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Keith Uhlig: Cross-country running: The best sport in the world

12:30 PM, Sep. 6, 2013  |  Comments
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Five unbiased and completely rational reasons why cross-country is the greatest sport in the world, probably the universe.

5. Superman and Spider-Man get all the press. But The Flash is the most interesting of all superheroes. He certainly ran cross-country in high school.

4. It's the best spectator sport. I know what you're thinking: "Really? Cross-country is boring. A bunch of people stampede into the woods and 17 minutes later come running out, huffing and puffing. What's interesting about that?" It's infinitely interesting, because you're not watching one athletic contest, you're watching hundreds of them. Why, just last week, I was at a cross-country meet, and the two very last runners were sprinting for the finish line as if they were competing for first. It was beautiful. And, oh yeah, it's free.

3. Cross-country running makes you smarter. Numerous and highly credible studies have linked increased intellectual capacity to regular aerobic exercise, which is what cross-country running is. Justin Rhodes, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Illinois, speculates that the reason for this is that the increased blood circulation brings more nourishing oxygen to the brain.

Look, there are a lot of really, really smart people who participate in all kinds of other sports. But let's just point out one thing: When was the last time a cross-country runner was so stupid as to shoot himself in the thigh while partying in a New York night club? (Plaxico Burress, your life would have taken a better turn if you just ran a 5K once in a while.)

2. It's the simplest sport in the world, probably the universe. There are no fancy rules to confuse officials, athletes or spectators. That gives it breath-taking elegance, yet below the surface are infinite complications (see above). Steve Jobs built Apple into the largest corporation in the world by incorporating simple designs. Cross-country is the iPod of sports.

On the other hand, most other sports get bogged down with intricate bureaucracies that require policing, government and debates. And they employ systems that reward liars and cheats.

Which leads to the No. 1 Reason Why Cross-country is the Greatest Sport in the World, Probably the Universe ... (drum roll)

It's the most democratic of all sports. It doesn't matter if you are rich or poor, big or small, man or woman, black or white, you can compete. And the best on that day wins. There are no doubts, no arguments, and it's completely, unequivocally fair. Can't say that about football, can you? Need I remind you about the Packers "loss" against Seattle less than a year ago?

What's your take on the Packers Family Night change?

Retrieving results.
Watching practice is fine.(Your vote)
15%
575 votes
I'd rather watch a scrimmage.(Your vote)
23%
856 votes
I don't want to pay to watch practice.(Your vote)
27%
1015 votes
It doesn't matter to me.(Your vote)
34%
1271 votes

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