Sociology of Sport: Born to Run

Topics: Barefoot running, Tarahumara, Human Pages: 11 (4763 words) Published: April 28, 2013
| Sociology of Sport ||

Christopher McDougall| Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen|

Chapter 1
This story begins as the author explains his love for running although his body and begun rejecting running by initiating an excruciating pain in his foot. The author went searching for answers to why his foot hurt and what to do about it. He went to one of the best doctors in sports medicine only to be told the human body was not designed for the abuse running puts on the body. The doctor recommended he quit running or consider using cortisone to alleviate his foot pain; neither of which he wanted to do. During an assignment in Mexico he stumbled upon a magazine article where he saw a man running down a mountain in sandals, which inspired him to read and learn more about this article. This article was about the Tarahumara runners that would run for days on rough terrain without tiring. From there he informed his boss of the Tarahumara and was sent on an assignment to track them down and research this group. The author sent out in search of the Tarahumara without knowing where to go so he hired a man Salvador who knew Arnulfo, a great Tarahumara runner. The author found himself in a hotel looking for a man known as Caballo Blanco who lived with the Tarahumara. From there the author and Salvador left in search of the Tarahumara village. After a few days of driving, through the woods to a canyon, Salvador announced they had arrived at their destination, with no sight of anything until Arnulfo stepped out from behind the rocks to greet him. He began to introduce the author to others including a schoolteacher Angel, who gave the author a geography lesson. The author was informed about Mesa de la Yerbabuena, a village known for its great runners, which is no longer good for running as paved roads have brought about havoc. Before leaving the teacher’s home, the author had a chance to see the students playing a running game, including one student named Marcelino. He learned Marcelino was the son of one of the greatest Tarahumara runners. * “We run when we’re scared, we run when we’re ecstatic, we run away from our problems and run around for a good time. And when things look worst, we run the most” (Page 11). To me this is interesting, as I have never really thought about the reason most people run until reading this and talking to other runners about why they run. We, in America, run for two reasons: fear and pleasure, while the Tarahumara solely run for the love of the sport. I think there is some psychological predisposition to this beginning by researching those who run for stress relief and those who run from their problems. We are constantly running. Tarahumara run for the simple joy of running, and may run for multiple days without tiring. This may be because there is less stress placed upon their standard ways of living, unlike more civilized countries. * “We say the rarajipari is the game of life. You never know how hard it will be. You never know when it will end. You can’t control it. You can only adjust” (page 41). This quote specifically talking about the running game played by the children has intrigued me. This is not only a different sport of importance but also a different meaning for a game of life in America. We consider the game of life to be football or basketball, one of which you are to succeed and stand out amongst others. This is not the case in the running game, one in which all members of the team were needed and no one is left out and everyone is challenged. No one seemed to care who won, there’s no arguing, no “showboating” and no coaching; all of these are unfamiliar in most games played in America. Most of these are complete opposite in America. Coaches are the most paid individuals where they can sit and watch a particular athlete attempt to control a team only to stand out from others in hopes of success to a new career....
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