Why do high-risk sports attract young people so much?


The changes associated with puberty often cause adolescents to question their identity and question things they take for granted. Playing an intense sport is some teens’ way of shielding themselves from the heavier questions surrounding these messes.

Emotion seeking and self-control, repetition of education brings with it a distance from an inner world that is difficult to contain. Regular participation in a sports field, with its rituals and familiar figures, always ensures an intelligible world.

We prepare competitions, discuss applications, instant complicity with peers, mutual recognition, etc. we find. For this reason, sporting activity sometimes appears as a transitional space where the difficulties of existence are tamed. .

The sociability of performance

By creating other well-managed and tangible concerns – difficulties, efforts, program limitations etc. – Sports practice becomes a way to postpone time and adolescent questions. Taking part in a well-defined microcosm that is strongly invested in it as if it will last forever is an effective barrier to the sexing of the body and the new responsibilities it implies.

Often delays romantic relationships or indulging in sex until later. The body is dominated and rejected in its instinctive aspects in the name of the constraints of training and the sacrifices necessary to achieve good performance.

With a tight schedule, sporting activity engages the entire mind, avoiding the form of a schedule that must be kept and projecting itself into the future except for adequate physical preparation to be in good shape at the time of competition. Directives give a framework, a lifestyle, aspirations, a controlled sociability and focus only on performance.

Beyond the more traditional practices, physical and sporting activities underwent profound change in the 1980s, when the younger generation was immersed. Along with technological transformations, the emergence of new materials expands the field of new activities: board sports, outdoor sports, etc.

The marketing of the instrument manufacturers, the sense, freedom, appearance, etc. He will also know how to take advantage of the new sensitivities associated with his pursuits. Unbridled consumers in search of the latest products, these young masters “play” simultaneously rebellion and indifference to norms or social rules. They have no other references than themselves. They especially invest in the world of board sports. Non-competition, non-classification, off-limits, non-marking, non-rule, autonomous, individual, application is above all a passionate pursuit of emotion.

body to body with the world

Passionate participation in these activities is a way to feel alive through a physical and intense relationship with the world. In this sense, they are associated with risky behaviors. Admittedly, the second is a response to pain, the first is more to seek the density of being, but both are extremely sharp and sometimes demand an answer from death as they are tested in different ways. on the meaning and legitimacy of existence.

They are socially valuable, not only by the younger generation who find in themselves a space for emulation and communication, but also by the whole society, who see in them a playful affirmation of youth. Courage, resistance, vitality, etc. rented there.

These so-called “risky” activities, in which playing with the limit is a constitutive phenomenon, provide forms of narcissism, fueling the belief in cunning, virtuosity, and being among the chosen. The hand-to-hand struggle with the world is established in the places and conditions that the young person decides and remains under his control to the extent of his competence.

Young people experience a sense of self-assertion, creativity and personal determination in their physical or sporting achievements. Fear overcome in this way results in the joy of being successful and having an uncommon texture. Thanks to his prowess, he has a sense of presence in the eyes of others. It seeks the boundaries of meaning, but in a fun mode as opposed to risky behavior. He wants to know who he is, how far he can go. He experiments with his resources with a sense of satisfaction.

Risky physical and sporting activities respond to the logic of a physical confrontation with the world in a joyful mode, even though the risk of accident is always the price to pay for the intensity experienced. Existence is not enough for him, he must feel that he exists.

frontier quest

These activities strongly invest in a search for boundaries, a frenzied pursuit of sensation and recognition by children. For them, comparing themselves to others is an intimate ritual of masculinity and involves self-transcendence under their gaze. The test has the value of affirming personal worth, it requires assertiveness, despite the risk of overestimating one’s skills and often giving in to a dangerous sense of omnipotence.

The presence of others tends to bring it into representation. The pursuit of valor, or the display of one’s prowess in front of others, is a narcissistic line of defense against feeling unimportant beyond the personal satisfaction they provide.

In this context, we recognize the concern of skateboarders settling in public places to showcase their skills. With a false indifference of the master, the gaze of others is necessary for the confirmation of abilities. But the show is given “randomly”, not flashily, in a persistent game.

The application demands friendly complicity with other partners of mutual competitions. It takes hours and countless drops across the board before finally getting the coveted trick down or snagged on the stair railings for a moment. As long as the technique of the body is not fully mastered, abrasions, bumps, fractures will multiply, but this is the price of the feeling of being rooted in this world, of seeking a stop in this ambiguous mixture of dexterity. and falling, as if it were a constant problem, finding the right distance with a floating earth.

Games where there is a risk of speeding or falling, taking advantage of urban geography, for example, descending slopes at full speed or mingling with car traffic, holding on to moments of acceleration to experience moments of acceleration, and using virtuosity while countering danger. A set of physical practices invested in this way by younger generations multiplies areas of violation and thus a sense of omnipotence.

Especially among the younger generation, the frantic search for boundaries during risky physical and sporting activities indicates a personal belief in being “special”, having something that others lack, but also putting themselves in a dangerous situation where they constantly seek validation. Narcissistic flaws always get stuck in a process that needs to be continued.

They are dominant in their discipline and thrive in bending the resistance of the elements, taming gravity. These are vertigo practices, or rather playing with vertigo, whether in the air, on the ground, on the snow or at sea; Research is about overcoming imbalance. It’s a groping and intense way of searching for one’s place in the world.

The original version of this article was published on The Conversation, a non-profit news site dedicated to sharing ideas between academic experts and the general public.

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