Saturday, October 21, 2006

Running on empty

There are few experiences as disheartening in life as having your high school geometry teacher yelling at you to run faster as you're out of breath, stumbling toward the finish line of the state cross country meet.

I can't remember exactly who talked me into running cross country my sophomore year in high school, but I'm pretty sure it was a Peter. It was either the Peter who had been one of my best friends in junior high school who I had gradually started to drift apart from, or it was the Peter who I was casually acquainted with on junior high school who would go on to be one of my best friends in high school and beyond.
Whichever Peter it was, he didn't get me hooked on running for life, but he did get me to join the only team I would stick with for the rest of my high school years, a team with which I would experience both my only non-losing season as an athlete and my only election as a team captain. Although even those modest achievements were not as impressive as they first sound, but the year I was (tri)-captain and the non-losing season did happen to coincide, so maybe I should take a little credit for my unparalleled leadership skills.

Now, to understand the dynamics of a cross country team, you have to understand that it is a collection of teenagers who think it isn't such a bad idea to run for miles at a time. That's it, the entire sport consists of running from one point to another. There are no balls, sticks, helmets, pads, goals, touchdowns, or hole-in-ones. All in all, not a lot of excitement. Just running. Every other sport (well, except for golf) involves running, but they all have the good sense to throw some other activity into the mix. Not cross country. Just running.
So it goes without saying that cross country runners aren't exactly the big men on campus when it comvarsityaristy athletics. More like the tall, gangly, slightly off men on campus who think it sounds like a good idea to end the school day with a seven-mile run.

Enough background, I'm starting to bore myself. I promise that coming soon will be funny anecdotes revolving around having one Peter constantly vomiting, another Peter sizing himself up for a lifetime of knee braces, the wearing of orange polyester tank tops, me being a tri-captain on a team that only had seven runners to begin with, and of course, getting yelled at by my Geometry teacher will coming in next to last in the state cross country meet.

As I have done before:

To Be Continued...


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