How can I write a thesis statement for "Ex-Basketball Player" by John Updike?

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sciftw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Thesis statements are hard. You have so many thoughts and ideas, but you have to boil it down to a single statement.  With "Ex-Basketball Player" a thesis could go a variety of ways. On one hand, the poem is depressing. Flick was once a great, well-known player. Now he is only able to bounce inner tubes around. On the other hand, the poem shows readers that Flick is apparently making the best of things. I think that is a bit of a stretch though. I would focus your thesis on the depressing themes of the poem. 

I recommend a thesis that begins with an incomplete clause about one idea and finishes with another idea, because it forces you to write about both topics. For example:

Although many gifted athletes assume that their abilities ensure lifetime greatness, "Ex-Basketball Player" shows readers that the fall from greatness is a long and common fall.

That particular thesis even allows you to use real life examples of famed athletes that didn't quite live up to the hype. 

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