chapter  11
Extreme sports and the ontology of experience
Pages 11

The sports activities that interest us come under various guises: ‘extreme’, ‘highrisk’, ‘dangerous’ or ‘hazardous’ sports. Despite their frequent use it is not clear what is meant by these terms. Let us suppose that we all understand the word ‘sport’ the same way: as wilful movement activity especially in the environment of its cultivation.1 But what about extreme sports? We can consider ‘extreme’ to refer to everything which is on the periphery; out of the centre (eccentric); extravagant; or done to excess. The old Greek ideal carved out over the entrance of Delphi’s oracular shrine, ‘Nothing to excess’, is not adhered to in the case of extreme sports. The advantage of thinking of ‘extreme’ sports in this way, however, is the enlarged perception and understanding of some characteristics or developmental tendencies of the investigated phenomena; and it has a corollary in politics: the middle is a mixture of liberal and social positions. We distinguish essentially two profiles from this central point: left (socialist) and right (conservative). Areas away from the centre are perceived as extreme. The problem, however, is that advocates of such peripheral opinions do not perceive them as extreme and as being on the outside, but rather as being natural, right, self-evident, understandable and so on.