We Should Always Follow Our Dreams Essay Example
Rick Reilly, a retired sportswriter, wrote “Heading for Home,” an essay to commemorate his career and address his fans whilst reflecting on his past motivations, and ultimately encouraging others to follow their dreams -- despite others’ lack of confidence in them.
Reilly enters the essay with a goal to establish a personal relationship with his fans, in order to offer insight into his past and how his life has been affected by it. He chooses to give a personal anecdote into his life by sharing a memory of intimacy, his father’s alcoholism, and ultimately, his reaction to the events that occurred from it. By including, “I was so starved for a father [...] but he took me to his chest and hugged me,” (Reilly 6) he builds a sympathetic tone, highlighting his motivation for being a ‘true’ sports writer -- implying that he previously was not. He showcases the effect of a broke family relationship and the benefits of finding someone to be a mentor in any way at all, giving insight into his life before serious sports writing whilst also inspiring them to view him as their mentor. His syntax at the very beginning of the essay is substantially choppy.
By creating such casual syntax, he promotes himself to be relatable in communicating his personal neglect. When he writes, “He didn’t discipline me. Didn’t advise me. Didn’t father me,” (Reilly 2) he leaves out the speaker not only to establish a chaste syntax but also to create a gap to feel the neglect he felt with his father, it’s incredibly relatable to his fans, as it is the syntax he usually utilizes in his sportswriting, creating a feeling of comfort and relatability. He continues his wish to form a relationship with the reader to the very end of the essay, when he starts to become more blatant with his learning from others, directly stating the lessons he’s been taught. He uses a parenthetical comment in the humility he learned from John Elway -- “safe after safe falling on his head -- Super Bowl losses, divorce, the loss of his twin sister and his beloved dad--” (Reilly 11)-- and it emphasizes everything going amiss in Elway’s life. He highlights how these mishaps teach him to be humiliated. The use of this comment gives insight on Reilly’s empathy, and how this channels into his work and all the knowledge he’s gained from it. His parenthetical comment, personal anecdote and his usage of choppy syntax build an engaging relationship with him so that he creates a vessel to influence others to follow their own path.
Furthermore, Reilly details that his career impacts his life outside of his career by repeating and a variety of syntax from his previous syntax to provide for a positive influence on his fans and to be inspirational. He uses a form of repetition at the end of several paragraphs to summarize his findings on select athletes that taught him something initially useful to his career, and ultimately useful to his daily life. The repetitions, (“From him...” 5 times in a row) (Reilly 10-14) give a consistent view into Reilly’s insight developed over his years of writing, and getting to physically and mentally experience these athletes. By giving the reader this insight, he establishes that his career has a beneficial, enlightening effect on his life beyond sports writing.
Moreover, he recognizes, “I see now how I was raised by sports, how it became my second family, and how I learned at its feet every day.” (Reilly 9), with the intention of providing reason for the pursuit of a career in a field that might appear arbitrary, and he personifies sports to emphasize the bearing it has had on his development, similar to how a family would. He adjusts his previously choppy syntax into a much longer, intricate form of syntax towards the very end of the essay. He goes from purely functional and choppy syntax to, “To be told by a young journalist that you were the reason she got into business; to be told by a grieving son that you made his dying mother laugh; to be told by a reader that a column you wrote changed the direction of his life? It swells the heart.” (Reilly 18) Such change in his syntax goes hand in hand with the lessons he has been taught by athletes, which shows how his writing style and complexity in writing change in parallel to his change in outlook on life. He employs an analogy about the connection sports give a family -- or even two random people -- and how it bonds them like glue by presenting that sports bring people together, not only in a way of cheering for a team, but in a way of expressing real connection and personal, human connection with one another. Likewise, he acknowledges this human connection again when he mentions Ben Comon, a high school student with cerebral palsy, “I wrote about [...] and then double back out into the course to run with Ben and his limping cerebral palsy gait.” (Reilly 13) He, by saying this, states that sports go far beyond just sports, and implying that it can teach us other tools, such as personal connection, which relate back to his way of writing, and how he uses sports as his vessel to connect to others. His varied syntax, repetitions and his analogy are an expansion of athletes teaching him great skills, showing that his career has made a real significance in his life, and encouraging others to follow their own dreams as well.
Ultimately, Reilly inspires the reader to follow their dreams, no matter how insignificant they might appear. He does so through careful use of his syntax, and a number of rhetorical strategies. For Reilly, sportswriting is not merely a career, it changes his life, and allows him a new outlook on life. By first establishing a personal connection with the reader, he creates a sense of trust. Consequently, this trust promotes the pursuit of personal goals by analyzing the lessons he’s been taught by other athletes.