I did know that if it started at 6:30 in the morning I wasn’t apt to find out.
Well, before school was out that day, the head Basketball coach, Jim Wallace, looked me up and told me he would like to see me come out for Cross-Country. He gave me a brief explanation of what it was and said he would see me bright and early on Monday. He also mentioned how it would really help me in basketball. I managed to make it that Monday and 32 years later I am still involved in Cross-Country.
Cross-Country is distance running. High school races are 3.1 miles, middle school 2.4 miles and elementary 1.8. Races are usually run on state parks, golf courses and even on farms. There are seven people on a team with only the top five runners considering for scoring. Like golf, the lowest score wins in cross-country.
After four years as a runner at Trigg County and 22 years as a coach, I have come to determine that Cross-Country may be my favorite sport. Here are some of the reasons for that. Cross-Country is a sport where an athlete can truly will his or her self to improve. Being 6’5” tall or weighing 275 pounds is not a necessity either. The size of one’s heart is the important physical characteristic.
Cross-Country also teaches discipline, work ethic and values as well as any sport I have ever seen. It takes a special young person to be willing to train and sacrifice to run 3.1 miles competitively in high school. Year in and year out, I would pit the Cross- Country teams grade point average against any other teams’ in school.
The fans in Cross-Country are also different than in any other sport. Cross-Country fans are supportive and respectful of all athletes from all schools.
In basketball if a player missed the rim, the opposing crowd jeers him or her with chants of air ball. In Cross-Country the last place runner is treated with respect and admiration for their efforts.
To read the conclusion of this column, pick up the latest edtion of The Cadiz Record.