A student writes:

        Dr. Patt,
        This may sound very stupid, but I have not stayed in U.S. for long and
        have never watched a football game in my entire life. I really have no
        idea what the values in problem #5 meant. The football analogy you 
        used in
        class is quite confusing to me also. Is it possible to not put questions
        with football knowledge, or baseball for that matter, involved in the
        later problems or test? Or should I just learn the rules for the game?
        Sorry for bothering you with this abnormal question.
        Thank you,
        <<name withheld>>

Actually, this does not sound stupid at all.  ...and yes, Football knowledge
is NOT a prerequisite for earning an A in this course.

I am told that my analogies are a valuable learning mechanism for most 
students.  Clearly, if you do not follow football, the analogy was totally
unhelpful.  That is why, in fact, I gave a football analogy in class, and use
a basketball analogy in the textbook.  But, what if none of these sports
analogies are useful to you?

I am told that my sports analogies work very well for most students
in the class. I understand that most does not equal all.  So, if an analogy
is not of value to you, please bring the subject up with me or one of the TAs.
The analogies are meant to help, but are NOT part of the course.  My TAs and
I can come up with alternative explanations via email, class, discussion 
sessions, or TA office hours if the analogies are unhelpful to you.  Please
simply ask, "What point was that analogy trying to make, because I did not 
understand it?"

Yes, I will never expect you to know the rules of football to solve a problem
on an exam.

With respect to problem #5, if no one in your study group understands that
question, just say that on your solution sheet and you will not be marked 
down for it.  If you wish an additional problem to test your knowledge of 
the concept, ask me or one of the TAs.

OKay?  Good luck with the course.

Yale Patt