(COVINGTON, La.) — Here at St. Paul’s we have an abundant collection of sports that are available to students. But, even with all the sports we have, there are a lot more that are more dangerous than anything Coach Ketelson could offer. Extreme Sports are classified as activities perceived as involving a high degree of risk, and often involve height, speed,and physical exertion.
Extreme Sports got their start from the Dangerous Sports Club at Oxford University when they invented modern day Bungee Jumping. They brought their invention into the public eye by jumping from the from the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol, England in 1979. Then, in an effort to up their adrenaline rush, they jumped from the Golden Gate Bridge. Other sports dedicated to thrill seekers quickly followed the debut of Bungee Jumping like Hang Gliding, Microlight Flying, and B.A.S.E. Jumping.
The reason most people participate in the dangerous sports is for the thrill of the speed, or the thrill of being so close to death. Many do it for the adrenaline rush these sports induce, but the medical view of this is that the rush people experience is not from adrenaline but instead from your body increasing the amount of dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin in you body. The reason these chemicals are released is because the brain senses that you are in situations of high physical exertion.
The list of extreme sports is pretty extensive with there being over 60 official extreme sports and growing. There are two main groups of extreme sports: motorized and non-motorized. Some examples of motorized extreme sports are snowmobiling, motocross, and air racing. Some of the most dangerous of the bunch are B.A.S.E. jumping, Big Wave Surfing, Free Solo Climbing, and Cave Diving.
B.A.S.E. Jumping is wing suit flying or parachuting from a stationary cliff or structure. The acronym B.A.S.E. stands for the four paces you jump from: Building, Antenna, Span, Earth. This is usually done from a much lower altitude than skydiving from a plane, so a jumper has less time to orient themselves and prepare for landing. Big Wave Surfing is separate from normal Surfing because Surfers ride 60 foot waves, but what really makes it a deadly sport is the fact that only about 4 feet below the surface of the water is a jagged wall of coral reef. Free solo climbing is a form of rock climbing in which the climber performs alone and without the use of harnesses, ropes or protective gear. Unlike other versions of Free Climbing, Solo Free Climbing goes above heights that are safe for humans to fall from. Cave Diving is is diving into water filled caves to explore these unique wonders. This is one of the most strenuous sports because of the physical and mental capabilities required. Some of the challenges presented when cave diving are claustrophobia, hypothermia, no light sources, silt outs, and equipment failing.
Many people believe that the motivation for these types of Extreme Sports comes from a problem in the brain. Why else would someone participate in an activity that puts them so close to death? For years countless scientists thought that these people just had a death wish and only wanted the “adrenaline”. But studies have shown recently that these activities can help you to be more connected to the world around you and yourself. Many B.A.S.E. Jumpers and others say that there is a certain peace that you experience while hurdling towards the ground. Rock climbers claim they feel as if they dancing with the cliff side and floating next to it. These pastimes allow for physiological experiences that humans can not experience anywhere else. When doing these e sports we experience enriched senses of humility, creativity, harmony, and spirituality.