Why do risk sports attract so many young people?

The changes that come with puberty generally cause adolescents to question their identity and question things they took for granted. Intensive sports is a way for some young people to protect themselves against more serious questions about these upheavals.

The search for sensations and self-control, the repetition of training are accompanied by a distance from an inner world that is difficult to comprehend. Regularly visiting a sports hall with its rites and famous figures provides the certainty of an understandable world, always tailor-made.

We prepare competitions, we discuss practices, we find an immediate complicity with peers, mutual recognition, etc. Sports activity sometimes appears as a transition space where the difficulties of existence are tamed.

Conviviality of performance

By creating other concerns, manageable and concrete – challenges, efforts, planning constraints, etc. – the practice of sports becomes a way of suspending the time and the questions specific to adolescence. Set in a well-defined microcosm, heavily invested as if it would last forever, it is an effective barrier to the sexing of the body and the new responsibilities it brings.

She often postpones romantic relationships or sexuality until later. The body is controlled and denied in its instinctive aspects in the name of the limitations of training and the sacrifices necessary to obtain good performance.

With a rigorous schedule, sports activity takes up the whole mind by avoiding projecting oneself into the future other than in the form of a calendar to be kept and adequate physical preparation to be in good shape at the time of competition. It provides guidelines, a framework, a way of life, ambitions, a controlled conviviality and exclusively focused on performance.

Sporting activity occupies the whole mind by avoiding projecting oneself into the future other than in the form of a calendar to be kept.
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In addition to more conventional practices, physical and sporting activities underwent a profound change in the 1980s, with the younger generations engulfing themselves. With technological transformations, the appearance of new materials expands the field of new activities: board sports, outdoor sports, etc.

The marketing of instrument manufacturers will also know how to exploit the new sensibilities associated with the search for sensations, freedom, appearance, etc. Rampant consumers, in search of the latest products, these young adepts simultaneously “play” rebellion and indifference. norms or social rules. They have no references other than themselves. They mainly invest in the world of board sports. Out of competition, out of classification, out of limits, out of markup, out of rules, autonomously, individually, practice is first and foremost a passionate search for sensations.

Body to body with the world

Passionate involvement in these activities is a way to feel alive through a physical and intense relationship with the world. In this sense, they are related to risky behavior. Admittedly, the latter are the answer to suffering, the former are rather a quest for the intensity of being, but both are on the cutting edge, and being tested in different ways sometimes asks death for an answer about the meaning and legitimacy of existence.

Socially valued, they are not only by the younger generations who find in them an area of ​​competition and communication, but by society as a whole who sees in them a playful affirmation of youth. The values ​​of courage, resistance, vitality, etc. are rented there.

Why do young people play with risk? Interview with David Le Breton (Yapaka.be).

These so-called “risky” activities, where playing to the limit is a fundamental fact, foster forms of narcissism by fomenting the belief that one is above destiny, a virtuoso, and one of the chosen few. The hand-to-hand combat with the world takes place in places and under circumstances which the youngster decides and which remain under his control, as far as he presumes his ability.

Young people experience a sense of self-evidence, creativity and personal determination in their physical or sporting achievements. The fear thus overcome generates the joy of having succeeded, and the possession of a substance which is not common. Because of his ability, he has a sense of existence in the eyes of others. He is looking for boundaries of meaning, but in a playful way, as opposed to risky behavior. He wants to know who he is, how far he can go too far. He experiments with his means in a sense of accomplishment.

Risky physical and sports activities respond to a logic of physical confrontation with the world in a cheering mode, even if the risk of an accident is always the price to be paid for the intensity experienced. Existence is not enough for him, he must feel that he exists.

Quest for Borders

These activities are heavily invested by the boys in a search for boundaries, a frantic search for sensations and recognition. For them, measuring themselves against others is an intimate rite of masculinity, and involves surpassing themselves under their gaze. The test has the value of affirming personal worth, it calls for demonstration, at the risk of overestimating one’s skills and giving in to an often dangerous sense of omnipotence.

The presence of others tends to represent it. Seeking competence or demonstrating one’s dexterity in front of others is, in addition to the personal fulfillment they provide, a narcissistic line of defense against the sense of self-insignificance.

The test has the value of affirming personal worth, it asks for demonstration, at the risk of overestimating one’s skills.
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We know in this regard the concern of skateboarders to settle in public places to show their demonstration of skill. Through a feigned indifference of the adept, the gaze of others is necessary for the validation of talents. But the show is given “casually” and not showy in a permanent play.

The practice calls for a friendly complicity with the other partners of the head-to-head matches. It takes hours on the board and countless falls before you finally land the coveted trick or briefly snag on the banister. The scrapes, the bumps, the fractures multiply as long as the technique of the body is not perfectly mastered, but that is the price to pay for feeling rooted in the world, seeking a stop through this ambiguous mixture of agility and falls, as if it’s a constant matter of finally finding the right distance with a slipping world.

Playing with speed or the risk of falling by taking advantage of the urban geography, for example going down the slopes, or mixing with the traffic of cars, possibly clinging to it to experience moments of acceleration and expressing virtuosity practice while defying danger. A number of physical exercises invested in the younger generations multiply the areas of transgression, and with it the sense of omnipotence.

Especially among the younger generations, the frantic search for boundaries during risky physical and sporting activities marks a personal belief in the fact of being “special”, having something that others lack, but at the same time putting themselves in a dangerous situation, they constantly seek confirmation. The narcissistic flaws are connected to a process that must always be resumed.

In their discipline they are sovereign and flourish in bending the resistance of the elements, in taming gravity. These are exercises of vertigo, or rather play with vertigo, whether in the air, on the ground, in the snow or in the sea, the research is that of controlling the imbalance. A groping and intense search for your place in the world.