Cross country has always been labeled one of the most boring sports to watch. Although I can’t entirely agree with this belief, I understand where it comes from. Most people view running as a punishment, and not many understand the backstory of a race. Without understanding the rules and intricacies of any sport, there isn’t much to watch. I remember eating out one night, and the TV was playing a rugby match. I was super interested for about 10 minutes, but I didn’t know any of the rules, and I quickly lost interest. Not knowing the cause and effects of each play and which team was doing well doesn’t allow the viewer to build a narrative. Each time a player was “tackled,” I thought the play would be over, but sometimes they would keep going. And don’t get me started on scrums and lineouts. Whenever I felt I finally understood the rules, something new would come up. The same applies to cross country. Even as an avid runner, such as I only find certain races interesting. Watching teammates race is the most enjoyable experience since I know their stories and what each race means to them. Watching an 8k with no background information would be like watching paint dry, but instead of having a comfortable seat to watch, you had to run around to get the best view continuously. However, when you know everyone’s records and goals, the races become more attractive. The most significant difference between cross country and more mainstream sports is that cross country isn’t mainstream. My cross country coach recently got engaged, and her fiancé did not know much about running when they started dating. He has spent a lot more time watching races and seeing our improvements throughout the past year. Now he enjoys watching every race. Although it is possible to learn enough to enjoy cross country, the time and effort are substantial. That is why I understand why most people don’t care about cross country, and that’s okay. — Riley Stewart

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