Cross country in high school breaches your child’s human rights! Well, according to a new text book that is going to be required reading across the pond, anyway.

The guide is targeted at 14 to 16-year-olds and designed for use in citizenship lessons, which became compulsory in secondary schools four years ago. In a chapter titled ‘Your Legal Rights’, pupils are told: ‘You have the right to be protected from emotional or physical abuse.’ The book goes on to give just two examples – bullying and cross-country runs.

This seems excessively silly to me. While I will admit that cross country running can be physically abusive, I have never found it to be so from a scholastic standpoint. I would hardly say that I suffered any abuse at all when I was in high school, at the age that this is targeted for. Any abuse I suffered was self-inflicted in college or after I graduated, and I have always had the option to quit without any repercussions. Well, that is not true; I would go through withdrawal symptoms if I gave it up.

Back on topic: cross country running in high school is very empowering to a child. When I was in elementary school, I was a nerd and had very few friends, just acquaintances. When I started running, I got a lot of self confidence, learned how to interact with both my peers and with adults, began to learn how my body really worked. I was given an introduction to how to live a healthy lifestyle, and out of my high school cross country running came a lot of the success that I have had as an individual. Most of my accomplishments that I am proud of could not have come about had I not had the self confidence, the energy, the discipline, and the stamina that were all direct results of my having run in middle school and high school. I am sure that I would have developed social skills sooner or later, but I do not doubt that I would have been halfway through college before I learned how to effectively communicate with other people had I not run for my school.

The only bullying that I really had to put up with was not during cross country but was during indoor track, and that was classic bullying and not running bullying. As a freshman in high school, I still had not hit my growth spurt but I was faster than a couple of the seniors. I also had a mouth on me that frequently got me into (and out of) trouble. I can say, though, that they did not get me onto those shower hooks until after they’d knocked my head against the floor and walls hard enough for me to bleed out the ears. I can also say that I never let myself get anywhere close to that sort of a situation again. (And, by that situation, I mean where I did not stand a chance of defending myself.) I do not think that that is where the text book is defining their abuse, though.

(Source: Daily Mail via John Tomac)