With all the attention these days paid to brain injury, and other serious risks associated with American football, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that they are plenty of other perilous sport out there just waiting to knock a few of your teeth out, break some bones — and if you’re not careful — shorten your lifespan. If you’re the type of fellow who likes aggression and violence mixed in with his competitive, or leisurely activities, why not change things up a bit, and give one of these risky sports a try?
Jai alai is like racquetball for the terminally insane. It’s a high-speed court sport, based on Basque pelota, making use of a dangerous, lethal projectile, all in the name of having some fun. If you ever saw the old television series Miami Vice, you might have caught some Jai alai in the opening credits. It’s not a widely played sport (mostly in Florida, in the U.S.), but for those who do indulge in the art of Jai alai, it’s frenetically fast and dangerous — with the hard goatskin pelota (ball) capable of traveling over 180 mph. If that pelota happens to catch you in the face, there’s a good chance you could wake up dead.
Lacrosse, which has its origins in the New World, when played by men (women’s rule are a bit softer — sorry, ladies) can be pretty hardcore, with tons of tough body contact, and the opportunity to use the lacrosse stick as an offensive weapon. For a sport that started out as a form of ritualized tribal combat, it’s fairly understandable that individuals craving more violence in their lives tend to dive into lacrosse with all their heart. Brain injury and body bruising are common, with severe injuries usually coming from fierce hits, which are perfectly acceptable — and often encouraged — in a typical lacrosse match.
Rugby, in many ways, is like America football — but without all of that protective gear. How’s that for life endangering? Both sports claim a shared origin, although major differences besides the near absence of padding or armor do exist. Rugby doesn’t allow for a lot of recovery time for players to regain their senses after being knocked down, or nearly out. Blocking, tackling and roughing up your opponent is common to rugby, but since there are no timeouts, and only clock stoppage for exceedingly serious injuries, the brutality of the game marches on for 40 minutes at a time, during each 40 minute half. If you want to be good at rugby, you need to learn how to ignore boatloads of pain. If you can do that, and play well, you might even become a star.