A Gross Mistake: Columnist Regrets His Track Commentary

by Kasen Stephensen

Pennsylvania columnist Mike Gross was met with backlash from the Track and Field community after writing a condescending article emphasizing the relative ease of track.

At the beginning of the controversial article, he glorifies American football as the “most intense, high-pressure American sport,” while track and field “is every bit as intense and high-pressure as frisbee golf.” Gross continues and complains that the “top eight – eight! – finishers in each event at meets like Saturday’s Lancaster-Lebanon League get medals,” describing this phenomenon as “evidence of a softening and weakening of our culture by those determined to see such things.”

Cory Mull, a cross country and track reporter for Milesplit USA, tells Gross in a rebuttal article to “talk to the distance runner who runs 50 miles a week on her own, sometimes in the rain, sometimes in the extreme heat, sometimes in four inches of snow,” or to “the sprinter who’s out in the sweltering heat working on his starting blocks for two hours,” or “the thrower who commutes an hour to see a private coach so he or she can learn the proper technique on how to glide or spin.”

Gross has since apologized for his failure to “communicate effectively” and will hopefully be more careful in regards to the explosive track and field community.  

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