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I grew up on a cattle ranch. We had a nice herd of polled (hornless) Hereford cows. They are gentle, and we could lure them into the corrals easily with a pickup load of hay. They knew the sound of that truck horn meant feeding time, so when it was roundup time, Dad drove out there with hay in the pickup and they came running, following him wherever he went, even down to the corral. Cows are stupid. Generally all we had to do was walk behind and watch for strays.
Most cows are stupid. There was always a wily cow or two who decided she did not want to go in with the herd. Maybe she just wasn't that hungry. A cow like that would walk along placidly for a little while, lulling us into security, then take off up a hill or off on a side path. When that happened, our job was to run around it--not behind it which chases it further away--but quickly go way off the the side and then herd that cow back into the bunch. You've probably seen it in Westerns, always on horseback, but we did this on foot. It was always exhilarating to run around that cow and then see its surprise and hasty path back to the herd.
|Herefords at Lower Preston Farm, Somerset, Great Britain|
© Copyright Sarah Smith and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
That kind of running was fun. Running just to run is not fun for me. In elementary and high school, I had to participate in physical education classes, which often included running just to run, or to pass off some arbitrary fitness number. I did not much care for that. I was proud of two of my sons for running cross-country in high school, but it was not my cup of tea. For one thing, I was slow. Or maybe I was slow because I really didn't care. I was faster when it really mattered, faster than a cow anyway.
When I got into my next few years of high school, Freshman PE finally behind me, I started playing soccer and speedaway, mostly in my gym classes. Both of those games involved a great deal of running, but it was fun. There was a goal, a ball to chase after, a "pen" to try to get it to. I found I liked the half-back position best. It always seemed so much more involved that the other positions. It also involved a great deal of running, and I didn't mind the run. But to run, just to run. No, thanks!