By Rae Jefferson
Golf carts are the holy grail of campus transportation. If you had asked me what I thought of the four-wheeled vehicles this time last year, I probably would have ranked them lower than first-time long boarders on the “sidewalk inconvenience” scale. If I saw someone under the age of 30 riding in a golf cart and not obviously giving a campus tour, I was not very understanding of why they didn’t use their legs like the common man.
Mostly I was just jealous.
But yesterday, my life was forever (for, like, 10 minutes) changed by a golf cart.
I went to aerobic running class like I do most Mondays. We did our standard stretches, lunges and warm ups. Afterwards, I got a sip of water and geared up for whatever running drill was coming next.
Then things got serious – our instructor told us we’d be doing some 50-meter sprint drills to improve our speed.
I thought this was great. I love sprinting. Earth slipping past me, wind rushing through my hair, nothing carrying me but my own momentum – it’s one of the freest experiences I can create independently of anyone or anything else. Most importantly, I enjoy it more than jogging for 30 minutes, so I was thrilled to change things up from the long runs we’ve been taking as of late.
I was pretty warmed up after doing the first sprint, which was actually a bit nostalgic because of the underappreciated, carefree feelings of high school it brought back.
I feel like I should mention that I don’t stretch very often. I’m also not Usain Bolt. These two things make for a very bad combination.
Unfortunately, I made the mistake of letting the giddy feelings I was having give me too much confidence in a body that hasn’t actually sprinted in at least four years.
I got back in line for the second round of sprints, more pumped than I had been the first time, and took off as soon as my instructor gave the signal.
I started at a quick jog and passed the first of two cones placed on the ground to indicate where I should begin a full sprint. I eyed the second cone further down the field, which was where I would stop running, and began to speed up.
I pushed and pushed myself until I was moving as fast as I possibly could without tripping over my own feet. It was amazing, and I felt like my 16-year-old self on the track again. I had actually forgotten that I’m a decently fast runner.
My legs were going hard – like, too hard. Because all of a sudden, I felt a pop in my left hamstring. All I could think about was the searing pain that shot up the length of my leg, and not falling on my face in front of everyone.
I wanted to cry, but I didn’t. Instead, I hobbled back, quite defeated, to the starting line where my instructor was. He ended up giving me some tips on keeping my hamstring loose and sent me home early with a strictly timed regiment of icing my leg and warming the muscle back up by walking around.
Awkward for me, my running class meets on the cub trail, which is located next to the BSB, also known as the furthest corner of campus civilization possible. For a healthy homosapien, the walk from the BSB to Castellaw is not a big deal. In my condition, hobbling across the cub trail took a solid 7 minutes – almost the same amount of time I usually need to walk all the way back to the newsroom.
This is where the golf cart savior comes in. Our Editor-in-Chief, Linda, was kind enough to bring a Lariat golf cart to rescue me from my aerobic peril – God bless her selfless soul – so I didn’t have to struggle across campus.
I have a newfound respect for golf carts and the purpose they serve on campus. Are people using them because they’re actually useful tools? Of course not. People use golf carts on campus because they foolishly tried to relive the glory days of high school track.
This entire experience has been quite terrible, and I don’t know when my leg will fully heal (R.I.P. hammie), but I will say I definitely appreciate the ride that saved my life and dignity. Hamstring hobbling ain’t cute.
And besides – it’s pretty fun to watch people scatter when they see you coming at them with a golf cart. It’s basically a power trip.