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Track and field: the most underrated sport

By Amrita Rao and Maarten Van-Genabeek
Published: June 2010

Track isn’t a sport. It’s basically an activity to keep kids with nothing better to do occupied. Some people join track if they don’t make the cut for another varsity team. Others join just to stay in shape during the off-season. There is really no actual skill involved. Really, though, how skilled do you need to be to run around in circles? Track is not a sport. Right?

Wrong.

Think Gladiator-esque Greco Roman god-like humans participating in the early Olympics and tell me that those people weren’t athletes, that track is not a sport. Track and field is one of oldest forms of athletic competition.

Running, jumping, and throwing are fundamental aspects of human physical prowess. Without expertise in these three fundamental components of physical fitness, humans would not be successful in survival, let alone recreational sports.

Newton South High School is known for many things: excellent academic programs, an elite arts department, BJ Novak, the scavenger hunt, and the number one sports program in Massachusetts. Wait, what?

While the recognition came as a shock for some, South’s track team managed to beat out all competitors not only in win-loss achievement, but also in commitment, participation, and consistency.

“We want firsthand information. We don’t just look at the broadsheets or just at a school’s reputation, said the 25-year-old Sports Illustrated editor and writer for high school sports. “Obviously, [South's] track program, as well as cross country, were excellent. That kind of consistency stood out.

Apparently track is a sport, and apparently our team is pretty damn good.

The list of state, regionally, and nationally ranked alumni and current athletes from the track team is long and impressive. What is even more impressive, however, is the athletes’ and coaches’ dedication to the team. They are dedicated to the team’s success, to be sure, but there is a deeper commitment on the track team that is not found on many other teams. Perhaps this commitment is the reason for their reputation as a cult, but South trackies and their coaches believe in something stronger; they believe in the integrity of the sport of track and field and in their duty to uphold this integrity.

The team is a very tight knit community in which members are encouraged by others to work hard and achieve their best during practices and meets. This is no easy feat as practices are grueling and very tough with guaranteed at least one person to throw up on a hard day.

You really do make a lot of friends from running track even from other schools as well. People always hate on track for not really being a team sport but if track is not a team sport then neither is tennis or swimming. During track meets you are reliant on others to help the team by doing well in their events.

Now for those who still do not get it track is more of an individual sport made up of usually 17 events (sometimes more with relays) in which placing in an event gives your team points. Without those points you will lose to the other team, which has amassed more points than you, therefore the team learn to trust and place trust in their teammates to do their job and pull their weight.

Track is also one of the most specialized sports out there. The team is divided into throwers, jumpers, and runners, with runners divided into sprinters and distance, and sprinters divided into short and middle distance. This diversity increases the amount of trust put into your teammates to do what they have to do. Not everyone can pole vault or run the two-mile.

Although this contributes to the team’s “cult status who can argue with their track (pun intended) record?

During the past four years both the boys and girls teams have been outdoor track DCL champions. Even with the loss of countless important seniors the team year after year is able to produce some of the best runners in the state and add to their success. Not
to mention the girl’s 4xmile relay team won nationals last year. That’s right the fastest four-mile runners in the country.

So for all those haters out there on in fact the oldest sport in the world why don’t you join the team and experience it for yourself.

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