Sports Blog Prompt

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Neither of my parents have ever been much into sports, they both got teased a lot growing up--my mom was shy and my dad was a "nerd". Mind you, they're the smartest most wonderful people I know. But, they did not hand down any competitive nature to us kids. I played various sports growing up including soccer and volleyball, but I hated the favoritism and the catty girls, it wasn't for me. I didn't have a strong love for any sport in particular until high school. I picked up running when I was about 13, because I love being outside and I found I just really loved to run. I joined cross-country and track & field in 9th grade. The two sports were very different I found--not in terms of actual activity (you run...) but the culture around them. What I loved about cross country was that I didn't feel like everyone else on the team was relying on my every action to win--the way I looked at it I was simply competing against myself and trying to set personal records. My friend Rachel and I would always run next to each other at CC meets, even though she was a little faster than me- it was more for the fun of it.
Track was different. It could have been the particular team I had, the generation, the coaches... the town I was from... I am not sure. I went to high school in a small town called Pine Island and I graduated in a class of 94. Anyway, when I began track I started running 800's because I thought I was a better distance runner, then one meet my coach threw me in a 400 and I did really well. So that was my race. The sprint coach was a crazy, lazy, abrasive woman who often played favorites and made the rest of us do Indian runs for an hour while she "focused" on the "star athletes". My times were always just seconds away from these other girls but I never got put in a relay. I could run a track in under a minute. And I couldn't wrap my brain around why this coach favored these girls over me.
Track kind of ruined high school for me, the older girls were all really thin and made fun of anyone who actually ate food and looked like it. I lifted weights a lot and really enjoyed that, but I had a lot of muscle and got picked on for it by these girls. So I started to diet, or starve myself really, I lost 30 lbs in a couple months and was disgustingly thin. I had an "ah-ha" moment looking in the mirror one day, I looked terrible. That was 10th grade. As a junior I decided to attend college full-time as a PSEO student and I no longer participated in high school sports. I still love running though, and now my little sister is 15 and in track and I encourage her to do her own thing, be her own person and tell her she's perfect the way she is. She's got a better head on her shoulders than I did at the time, and is a lot less influenced by other kids than I was.

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I think it's unfortunate that coaches or team members can ruin the basic elements that make sports fun. I can understand how all of these unnecessary pressures can make someone want to quit their sport even though they love it. I think certain aspects of the media may exacerbate these pressures.

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This page contains a single entry by racheloh published on November 12, 2011 11:43 AM.

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