A Virginia Tech freshman was charged yesterday with the murder of a 13-year-old girl. Something about the article left me feeling disquieted, and I wasn't sure why at first.
It wasn't because the accused killer was white; there are plenty of white murderers. It was a little surprising that he went to a good school like Virginia Tech; smart kids generally do a better job of staying out of trouble.
Then it hit me: I was shocked because David Eisenhauer was a star cross country runner. You almost never hear of cross country runners getting into trouble like that.
Hearing about football or basketball players running afoul of the law is practically an every day occurrence. Maybe there's a racial component there, but even with sports like hockey or golf or car racing, you hear about a fair amount of misbehavior.
Cross country is different. It's a sport that demands intense discipline, a clean lifestyle, and enduring a fair amount of physical pain, all of which tend to attract more introverted personalities.
At the (mostly white) high school in my hometown, the girl's soccer team was known as a "fast" crowd. Ditto for the basketball team. The cross country team was generally composed of "good girls," who studied hard and didn't party as much.
The same applied to the boys' teams, with football substituting for soccer.
And I've heard those same correlations apply at other high schools as well.
So to read about a 4:19 miler (the best time listed for Eisenhauer online) being charged with murder was a shock.