English 11: Writing Portfolio    
Essay the First

Essay the Second

Essay the Third

Essay the Fourth

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It all started in the early 1900’s when my grandmother Kay Cloreghty came over to America as an immigrant.  She moved to South Boston when she arrived here and lived at the base of Dorchester Heights, which is a historical revolutionary war monument and park.  My grandmother would then walk her dog Flash up to Dorchester Heights each day.  She would also sit on the benches and watch the sunrise and set with my grandfather almost everyday.  Dorchester Heights was very important to her and she cherished her time up there.  She would always talk about the beautiful view of the water and downtown and how the skyline had changed so much since she was born.
 
I was born in 1987 and grew up a stones throw away from Dorchester Heights.  As a child my grandmother would bring my friends and I up there to play and eat lunch.  We played with all the dogs up there and it was always my favorite place to be.  My grandfather died in the early 1990’s and it really broke my grandmothers heart but Dorchester Heights seemed to relieve some of her pain.  The Heights as we called it became a gathering place for our family and friends every year on July 4th, as we would watch the fireworks burst and illuminate the sky with shades of red, blue, and gold.  Sometimes I would just go up there and lay down in the grass or I would bring a girlfriend up there and we would sit as the time slowly passed.  
 
My grandmother always said how Dorchester Heights meant so much to her.  She thought it meant freedom because of what it stood for.  In case you don’t know George Washington won and important military battle at Dorchester Heights when the British evacuated Boston.  This became the first staple of American history, which my grandmother never forgot.  The Heights was our backyard where my family would share the good times and the bad times.  In the winter we would sled down the hill and scurry about in the snow until it felt as if frostbite would surely set in.  In the summer we would play baseball or football for hours until mom called us in for dinner.  Games of hide and seek would go on forever with out getting old.  Every once and a while the tour guide would let us go up into the monument and climb the old spiral staircase to the very top.  We would look out and view the city to the right and to the left there was water as far as the eye could see.  
 
Dorchester Heights meant freedom to my family for many reasons, which can’t be described.  In Ireland things hadn’t been going so well but in America it was a new start and new beginning full of opportunity. My grandmother would say " the Heights is like my statue of liberty". My family had discovered the American dream and the Heights played a major role in that process.  After a day like September 11th, which was a day I will never forget I would venture up the Heights and look at the buildings and watch the planes, fly overhead.  It was there I noticed that everyday I was there planes flew overhead and I didn’t even glance up at them but after a tragic event like this I watched them inventively until the would land.  I couldn’t fathom how people could fly a plane into a building and I would sit on the bench and think for an hour or so and reflect on what had happened.  Since that day I have not visited the Heights but I do not know why.  After September 11th it no longer stood for the good times but it reminded me of the bad that people could do.  I also realized how important freedom is in America and why people like the terrorists want to take it away from us.  I think somehow they did take freedom away from me that day because I haven’t been up there since so in some way they achieved what they set out to do.  
 
My grandmother is now too old to go up to the Heights on her own so I think it has almost been forgotten but I know it will always be there and will always stand for our freedom.  I see it everyday and I don’t know how my life would have been shaped if it weren’t for Dorchester Heights.  I believe I am too old and I have to much to do to go up there and just sit down in the grass but as I reflect on it I think I will go up there soon just so I can think because when I get older I want to pass the memories I have on to my children for my grandmothers sake.  I wouldn’t want to be the reason that my family stopped enjoying the Heights because it represents all that we believe in.    
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   I arrive at the orchard for the first time in years.  It remains relatively untouched by modern day industry.  All the memories come back of the time I spent there as a youngster.  It is mid November and the temperature is cool but comfortable.  The leaves are dry and look like they are precariously dangling from the trees.  The wind whips through them and kicks leaves up about my face.  The grass is tall but looks like it is enjoying its last day.  It seems like it is drowning in the water, which it is soaking up at a rapid pace.  It sways a little in the breeze but looks as if it is saying it’s final goodbyes’ before the winter season kills it off completely.  Birds fly about and dart from tree to tree and whisper like they are telling a joke and I am the only one left out.  I get a lonely feeling for some reason like I am being treated like an outcast.  I wish my fellow creatures could only speak so I could understand what was going on.  
   The leaves are almost completely gone.  The air is cold and crisp and bites the skin beneath my nylon coat.  I take two steps and already my Pumas are covered in mud.  I stop and I notice a sound, which I hadn’t noticed in my first visit to the orchard: “complete silence.”  It strikes me as very strange but then I see a large formation of birds shoot out of the tree, which scares the living daylights out of me.  I ponder the thought that they are flying south for the winter.  We would be lucky if we could all go south when it gets cold but we tough it out through the freezing New England winters, cultivating our “little minds” through repetition and habit.  
 The sun is out and the singing of birds fills the air.  The ground is beginning to harden and the grass is getting shorter and the ground harder.  Shrubs and lifeless trees rustle in the breeze but yield no sign of life.  Winter is definately on the way.  I see a family of squirrels running food from tree to three stuffing it in their tiny mouths I can’t help but laugh.  Maybe we would be better off if we had their work ethic.  
 The grass is wet again and it seems so delicate.  I hear it yell at me each step I take it says “Get off us man you are heavy your killing us here”.  I walk lightly and apologize to the grass, which I murdered without remorse.  All is dying and going away for the winter season.  It is in the low 30’s and my warm breath fills the air like a smokestack.  A light mist falls on me yet I do not find myself getting wet because the mist is so fine.  The winter is calm and dead it seems to be going into it’s own seasonal depression.  
 A light snow falls and tickles my eyelashes.  I can tell a storm is coming and the animals are nowhere to be found.  I can hear the snow lightly landing on the grass and trees and it makes a peaceful sound.  The wind whips by my face making me shiver but all I really notice is the beauty of it all.  The orchie has become a desolate place.  It looks like a ghost town after a gold rush.  The wind seems like the earths last dying breath.  The beauty is still alive but has changed greatly since the vibrant summer months.  The naked trees look sad and lonely without their leaves to protect them and keep them warm when they need them the most.  I then wonder how can a tree stand this bitter cold for 4 months and not complain or give up and fall over.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sports are a major source of entertainment and leisure in the world.  The United States is the sports capital of the world.  Each day, dozens of sports are broadcast on every TV channel at all times.  Many sports are American because they symbolize something bigger, something that represents all of us in a certain light.  Sports show our individuality and our pride.  There is nothing better than rooting for your hometown team like the Boston Red Sox as they take on the Yankees.  One sport which has also placed its stamp on the country is boxing.
      
  Boxing originated hundreds of years ago with bare knuckle boxing and other fighting events where people would wager on who would win.  Through the centuries boxing has evolved to become what it is today.  Men of all sizes get into a ring and slug it out with their opponent for pride, honor, and a pretty big paycheck.  People from all backrounds box because they love the competition and the battle.  Boxing is truly American for this reason.  It is also American in that it simulates fighting, and America has always been a country which was brave and fought for what it believed.  Boxing also emphasizes the individual because you control your own destiny and have to compete on your own, which is similar to the individuals who share the American dream and come over from foreign lands.  
    
  After conducting interviews with two professional boxers I realized that boxing is their life and they cannot live without it.  Professional Jerry McDougal of South Boston, when I asked him what he thought was so American about boxing, responded: "Growing up in the projects I could have went down the good path or the bad one, and boxing made me take the right one”  (McDougall 1) For a lot of American children growing up in poor neighborhoods in the twentieth century, boxing was a way out.  The same was true for McDougall:  “It kept me off the streets and my skills helped me out a few times when I would get myself in a jam” (Ibid.)
 
  McDougall went on to talk about how involved boxing is for its participants:  “Boxing is a challenge, a mind game, not only can you use brute force but you have to use strategy and wits.  That is why boxing is American”  (Ibid).
 
  Although boxing has become a mainstream event in America it still has it's many critics.  Many people say it is barbaric and that it encourages violence.  Besides this many people believe boxing has many conspirators involved with fixing fights and things like that.  One of the notorious fight fixers is Don King.  It has never been proven and Don King always says he is just a promoter but he has the forte of using young prosperous boxers for their money and then dumping them when their marketability goes down.  It is also widely thought that judges are easily influenced because of alliances or persoanl vendetas against a certain fighter.  Since there are now so many different title belts boxing might have lost some of it's fan base because there is no definite champ.  
   
Professional boxers have to take their work more seriously and the stakes are usually higher.  Mike Tyson, for example, when interviewed said the only time he was at peace was in the ring
Lenox Lewis said of being a professional boxer that it is a battle between two bitter rivals who share the ultimate respect for each other.
 
   Boxing is American because it is a perfect example or capitalism.  The better you do, the more you make.  You have to climb your way up the ranks and prove yourself.  You have to go into the ring knowing you are going to win.  All fighters box because they love it, whether it is for five million dollars or for a refrshing gatorade and a slap on the behind.  Your instincts have to be keen and quick, your blows decisive.  Boxing takes a toll on your body and you can only keep it up for so many years.  "Boxing is like cigarretes, you know it is bad for you but you can't stop" said fomer amateur boxer Adam "The KO kid" Giness (1).  
      
  Boxing is also American in that it is different from most other sports and like boxing, we Americans pride ourselves on being different from the rest of the world.  When else can you get in a ring and try and kill the other guy and not get charged with attempted murder?  Only in a boxing match.  Boxers have the ultimate respect for each other and for their sport because they feel like they are fighting their brother each time in the ring.