Instructions How to Write

Hockey or Tennis

In terms of writing style, you should try to express your ideas as clearly as possible, while still maintaining an academic tone. Since many students (especially those just beginning their college careers) have some problems identifying academic or formal modes of expression, the parts of the papers that fail to maintain a consistent academic tone will be marked by writing “too familiar,” “too colloquial,” or “try to maintain an academic tone.” The expectation is that the first 2-3 papers will have a more colloquial tone, but by the time we reach the sixth paper, you will have achieved an academic style of writing, and will be capable of using it consistently. Similarly, although the first few papers may reflect some problems with structure and argumentation, it is expected that you will improve throughout the semester, such that the last few papers are well argued and organized.

Papers will be graded with half the grade given for form (writing, spelling, structure, organization, etc.) and the other half for content (originality of ideas, analysis, critical thinking, etc.). See the grading rubric for more information. Since students are expected to respond to feedback and improve their writing style and argumentation, grading will become progressively harder, such that a higher quality is necessary to earn an A on the last paper than on the first.


1. What is the role of violence in hockey as it is played in Canada? Is there a contradiction between Canada’s reputation as a peacekeeping nation and its acceptance of fighting during matches? What could be done to reduce the violence?

2. Choose a moment from Canadian history, and explain how hockey played a central role in creating a sense of national identity. Possible moments include the Maurice Richard Riots, the Quiet Revolution and the Summit Series.

3. Write an analysis of The Hockey Sweater. Why do you think it is regularly taught as part of the elementary school curriculum in Canada? What does the story represent in terms of tensions between English- and French-speaking parts of the nation? Why do quotes from it appear on the Canadian 5-dollar bill?

4. Wayne Gretzky is considered a mythical figure and a legend in Canada. What does he represent in terms of Canadian national identity? Why was his trade to the L.A. Kings viewed as a national tragedy?


1. Compare the origins and early history of tennis to that of some of the other sports that we have studied in the course. What are some key similarities? What are some crucial differences? To what extent does tennis play—or fail to play—a role in the formation of national identities?

2. Analyze the figure of Suzanne Lenglen. Why was she so iconic? Describe her influence on fashion, and the way that she transformed notions of femininity and gender roles.

3. Why do you think that tennis in particular has always been so closely tied to issues of gender and sexuality? How does this compare to other sports? What are some differences in the way that female and male tennis players are treated or portrayed?

4. Analyze the 1973 Battle of the Sexes. What were the debates leading up to this match? What was accomplished? Do you think it led to greater equality between the sexes in sport, or was this merely an illusion?

5. Analyze the case of Renée Richards. Do agree with the USTA’s decision to allow her to compete as a transgender woman, or should she have been required to compete under the gender assigned to her at birth? Compare her situation to that of other athletes portrayed recently in the media, such as Caitlyn Jenner (formerly known as Bruce Jenner, who transitioned many years after winning a gold medal in the 1976 Olympics), and Caster Semenya (who was barred from competition due to her natural testosterone levels being considered an “unfair advantage”).

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