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Why some people are attracted to dangerous sports

Why do you think some people are attracted to dangerous sports or other dangerous activities? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

The rise of what has come to be described as extreme sports, or those activities having an inherent danger, gained popularity in the 1990s. At the time, marketing companies were promoting the X Games, a semi-annual event that includes bicycle motocross, hang gliding, ice climbing, wingsuit flying, and skydiving, amongst other sports. Each activity is undertaken at high rates of speed, high levels of elevation, and high degrees of physical exertion. The X Games, and other dangerous sports, attract a broad range of individuals across gender, race, socioeconomic status, and cultural and geographic context. However, one common denominator that transcends all participant demographics is the attraction to the rush of adrenaline when pushed beyond normal physical limits into a zone that can result in significant physical injury or death.

Kevin Pearce is a high-profile athlete who excelled in the extreme sport of snowboarding. While practicing with some friends atop a half-pipe ramp in Park City, Utah on December 31, 2009, Utah, the then-21-year-old attempted to do a double-cork. The double-cork is a spin which requires two side twists during an aerial rotation. Pearce would not complete his second attempt. Instead, he went up in the air, caught his toe edge coming down and fell on nothing but his face. (Savage, 2013). Pearce would spend six weeks in critical care suffering from a traumatic brain injury and nearly a year in rehabilitation learning how to walk, swallow, read and write. He is never expected to fully recover but has spent the last three years sharing his story and searching for something to replace the thrill of snowboarding. (Savage, 2013)

While other athletes also cite the adrenaline rush as a factor, a recent article, What Motivates Athletes to Participate in Extreme Sports, cites several other reasons -- money, fame, ego, and the challenge (Cunningham, 2013). The author questions the viability of money and fame as sustaining factors, noting that few ever make a decent living, most are amateurs and many go unnoticed. The author favors the challenge of competing as a driving factor. When stripped to its essence, the challenge of competing bears similar resemblance to the adrenaline rush. It is only when an athlete pushes past what was thought possible or stood toe-to-toe with a competitor to break a record does she or he get that sense of exhilaration and thrill this is so closely associated an adrenaline release. Similarly, the rush of adrenaline can only be sustained by continuing to push the boundaries. Whether you agree with one or all, these are the reasons why some people are attracted to dangerous and extreme sports.

Works Cited

  • Cunningham, G. (2013, June 25). What Motivates Athletes To Participate In Extreme
  • Sports? Retrieved August 08, 2013, from Addicted 2 Success:
  • http://addicted2success.com/motivation/what-motivates-athletes-to-participate-in-extreme-sports/
  • Savage, K. (2013, June 29). Kevin Pearce, Snowboarder Focus Of HBO Documentary.
  • Retrieved August 08, 2013, from The Vermont Standard:
  • http://www.thevermontstandard.com/2013/06/kevin-pearce-snowboarder-focus-of-hbo-documentary-archive/

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