Saturday, August 22, 2015

V5 N. 80 Old School v. New School Cross Country

The following post first appeared in 2012 on the Penn State Track Alumni Blog
penned by David Baskwill.  We are printing it with David's permission.  We've also added some of our own thoughts on the subject.

Cross Country for high school athletes sure has changed from what I remember.

Old School (1970s): Practice right after school.
New School (2012): Practice at 5:30PM, just 1 1/2 hours after they get home from school.

Old School: Practice lasts 1 1/2 hours, team meeting included. Ends on time.
New School: Practice lasts 2 1/2 hours, followed by a team meeting. Never on time.

Old School: Practice at high school, trip home by school bus.
New School:  Practice at numerous variable sites, transportation necessary both to and from.

Old School: Dual Meets twice weekly.
New School: Quad or Quintuple Meets once weekly.

Old School: Tattoos only on a spectating ex-Marine Uncle from out of town.
New School: Neck tattoos on Freshman runners.

Old School: No sunglasses.
New School: Sunglasses on an overcast day as essential running equipment.

Old School: Nike Waffles.
New School: "Barefoot" Shoes.

Old School:  Winner at about 16:00 for boys 18:00 for girls.
New School: Winner at about 16:00 for boys 18:00 for girls.

Old School:  No idea what friends are up to during practice.
New School: Tweets and Facebook updates during practice to know that friends are "chillin".

Old School: Coach is basketball coach and high school math teacher.
New School: Coach is 6-time All-American and stay-at-home-dad.

Old School: 0 assistant coaches.
New School: 6 assistant coaches.

Old School: 1 Newspaper article a year, with many facts wrong.
New School:  Blog with daily updates on minutiae of every runner's life.

Old School: Quarter mile or half mile repeats a staple.
New School: Don't know what a quarter is.

Old School: One runner with a VW van on its last legs takes a few people home.
New School: Each runner over 16 drives their own BMW, Lexus or Mercedes home.

Old School:  Cotton
New School: Lycra

Old School: Stretch
New School: Core

Old School: Fartlek
New School: Lactate-Threshold or Tempo

To the above we have added:

Old School:  Kids arrive start of the season half in shape due to general activity.
New School: Kids arrive completely out of shape due to playing video games all summer.

Old School:  In most of my years at UC I would go around in a van and give people mile splits, just to get a sense of pace. 
New School:  Toward the end they would correct me as to where the mile split actually was based on their GPS.  I began to wonder why I was even out there.  The same was true for bus trips where I formally enjoyed talking with team members on the bus.  Toward the end they were all texting and there was essentially nobody to talk with.  Once again I began to wonder why I was even on the bus.
Courtesy of Bill Schnier

Old School:  Running comes first , so drop a class so as not to miss practice.
New School: School comes first, so skip practice so as not to miss class.
Courtesy of Phil Scott

Old School: Start a run down any country road or trail and run for 60-90 minutes, guesstimating the distance and pace.
New School: GPS tells you exactly where you are, how far and how fast your pace. 
Courtesy of Susan Abuasba

Old School:  Cross Country was Blue Collar kids of factory workers, living in the city.
New School: Cross Country is Upper Class kids of college grads, living in the suburbs.

Old School: Cross Country team was mainly basketball players getting in shape before their season, lucky if there were 8 or 9 kids on the team. Many ran in Converse All-Stars high tops.

New School: Cross Country team has 5-10 serious runners and 30-50 kids trying to boost their resumes for getting accepted to college.  George Brose

On a similar note,  I found a recent photo of Tom Farrell, 1964 Tokyo 800 runner 5th place, and bronze medallist in Mexico City, 1968.  Tom spends several months a year away from home in California coaching at his alma mater
St. Johns University in New York.  

Tom Farrell volunteering to coach at St. Johns. Note runner texting on the 

track instead of listening to sage advice.

This is  one of the many reasons I would have trouble coaching these days.
David Baskwill stepped up with this comment:

I must be prescient!  I'll bet the text she is reading says...  "Nuthin, how bout U? Talk 2 U L8er."  
The kind of thing critical to endurance training.
hee hee hee  I will probably use that photo in a follow-up post to show how right I was.

Absolutely brilliant.  I think that line could be used in hundreds of situations where some young person, ie. White House intern, surgical assistant, young lieutentant in a combat zone, nanny,  daycare center worker, school bus driver,  hacker etc. is seen texting during a critical situation. 

1 comment:

skwilli said...

Thanks for the hat-tip and click-boost! I may add all of the new ones to the old ones (and the ones I forgot in the original post comment section) and print them all again, together. And I have been criticized by a recalcitrant old fool saying that I'm too much of a curmudgeon and am criticizing the "New School" kids too much. Overly pessimistic, as it were. That isn't true at all, however. Track and Field is certainly different, but still the greatest sport of all. Pure Athletics can't be beat. And it still brings mirth.

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