Monday, January 01, 2007

Not on the list

When ESPN went about listing the top 60 most demanding sports, they identified 10 categories, or skills, that go into athleticism, and then assigned a number from 1 to 10 to the demands each sport makes of each of those 10 skills. By totaling and averaging their responses, they arrived at a degree-of-difficulty number for each sport on a 1 to 100 scale. That number places the difficulty of performing each sport in context with the other sports we rated. When the list was done, they found that Boxing (1) is the most demanding sport -- and that Fishing (60) is the least demanding sport. Where was sailing? It was not on the list.

Based on ESPN’s “panel of experts”, they found that the elements that comprise Golf (51), Archery (55), Curling (56), and Bowling (57) to be more demanding than sailing. Huh? Below are the categories that led to this result:

· Endurance: The ability to continue to perform a skill or action for long periods of time. Example: Lance Armstrong
· Strength: The ability to produce force. Example: NFL linebackers.
· Power: The ability to produce strength in the shortest possible time. Example: Barry Bonds.
· Speed: The ability to move quickly. Example: Marion Jones, Maurice Green.
· Agility: The ability to change direction quickly. Example: Derek Jeter, Mia Hamm.
· Flexibility: The ability to stretch the joints across a large range of motion. Example: Gymnasts, divers.
· Nerve: The ability to overcome fear. Example: High-board divers, race-car drivers, ski jumpers.
· Durability: The ability to withstand physical punishment over a long period of time. Example: NBA/NHL players.
· Hand-Eye Coordination: The ability to react quickly to sensory perception. Example: A hitter reacting to a breaking pitch; a drag racer timing acceleration to the green light.
· Analytic Aptitude: The ability to evaluate and react appropriately to strategic situations. Example: Joe Montana reading a defense; basketball point guard on a fast break.

Sailing does not deserve to be too highly ranked based on these categories. However, for all the sailors who competed in the Volvo Ocean Race, to all the skiff sailors, to pretty much everyone in between, sailing does deserve to be ranked higher than Billiards (59). -- ESPN list: http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/sportSkills#

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