Thrill Seekers

STOP Cutting Corners

STOP Cutting Corners!

One of my earlier blogs spoke of how fear can be completely debilitating. I was using an experience I had back in 2001 to demonstrate this point. More specifically, I was in Zimbabwe Africa at Victoria Falls. There were a couple of activities I engaged in that I likely wouldn’t have been at liberty to enjoy if my wife had come along on the trip. At this point in my life I was intrigued by Bungee Jumping, but even more excited about the opportunity to try out the Batoka Gorge Swing since it was featured on Season 1 of The Amazing Race.

It seemed every activity I was interested in was worth $100 US at the time and there were only so many of those bills to go around so Bungee Jumping would have to wait. I recall looking at the Zimbabwe Bungee Jump and marvelling at how extremely far of a plunge it was. My interest likely lasted longer than 30 minutes watching jumper after jumper face their fears. What is the fear in Bungee jumping? I suppose the obvious fear is the cord will break and that you will fall to your demise. Does this ever really happen? Surely there must be some sort of safety precautions in place to ensure it doesn’t happen? One has to remember that your safety should be your concern. This principle of responsibility is likely why sky divers pack their own chutes.

Two weeks ago a Bungee jumper in Zimbabwe made that familiar brave jump, but the jump ended in horror. Erin Langworthy survived, but her story and video were captured by the BBC. Certainly this made me question the safety of the other activities that took place while I was in Zimbabwe.

We don’t have to go overseas to find inherently dangerous activities designed to satisfy thrill seekers. As I watch the X-games or even just competitive sport one has to wonder just how far things should be pushed for the sake of sport or entertainment. As a kid I remember idolizing the Crazy Canucks and watching in horror as Steve Podborski and Dave Irwin wiped out at top speed during downhill races. Would they survive? Would they move again? Would they recover? Recently we were asking the same questions about freestyle skier Sarah Burke unfortunately she didn’t recover.

There are varying degrees of hazards, some more widely accepted than others. How much of a thrill are you seeking? Are you are putting your safety in jeopardy? To analyze a summertime sport one could argue that wake boarding is significantly more dangerous than laying on the beach sun tanning. Someone else could argue that staying in the house is much safer than being on the beach. We can’t live under a rock and there are some risks we all commonly take. I think the best alternative is to be aware of what the hazards are and make a conscious decision to take smart risks. During the short-sightedness of our youth the thrill often seems to take precedence over the risk. Keep in mind when you take a risk you need to be prepared to accept the potential fallout. Take time to assess hazards that may impact you. Is your risk tolerance higher than it should be?

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