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This page is intended to give some explanations as to why extreme sports have gained popularity (reference).
The average level of danger in a child's life has declined. Therefore, when boys and girls are able to choose which sports they like, they are choosing the more dangerous sports to compensate for the lack of danger in the rest of their lives.
This is similar to the effect seen in other areas of life. Some examples of human behavior "making up the difference" include
The goal of reducing the danger to a child is a noble goal. There is no doubt that lives have been saved by some measures that are standard these days. Not that long ago, nobody used car seats for children. Not many people used seatbelts either, except for the driver and front passenger. No one wore bike helmets either. As the danger level was reduced in certain areas, it had to be increased in other areas to maintain the average level of thrill in life. Since no adults were doing this for the kids, the kids took it upon themselves to create their own excitement.
The literary example for this case comes from Aldus Huxley's book Brave New World, which is fascinatingly accurate in its predictions about the then-future society. Its society better mirrors today's than does 1984's society or Fahrenheit 451's society. The concept in particular is that people's lives had been made perfect, but doing so made life dull so that they did not experience the range of emotions that humans can feel. The people would have a chemical treatment called VPS. That satisfied those emotional needs and compensated for the perfectly dull lives.
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In today's society, Extreme Sport is the VPS that satisfies the need for some danger, risk, and thrill in a person's life.
Children have fewer opportunities for personal achievement and recognition these days. Therefore, when boys and girls are able to choose which sports they like, they are choosing the solo-oriented sports to gain the sense of accomplishment they lack in the rest of their lives.
Some examples of no personal achievement include
There are also some children who are given everything in life. Some of them may feel deprived and want to earn something in life. Students may pass from grade to grade, and even graduate, without having earned it. After graduation, they may obtain jobs without having earned them. So they turn to sports because that is one area that in which it is hard to fake achievement. One cannot be given a completed marathon. There is no subjectivity about whether one has made it down the black diamond without falling. There can be no lingering doubt when one is standing at the top of Mt. Olympia, having used one's own limbs to get there.
In today's society, Extreme Sports are solo efforts that satisfy the need for accomplishment in a person's life.