Mom, I Love Cross-Country
"Mom, I LOVE cross-country." Ok. Wow. I'm going to take a little detour here because I know Dragonwing sells sports gear for tween and teen girls, but today I'm going to write about my 7th grade son. D is an avowed "nerd." He swam in the past because I made him and he could see his friends, but it wasn't something he embraced. Most of his summer activity was whatever was going on at summer camp, summer swim, and watching Netflix. He joined the (no-cut) middle school cross country team this past week. I want to note that the North Carolina weather has been high 90s with high humidity all week. On the second or third day of practice, he hopped into the car after practice dripping sweat with a bright red face. I braced myself for the complaint. "Mom, I LOVE cross-country." Pause. Deep breath. Inside, I was jumping up and down. "What do you like about it?" "I don't know, it's fun. We ran through the woods today and picked apples. The trails are fun and it was shady." I'm delighted. Beyond happy. Because everything we know about why sports are good for girls also applies to boys, especially the slightly nerdy, not your-typical-jock boy. Over the course of the cross-country season, D is going to benefit from teamwork, hard work, camaraderie, seeing his own times (hopefully) improve, and understand that running, as with almost any sport, can be a lifetime pursuit. And the beauty of running is its simplicity. As humans, we were designed to move and to run. It's in our DNA. I'm glad D is literally following in my footsteps. But even more importantly, I'm hoping he has found his "sport." His go-to activity when he's having a bad day or needs to work off some excess stress. The "runner's high" is real. A long time ago, I wrote that no matter how bad a day was, as long as I completed my run, it was a good enough day. For D, I'm hoping this cross-country season is the season where he discovers the joy of sports.