Extreme sports are hard to generally define. What may be considered “extreme” for others might not be so “extreme” for another group of people and it causes friction or disagreements. Case in point, kayaking is thought by others to be a form of extreme sport – shooting down white water rapids, with the risk of death ever-present. On the other hand, kayaking can also be done in a calm, slow-moving river. Far from the fear of danger, this activity produces a feeling of tranquility and peace. This has lead to people considering the factor of place or venue.
Even with the establishment of the place or venue factor, this still hasn’t clearly defined what an extreme sport is or should be. Another event that challenges this factor is the destruction derby. In this event, cars pummel each other into heaps of junk with the last “functioning” car declared as winner. For participants and viewers, this event is clearly a form of extreme sport. However, one thing that this event lacks is the variability in venue. This sport is always done in a race track and it doesn’t change. This has lead to people questioning if an extreme sport is based on the adrenaline rush alone or if there are some other conditions that can define it.
One thing that seems to satisfy a lot of people is to not consider extreme sports as “sports”. They view it as extreme activities that are both adventurous and thrilling. Some activities might need athletic abilities, however in general, extreme sports need a very strong mental fortitude to be able to pull it off, let alone try it out. In short, an extreme sport is an activity that gives you an adrenaline rush because of the high risks involved.
Contrary to popular belief, extreme sports have been around for quite some time. Extreme sports for many years before pitted man against nature instead of man against man. One thing is certain; during these moments physical limits were pushed or broken. A concrete example for this is mountain climbing. It has been around for a long time, perhaps thousands of years. It was generally conceived as a method to explore and find new lands.
However once people conquered a mountain or used a certain route to discover a new place, they wanted to try it out or break another person’s time or route. Another example for this is hot air balloons. Although it looks tranquil and almost romantic flying leisurely in the sky, there are very high risks involved and if inexperienced, it could quickly lead to tragedy.
Through the Years
Extreme sports or adventure sports have changed a lot from what they were before. One thing that has greatly advanced extreme sports is through television. In particular, the X Games which started in 1995 brought to the public’s attention extreme sports like skateboarding, motocross, and freestyle snowboarding. In addition, educational TV networks have shown documentaries about people who frequently engage in extreme sports and how exciting it is for them.
During this time, extreme sports were still considered non-mainstream sports and wasn’t accepted by the general public. As time went on and due to marketing, some extreme sports like mountain biking, sky diving and whitewater rafting have become business ventures similar to mainstream sports. Browsing through outdoor sports shops, you can find many kinds of gears and guides about extreme sports that are directed towards the experienced and amateur adventurer.
With all the risks involved, there are still some advantages in doing extreme sports and in managing it.
This has created a new kind of athlete dubbed as an “extreme sport athlete.” It has provided people who are fond of these activities with a new way of earning a living.
- Like with other physical activities, extreme sports can help with a person’s health and physical conditioning. Extreme sports athletes exercise daily on a rigorous training regimen to ensure that they are in top shape before performing risky stunts.
- During an extreme sport or activity, there is a notable increase in endorphins. This is commonly called as the “adrenaline rush.” This is also why many people are “addicted” to this sport.
- Aside from the physical benefits, there are advantages that concern the person’s mental condition. After successfully completing one such activity, the person gains confidence on top of life experiences. A lot of people who do extreme sports claim that they have fewer regrets as they grow old.
- Popular thrill seekers are considered celebrities across many cultures and countries. They are idolized by newcomers to the sport as they try to outdo each other and their inspirations as well.
One thing that stands out with extreme sports is the ever-present possibility of disability or death. However that’s just one risk factor, there are many other factors as well that you should seriously consider before trying out this sport or activity.
- Illegalities are always common with extreme sports. Since these are dangerous, some states and places have banned these being performed in public places. This hasn’t stopped extreme sports athletes though, resulting in multiple run-ins with the law. Heavy fines and imprisonments are common in these cases.
- Booking one activity can also be very costly, making it a luxury for the common person. For example, one sky diving trip ranges from $250-$350. For beginners, you also have to bring an expert or a guide with you, racking up additional costs. In addition, extreme sports require special equipment that can be costly and only be used in that specific sport. Even though some people forgo these special equipments, it increases their chances of having a fatal accident.
- For enthusiasts in a certain extreme sport, practice and time is very important. It takes great discipline and long hours of practice to reach the top in these kinds of sports. Coupled with the physical demands and financial costs, this limits its availability to everyone out there.
- When people are too overwhelmed with an adrenaline rush, they don’t realize the dangers that they are already in. Since they’re already in a position where a small mistake can cost them their life, they can easily make irrational decisions or haphazardly check the equipments before the activity. This has lead to a lot of accidents and deaths everywhere.
- Recent scientific studies have also disproved the “adrenaline rush” factor. Scientists have claimed that you don’t need to expose yourself in risky situations to get this kind of rush. In reality, this feeling of euphoria is from a mixture of other hormones that are released due to high physical demands.
The factors presented above paint a very good description as to what are extreme sports. They are dangerous activities that demand great physical and mental willpower from the individual. Although one of the greatest benefits is the release of stress, it’s still best not to get addicted to it and become and “adrenaline junkie”. The risks are still real and you could pay a costly price: your life.