The risk takers

Amal Chatterjee
8 min readFeb 2, 2019


Source : Google photo of very risky jumps called basejumping

Synopsis: People play all sorts of violent games for fun because they get a high dose of adrenaline at the risk of their life. This blog suggests alternatives to get high without the risks or choose a career that is noble like the defense of your country where you can die a hero for a good cause.

Let me start with a case where a violent tussle led to a tragedy that was totally unintentional yet it happens so frequently. There was a young healthy fellow who met with his friends for a drink one day when one of his friends started to wrestle with him quite playfully to show his affection and friendship.

While the rest of them watched this tussle as an amusement and cheered them on, the young man fell to the ground and could not get up when he tried. He was partially paralyzed from waist down which came as a great shock to everyone watching. The friend who had started to wrestle with him so playfully was crestfallen and in shock. He was brought to a hospital where the doctors discovered that he had suffered a permanent paralysis of his lower body due to the violent tussle that completely changed his life from then on.

He became morose and antisocial and hated being in a wheel chair the rest of his life because he was so active and vibrant as a person before the unfortunate accident. No amount of enticement from his loved ones could bring him out of his depression so his health started to go downhill and he developed serious psychological and neurological issues that shattered his life. So one day he put a shotgun to his mouth and pulled the trigger.

Source : Google photo of Paul walker

Paul Walker was a great Hollywood actor who was rising fast as a star and lived a very active life but one day it came down crashing on him when the car he was riding with his friend for a joyride ended in a crash killing both of them instantly because his friend was showing off how fast he could go in his sports car. The movie world was in a shock.

A speeding car or violent tussle that started as a playful joke ended in tragedy in both instances yet I find people taking part in violent sports every day and getting hurt or worse. In both cases the victims were innocent but lost their lives due to the caprices of someone else.

We all know how dangerous a sport mountain climbing is and how many climbers have lost their lives in Mont Blanc or in the Everest yet every year , more and more people from all over the world make the trek to the summit not knowing if they will come back at all alive from their experience. The risk factor is so great in the Everest where the weather there can change in an instant trapping people in a blizzard where they can freeze to death or fall into a crevasse 200 feet deep from where no one can come out. Some lose their nose , fingers and toes due to frost bite while others lose their sight but they are the lucky ones.

Some people are fascinated by the prospect of tremendous risk in such violent sports and get their adrenaline pumping hard so they feel exhilarated due to this prospect of risk. While I admire their courage and bravery, I still feel that it is foolhardy of them to do so. When you die alone freezing to death in a 200 foot deep crevasse on the slopes of Everest, it is a shame and a waste of life specially so when no one forces you to go up there.

Steve Fossett

Source : Google photo of Steve Fossett

Steve Fossett was rich, young and very adventurous so he took enormous risks trying to circumnavigate the world in his hot air balloon alone and in freezing weather in high altitude but he survived and became quite famous. But one day his adventure ended when his plane he was flying alone came down in the bad lands of the United States in a very remote area.

Source : Google photo of Amelia Earhart

People who go from one shot of adrenaline to the next to feel alive usually end up badly because one day their luck runs out. You could ask Amelia Earhart if that is possible.

I think the most violent sport some people willingly play is boxing where the boxers take heavy punishment to their head and body all in the name of sport that people watching get terribly excited about. It reminds me that the Romans enjoyed watching gladiators killing each other or being torn apart by wild animals because such violent sports made them excited. They did not care if the gladiators lived or died or even who they were.

I have written a blog called “ Blood sport that is perhaps worth reading here in this context.

There is the animal nature in many of us that seeks violent adventure that may be risky. This nature is driven by testosterone as you will see in lions mauling each other to death over a female or over territorial rights. We express our aggressiveness through sports that require risk taking and a lot of physical exertion. Just watch the American football players how they roughly wrestle each other to the ground or violent head butting all in the name of sport that people watch munching popcorn and yelling at the top of their voice. They only get hoarse doing so but the players may suffer serious head or body injuries that no one cares about. When the players are injured and can’t play, they are simply replaced by new ones just like the Romans long ago. One such player who was injured in his head could not take the pain it caused so he shot himself.

When we were children, we were encouraged by someone to play football , the kind you play with your foot. It is a harmless game although sometimes we fell down and scraped our knees but it was never serious. At the end of the game we were exhausted but felt good and showed up for it the next time.

In ancient cultures of India and the Aztecs or Mayas in America, people played games that were not violent in nature but quite enjoyable like football or kabaddi. In fact kabaddi has become a part of the Asian games now and is being played in many countries. It is a game of skill and not violence so its popularity is rising.

But how can anyone justify tormenting a bull for sport in Spain and in Mexico? How many matadors have lost their lives that no one counts? Why a handsome bull is tortured until he dies? This is a violent sport that has no justification today so I support those people who are protesting and trying to ban it.

The natural aggressiveness in some people due to their surge in testosterone can be dissipated through sports but they do not have to be the violent sort. I know that young men go to a bar to drink with their friends but after a few drinks will get aggressive over a girl and pick a fight with someone resulting in mayhem and destruction. It is just like the male animals fighting over a female all the time although they do not need a drink or go to a bar.

What should make us different from the wild animals is the so called civilized behavior that teaches us restraints and good manners and not to give in to our wild nature on a short notice.

Swami Vivekananda used to say that a healthy nation is a strong nation so young people should exercise to develop good muscles and strong physique. A healthy person is not easily attracted to vices like drinking, gambling, smoking and such because he develops strong personality and good moral character.

I have seen this aggressiveness in females as well who fight over a boyfriend they may have a crush on or a rival in sports or in their marriage. It may start early in high school and carry on to college later. The work place rivalry or in academia can also happen because of this nature in some people.

Source : Google photo of extreme risk taker

Women also get driven by the surge of sex hormones in them at a certain period of their life so they start acting it out in many ways so you may see girls picking a fight over someone in high school and can get nasty. Some become boxers or wrestlers while others may sit precariously at the ledge of a mountain looking down 2000 feet just to get the feeling of great risk. Some dive 400 feet into the ocean without oxygen and come up panting but feeling the exhilaration.

Source : Google photo of Peshmerga women fighters in Iraq

For those who seek excitement and are willing to take great risks join the armed services or become fighter pilots in some countries while others take up arms to fight for their freedom like the Peshmerga girls in Iraq and Syria where they want their own Kurdistan someday. To fight for the defense of your country is a noble cause even if it may cost you your life. It is much better than boxing each other to death or take up other dangerous sports.

To curb the wild instinct that some people have and act it out , one has to learn how to control the mind, body and soul so some people suggest Yoga that teaches such controls while building up muscles and health.

I have never been a fan of Yoga myself but whatever works for you is fine. The ideal person is always calm and does not get excited easily. The trick is to be the master of yourself in all situations so that your actions reflect the wisdom in you.

But I admit, it is a tall order.

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