The Other Side of the Story

Chris Keller
Posted October 30th, 2010

The lunchtime banter in the Montpelier High School cafeteria provides the passive observer with the rare opportunity to delve into the mind of a teenager. Amidst the clatter of trays and shuffling of feet, topics of discussion range from the football team’s upcoming game to how long it took people to finish their Advanced Placement homework. But one of the most common subjects, and one that’s becoming increasingly more popular, is video games.
Adolescent boys will talk nonstop about the latest edition of Halo or Call of Duty, throwing out such terms as killfeed, prestige, and gamertag. Most of this language is foreign to me. Granted, most of the kids at MHS are fairly well-rounded individuals, so a kid who can spend an hour talking about his most recent exploits on his Xbox very well might be a starting midfielder on the soccer team. But their mild obsession underlies one of the most irksome trends in today’s society: the fact that kids are spending more time in front of the TV than they are outside.
According to the 2007-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 17 percent of kids ages 2-19 are obese. This trend shows no sign of reversing itself either: rates of childhood obesity have been rapidly increasing since 1976. This column, however, is aimed at showcasing the other side of the story.
A month ago, I was a regular reader of Vermont Sports magazine. Now, I’m lucky enough to be writing a monthly article about Vermonters under the age of 18, who are doing something interesting in the outdoors world – kids who are proving that our country’s youth are more spirited than they are sedentary.
Staying active has always been a high priority in my own life. Since my freshman year in high school I’ve competed in varsity cross-country and track & field, and played an active role in my high school’s outing club. Being immersed in the world of outdoor sports comes naturally to me. I’ve also had the opportunity to work as a stringer for the Barre-Montpelier Times Argus; one of my favorite assignments was interviewing the top Vermont finishers at the 2010 Vermont City Marathon.
I don’t claim to be an outdoors guru like some of the more experienced correspondents to Vermont Sports , but, like them, I have a passion for the outdoors that I hope to share with you, the reader. If you have any ideas for potential candidates who I could interview for this column, please e-mail them to