Low skill set

As we continue to purge our home and our lives of excess baggage, I conquered the garage (again) earlier this week. Part of this endeavor involved going through our son’s old sports equipment (mostly baseball). Some of the stuff we tossed out, a few things we are keeping, others we will give away or try to sell.

My favorite sport he ever participated in was cross-country, for a variety of reasons, one of which was the low expense. Baseball equipment can be quite costly. In order to run cross-country, he only required a uniform and a pair of running shoes.

Running is a rare sport that you can actually carry with you into adulthood. For most youth athletes, their playing days end the moment they graduate high school. There are a few gifted athletes who continue to play in college, and even fewer who ever play professionally. But running is something you can do well into adulthood. In fact, there are several runners I’ve met who took up the sport only later in life. (For example, I’m 45 years old and ran my second half-marathon last month. There are many others a lot like me.)

With sports, you hear a lot about “skill sets.” In baseball, the “5-tool-athlete” is considered a rarity. That’s because you have to be good at a lot of things in order to succeed. There’s always some aspect of the game to improve upon: hitting, fielding, throwing, base-running, pitching, strategy, etc. And so a baseball player requires an array of equipment: bat, glove, batting helmet, batting gloves, uniform, cleats, and if you’re a catcher, the list is even longer.

With running, you only have to do one thing: run. And you only need one piece of equipment: running shoes. It’s the lowest skill set possible. That’s why it’s such a wonderful sport.

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