April 20, 2017
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Track is one of the most played sports here at OHS. It has about 140 participants this year. Boys dominate with 80 participants over girls who have 60. What are the reasons track is so popular? Why do more boys do track than girls?
When asked why so many kids play track Jesse Stevick, head Boys Track coach says, “One reason is there is a niche for just about any athletic ability you could think of. You have throws, jumping, sprinting, hurdling, pole vaulting and long distance running. So you get a lot of different kind of athletes. Track is going to help with the other sports they want to be involved in, and they’ll hopefully find success in their individual events too.” a lot of athletes do track because they want something to do in the off season. Track is a great sport that has a spot for everyone. Really fast? You can do sprints. Really strong? Try throwing. Got hops? Do hurdles.
Owen Shea, a track captain who also plays football, argues, “I like football more [than track]. I like the contact instead of just running.” But when asked why he participates in track he says, “I like to be in shape, and it’s a lot of fun to run around and be with your friends.” This is why he does track. Something to keep him in shape for the football season, and also it’s an awesome way to hang out with your pals.
One reason some people think track is unique is because, “It’s something that takes time to get better at, and there’s a lot of different aspects of training that can make you a better athlete. There’s the mental side, physical preparation, strength, speed, and there’s technique which is a huge part with throwing,” says Ryan Underland, throw captain for track. “It’s [also] individual. You are as only as good as you’ve trained to be, and a good team can’t help you cause in your own events you perform to the level you’ve trained. It really shows what level you’re at, and It’s a good sport to be competitive with yourself.” Track takes time and effort. It takes a lot of practice to get your technique down perfect. What you get out is what you put in. You practice hard everyday, you reap the rewards. You slack off and don’t practice, you’ll stink in competition.
There are a lot of reasons why people play track but why is there more boys that play instead of girls? One big difference about boys and girls track, is that the boys team does more camaraderie building activities together then the girls. Stevick says, “I think that on this team predictably, I know the boys like the camaraderie. As the season goes on we do more intro squad and there’s a team bonding that happens, like having to endure weather like today [a really rainy day], it kinda brings people together. I try to do more team bonding type things, so in terms of team difference that is a difference I see. I have also have different empathise with PRs [Personal Records]. We do intro squad competition. Guys will compete with each other to win a six pack pound of gummy bears to hopefully inspire some friendly competition.” So with boys we do intro squad, where we compete with each other, and try to set new Personal Records. The girls don’t do any of this, which may make a difference. When the season is over, boys probably tell their friends how awesome track was, and the next year a bunch more boys want to play. Though this may be a difference between boys and girls track, this doesn’t necessarily mean that this is the reason why more boys play over girls. It could have nothing to do with it, or maybe it’s only a fraction of the reason.
Though boys may do stuff differently than girls, it doesn’t mean that girls compete differently, that they’re less aggressive, or that they’re less competitive. “I don’t think that they’re necessarily any more competitive. If you look at the state meet you’re getting people from all over, and it’s not like you’re necessarily pulling from a larger pool of boys than girls. I think that once you get up there on the levels of district and state and such, it’s going to be very competitive on both sides,” says Underland. It may seem that though boys have more numbers than girls, that they might be more competitive. This isn’t true at all. Just like Ryan said, at district and state, there’s just as much girls as there is boys.
Track is a competitive sport that is unique in it’s diversity. There are so many different spots for different types of athletes. This and other reasons make it one of the most popular sports her at OHS. Why there are more boys than girls that play could be from the fact that more boys play activities before track. Or maybe because of the fact that boys do Intro Squad and girls don’t. Or perhaps girls just like to play track less than guys? There are a lot of possibilities.