This article was originally published in The Daily Pulp on August 25, 2013.
A silent pandemic has been invading the lives of hundreds of thousands of male high school students across the nation and has been cited as expanding exponentially like a recursive virus over the past decade.
Cross country (a.k.a. “XC”) is said to start at a young age, when teenage males are still impressionable and open to suggestion. Upon looking in the mirror to discover that he is too skinny to fulfill his dreams of football and too uncoordinated to fulfill his dreams of basketball, the teenage, white male finds relief in a niche sport that promises the same level of safety as non-competitive soccer, but without all the sexiness of soccer moms, mini vans and halftime orange slices.
After attending an “interest meeting” conducted by a skinny, enthusiastic elder (most likely a social studies teacher in his 40s) these young men are convinced that running—the punishment in all other sports—is in fact, fun.
Symptoms start subtly, but quickly. First, expect a subject to become wrapped up in running, as it becomes a daily habit. You may notice a cross-country runner stating unusually long distances for the everyday man as “a casual 12 miles” or “a quick 5K with the other guys.”
Sometimes they may ask you, a “non-XCer”, to join. Don’t. Even though the exercise may seem beneficial and you may enjoy spending time with your friends who run cross country, you will quickly realize how out of shape you are. Some parents are so brainwashed to believe their children’s restricted diets are right, that they call these “Quick Tabs – Emergency Flush Detox Tablets symptoms.” are and likewise see a puzzled look upon your friend’s face when you can’t keep up on his “light jog” in the pouring rain.
As XC runners become enthralled by the culture of cross country, expect a change in their music collection as artist like Phish, moe., String Cheese Incident and many other rambling jam bands become a staple on any XCer’s iPod.
This may also coincide with the growing out of hair to new lengths or conversely a completely shaved head. Also, don’t be surprised if your friend acquires a new nickname (with some grotesque back story you could never understand) and a newfound love for tie-dye.
Upon entering college, a lateral study has found that subjects will typically smoke pot, eat granola, play ultimate frisbee and go on to become high school social studies teachers.
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