We’ve all heard of adrenaline junkies, folks for whom it’s not enough to compete, play hard, or win. Adrenaline junkies have to come face to face with the very real possibility of dying in order to fully enjoy their sporting experience.
The following are seven sports that offer the most death-defying thrills, and the most deaths:
1. BULL FIGHTING
Blood sports are not for everyone, and I can certainly understand the view of animal rights groups that feel blood sports should not be for bulls, who never asked to play the game.
But those bulls can give as good as they take—though a lot more of them die than matadors, admittedly—and a goring from an agitated bull is nothing to sniff at. If I learned anything from reading Hemingway it’s that bullfighters only die two ways: From a goring or from gonorrhea.
2. MOTORCYCLE RACING
By far the most dangerous motorsport, by far! These guys travel at speeds over 200 MPH on twisting tracks, inches from the pavement.
When cyclists crash there’s no roll bar or cage or anything to contain them, they just get sent hurtling through the air.
The only advice you’re given in those moments is to tuck and roll, and roll you will, or bounce, slide and tumble for hundreds of feet until the bone-crushing stop and the ride in the ambulance—if you’re lucky.
Skiing is an expensive sport, and one with its fair share of dangers.
But for those who find it neither expensive nor dangerous enough, there’s heliskiing.
While the lure of carving fresh tracks on a pristine mountainside is undeniable, the risks are great. Injuries due to inexperience or having more money than skiing skills get very expensive and very serious when you’ve flown away from civilization.
Also the avalanche threat is very real and can bury even the most experienced guides, or you know, the helicopter might crash into the mountain.
4. BIG-WAVE SURFING
The thing about surfing is that you’re playing with Mother Nature, so I would think when Mother Nature wins, say by throwing up a set so large you can’t even paddle into it, you should give her the win.
Big-wave surfers disagree. They have their buddy tow them into the wave on a jet ski and dare Mother Nature to bring it. She obliges more often than not as the force of fifty-foot waves can crush a even the best of surfers. Or, if they’re lucky, they might be knocked unconscious against a rock or coral or the seabed.
Apparently riding one of those monsters makes the danger worth it.
I’m not convinced.
5. HIGH-ALTITUDE MOUNTAIN CLIMBING
Of all the dangerous sports you can try high-altitude mountain climbing—read: Climbing Mount Everest, because what’s the point of climbing a really high mountain no one has ever heard of?—is the only one that forces you to see those who’ve failed before you.
Seriously, there are over 200 bodies scattered throughout the climbing routes of Mount Everest, and more every year as the sport is exploding in popularity.
So if you want to peak Everest, that’s cool except you’ll have to climb over, past and around all those bodies, and if you don’t make it, you’ll just be another of them.
6. BASE JUMPING
The concept is simple enough; find a Building, Antannae, Span (bridge), or Earth (cliff) to jump off of, and jump! Oh, and remember to bring a hand-deployed parachute to save your life.
Basically BASE jumping is the poor man’s skydiving, and it’s illegal nearly everywhere, so “playing” this sport also comes with legal trouble, not inconsiderable fines, maybe a little jail time.
But it’s also a sport growing in popularity in spite of the inherent risks.
You know, the risk of going splat!
I wonder about the helmets they wear, do they really think they we help if the chute malfunctions?
7. CAVE DIVING
Cave diving is for people who find SCUBA diving and caving too safe to do as separate activities.
Not only do you only have a limited air supply but you can’t just surface wherever you want, you have to get out of the cave first, a cave you’ve likely never been in and may not remember how to get out of.
But you’re an explorer and you want to go where no one ever has so you want to go just a little further all the time. You have to balance your desire for discovery with your desire for oxygen.
What makes a good cave dive? The kind you don’t die from. Seriously, not dying is considered good in this sport, that’s how strong the possibility is.