By: Linda Yu
If you’re an athlete (or you’ve ever attempted to be one), you know how many factors are at play in a sport. From sticky situations to problematic ceilings, here are some interesting sports problems you probably never thought about:
- Cross Country: Losing shoes
Think of cross country, and you might imagine jogging in the fall breeze, peacefully enjoying nature while getting a good workout.
Reality, however gets more complicated. Cross country athletes run into more obstacles than you might think, including ridiculously hot temperatures, steep hills, stormy conditions, stubbornly loose shoelaces, and…mud. Yes, when meet dates and rainy weather clash, runners find themselves battling against the muddy race course, hoping their shoes stay attached to their feet. Shoes lost during the race can be hard to recover, especially when the course is long and there are many runners. Some determined runners continue on barefoot… sports involve sacrifice, after all.
- Tennis: Breaking strings
The tennis outfits shown in magazines may lead you to think of tennis as a very glamorous sport, but in reality it involves a lot of running back and forth under a hot sun. Another example of this difference between expectation and reality of tennis is breaking racket strings. While tennis racket strings don’t usually break too often, they have to be taken out as soon as possible. Broken strings can harm a racket’s performance and can be a nuisance to play with. Also, restringing rackets can be challenging because you need a special machine.
- Dance: People not thinking dance is a sport
Doing a sport is a struggle in itself, but not getting recognized for it sucks. A simple google search will tell you that a sport is “an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.” Dance clearly fits this description, and while people might say that not all dancers compete, can’t any sport be made recreational?
- Swimming: Leaky goggles
A swimmer’s typical practice is probably not what comes to mind when we think of “going for a swim.” While the rest of us splash around in the lazy river, they’re swimming back and forth in lanes. Goggles are a must for protecting the eye against infection and for better visibility. But goggles can also be a pain…too tight, and they’ll hurt your face and leave “racoon eye” marks, too loose and they’ll leak. (although sometimes goggles can leak even if they’re not loose) Having leaky goggles is really uncomfortable and according to many, are “the WORST”.
- Rhythmic Gymnastics: Getting stuff stuck on the ceiling
Rhythmic gymnastics: a sport much more popular in Russia than in the US, but that’s not what this article is about. Rhythmic gymnastics might look cool in the Olympics, but behind the beautiful leotards and octuple pirouettes lies a world of unexpected problems. Like getting stuff stuck on the ceiling. (I promise, this is an actual thing.) While professionals might have 30-foot tall gyms, mere mortals often train with much lower ceilings, to the beams of which apparatus seem to have an inexplicable attraction. Once an unfortunate ribbon or rope is wrapped around a ceiling beam, retrieval can be very difficult. A popular method at my gym is to throw a hoop at the stuck apparatus in hopes of dislodging it. (Twenty-first century problem solving skills at work!) Sometimes though, a tall ladder is the only solution.
So, next time you see your athlete friends, ask them about their sport! They work very hard towards their goals and people often don’t realize the small challenges they face every day. This is also a great way to show support for their efforts and help boost their morale. Go Blazers!