In Defense of Cross Country

Despite the stereotypes, cross country requires both physical and mental strength.


Daisy Finefrock

People usually perceive “serious”  or “diffcult” sports as needing strength and agility. Most people don’t jump to mental strength as a key component of being an athlete. Cross country is a unique sport for many reasons, including requiring mental and physical strength. So, if you believe you can do it, you will succeed.

What I hate hearing most is when I tell people I am a runner, and people will say “Wow, I can hardly run a mile!” Or, if I tell people I am going to run, they will be in awe and say “I could never do that!”

I used to hate running and thought only the fittest of the fit could do it. In reality, if you have the endurance that humans are born with, you can run. It isn’t some elite club where you have to train for years to be able to run a mile. If a pack of wolves were chasing any non-runner, he or she would instantly become a runner. All you need are some running shoes, your body and a mind ready to run.

This is why there are many misconceptions about cross country. If anyone can run, what makes it special? My answer to this is, anyone can play football but does that mean they are any good at it?

No. Anyone can hit a ball on a tennis court. Does that make them a tennis player? Yes, but it doesn’t mean they could ever compete and win a tennis match.

It is all about the competitive drive that makes a runner a good runner.

Like all other sports, you also need to put in the time and be dedicated to working hard.

Shaving 30 seconds off a mile time might seem like nothing to someone who doesn’t run, but it is actually a huge accomplishment that takes months of training.

The dictionary defines a sport as “an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.” Cross country meets all of these requirements.

“Running is the foundation of nearly all sports and certainly one of the most beautiful sports when you consider it by itself. Running requires and rewards dedication, perseverance and hard work,” said cross country coach David Silverander.

So in theory, yes, everyone can be a runner, but that doesn’t mean everyone has the heart.That is what makes cross country such an exceptional sport. It
is a challenging sport that is so often overlooked, even though it is more difficult than a lot of sports.

After all, the saying ‘Our sport is your sport’s punishment’ didn’t come from nothing.