This I Believe

Mike - Cornville, Maine
Entered on January 12, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: sports

I stood on a 50-foot perch looking down at glistening sheet of black, and of course I was the first. Shaking, and sweating I screamed the words “Ready, set, seeya!” and leapt from the ledge into nothingness. About fifty feet down and three seconds later I heard a smack as my freefalling body hit the water. “There is nothing better than a good adrenaline rush,” I thought as I emerged from the water. I believe that extreme sports give you a “natural high” that can’t be beat by anything.

I am involved in almost every extreme sport that there is: four-wheeler jumping, freestyle skiing, skateboarding, BMX, or just cliff diving. Unlike organized sports, extreme sports offer a competition between one’s self and the goal you are trying to accomplish. Satisfying only begins to describe what it feels like to land a varial kick flip down a four-foot tall ledge or to do a back-flip on forty-pound BMX bike into the water.

Not only do extreme sports let me “take it to the limit,” they also help me learn to trust myself. When actively involved in extreme sports, I may do some stunts that I’m not sure are physically possible. The key to completing the stunt is visualizing myself completing it and trusting that I can do it. Aside from trusting myself, I must also trust that my buddy successfully got the stunt on camera. By exercising my trust in extreme sports, I am able to make real life decision more easily and more confidently. Take for instance the time when I was faced with the decision of giving blood. I don’t like needles but I thought of my participation in extreme sports and how I have experienced worse pain than just a small needle. I was able to confidently decide to donate my blood because of extreme sports.

Along with their other functions extreme sports also keep kids out of trouble. You have to be dedicated when involved in an extreme sport, which means that you have less time to do drugs or get yourself into situations that involve red and blue lights, handcuffs, and metal bars. As Chris Cagle put it in his hit song “Chicks Dig It,” “Pain hurts, but only for a minute. Your life is short so go on and live it. ‘Cause the chicks dig it.” I’m not so sure about the “chicks digging it” part, but other than that, I don’t think he could have said it better. Pain does hurt but eventually subsides. The memories, however, last forever.

I’m only 17 years old and I have countless memories and stories of my participation in extreme sports. I still remember when I first started extreme sports and how my cousin and I would jump our bikes off my grandparents’ porch and try new tricks every day. I wouldn’t trade those memories for anything in the world. When people ask me why I put myself in danger for such so called “stupid” things like extreme skiing, skateboarding, bike jumping, and cliff diving I respond by saying “If you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much space.”