Sunday, December 9, 2018

A Theory of Games

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Environmental & Science Education
Edward Hessler

CBS This Morning devoted some time to an interview with John Urschel,  December 8. He really was a student-athlete, playing varsity football (lineman) at Penn State and playing it well enough to be drafted by the NFL's Baltimore Ravens in 2014.  

You gotta' love the way Urschel chose his university major and how it changed his view: "I majored in aerospace engineering at Penn State because my mother told me I was going to major in aerospace engineering," Urschel said. "I was good at math, I was good at physics. I didn't particularly love it but once I got to college I got to see math in a pure form." 

Before the NFL, though, he graduated in three years, staying at Penn State to complete two master's degrees. In this interview he describes how he "benched" mathematics to play professionally but realized that mathematics hadn't released its hold on his imagination and intellect so he played football and enrolled in a Ph.D. program in mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  He retired from football in 2017, after three years in the NFL. Urschel is aiming to graduate with his Ph.D. this spring.

In this interview Urschel talks about his life, his aims and hopes, and about breaking down stereotypes that surround minorities and college athletes. He closes with some useful advice. "If you have dreams, if you have goals, don't shut these things down. Don't fit into certain stereotypes. Don't think you can't have multiple aspirations," he said. "Life's too short. It's too short to settle and to live someone else's dream."

This CBS segment seemed less of an interview and more of a conversation between two people interested in the other and in the topic at hand which makes it all the more enjoyable and interesting. There is a lot here to chew on and also to be glad you know about.


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