With some statistics suggesting that extreme and adventure sports are growing at a faster rate than other more traditional recreational activities, you might be forgiven for thinking that they are earmarked for the elite. The risk-takers. The high achievers.
So much emphasis is placed on succeeding, and in this digital age entrepreneurs seem to be younger than ever before, and they have more ready cash at their disposal to spend on leisure activities. I wonder how many of them are using their hard earned funds to buy a membership at their local golf club? Probably not as many as you think. With extreme sports being more accessible and affordable than ever before, where adrenaline is concerned, the sky is literally the limit!
So are we in danger and is it really a risky business? And are those risks confined to extreme sports only? With many corporations and companies now concerned about their senior employees taking part in contact sports such as rugby outside of office hours, because of the risks of injury and the knock on effect it could have on either attendance and/or productivity, it’s not uncommon for there to be a blanket ban in force. For instance, a broken limb sustained in, say, a football game, could result in that employee being absent from work for up to 6 weeks or even longer. The cost of such absenteeism could be phenomenal. But employer restrictions aside, what makes a seemingly sane individual enter the world of the adrenaline junkie?
It’s all about the risk. Isn’t it?
Your perspective about extreme sport and its participants may be way off the mark. Some might think that you have to possess a certain type of personality that craves the need to undertake an activity where death is possible in order to achieve the excitement and thrills desired.
But maybe risk isn’t always the focus. Experienced participants usually display a low level of anxiety and are well in control of their emotional wellbeing, they’re intelligent, successful, independent and assertive, which all suggests that the choices made to take part, are well informed and considered, rather than frivolous and thrill seeking.
Not convinced? Then ask yourself this:
Is there any such thing as a ‘safe’ sport?
Even the most sedate of sports carry risk. The call of ‘fore’ on the golf course warns anyone who may be moving or standing in the flight path of an incoming golf ball to its impending landing, but a whack on the head from a stray ball could prove terminal. We hear daily of the injuries sustained in soccer and rugby, both at professional and amateur level, though thankfully very few of these are fatal. Eventing claimed the lives of 5 people in 2016, and many more suffer life changing injuries every year as a result of falls from horses. 7 lives were lost last year through injuries sustained from cycle race falls and crashes, and even anglers have been known to die due to drowning in circumstances which coroners usually put down to ‘death by misadventure’.
Let’s face it, life offers us many opportunities and challenges and as we are all born with free will, it’s down to us to decide whether we choose to conquer them or not. And indeed, whether we calculate the risks. With all of that in mind, not every challenge will fall into our lap; we all know that opportunity doesn’t always come knocking. Very often we have to create our own chances. Sometimes we have to go looking…
Sometimes we just need to bite the bullet.
Start thinking outside the box a little. Tick something big off your bucket list while you’re young and fit enough. The chances are, because you’re reading this, you (obviously!) possess the characteristics listed earlier, so what’s stopping you from having a go at something that the average population considers ‘dangerous’? Before you answer that, let me put another spin on it.
With car accidents and their related fatalities being a relatively, but sadly common occurrence, we rarely get to hear about them in our everyday news and when we do it’s usually due to them being localised. But a skydiving accident would undoubtedly be front page news, and broadcast on every news bulletin you hear for days afterwards. Now be honest. Can you remember the last time you heard of a skydiving disaster? Me either. In fact, one statistic states that you’re nearly 25 times more likely to die in a car accident than in a skydive
Food for thought?
Weigh it all up
I won’t sugar coat it. There are risks in all extreme sports. After all, accidents happen. But they happen in all walks of life, every day of the week, every week of the year. We just need to decide whether we are considering those risks from a place born of fact, or fear. If it’s the latter, should we let it define us? After all, it’s that fear, and all the curiosity it brings that makes us human.