these expectations?
  • Sperm bank possibly do NFL combine like testing on donors – What are your thoughts?
  • Is it wrong for parents to want the best genes for kids?

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