obviously, soccer wins hands down no question. diving all over the ground knocking a ball away from me is so much more fun and less pointless than just plain running.
but running does win on a few small points.
1. too much of my team depends on me/none of my team depends on me.
soccer involves 5 people looking to me to keep them from losing. i’m the only person on the field who can do what i can do. sure, i have defenders in front of me, but it’s a much bigger deal for the ball to get past me than it is for anyone else. no one says after a score “that defender back there let that one in.” it’s ultimately the goalie’s fault.
no one needs me in cross country. i run my race, they run theirs. it doesn’t matter to anyone else whether i finish in 22 minutes or 30. i can’t let anyone down. i feel so much more free that way.
2. there is only one way to look at things/i choose whether i won or lost.
in soccer, if we lose, well, we lose. there’s nothing else to say.
cross country gives me all kinds of safety nets. if i don’t win my race(HA), i can at least get a better time than my last one. if i don’t get a better time, i can at least have maybe run one of my miles faster than my last. and then if none of my personal goals happened, then our team can either win or place higher than last time. really the only way to fail is to quit, so i’m in total control of my success. just finishing counts as winning to me.
3. eight hundred things to remember/one thing to do.
soccer makes me think too much. i have to focus on so many things at once and make so many decisions so fast.
you can’t forget what to do in a race; all you have to do is run. yeah, there’s all that stuff about pacing and form and junk, but you only really really concentrate on that in practice. i don’t think when i race; i just run. the only thing i really worry about is passing people, and staying with the people who pass me. which doesn’t require thinking; it’s just more running. thinking takes energy, and it takes all the energy i have to run 3 miles, so i don’t think.
but. despite the few things that running has going for it, i’m ready to throw myself in front of a soccer ball again. my hands are itching for my gloves.