The Oakland Raiders' Bleacher Report team page is more than a place of "fussing and fighting" over who is the best player, coach or team. It is also about educating young people to think, write and to have a voice. It also gives them a chance to use words, statistics, and their love and knowledge of sports to make good decisions.
On April 1, 2010 the Mathematical Association of America and other math groups are celebrating Mathematics Awareness Month. The theme this year is "Sports and Mathematics."
Damali is flanked by college students who have read many of the articles written on the Bleacher Report Oakland Raiders' page. As one of the "most read" team pages on the Bleacher Report, a wealth of educational materials are loaded on the internet for enjoyment and learning.
The students pictured are discussing the recent article on the coaching situation with the Oakland Raiders. Afterwards, a forum was held to discuss what the students would do to improve the Oakland Raiders.
It would take another article to report the heated discussion engaged in by the young, sharp college students who are studying college mathematics.
These students enjoy the articles on McNabb, Cable, Russell and others. One of them told the class that Mar. 30 was Pro Day at Texas Southern University, and that next year he is going to try out for professional football. His name is Michael Sheldon, and he plays defensive end.
When he was asked if he was a good player, he did not hesitate to say yes. Then the students began to google his name to see his statistics.
The excitement and energy of seeing the use of statistics and mathematics to engage in an intelligent and well-informed discussion of NFL football has served as a spark in the collegiate experiences of some of these students.
Damali asked Sheldon if he might like to play for the Oakland Raiders. He answered, "He likes the Oakland Raiders."
Then, Sheldon offered to take Damali on a tour of the museum in the athletic department of Texas Southern University to show her more photos and displays of some of the outstanding athletes who became professional football players.
It just goes to show you that synthesizing sports, mathematics, writing, and having a presence on Bleacher Report serves as an inspiration for many people.
So, let us continue to say, "Go Raiders,"