People choose leisure sports for a variety of reasons, including family history (golf), continuing their school sport (swimming), regional popularity (log rolling), and, in certain cases, severe and untreatable mental illness. Let’s take a hard look at that last category.
My Kind Of Leisure Sport
We all love an adrenaline rush. That thrill of excitement. For example, I get an “adrenaline high” that makes me feel truly alive each time I sink a ball during a heart-pounding game of bumper pool. (It’s called living on the edge people!) But to each his own. Others find their excitement elsewhere. But that still doesn’t make up for the pure insanity of several “leisure activities” which are less pastime, and more a desperate cry for psychiatric help.
The Other Kind Of Leisure Sports
Consider skydiving. I have to assume the first person who ever jumped out of a plane without a direct order from a military superior was an ex-paratrooper bogged down by tax problems and looking for a way out. Fast forward and maniacs are jumping out of airplanes like lemmings off a cliff. Teams of them, gliding into formations which are as dull as paste, but which seem to impress the daylights out of … themselves (Oooh! A snowflake pattern!) It’s mind boggling.
Then there’s bungee-jumping. Only one answer here. Dreamt up and promoted by the International Chiropractors Association. Have you noticed that some of the most boring cities in the world have latched onto this activity like a drowning man latches onto a life preserver? The conversation goes like this:
Boring City’s Local Chamber of Commerce President to his board of directors: “I’ve given up on promoting tourism here. Go ahead and fire me. Please! Or heck, I might just quit. Even I wouldn’t consider vacationing here. In fact, I don’t even like living here.”
Generic Director raising his hand: “We have a bridge. We could secure an elastic band and urge people to hurl themselves off.”
Chamber of Commerce President with an evil gleam in his eye: “Brilliant! And we might even get a little kickback from those chiropractic charlatans! Pure genius, Mr. Generic Director!”
Bull riding? I only know one thing about the origin of bull-riding. And of this, I am absolutely certain. It involved alcohol. Have you ever heard of a bull rider who hasn’t been hospitalized 20 times and broken every bone but his stupid bone (the one that keep his stupid in place)?
Of course, on the upside, there’s all that prize money. (Rodeo Daily reports that this year, nearly half of all bull riding winning purses will cover the entire co-pay). And how about those clowns? I know, I know, they’re the “best of the best.” And very brave (code for insane). But the thought of strapping on one of those red ball noses and meeting my demise face down in a cow patty with a hoof print at the base of my skull is one glass of Kool-Aid more than I’m willing to drink.
I’ve got to think that the American Psychiatric Association has a DSM number for these people. They deserve one. A long one. Something that merits its own rehab clinic. Like the Betty Ford Clinic – except where they serve alcohol. The life insurance companies would gladly fund it. They’d save a bundle.
Meanwhile, I’ll continue to live in the fast lane. As I write this, I’m getting ready to begin a new game of bumper pool. But get this, I’m stepping it up. I’ll be playing this game on the edge. I’ve decided not to use cue chalk. Yeah, that’s right. Time to make room for me at the clinic.