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The Sleepy Eye Herald Dispatch - Sleepy Eye, MN
  • Height advantage?

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  • I’m 6’2”. While I enjoy being tall, believe me, there are many disadvantages. Length of beds, small cars, and finding clothes that fit properly are issues that I got used to a long time ago. I can handle those. The worst issue by far however, is shower heads. It’s less of a shower and more like a 10 minute squat workout in most cases.
     
    Another frustrating problem is randomly hitting my head on things. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve bent down to do something in the kitchen and stood back up and nailed my head on a cupboard that was left open. Not to mention, I have to tilt my head sideways every time I go down the stairs and through the low door frame at the house I’m renting.
     
    Among the disadvantages come the advantages of being tall. I can reach things easily. I can see over a crowd at a concert. But I feel as though the best advantage tall people have is in sports. According to a couple of sources, the average height of an NBA player is around 6’7”. Basketball is the obvious sport in which the taller you are, the easier it is to reach the 10 foot high basket. It’s the same with volleyball. The taller you are, the easier you can reach up to the net.
     
    But what about other sports? Being tall doesn’t just mean you have a height advantage. It also usually means you have longer arms, hands and legs as well. Therefore, I definitely feel I have an advantage in tennis. I can reach up higher with the length of my arm for serving. I can stretch out my arms to hit a ball easily. I can move side to side with ease with my long legs.
     
    In football, taller athletes can use their arms and legs to reach up and grab the football well. Also, you can grip any sort of ball easier with large hands.
     
    I remember one time when I was playing baseball, I was in the outfield and a ball was hit right at me. It was a line drive that was gaining altitude, but instead of sprinting away from the ball I ran towards it. I reached my glove up and snagged it before it had a chance to get any higher or farther. Everyone around me was yelling at me and didn’t think I would grab it but it kind of worked out. In any case, having longer legs and arms in baseball I would say is a plus. Especially if you’re playing first, second, or third base and your teammate throws a wild ball to you to get someone out, it helps when you can still reach out and grab it.
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    On a smaller scale, I got pretty good at ping-pong for a while, and a few of my friends were always amazed how easily I could reach the ball. I usually don’t have to move at all when I play ping-pong because my arm can reach the width of the table with ease. Also, I randomly got decent at playing darts recently, and I think part of it is because I have such long arms. I lean way over when I throw darts and reach my arm way out, and it’s almost like bringing the dart board closer to you by two to three feet.
     
    So what do you think? Do taller athletes in any sport have generally a slight advantage? I will agree, that being tall doesn’t mean that you are quick. Shorter athletes have less mass to move and can play their sport on a quicker scale. Also, smaller athletes can slip through tighter areas and gaps easier. This is why most running backs in football are usually smaller, because they can quickly avoid tackles and can fit through smaller gaps in the defense easier.
     
    There will always be arguments of whether taller athletes can run faster or farther than shorter athletes, but in general, I can’t think of any sport besides a limbo contest where being tall is a disadvantage. Let me know what you think!

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