Sheridan Baker: Standard Middle Paragraph
Here's a good middle paragraph offered by Sheridan Baker in The Complete Stylist and Handbook (New York: Harper and Row, 1980), the sort of paragraph that belongs in the body of an essay:
Sports demand an effort of will and muscle that is healthful for the soul as well as the body. Swimming is physically healthful, of course, although it may seem undemanding and highly conducive to lying for hours inert on a deck chair in the sun. But the first dive into the pool is always cold: taking the plunge always requires some effort of will. And the swimmer soon summons his will to compete, against himself or others, for greater distances and greater speed, doing twenty laps where he used to do one. Similarly, tennis takes quantities of energy, physical and moral, especially when the competition stiffens under a hot sun. Team sports, like basketball, baseball, and volleyball, perhaps demand even more of the amateur. The awkward player is miserable when he strikes out, or misses an easy fly, or an easy basket, no matter how patient his teammates are. He must drive himself to keep on trying, no matter how heavy his heart. Whatever the sport, a little determination can eventually conquer one's awkwardness and timidity, and the reward will be more than physical. Character and health frequently go hand in hand. (Baker, Complete Stylist, 59)Baker doesn't mention soccer, but it also belongs among the team sports that "demand even more of the amateur," so I used one of my son's artworks depicting soccer, his belovéd sport.
Anyway, this paragraph is useful for its initial, topic sentence (introducing the paragraph's main point), its illustrative supporting sentences (providing evidence and reasons to support the main point), and its ultimate, concluding sentence (summarizing the main point).
Note the use of concrete, specific details in the supporting sentences.
I'll be using this paragraph as a model in my summer writing course.