As a kid in the ‘70s, I rode my bike everywhere. By the time I got to junior high, I still couldn’t dribble a basketball or hit a baseball with any consistency, but because I had put so many miles on my bike, it turned out I could run! Not particularly fast, but for long distances. My junior high PE teacher connected me to the high school cross-country coach, and a month before my freshman year started I was out running everyday with the team. That year I ran three seasons of track in Wheaton, Illinois, and had started to think I had a future in distance running. Then we moved to the desert southwest (Arizona). My sophomore year I ran cross-country for Mesa High School with desert rats and kids that grew up on the reservation. They lapped me like I was standing still. Yet it was cross-country and I was allowed to run with the herd, which brings me to the point of this story.
Mesa High was a big school and late in the season we hosted a state-wide invitational. At this event we all lined up like they do at the Boston Marathon; the boys and the girls ran the same two-mile course. At the two-mile mark, the girls ran into their chute, and the boys ran past it to complete their third mile. After two miles, I and three other pasty white boys were dead last. About 30 yards after passing that two-mile chute we heard a HUGE crowd roar, like nothing you ever hear at a cross-country meet. I asked the guys I was running with, “What just happened?” and a senior said, “The female state champion is here today; that must have been her finishing her race.”
This happened in 1978. I thought nothing of it, but recent events have brought this personal experience to mind. To be fair I was a slow cross-country runner, but I was still a cross-country runner. In a boys’ PE class I was far and away the best distance runner every time. So this is not to say that any man could beat the state champ. However, it says something, that the entire men’s division beat the entire women’s division, including the state champ.
It says that God made us differently. And that difference is reflected in every cell, from our brains down to our toenails. One to nurture and one to protect. Change my mind. 🙂