[Campus Commentary]Why play sports when there’s soju?The Gunja Marathon is a big event my school holds every year during its campus festival. I’ve wanted to participate in the marathon every year. However, my wish never came true because I always had classes to attend. But this year, I was free at 11 a.m., the time the marathon started. Because this year’s festival would be my last before I graduate, I really wanted to run. So I handed in my application. Until the time came to run, I never once thought about the length of the course.
There were about 10 students whose major was physical education, but I didn’t want to compete with them. I made up my mind to enjoy my only time running the marathon. I even imagined myself coming in early and winning a medal.
When the gun fired, I started to run. I was much too excited and ran with all my might. I was leading. A short while later, I started lagging behind. I was still third, and that was my best record. Many runners started to pass me by. My heart pounded, and my legs told me to stop running. Being out of breath, I was on the verge of walking off the track. I considered giving up, but I thought that would be a big loss. I started to run again. At last, I got to the finish line. I was afraid to check my ranking.
What was important was that I finished the race, right? After a few days, I realized the seemingly endless race was a mere 4.2-kilometers (2.6-miles) run.
In my high school days, I really liked sports. I was one of the boys who eagerly participated in any exercises. My physical education grades were always good. With my friends, I joined a soccer club and almost every Sunday I had a match or practice. Many people at the club spoke well of my speed and physical stamina.
During my senior year in high school, supposed to be a time for college entrance cramming, I continued to exercise, and it helped me to stay healthy and study in good condition.
But after I entered college, I stopped playing sports. When I was a freshman, I had some chances to exercise, but that became the last chance.
Unfortunately, I spent my free time drinking soju and beer ― like almost all freshmen do when they get to college.
I even forgot the fact that I liked to play sports. I began to hate perspiring. Instead, I liked to drink in an air-conditioned room. Other college students seemed to agree with me. They drank soju with me.
Among male students, in particular, enjoying computer games at PC-bangs together after drinking was a cheap, mostly fun, way to enjoy a Friday night.
I remember that when I was a freshman, I tried to apply for gym classes to play tennis, golf, bowling and so on.
But I realized those classes were only for a few lucky, strong-willed applicants. The classes filled up quickly. After several semesters, I gave up applying. It was much easier to find a soju bar instead.
Many students cannot attend gym classes. There are only a few gyms around school, though there are plenty of pubs nearby.
After some years, I might end up thinking 4.2-kilometers is an impossible distance for me to run. I might end up with a giant beer belly, though I hate to imagine that. We college students really need to get in shape.
*The writer is a former editor of the Sejong Times, an English-language newspaper at Sejong University.
by Jung Yeon-joon