Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Marli. Marli Wonders, “should we do extreme sports or are they to dangerous?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Marli!
Do you love to play sports? For many kids, there's nothing quite like the exercise and camaraderie you get from being part of a team. Whether it's baseball, basketball, football, soccer, softball, or volleyball, there is fun to be had on a field or a court near you.
Some athletes take things to the next level, though. Rather than playing traditional sports as part of a team, they strike out on their own to engage in sports that provide a satisfying rush of adrenaline. No, we're not talking about bowling or jogging. We're talking about extreme sports!
There's no set definition of what makes a sport extreme. For the most part, though, extreme sports are individual athletic activities that are inherently dangerous in some way. Most extreme sports also provide athletes with what drives many of them to take the risk of participation: a rush of adrenaline that makes them feel more alive than they've ever been.
Although not a comprehensive list, here are several examples of the types of activities most people consider to be extreme sports: skateboarding, surfing, bungee jumping, snowboarding, whitewater kayaking, mountain climbing, ice climbing, BASE jumping, heli-skiing, BMX biking, bull riding, cliff diving, mountain biking, cave diving, ski jumping, speed skiing, and street luging.
Just thinking about many of those activities is enough to give most people goose bumps. That very feeling of fear and danger is what drives many extreme sports athletes to test themselves in all sorts of death-defying pursuits.
Inherent risks and danger are what make these sports extreme. Watching extreme sports is fascinating, and their popularity has soared in recent years due to frequent exposure on television and social media.
Many extreme sports and their best athletes have become so popular that they have received lucrative sponsorships from a wide variety of companies that want to associate their brands with these cutting-edge thrill seekers. Some sponsorships allow extreme sports athletes to compete in these sports professionally, rather than as merely a hobby.
The best extreme sports athletes can have long and profitable careers, as long as they are true masters of their sport. Unfortunately, when it comes to extreme sports, even the smallest mistakes can have catastrophic — even lethal — effects.
For example, between 2000 and 2011, experts estimate that over four million injuries were caused by extreme sports. In the most extreme sports, minor errors can lead to serious injuries and even death.
Many of these injuries can be prevented. Unfortunately, the young people who are most likely to engage in extreme sports often lack the good judgment of older adults. The lure of Internet fame leads many inexperienced athletes to attempt things that they're woefully unprepared for.
Given their inherent dangers, someone interested in extreme sports should think carefully before engaging in activities they haven't sufficiently prepared for. If you think you would like to try an extreme sport, get advice from friends and family members, as well as experts in the sport. If you proceed, start small and only progress to riskier activities as your expertise increases.