Thursday, September 4, 2008

Pitting Sport Against Sport : Reasonable?

ESPN Sport Rankings (Click to Zoom)

Frequently, sporting fans and organizers love to sit down and compare sport to sport, asking "which is the hardest". In this fruitless exercise, some enjoy seeing their own sport up there in the top 10, while others are not happy because of various reasons. My question is : What good is this doing? Is this really promoting people to take up sports, or intimidating the reader?

I really no point I see in doing it. You see, its not a science. You simply cannot assign meaningless numbers to pain, emotion, personal challenges, years of practice needed and innate talent levels that make one person suited more for one sport than the other.

The above picture of sport rankings was tabulated by "experts" at ESPN (they probably never even tried any of the sports in the list). I obtained it from here. It may seem reasonable to some, yet there are a number of things that were not taken into account. Neither can, like I said, numbers be put to it.

Its all subjective. I could think marathon running was more difficult than riding 100 miles on my bike, while another person will obviously differ with me. Some might consider chess a sport while another may think that's nonsense. I could think tennis is as hard overall as badminton but I don't see the latter up there in the ESPN rankings.

And are those eating competitions a sport? Sure, its physically straining on your gastrointestinal system and you're competing with someone else! Wait, did you say no?

Dear fans, especially you rabid cycling commentators : Yes, cycling is tough and requires a lot of mental toughness and physical strength. Yes you can break all your collarbones and smash your hip on that Alpine crash.

But cycling is not 'THE Toughest Sport'.

Thats just someone's opinion.

There's more point in appreciating athleticism for what it is, advocating to try a different sport and to take up a healthy lifestyle and most of all, enjoying what one is doing.


Anonymous said...

i would agree with their rankings as outlined - they have cycling (distance) ranked as the highest endurance event but lowest when it comes to hand eye coord. Hockey and Tennis score highest on agility which also makes sense - so yeah on their scale - it looks like it measures up.

the argument is then what other factors do you add - calories burned? production of watts? you're are right who cares, enjoy your sport.

Anonymous said...

ice skating is way up there but how much time do you spend on the ice per game??

ball320 said...

athleticism is both mental and physical. one without the other cannot improve performance. this chart does not take much of the mental factors into account although fear is mentioned, yet thats not the only one to be considered.

Anonymous said...

how about triathlon? Its weird that they missed that.