Lesson of the Day: ‘Holding Tight to a Racing Tradition’

Lesson of the Day: ‘Holding Tight to a Racing Tradition’

Option 1: Image Inquiry

Skim the article again and circle or highlight three words that you believe best summarize Indian Relay and the importance of the competition for families.

Then choose three photographs from the article that you believe best embody or express the three words you selected. Look closely at all of the images and consider some of the following questions from our Critiquing a Photograph work sheet:

  • What is the subject of this image? What is the setting?

  • What draws you to this image? How does it engage the viewer?

  • What feeling or feelings does it evoke? What ideas or themes does it suggest? What mood or tone does it set?

Option 2: Sports in Your Family

Are there sports or other competitive events that you do with your family? Does your family preserve traditions around dance, hunting, yoga or gymnastics? Maybe you prefer watching sports on TV with your family members or going to sports games. Or do you connect and preserve traditions with your family in other ways, like hand-clapping games, farming, a common love for math or sharing recipes?

Choose one meaningful tradition in your family. It could be related to playing or watching sports or something entirely different that is important to your family’s culture, heritage and traditions. Now, describe a compelling moment in that family tradition. You can use the first three paragraphs of the featured article for inspiration:

Richard Long Feather is searching for his son Jace among the bareback riders as they storm toward the grandstand at the Crow Fair. Stepping away from the rail and onto the dirt of the track, Richard raises his arms above his head as a signal: In one motion, he is telling Jace where to aim and warning Jace’s horse to slow down.

Before Jace even reaches his father, he leaps from the back of his horse. Hitting the ground bounding, Jace grabs a handful of mane of a second horse, held by his brother, Jestin, and swings himself onto its back. Jestin slaps the second mount on the rump, and it fires back onto the track. Richard hands off the first horse to a fourth teammate and braces for the next exchange. Dust swirls. The crowd cheers.

This is Indian Relay.

  • How does the writer get your attention in these first paragraphs?

  • How does the setting come to life through his language and vivid description?

  • Do you feel as if you are at the Indian Relay competition? What about the writing makes you feel that way?

As you select a powerful moment from your own family tradition to write about, see if you can bring that moment to life by choosing descriptive language, employing metaphors and making a strong choice about tone and voice.

Reflect on the following as you write:

  • Where does this event typically take place? Are there smells, colors or feelings that you associate with it?

  • Is there any equipment or tools you need to participate? Do any of those objects hold a meaningful or sacred power or significance?

  • Who participates in these events? What do they look like as they are participating? Do they have to wear certain clothing?