The things no one understands...
A satire regarding the woes of a cross country runner
The starting point in such a task is a simple disregard for the sport and an identification. Firstly, you must think back to the runner in your life. You know…the one with a fetish for water and an insanely large collection of sweaty t-shirts.
Your cross-country runner may be tall and lanky or short and squat, but chances are: they already know they are a social outcast. If this is true, than that means less work for you. However, if this step is not completed, you may try shouting phrases at them in the hallways such as, “What is cross-country?”, “Oh…you didn’t make the soccer team?” or “Sorry, I forget your name, but I know you like run or something for fun.” This is sure to get their attention and put them in their proper place.
Your cross-country runner may get a bit cocky. After all, it’s easy to become successful at something no one really does. If this happens, the best thing to do is repeat step one. After that, add a few comments about your cross-country runner’s wimpy arms and/or nasty feet. If you’ve got a stubborn one on your hands, I would suggest announcing said factoids to the entire student body. This is sure to wipe the smile of their face at the same rate of their decrease in popularity.
In has come to my attention however, that cross-country is no longer looked down upon sufficiently. Granted, it is highly ignored, but the inter-mingling of cross-country runners and members of society is a concern to be addressed. If you should notice this, immediately call for backup and proceed to berate the cross-country runner by repeating both steps one and two (just to let you know: when in doubt, repeat steps one and two in just about any life situation. For example: If your teacher is scolding your effort, turn to the nearest runner and let it rip).
In all your hard work, you must not forget the race itself. In the trivial world of a cross-country runner, the highlight of the week is waking up at 6 am in order to run up hills in 40 degree weather. Most likely, you won’t have to remind your cross-country runner of how stupid this is. The cold has stunted their brain, so they wouldn’t understand your rambling in the first place. However ridiculous it is though, the average cross-country runner will do this weekly ritual throughout the fall.
If you gain nothing else from this guide, you must understand: the running community is highly toxic! It is an alien gathering that gains its momentum from a gun followed by a stampede. In an extreme case of runner ego, it may be necessary to venture out to one of these cult gatherings. The necessary equipment for this perilous journey includes: a bullhorn, a can of silly string, a stop watch, and a whistle.
Before you can utilize your equipment though, you must understand the essentials. The most powerful weapon against the cross-country runner is your voice. It is crucial to find an area on the course where you are largely alone. When your cross-country runner heaves their way by: spring into action! The most effective comments are “Keep going! Only two more miles and three hills!” and “Keep going.” Other widely recognized remarks are “They are right behind you!.”, “Run!”, and “you’re about 25 seconds behind.” If your cross-country runner looks like they want to hit you with a brick, you have spoken your lines with finesse.
Now, with your resources. The whistle is your attention getter. When your cross-country runner is still 400 meters away, begin blowing the whistle with all you’ve got- loudly and at nonsensical intervals. In between your stints of “cheering”, the stopwatch will come in handy. Well..the stopwatch itself will do nothing actually, but having it will give you credibility as you shout out bogus times to the runner. If you truly want to crush their spirit, you will have to have looked up their typical time so that you can then yell much slower times as they run by. Next, spray silly string at their at their head as they run past. Aim for the face. If you get lucky, they will sweat and the chemical substance will ooze into their eyes and mouth, causing sputtering and blindness. As they stumble into trees because of their lack of vision, turn on your bullhorn and start shouting one of the predetermined “cheers” you have practiced. If they don’t give up right then, rest assured that they will trip on a root quite soon.
After you have successfully patted yourself on the back for a job well done, get the heck out of there! Your cross-country runner will sink into depression soon, but in the post-race adrenaline rush: they will be hunting you down. The small crowd size is to your disadvantage, but the stupidity of the running community will come into play. They will swarm towards the claustrophobic runners, creating a human wall between you and your “assignment”. This is your chance to rush to your car and make a getaway. Once you arrive home, reward yourself with a pint of Rocky Road and an evening of romantic comedies. After such exercise and effort, you deserve a break.
"Running is a mental sport...and we're all insane!"
- Author unknown