Extreme Sports & No Limits? Not for Me!

“There are strange folks who run across a continent, climb the highest mountain, swim the deepest ocean, take a solo ride around the world in a small boat and sail aimlessly aloft in a hot-air balloon.

I don’t know why they do it, unless it’s to extend the human capacity for impossible feats. They are, in a sense, explorers who seek the limit of human performance.” Sid Dorfman, The Star-Ledger, June 26, 2012

Dorfman, a veteran journalist for 79 years, died a couple days ago at 94. He started writing for newspapers at age 15, submitting high school sports stories. He kindly reviewed my book, On the Trail of the Ancestors: A Black Cowboy’s Ride Across America. The above quote is from his article  that cites Miles Dean, the subject of my book, and others who have sought to accomplish unique physical feats.

Watching this year’s winter Olympics, often hiding my eyes and grateful I’m not a competitor’s mother, I’m wondering why sports seem to have become more and more extreme every four years. Downhill racing is no longer just that; it’s now jumping and free style and aerial. Sledding is no longer merely sledding; its two-person, four-person, and skeleton. And the list goes on. Each seems more dangerous and death defying than the last. Is this really necessary?

I guess I’m not about extreme sports or no-limit zone triumphs. I happily ski and cycle, hike and swim, and have no desire to break any records or attempt any solo journeys.

Maybe I’m just envious. Snow shoveling has become my major outdoor sport this winter, followed by some cross-country skiing unnamed-3 and a little ice-skating. We took two of the grands ice skating and sledding. CIMG2845 The four-year-old only trusted his grandfather to go down the hill with him.

Two-person Sled

Two-person Sled

Eager to feel that speed, wind, and burst of sunny, winter air in my face, I took a solo run in our thin, plastic sled.  My right side now aches.

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About cyclingrandma

I was a journalist (Danbury News-Times, Ct), before becoming a teacher, and continue to write for professional journals. I have written several study guides for Penguin Books and write for Education Update, a newspaper based in New York City. (www.educationupdate.com). I’ve interviewed many authors, college presidents, and scientists. I wrote “The Kentucky Derby’s Forgotten Jockeys” for Smithsonian Magazine's website, www.smithsonian.com. (April, 2009). Two essays have been published in book anthologies; one for Wisdom of Our Mothers, (Familia Books) and the other in “College Search and Parent Rescue: Essay for Parents by Parents of College-Going Students.” (St. Martin’s Press). I was a middle school Language Arts teacher for more than 10 years and have just completed a five year grant position under No Child Left Behind in Newark, NJ public schools. I have three children, two daughters-in law, two grandsons, and one grandchild due in August, 2011. I’m an avid cyclist, knitter, cook, and reader. I love theater, museums, and yoga.
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16 Responses to Extreme Sports & No Limits? Not for Me!

  1. I wonder about the Olympic mothers too. Just don’t see how they do it…

  2. HI Lisa,
    I’m with you. There is something a little perverse about the need to stimulate viewers, and perhaps participants too, with more and more and more extreme anything. You see it in the violence on TV–old episodes of Combat! never even showed blood or bullet holes, and now we have TV series and movies with ever more graphic vilence and eve n serial killers as our heroes (not for me!) We are, unfortunately, seeing this in extreme politics too. Not so much the Democrats, but with radical Republicans who no longer even try to compromise or get any work done other than obstruct progress. It’s crazy.

  3. You’re right about politics and television, movies– too much violence, drugs, sex. Extreme!
    I’ve been particularly bothered by these Olympic events that to me aren’t what sports are about.

  4. Lisa, you are the most active grandma I know! I’m sorry for your loss of a fellow journalist.
    Diana xo

  5. I agree that having fun outside is much more important than trying to prove something. ..

  6. Colline says:

    I am with you on the extreme sports. I think they enjoy the adrenaline rush.

  7. Loved how nbc will cut to the 2 moms of the ice dancing duo that won the gold yesterday – they said one had good close vision so she took notes and the other had good distance so she read the scores! There are just some who are born risk-prone. I remember when I first bought my son knee pads for roller hockey, he was maybe 7 or 8, he had opened and attached them to his knees as I drove home. As soon as i stopped the explorer, he opened the door and jumped knees-first onto the pavement!

  8. I had enough trouble surviving 2 high school wrestler’s and our daughter’s tennis– high school- torn ACL, so I was a wreck after that watching each time she seemed to overreach for a shot then and later as a college athlete for 4 years. All done now!

  9. Jean says:

    Just enjoying the freedom of independent mobility for 30-60 min. daily is a good thing. My partner has cycled solo some long distance bike trips across Canada and U.S. For him, it’s not a statement of athleticism but a different way of experiencing and seeing a country. And you do notice things that you may miss in a speeding car. People do view ordinary cyclists as a risk-takers. It depends on whose perspective.

    • That’s true. We were at party last summer and were talking about our cycling and someone said, “oh, you’re real cyclists.” We asked what that meant and were told it was because we wear spandex.

      • Jean says:

        Sigh. Honest some “real” cyclists are the grandparents , etc. in their regular clothes. The progressive cycling cities recognize this. As you may know, to wear lycra in some European cycling intensive cities, looks slight conspicuous to cycling locals.

      • That’s interesting. Here’s hoping that cycling will catch on as a respected means of transport and all attire defines one as a cyclist!

        On Sat, Feb 22, 2014 at 6:01 PM, cyclingrandma wrote:

        >

  10. Snow shoveling might qualify for the Olympics if this kind of winter persists….

  11. hugmamma says:

    My daughter and I were commiserating last night how athleticism weighed more heavily than a combination of both athletics and artistry in the Russian female ice skater’s winning gold over South Korea’s phenom. Comparing it to dance, we felt that “tricks” are becoming more and more important in competition whether it be in sports or on the stage. Too bad really, because in the process artistry is often sacrificed.

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