I consider myself a student of life. When college ended, so did the looming term papers, the upcoming tests and endless hours spent studying. I felt a loss – the death of organized learning. It’s not long after that, I discovered I actually liked gaining more knowledge on a variety of topics. When not told what to do and when to do it I found myself eager and excited to learn more about, just about anything.
“I read TIME”….it’s not something you usually say to your girlfriends….
I do read it – In the privacy of my own home I allow myself the self proclaimed geeky pleasure of reading and learning about new things and what is going on the world.
This past week I found a great mini article in TIME on the competition between girls and boys when it comes to athletics. The article doesn’t mention running, but I think it’s a clear cut example of why the sport of running, track & field and cross country included, is a wonderful choice for not only adults but also young children.
A little bit of competitive drive can be a good thing, but a new study of teenagers shows that attempting to outshine others may come at a higher psychological and social price for girls than for boys.
Researchers at California State University at Chico and the University of Texas at Dallas looked at two types of competition among highschool seniors: competing to win and competing to excel. More boys than girls reported competing to win – to dominate rivals and demonstrate superior skill – with no detriment to their mental health or social relationships. The findings support earlier studies that suggest such motivation is both typical and socially expected of males.
But female students who said they competed to win reported higher rates of depression and feelings of loneliness, along with fewer friends and social relationships, compared with girls who did not report the same drive to outperform their peers. The author suggests these effects may be due in part to persistent Western norms that mark self-serving behaviour undesirable in girls.
In contrast, competing to excel – to surpass personal goals or develop skills – was associated with higher self esteem, more feelings of achievement and less depression in both girls and boys.
Running is an awesome way to excel, to better ones self, to win even if you are the last person to finish the race. Running has given me a sense of purpose, a passion, a drive, and has taken me from a socially fearful person, to someone who has the confidence to go almost anywhere and do pretty much anything. I sincerely wish that I had not thought that the kids on track in highschool were dorks per se, but that my parents and society had taught me that running is just as *cool* as soccer, as lacrosse. That running is a sport that continues long after organized sports have ended, running is a sport for life.