The Extremes in Traditional Sports

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Abstract

The transition of traditional sports to date has been either in the direction of international sports or tourism resources or toward complete disappearance of such sports. However, in recent years, a phenomenon has begun to emerge, particularly among young people, in which extreme activities that include the dangerous aspects inherent in traditional sports have come to be seen as “extreme sports.” This focus on the extremes of traditional sports can be seen on the online site Red Bull TV, owned by Red Bull, which sells energy drinks and actively sponsors extreme sports. One of its channels, Archaic Festivals, offers extensive coverage of traditional sports from around the world with extreme elements. Six traditional sports included in its programming are Royal Shrovetide Football, Cascamorras, Onbashira, Gaucho Games, Gotad Ad Kiangan, and Tapati Rapa Nui. Red Bull is widely known for promoting extreme sports and commercializing various sports on the basis of their extreme aspects. However, this has led to the exclusion of some activities, such as opportunities for young people to come into contact with traditional sports in such a way that might lead to knowledge about their cultural inheritance. From a researcher’s perspective, examining this issue by approaching the extremeness common to traditional and extreme sports may explain why young people are drawn to traditional sports with extremes. In this study, the extremes common to both traditional and extreme sports that attract young people were captured using video footage from six Archaic Festivals videos as reference material and examined on the basis of three elements: “Transcendental Experience and Spirituality,” “Awareness of Dangers,” and “Praise of Bravery.” This study also investigated how the experiences of young people who seek extremes can play a role in passing on the legacy of traditional sports.