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Hyerim Lee
SRST 606
December 7, 2013

Philosophical Paper
1) I decided to enter higher education because my career goal was to be a professional who
contributes to the development of triathlon systems and organizations. Being a triathlete for 14
years in South Korea, I observed that most triathletes trained under little or no proper support
because the Korean Triathlon Federation (KTF) could not financially support athletes and
coaches well. For this reason, athletes relocated frequently because of the lack of facilities. My
worst experience is when I had to train on military base. Even though staying on the military
base had its advantages and conveniences for optimal training results, its solemn atmosphere
provided me, a 13-year old student, a constant terrifying fear. For example, I had to walk in
double file with my teammates and perform military salutes. Indeed, when the relationship
between colonels and the associates from the KTF became worse, orders got stricter. I did not
realize that I was training under such challenging conditions until I travelled to other countries.
As I traveled to participate in international competitions, I could see clearly how triathletes from
other countries trained and practiced. These experiences gave me a new perspective on methods
and conditions for better training and motivated me to train much harder to reach world-level
standards; the side effects, however, were that I started complaining about the training conditions
in South Korea. My disappointment with the KTF‟s insufficient financial support for triathletes
grew as I encountered experiences abroad. When I entered middle school, I did winter training in
Australia and New Zealand at my own expense and started realizing that these sport-advanced
countries provided much better training environments, such as easily-accessible pools and tracks.
Most importantly, I felt completely safe while training. Also, their training schedule and intensity
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was set based on scientific research. For example, each triathlete‟s biological data, such as a
change in heart rate, blood lactate level, and body weight, were measured individually following
different exercise intensities. I started having higher expectations of the KTF that it would
eventually have more responsibility to improve its operation and provide better training
environment. However, I experienced some unpleasant incidents that caused me to lose faith in
the KTF and expectation of a fabulous future in Korean triathlons. One incident, in particular,
which upset me, was from the competition in China in which I was defeated by all Chinese
triathletes. I could not believe that I was nearly drowning in water, did not perform well in
cycling, and ran at a jogging pace. Among eight Korean triathletes, only four eventually finished
the race and the rest of them were unable to finish swimming. All of us were in a panic regarding
the race results and were in complete shock when we realized that we raced at a high-altitude
that we were not informed of prior to the race. Not only this, the federation showed irrationality.
I noticed that most of the associates in the federation had no background in sport and lacked any
understanding of physical performance and triathlons. Experiencing frustration and
disappointment, I decided to dedicate myself to gaining knowledge in sport and becoming a
professional who will help reform the federation system by training associates in the federation
properly and by providing young athletes with better training conditions. In particular, studying
at George Mason University will allow me to broaden my understanding of sport, to learn what
makes the U.S. sport industry the strongest in the world, and to apply my knowledge to help
nourish the triathlon industry in South Korea.
2) The best decision I made is to study and train at the same time. As a student athlete, I found it
difficult to pursue both areas. After joining the national triathlon team at the age of 13, I worked
out before going to school and after school, and I never hung out with my friends while attending
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middle school and high school. For six years, I woke up at 4:30 in the morning and went to bed
around 12 A.M., and my only free time was while commuting and eating. In fact, keeping up
with studying was more difficult because I was absent from most of the classes due to
participating in summer training, winter training, and competitions. Even some teachers and
classmates considered me a transfer student after missing classes for three months. After that, I
had to put extra effort in studying to catch up with classes. When I got home after training, it was
around 9:30 at night, and I had a private lesson at home until midnight. When I had an exam, I
generally stayed up all night. As a result of my efforts, I always kept my grades in the upper rank
in each academic year. Actually, I did not have to study hard because teachers were ignoring the
academic performance of student athletes, and there was no warning or punishment for taking a
nap in the class and failing the exam. Therefore, other classmates and teachers considered
athletes ignorant. Because I did not want others to have this perception of me, I studied much
harder to break this prejudice rather than choosing the easier way to get into a good university by
focusing solely on athletic performance. Indeed, I disliked the fact that people often took a
jaundiced view of me when I introduced myself as a triathlete for the first time. Consequently, I
was not able to break the prejudice; however, I found my passion for studying and built
confidence in studying abroad. Thus, my decision to keep studying enabled me to pursue a
master‟s degree in Sport and Recreation Studies at George Mason University, and to expand a
range of career choices. After graduation, I would become a person who fits in the triathlon
industry perfectly.
3) Liberal education enables students to gain well-rounded experiences from various fields of
study and prepare them to be versatile individuals who can deal with any diverse, complex, and
risky challenges. Unlike professional education, in which students learn specialized knowledge
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and skills most of the time, a liberal education teaches individuals a sense of ethics and social
responsibility by providing them with the methods for acting on problems of the total human
experience. Furthermore, it provides general education courses which help them learn
intellectual knowledge and practical skills, like analytical ability, problem-solving methodology,
and communication skill, which are important requirements for students to learn professional
knowledge. Even with the advantages discussed above, however, according to Meyrson (1974),
public opinion is critical of liberal education because the general education curriculum from this
type of education is not immediately practical for real world applications. I disagree with this
opinion because a number of leaders in politics and business, namely President Barack Obama
and Jeff Bezos of Amazon, received distinctive liberal educations from some of the most
selective and demanding educational institutions in the world, Columbia University and
Princeton University, respectively. Also, Meyerson argues that many students are suffering from
excessively subdivided fields of study which causes them to be overly specialized and prevents
them from being well-rounded individuals. To effectively prevent overspecialization and utilize
liberal arts education to better foster well-rounded individuals, Meyerson recommends that both
a liberal education and professional education need to cooperate with each other to create a
synergistic approach, rather than isolating and ignoring each other. I believe that this synergistic
approach would eventually guide students in becoming well-balanced professionals who are not
only ethical and moral, but also productive and successful in their field. Therefore, I contend that
a liberal education, along with a solid professional education, is the key to fostering innovative,
creative, and well-rounded individuals
4) According to Kurtzman and Zauhar (2005), standards of a profession include “scientific
and/or philosophic prediction,” “specialty featured skills,” “services obligation,” “code of
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conduct,” “accreditation/certification,” “period of preparation,” “scholarly achievement,” and
“professional society/association” (p. 4). I believe that Sport and Recreation Studies is a
profession because it covers these standards. First, Sport and Recreation Studies is an academic
discipline. For example, students are asked to take core classes in which they learn fundamental
knowledge in historical and socio-cultural foundations. These classes guide students in the
development of philosophical knowledge in sport and recreation. In addition, it focuses on
teaching students to possess a body of knowledge in addition to acquiring experiential
knowledge. Secondly, students can learn deeper, more specialized knowledge by embedding
themselves in a sport and recreation environment. Also, they may learn management skills by
taking classes such as Recreation Administration and Planning. Moreover, taking core classes
would help them comprehend sport-related foundation knowledge. The third criterion is service
obligation. Most students in this discipline have previous sport-related experiences that may have
motivated them to have an interest in sport and recreation and public health promotion. In
addition, liberal arts classes from Sport and Recreation Studies teach them social responsibility
as well. As a result, they would carry their service obligation to improve the public‟s quality of
life by utilizing the skills and knowledge from learning. The fourth standard is code of conduct.
Sport and Recreation Studies provides classes, teaching ethical and legal issues. From these,
students are equipped with proper ethical behaviors that are well-suited to the progressive
development of the sports industry and its well-being. Accreditation is another standard of a
profession. For example, GMU‟s Parks and Outdoor Recreation Program is accredited by the
Council on Accreditation of Parks, Recreation, Tourism (“COAPRT,” n.d.), and Related
Professions. Also, its Sport Management program is accredited by the Commission on Sport
management Accreditation (“Accredited Programs,” n.d.). The next standard is period of
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preparation. Students are required to take 30 credits of courses to graduate from this program.
During this time period, the program provides them with an opportunity to acquire the
knowledge and experiences relevant to the field of sport and recreation which prepare them to be
professionals. It also includes scholarly achievement since the program emphasizes research and
academic writings. This program allows students to participate actively in research which helps
them develop academic inquiry, problem-solving methodology, and creativity. Academic
writings can be beneficial as well because they give students a chance to sharpen their critical
thinking and academic judgment which cannot be learned from lectures or books only. Students
who successfully master research and academic writings are potentially able to accomplish
scholarly achievement by propagating their knowledge to the public. Lastly, the program actively
involves communication with a forum through professional associations and societies. This
participation is a key aspect of training students in this program to be successful professionals.
Students have attended conferences and workshops to develop a better sense of professionalism.
Overall, Sport and Recreation Studies meets these above criteria, justifying that this program is a
profession.
5) The relationship between sport management, recreation, kinesiology, physical education, and
tourism is intimate because they all share the same priority which is the promotion of health and
wellness. First of all, the relationship between physical education and kinesiology is
complementary because kinesiology enhances physical education. To define physical education
as an academic discipline, its curriculum moved to develop a body of knowledge based on
research rather than on practical knowledge. This caused many departments to change their name
to kinesiology (Henry, 1978). With this movement, academics eventually acknowledged physical
education as an academic discipline. Also, Kinesiology is one area that helps individuals
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understand children‟s body performance and the development of teaching methods. This also has
an effect on advancing athletic performance which attracts more sport fans, which increase profit.
In addition, sport management and recreation have developed from the physical education model
(Jones, Brooks & Mak, 2008), which means sport management and recreation have similarities
in their evolutionary process and in the focus of study. First, they emerged with urbanization. For
instance, an increasingly urbanized society caused more people to enjoy their leisure time and to
participate in sports events, which amplified the development of recreation and professional
sports. Meanwhile, schools also engaged in recreational sport, and have started athletic programs
to provide entertaining activities. With the interest in sport, people have started recognizing the
economic value of sport, and companies invested in sport teams and athletes to make profits. In
this regard, sport management developed to provide better sporting environments, and this trend,
in turn, benefited not only athletic organizations, but also recreational organizations. This
indicates that sport management and recreation have a mutual relationship. Also, when sport
management cooperates with recreation, this invigorates the sport industry. Tourism also has
been recognized as a new area that benefits the sport industry as people travel to play sports and
to watch games such as the Olympics and the World Cup. Understanding tourism also fulfills the
need for high-quality sport travel experience and help in generating revenues from sporting
events. Moreover, this builds interest in global sport and brings even more profit from
international games. Thus, sport management, recreation, and tourism have a symbiotic
relationship. To conclude, sports management, recreation, and kinesiology are specializations
within physical education, and tourism benefits these area significantly.
6) One of the areas, besides international sport management, I am interested in is athletic
coaching, which involves a combination of experiential knowledge and scientific knowledge.
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According to Nash and Collins (2006), expert coaches do not depend completely on experiential
knowledge for coaching. In fact, they possess a body of knowledge based on research. Their
argument points out that experiential knowledge can be a poison for novice coaches who pursue
getting knowledge and ignore the power of education since they do not have the same decision
making process of expert coaches. In addition, making correct decision requires coaches to have
extensive experience. Indeed, even extensive years of experience do not guarantee becoming
expert coaches as novice coaches are more likely to imitate coaching methods of others and find
it difficult to apply them to different situations. On the other hand, expert coaches demonstrate
their capability of making better decisions faster than novices since they possess experiential
knowledge. This means that experiential knowledge is an integral skill which enhances coaching
skills. In addition, experiential knowledge enables coaches to manage intense and dramatic
situations more effectively because coaches with extensive experiences are also able to analyze
the situation better and make an appropriate decision. Moreover, coaching is a complex task that
requires knowledge from different areas, and coaches may not gain knowledge through research
studies alone. Extensive experience allows coaches to perceive athletes‟ behaviors in different
situations which lead coaches to identify athletes‟ conditions or characteristics. In this regard, if
coaches have athletic experience, they would communicate with athletes more effectively.
Oftentimes, coaching based on scientific knowledge is more effective than coaching based on
experiential knowledge. According to Day (2011), coaches should be informed about
physiological features to understand the human movement which enhances athletic performance.
This is because coaches are able to understand the relationship between athletes‟ performance
and their physical strength and to acknowledge athletes‟ weaknesses. In addition, scientific
knowledge, objective and trustworthy can be applied to the development of physical strength for
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most athletes. Moreover, coaches use scientific knowledge to make the most effective training
schedule for the best outcome. Overall, it helps athletes to reach a high level performance.
However, there are some limitations of scientific knowledge that does not always help in
improving athletes‟ performance because some problems cannot be solved scientifically. For
example, athletes‟ personality affects their performance. Some athletes get more nervous than
others in competition, meaning that athletes who have the same physical strength would not
perform well in the same competition. This indicates that each athlete should be taught by
methods which consider his or her personality. In detail, scientific knowledge is limited in
changing athletes‟ personality, which affects their performance. I have discussed the limitations
and advantages of experiential knowledge and scientific knowledge, and I certainly prefer
scientific knowledge to experiential knowledge because scientific knowledge has more positive
effects on improving athletic performance. More importantly, the reason I support their claim is
that imitating others‟ coaching skills can cause knowledge obsolescence which obstructs athletes
from improving their performance. This is because technology has positive impacts on research
environments that introduces more advanced techniques and effective training methods. In this
regard, coaches who depend on experiential knowledge are more likely to ignore these
advantages. Another point in Day‟s article I support is that scientific knowledge enables coaches
to measure and develop athletes‟ physical strength, and prevent their injuries, resulting in
athletes attaining a high-level of performance. In other words, scientific knowledge benefits
many athletes and coaches.
7) According to Rothman and Perrucci (197l), knowledge obsolescence can occur among
professionals because of the technological improvements which have caused the rapid
implementation of new knowledge in most fields. In particular, after graduating from school,
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professionals are less likely to keep up-to-date knowledge which would lead to their knowledge
becoming obsolete. Indeed, knowledge obsolescence is proportional to years of experience. I
agree with the authors‟ view on knowledge obsolescence in professions. Thus, I would insist that
professionals in sport and recreation field would be vulnerable to obsolescence because there
would be a proliferation of new knowledge in this field, which is constantly changing and
developing new areas relating to the field. For example, sport recovery is the area in which
ongoing research is still being done. When there was not enough research on the athletic
recovery after trainings or competitions, many coaches believed that athletes should minimize
their movement and rest without trainings. Recently, however, many researchers conduct studies
on the appropriate time for recovery. Even there is much research conducted on the post-workout
recovery methods like water immersion technique. In this regard, I can assume that coaches who
do not update their knowledge on recovery methods would be vulnerable to obsolescence. In
addition, there is much scientific research on training methods to enhance athletic performance;
however, in general, coaches are more likely to depend on their personal experience rather than
scientific studies. Not only for coaching skills, but also there is knowledge obsolescence for
management fields. Since sport management is a relatively new field, many managers and
directors in athletic departments, or recreational organizations may have knowledge in sport-
related fields instead of specialization in sport management. For example, most managers in
sport organizations in Korea do not possess professional expertise in management or even any
sport-related fields. Thus, those with no professional expertise in sport management depend
solely on their experience in operating organizations, which is one reason for increasing
knowledge obsolesces.

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Reference
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