I personally like to run and I love my teammates. I should always start every post I make with a disclaimer stating why I am not an unhinged maniac that has internet access. Nonetheless, god I hate cross country and not for the whole “we run far and it’s tiring” reasons. Running is the least of my concerns when it comes to distance runners in general. Since I’m midway through my eighth season connected to running (and have one more fall season to go before I hope to start a coaching career….and this post will ruin those aspirations I’m sure); I feel like I have my finger on the pulse on why people hate our sport. Hell I think most of my teammates have heard me say “that’s why people hate us” when discussing outsiders views on us.
So here’s a guide to why people hate our sport.
- BADASS. In terms of what makes our sport awful, there is nothing worse than people who think they are badass that they were split shorts in 60 degree weather and POUND mileage. “Dude, people DON’T UNDERSTAND WHAT WE DO” is a common phrase to hear. Yes, people actually do know what we do as we might have the simplest sport to explain. “Uhhh well ya see, at 3:15 everyday, I stretch and then I run until I stop an hour later. Sometimes I race too which is faster than a normal run.” Pretty cut and dry actually. Just because you have a tattoo of a winged foot and a watch tan does not make you a badass. People admire our sport because they can’t do it, but then some person opens their mouth and they immediately lose respect for us. “Ohhh, we don’t just run. We EXPERIENCE things like wind and rain, it’s actually badass. You might pound beer but I pound my feet on the ROADS.” God I just hated half of high school running right there.
- Quotes, Quotes, Quotes. For a bunch of people that love their sport, we sure like to throw the same old Steve Prefontaine quotes in everybody’s face. If you befriend a runner expect more “quotes” than your religious friends. I hate Steve Prefontaine by the way. He’s the Babe Ruth of our sport (though without any titles or medals to show for) and has ruined running for every single person that just wants to do their sport in peace and quiet. He was an awesome runner and cool dude but God, his legacy has really gone to hell. Weird uncoordinated kids wear Pre t-shirts and lament how Without Limits has never won an Oscar. Also Nike retweets some awful quote like “When they are sleeping, you are training….because YOU AREN’T EVERYONE else” and then I realize how useless I am. Thanks Nike. That quote just made me hate the fact that I don’t pound the hell out of the roads everyday and hurt myself. If I’m healthy, I’m NOT DOING IT RIGHT. Ever see someone try to make their own quote? They just sound like the worst Philosophy minor ever.
- Neon. Guilty. I got a bunch of cool running stuff for Christmas and all of it is neon. That way traffic can see me all the way from East Stroudsburg. Still outside of deadmau5 concerts, you will never see as much neon than when you see a group of athletes training during indoor track season. It’s just a given.
- Our own sport hates us. I’m pretty sure on every single track team, the distance team is the least popular on it. If I were a sprinter, I would’ve punched about five of my current teammates by the time I graduated. “Pshh, they are doing FOUR 200s? That’s not even a 1k! SPRINTERS ARE WEAK”, “The only race that matters involve steeple barriers”, “ugh you guys are complaining? Try running 9 miles OUTSIDE” are some of the quotes I have heard in my three and a half years in college. Here’s how most distance runners see other track athletes. Sprinters=soft, Throwers=Lucky (they do NOTHING!!!), Pole Vaulting=That looks fun and Jumping=I bet I can do that. Seriously that’s how these people think. There’s a reason why we get our eyes rolled at when we are sitting around at practice giggling in our short shorts. Guilty there though.
- “How Do You Do That”. I alluded to this earlier in the first subject but if you are not a runner (or better yet not an athlete in general), please ask any distance runner you know “how do you do that?”. Their eyes will light up and the conversation will start off with a bunch of “oh, it’s no big deal” but it will end with how only they can run because you don’t get it. Okay, I just reiterated point #1.
Trust me, I’ll do other sports though since it would be unfair to stop here.