Knowledge and Understanding “Derivative Sport in Tornado Alley” Change

            David Foster Wallace is a creative writer and essayist who write about his own experiences and thoughts to portray different ideas. The first story in his book “A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again” is a story about himself as a child playing tennis and how math is applied to it. The story is called “Derivative Sport in Tornado Alley” and it’s about how change is evident and there’s nothing that can be done about it. It’s about Wallace’s own childhood, and how tennis was a big part of his life back then. When he was young, he would use geometry and math to beat others in tennis. However, after life kicked in, the other kids started hitting puberty, while Wallace stayed small because he was a late bloomer. This led to him having a depressing season as he lost a lot of matches to kids who were twice his size. Life chose to not be pleasant on him; by making him a late bloomer and having all the other kids hit puberty before him. Puberty is a change that can happen at any time. It’s inevitable and there’s nothing that can be done about it. That’s the point that Wallace is trying to portray, that change must happen, whether it’s for the good or for the bad.

            To some extent, I agree with Wallace’s claim that change is inevitable and that nothing can be done about it. Change is currently happening all around us as we speak. It’s a part of nature and it happens for a reason. Stuff that remains constant are most likely to “die-out”, meaning that change most likely will result with better outcomes. Things change because there is a flaw that needs to be improved. Nothing changes just because change is inevitable; things change because the change will improve it. Just like the survival of the fittest, the things that change are most likely to perspire. Puberty is a part of nature that automatically changes and is inevitable, which is what Wallace was trying to illustrate. However, sometimes change isn’t necessary for some things. Change only happens if a certain thing needs to be modified, otherwise we should just leave it be. We have stuck with the same educational system for many years, which is a good thing because it standardizes our educational system, which is good for basing intelligence off of. We need not change our educational system simply because it works for us. However, could our educational system be better? Of course it can. Our educational system works because and has remained constant because the change is so small that we do not notice it. Constantly is there change around in schools and in colleges, but the change is so small that we fail to recognize it due to our view on the big picture. Our definition of “education” is learning, but change is happening with the information we’re learning and the way it is taught. The reason people think that education isn’t changing is because the fact that an older man or woman, the teacher, is the one teaching a younger student hasn’t changed at all. Change is inevitable in most situations and is necessary to improve different aspects of life.

            There are many problems in the world, most of which can be fixed with changes. Change by definition is the only way to alter an object. In society, if there is something wrong, change is there to help fix it. There are many wars that are going on right now, most of which are reactions to change. These wars are currently happening because some sort of change is happening or some sort of change needs to be made. Two sides, fighting for which one will win, which will ultimately be the resulting outcome of change. Only in a utopian society, which by human nature is impossible to have, will change be unnecessary. Humans aren’t perfect beings that are why a utopian society simply cannot be, because there is greed, selfishness, unfairness and inequality happening all around the world. Change is trying to occur to fix these problems but even then will it not be enough. Change is striving towards something that is impossible to have, but we keep trying anyways. That is why change is currently happening all around us and is inevitable.

            David Foster Wallace intelligently demonstrates how change is inevitable in our every day lives. It is currently happening and it will always happen. To him, however, the change didn’t cause happiness to him. Instead it caused depression and disappointment. Wallace was unfortunate in that change did not change in his favor, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is inevitable. Change will always be present in life. Change is like a clock, it is constantly moving and it will never end.


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