When I was a high school lad several hundred years ago, I heard of a sport called Cross Country! I had no clue what Cross Country was, but it appeared as though somebody did, because it was always announced on the P.A.
At some point I finally asked somebody to tell me about Cross Country. A fellow classmate described it as, “A bunch of people running through the fields and the woods after school”.
Well, as I was quite happy logging way too many hours on the baseball diamond and with my music pursuits, I really did not have the time to run through the fields and the woods, nor did I take the time to pursue Cross Country any further at that point. It seemed like a silly way to spend one’s time after school!
Fast-forwarding several years, my own son decided to try Cross Country as he was entering high school. I did not share my earlier disdain for “running through the fields and woods”. Rather, I fully supported his choice and together we began to learn the meaning and purpose of Cross Country.
After attending several Cross County meets, I learned the following:
1) Cross Country gets kids in shape very quickly and it keeps them in shape
2) Cross Country kids shy away from bad food and bad habits (i.e. smoking, drugs, alcohol)
3) Cross Country kids develop a strong sense of discipline and a very strong work ethic
4) Cross Country kids encourage and push each other to new heights
5) Cross Country kids tend to have supportive parents
6) Cross Country kids tend to get good grades in school, either through genes or the development of their work ethic and their learning to strive for excellence
7) Cross Country kids tend to establish solid relationships with each other
8) Cross Country kids tend to sleep more and party a lot less – if at all
9) Cross County allows kids to compete against others and against themselves
10) Cross Country can prepare kids for competition, success, and the knowledge that one can succeed through hard work
At meets, I am always amazed at the number of in-shape kids, dedicated coaches, and supportive parents who are in attendance. This is truly a great way to spend one’s high school years, with like-minded people who push each other to strive for excellence while denying themselves the negative activities in which others engage. After all, if one is going to run 5-7 miles per day to prepare for races, it would be ludicrous to then throw it away not taking care of oneself away from the Cross Country arena.
(Please come back next week for Part 2)
Paul W. Reeves