Here at GOWFO, extreme sports are our passion. But we know the risks—as do you. Extreme sports wouldn’t be considered “extreme” if there wasn’t a whisper of death or serious injury for each and every athlete, in all extreme sports. The same argument could be made for any sport or outdoor activity—but constantly striving to push the boundaries and limits within extreme sports comes with taking extreme risks, edging closer and closer to the cliff of no return.
Most people live their day-to-day lives without ever coming in contact with the word “extreme”; the closest to extreme they’ll ever come is Extreme Makeover: Home Edition or hottest spice at a restaurant. Most people take precautions—stay inside if it’s too stormy, go a little slower around bends when driving—basic but simple things that keep us a little safer, even if it’s only really in our minds. There’s no telling when your story ends. Accidents happen anytime, anywhere, regardless of who or where year are. But really, are extreme sports worth the added risk?
To most people, extreme sports can be viewed as a waste—a waste of human life, daring acts treating the human existence as worthless.
To extreme sport athletes, however, their philosophy is exactly the opposite. For them…being a breath away from death, is when they feel most alive. The highest point of living (and loving) life. It’s those minutes (or seconds) free-falling from the sky, the slow motion feel of flipping your BMX bike 20,30 even 40 feet into the air. Freediving 100 feet deep into the ocean, or surfing 80 feet waves, it’s being that close to death that can feel like truly living.
Calmly Calculating Risk
Reckless adrenaline junkies, they are called. But really, any athlete performing in Extreme sports know they are taking a calculated risk the moment they step out of a plane or onto the track. And contrary to what some people think, athletes aren’t just randomly jumping out of planes, off of cliffs into the ocean, or going out into the middle of the ocean and trying to hold their breath for 10 minutes on the first try. They aren’t flailing around trying the biggest jump or dive on their first try. These are athletes. They train for this. Down to every split second, constantly looking to shave off a tenth of a second here or preform a seamless transition there.
Countless, endless days of hardcore training is what any extreme athlete must do to constantly improve their skills. From strength training to stretching and doing practice runs of their chosen sports, these athletes show their dedication to their craft every time they wake up and hit the gym and then start practicing. And it’s not just physical training—mental toughness and strength is paramount to keeping calm and cool when performing. It’s what makes them the best, because they realize the risks, and do everything they can to preform at the best of their ability while respecting the elements of the sport they are competing in. There are still rules to follow, yet people enjoy the thrill of the sport and the freedoms within each discipline.
The “Why” Behind the “How”
We understand how extreme sports are done. But the question often lingering on everyone’s mind is “Why?” Why risk it? Why risk your life?
Every athlete has their own reasons for doing what they do. A lot do it for the fame and fortune that comes to those at the top of the sport. Others love it for the feeling they get and couldn’t care less about the prizes and publicity.
When you see extreme sports in the news, it’s generally because a new record or limit has been broken a prize won- or someone has died. Death defying acts generally get worldwide media coverage. But in reality, extreme sports aren’t really as dangerous as the media portrays. We’re not saying they aren’t dangerous—they are, of course—but the truth usually lies somewhere in the middle. For the most part, hundreds, thousands or tens of thousands participate in all kinds of extreme sports, and getting small to medium injuries are just part of the game. Once you get past the “extreme” part of extreme sports and realize and understand the intense training every athlete goes through in order not to preform well but minimize safety risks, you’ll start to see these people for the grounded athletes they are.
Understand The Risks. Prepare For Every Possibility
They understand the risks and prepare as much as humanly possible for every possibility. Mistakes do happen, and sometimes, equipment fails. But if you let fear win and never trying anything due to the risks, what will you be able to achieve?
By no means are they completely safe for anyone to do, but they aren’t going to kill or substantially inure someone automatically, every time. But then again, they aren’t automatically going to kill or really injure a person every time. With the proper precautions, understanding of the ins and outs of the sport and possible risks, extreme sports can be enjoyed both recreationally and competitively.
What Do You Think?
All in all, there are many controversies over these sports as to why people partake in them, and if they should still be allowed. Involving great speed, heights and a high level of physical exertion,
There are researchers, psychologists, and sociologists constantly trying to dive deeper into the mindset of those that partake in extreme sports, looking for the answer to the question: Are extreme sports worth it, who are the people who partake in them, and what drives them to dance with death?
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