Why We Run – The Secrets Of Cross Country

The benefits of Cross Country far outweigh the struggle.

PC: Eliot Juno Yun ’19

Do you ever feel like you just don’t do enough in your life? You never go on volunteer trips because you’re too shy, too lazy, or don’t speak Korean… You never sign up or get into school clubs or committees that look pretty on other people’s college applications… I’m sure that at some point in your life, you’ve felt like this—hopeless.

The prejudiced summary of what people think when they hear “cross country” is all about the physical and mental stress that it puts on you and the terrible struggles you face throughout, but as a member of the team, I can say that this is not the whole truth. I asked a few questions to one cross-country captain, Jenny Lee…

(Interviewer): “Do you think that people should join cross-country?”

(Jenny – XC Captain): “Yes, definitely. Cross-country is a very beneficial sport… ”

(Interviewer): “Why?”

(Jenny): “Well, I guess cross-country just fits a wider variety of people… ”

One main benefit of cross-country is physical health. By running, you will gain muscle strength and endurance—and most likely your dream six-pack—but there are even more advantages you will receive. According to an article from Harvard Health, a runner’s risk of death by anything in general is reduced by 30% and their risk of death by strokes or heart attacks is reduced by 45%. Another article from the WomensRunning magazine stated that simply running 5 minutes each day was enough to decrease your risk of getting cardiovascular disease by 45%. Another fact is that you will undoubtedly end up drinking a much higher amount of water which has its own enormous set of health benefits on its own.

Another benefit of cross-country is mental health. According to the WomensRunning magazine, running reduces your risk of depression by 19%. And as they say, cross-country is a mental sport. The more you improve, the stronger your mind will be in terms of not giving up—which is a far more important skill than you might think. Cross-country is known as a mental sport because it focuses on long-distance running. You run at a certain pace for an extended period of time. Because of this, you have to spout nonsense positivity at yourself for the entire race to keep going, which has a surprisingly effective and positive impact on your mental state. The harder you try, the prouder you’ll be, and even if you don’t try that hard, you’ll still gain some degree of respect for yourself because you’re simply able to withstand that mental challenge.

There are no judgements in Cross-country—unless you brag to people about how hard it is and how amazing you are because you’re on the team. Age or social status doesn’t matter. You will be accepted into the team no matter how strange you are. And to be absolutely honest, the team members might be the weirdest you’ll ever meet—including the coaches. I observed that everyone was running their own race. Cross-country may be a team, but we are all running our own individual races to improve ourselves.

The students that don’t do this sport usually say they don’t do cross-country because they’re not good at running. According to several members of the team, “whether you are good at running or not, doesn’t really matter”—it is just an excuse for their lack of motivation. Of course, this may not be true and some students may prioritise other sports or activities over cross-country, but if you’ve got nothing else to do, why not take just two hours of your time slacking off, procrastinating, and simply sign a few forms that say “Off campus agreement” and “Medical release form”, etc… that really mean, “I want to improve myself”.

Running is hard. There is no denying that it is, but I’d argue that dying of heart attacks, strokes, or cancer is just as stressful. Do you not believe that practising alongside these funny, enjoyable team members to get a healthier, stronger body, stronger mind, and greater respect for yourself and others, is worthwhile? You may say you’re never going to join cross-country, that it’s not worth the shaky breath, the sweat, the aches and cramps, but as one of the captains has said before, “People should join cross-country for its benefits, and for the fact that it fits a variety of people”.

What she meant by this, was that no matter how short, how tall, how unpopular, popular, or smart you are, the team will care for you—so long as you treat everyone else with true, unbiased respect. You will be given immediate value for joining and you will learn to love yourself and be more confident. I have never seen more equal, accepting, and supportive a family as the KIS cross-country team.

– Michelle Lee (‘22)

Featured image: Eliot Juno Yun (’19)

Everything They Told You—The Dangers Of Gossip

PC: socialidentitynetwork.com

Through countless judgments, lies, regrets, and false assumptions, I’ve come to a standstill in my thoughts about relationships—both with friends and family. The diffusion of information through rumors and gossip spreads like rapid fire, twisting simultaneously in multiple paths of communication, like minerals flowing through the roots of a tree. So common is this type of transmission, that any normal person would be tied into its complex passageways. If we were to look at the cause of all this, often times exaggerated information, we see it starts with one person. They hear that another person has done something out of the norm, something weird, amazing, disappointing, or disgusting—they tell it to someone else around them, who tells the same thing to another person around them, and the information spreads with an insanely rapid pace, sometimes reaching entire grade levels in only a few hours,

Especially in middle school was tougher than it should have been for many people, making them care about their appearance and think that beauty was the key to gaining momentum on the social ladder. What was fueling this was gossip that sucked away at our self-consciousness, envy, and fear.

We think that gossip is harmless, that as long as someone doesn’t hear something, they won’t be hurt by it. But it’s only a matter of time until the snowballed rumor reaches that person.

Plain and simple, gossiping is bullying, but an especially hard one to catch. There are simply too many lies that float around, whizzing past one student, transferring to another—like a multitude of diseases that everyone is infected with. Though we don’t hear much about gossip, it is a serious problem, a problem that is hard to solve, and a problem that exists everywhere. People often want lies to be true, and it is terrifying how easily they accept them.

In our school, there is a sea of complicated hatred, woven inside and out with piercing deceptions; all created by our classmates, siblings, friends, and even parents. And this is such a disappointment to all of us.

The next time you find yourself about to whisper something to your friend about the ‘gross’ kid in the back, take a step back and realize that you have no right to judge them that way if you don’t know a single damn thing about them. Think about the consequences of that our actions will take, imagine being subject to months of alienation, rejection, disgusted stares, and whispers. Imagine withstanding the pain of exclusion as our ‘friends’ leave you, convinced that the lies spread around us are true.

– Michelle Lee ‘22

Featured Image: socialidentitynetwork.com