Friday, June 20, 2014

Running vs. Other Sports

Last week, I tweeted (twittered?) something that I have been thinking about ever since.

Many of my tweets blast popular American pastimes.

Is that a fair thing to say? Am I being a good judge of running and other sports? Was that an evenhanded hash tag to use? Questions like these plagued me after tweeting (twittering?) what I now view as a rash and immature tweet. Truly, I took my tweeting terribly too lightly.

So in my blog this week, I want to examine how distance running compares to some other popular sports in the category of coordination and grace. Keep in mind that I don't include most track and field running events as "distance running," since sprinting and hurdles obviously require an enormous amount of grace. Hypnotically beautiful grace. Grace out the ass, you could say.

I will be as fair and even handed as possible. Kind of.


Baseball, or "Yankee Cricket," is a game with nine innings, four bases, a handful of players, and lots of steroids. Invented in 1776 as a way to hit apples at the British from a great distance away, it evolved during the 19th and 20th century into America's favorite national pastime. The apples went on to become apple pie, most famous for being as American as apple pie.

Today, baseball is played in order to sell $15 beers and $10 hot dogs to people watching the game from a great distance away in something called a "stadium."

Now, baseball requires a lot of grace and coordination. The pitcher has to throw the balls super fast. The batter has to hit those balls, even though they're moving super fast. But not only do they have to have hand-eye coordination, some of them have to run as well. The outfielders run to get the ball. The batters have to run to base. I have to run and find a bathroom without a huge line after drinking too many overpriced beers.

Running only involves running. You have to have a good form, but nothing that requires the kind of coordination a pitcher or outfielder has to have when throwing a ball. Granted, I have only played baseball a handful of times. I can't really remember much about it, though...

I wonder why.


I insulted football earlier when I implied, via tweeting, that it required the least grace and coordination of all non-running sports. On the surface, this appears to be true. Football was invented by adding padding, helmets, and more breaks for commercials to a game of rugby.

The objective, based on dozens of movies I half-remember, is to have two lines of men hug while the quarterback fades back and throws a "Hail Mary" to a receiver in the end zone to win in the final seconds of the championship game. If the movie is set before 1980, the team's success should also teach their community not to be so racist. Oh, also: a player whom no one thought would be good should be good at the last minute, and the best player from earlier in the season should be in the hospital watching the game and cheering.

But you know what? I have to hand it to football, I think it still requires more grace and coordination than running. Football involves only short bursts of running, but also throwing, catching, and dancing after you get a touchdown. So again, you need a certain level of coordination to play.

Not a HIGH level, mind you.


Soccer, or "British Football," is a gathering of dramatic actors who chase a ball around a big field to distract spectators from their true passion: faking injuries. Now, I've seen some footage of these faked injuries, and I'm a little surprised the Oscars haven't nominated a couple of these performances.

Pictured: true dedication

However, these players have gotten remarkably good at the whole "chasing the ball around" guise, and I have to say that it must take just as much dedication to perform like some of them do. Not only do they have to run, but they have to do so with a ball at their feet. Everything runners have to do and more.

Plus, I've always loved soccer. It was the one sport I was good at besides running.

See? This time, I was the goalie.

So, my highly scientific findings indicate that while running does require some grace and coordination, these three sports require more. Here, have a chart:

Have a good weekend!

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