It’s 3:30 in the afternoon. You’re heading back to your room in Hamlin after a long day of classes when you encounter the most emaciated street gang known to University Heights – the Blue Streak cross country team. They travel in a pack, like a bunch of anorexic wolves, shirtless and obviously lacking any clear direction (on their run and in life).
I know this because I have been secretly doing undercover work since my freshman year to unveil these scantily clad cardio-freaks for what they really are. After three years of observation, I have come to only one concrete conclusion – they are not a functional part of society and should be removed for extensive laboratory study (myself included).
Despite running hundreds of miles every month, I have determined that as a whole, they are not a healthy group of people. Since health is a multidimensional concept, I would like to address this from the perspective of physical, mental and emotional health.
Physically, this team of athletic misfits comprises a unique place in the varsity sports community. Based on their failed attempts at childhood sports like basketball and little league baseball, they all seem to have an acute understanding of the fact that any degree of respectable hand-eye coordination is out of their realm, so they have settled on the one sport that literally only requires them to put one foot in front of the other.
Granted, they have the most efficient hearts, lungs and legs by far; but if any of them find themselves in a physical fight, they better hope they have the chance to run from their adversary, because there is no plausible way these underweight stick figures could stand up to someone. Trust me, when it comes to fight or flight, I flight as fast as a baby bird pushed from the nest for the first time.
Then we have the emotional aspect of this hyper-mileage crew. They seem to be completely incapable of branching outside of their own social network. They date each other, hook up with each other, study together, party together, go to the Inn Between together, etc. It’s like they’re bound together in their ritualistic veneration for the pseudo-sacred ideology of running.
Hm. A group bound together by veneration for the same sacred ideology? Interestingly enough, that happens to also be the dictionary.com definition of a cult. Just sayin …
And the final component of health, mental health, is arguably their worst performance area. Their idea of a good time is strictly illogical. Their entire sport is predicated on the physical test of who can die better than their opponent. What kind of sane person willingly lines up every week to die?
My middle school cross-country coach put it best when he said, “There are two types of people – sane people and runners.” Honestly, it’s like these large-calved crazies have some sick addiction to pain. That’s the kind of stuff for clinical studies.
Now, this wouldn’t be a complete column if I didn’t address another facet of their depraved lifestyle – their wardrobe. Over the years, I have become a part of this fashion disaster that runner’s so audaciously sport.
Each season seems to have its own unique drawer-full of goodies to adorn their lanky bodies. In the warmer months, they seem to think it is acceptable to wear shorts so short that no questions are left unanswered. As for a shirt? Ha! They are proud of the fact that most doctors would cringe at their gross lack of body fat.
In the chillier months, it’s not surprising to see a group of men jogging down the road in full length tights and a fuzzy tossel cap with a cotton pompom ball flopping around on top. I’m not sure when I started feeling comfortable wearing tights in public, but I’m pretty sure that ranks right up there with dudes wearing jeggings as a replacement for jeans – not okay.
Now I suppose I could talk about how weird these people are forever; but if you’ll excuse me, I have to go for my run now.