Runnin' Devil Style

June 27, 2001

Note: Every Wednesday I'll be writing a regular column about my experience as a Sun Devil Cross Country and Track Runner. In each article, I'll attempt to bring you a first-hand account of what it's like to be a Sun Devil Student-Athlete and to run for one of the top programs in the country. Last week, I gave you an inside-look at what our summer training schedule consists of. In this installment, I'll share with you the top ten reasons I think you should be a Sun Devil Cross Country fan and why you, the fan, play such an important role in our success.

Top 10 reasons you should be a Sun Devil Cross Country fan?

In a decade that's seen the price of tickets skyrocket, the cost to watch us run is FREE!
We do all the work- all you have to do is come cheer us on!
If you can't be one of the people crazy enough to run in 110 degree heat, you might as well be one of the people standing in the heat watching us.
In the spirit of the WNBA, 'We got speed.'
You don't have to worry about us leaving school early to turn pro.
No contracts, no scandals, and no strikes!
Last season we finished six at nationals, our best finish ever and highest among all ASU sports for the year.
No lines for runner's autographs!
You could very well be watching future Olympians.
The excitement of the last 100 meters of the race (need I say more).

In a valley with four major sports teams, the competition for fans is a never-ending battle. The Phoenix Suns, the Arizona Cardinals, the Arizona Diamondbacks, and the Phoenix Coyotes all vie for the #1 spot, so it's no wonder Arizona State University athletics gets pushed to the backburner. Not only do we have to compete against these teams for a fan base, we have to compete against our own ASU athletic teams. Football, volleyball, soccer, and cross country all compete during the same season. And there is little question about which of these sports draws the most fans. In the U.S., football is THE sport most associated with the fall season. And while I'm in no way trying to dissuade you from supporting the football team every Saturday (I'm a big fan myself), all I'm saying is give the little sports a chance too! (Most times we don't even compete on the same days). Make the decision to try something new, to experience Sun Devil Cross Country at its best. I promise you that if you come and watch one cross country or track meet, you will have a whole new perception on running. Sure, we may not be out there roughing each other up (although runners have been known to throw elbows), but that doesn't mean we don't thrive on competition and the thrill of beating others.

Speaking from experience, I can tell you that running is exciting! Watching two runners (or hundreds for that matter) go head-to-head with one another, waiting to see who can outlast the other is nothing short of inspirational. Heck, it may even inspire you to get out there and run! And while often times, running is viewed as an individual sport, in cross country every runner counts. It's a total team effort, and that's where you come into play.

Imagine this: it's the Pac-10 championships and the chase for the team title is closer than ever. In fact, it could very well come down to the seventh runner (Typically, only five runners score, unless the team score is tied) . Meanwhile, you're neck-in-neck with a runner from Stanford with a half-mile to go. You know it's time to make the final push, but at this point you're struggling to keep pace. And then, you hear the words: 'Go ASU. You can do it! You're almost done!' Out of nowhere, you find the strength, the courage to dig down and give everything that you have left. Result: For the first time ever, ASU is Pac-10 Champions.

Sometimes, it's hard to see how big a role, you, the fan, can have on a team's success. Too often, because we focus on the big things, it's easy to forget about the little things that make the difference between finishing first and second. A shout of encouragement is an act so simple it seems insignificant. Yet, this shout is a little thing that can mean so much, especially as an athlete becomes tired or begins to doubt his or her abilities. As Dan Bickley, in the June 24th edition of the Arizona Republic noted, 'In our evolution as a sports town, the great variable is you.' Your voice, your presence, and your support are the little things that go a very long way. So, as the fall cross country season approaches, I encourage you to come out and see what Sun Devil Cross Country is all about. We might just surprise you!

A little bit about me:
In the fall, I'll begin my sophomore year academically and my freshman year athletically (You may ask how I'm in two years at one time. Well, this past year I was red-shirted in order to preserve four years of my eligibility. Basically, this means that I ran in a limited number of events and did not represent ASU in competition). My primary event during track was the 1500m. I have lived in Tempe now for the past nine years and am a graduate of Corona del Sol High School. At ASU, I am majoring in broadcast journalism, with plans to become a news anchor or sports reporter in the future.

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